Body Optimization

with Carter Schoffer

About Carter Schoffer

Carter Schoffer
Carter Schoffer

Carter Schoffer is a strength and conditioning coach living in London, Ontario, and the Director of Sports Nutrition and Performance for Science Link, Inc., the parent company of Precision Nutrition.

As Director of Sports Nutrition and Performance, Carter designs and manages the training and nutritional programs of clients from around the globe, from recreational exercisers of all levels to elite athletes competing in collegiate, Olympic and professional sport.

Q & A with Carter Schoffer

Precision Nutrition: You’re a pretty young guy, and yet you’ve been working with clients and athletes for a long time now. Did you always know you wanted to work in the strength and conditioning field?

Carter Schoffer: Uh, can you refer to me as handsome rather than pretty? [Laughs.] But yeah, now that I think of it, it has been a long time. I’ve always had a passion for this stuff, athletics, training, all of it, but I had no idea I’d make a career out of it. I’ve been really fortunate in that sense, I guess, because a lot of people never get to make a living doing what they love.

PN: What compelled you to get into the field?

CS: Sports. And girls. [Laughs.] No, let me think…well even back as a teenager, I’d already begun designing programs for friends and teammates. I mean, I just put things together from what I saw in the muscle magazines or what I saw in the gym. They weren’t works of art by any means, but that’s how I got started. But really, if I had to pinpoint it, I’d say it all started with a high school class. I had this great teacher, he was my Biology teacher, but he also taught this class that was called “Physical Education: The Bioscientific Method.” And to me, that was the greatest class in the history of the world. [Laughs.] It still is. It was no joke, we were taught applied upper year university nutrition, kinesiology and physiology. In high school. In fact, it’s funny, I still have my binder for that course. I still consult it from time to time. [Laughs.] It’s actually on my shelf here, hang on. Yeah, listen to this breakdown. These were the topics: Human Anatomy, Muscle Physiology and Mechanisms of Contraction, Energy Pathways for Muscle Contraction, Nutrition and Body Composition, Physical Fitness and Exercise, Cardiorespiratory Physiology, Biomechanics, Motor Ability and Motor Learning. How good is that? For a kid like me, I mean I was just devouring anything training-related that I could get my hands on, that was like an epiphany. It was my first exposure to the scientific side of exercise, and just thinking back to it, I was really fortunate to have a teacher like that.

PN: And how did you get started doing this professionally?

CS: Well, about seven years ago now, I had the good fortune to meet John Berardi at the University of Western Ontario. The university is actually in my hometown of London, and JB was working on his PhD there. At the time, I was training hard myself, plus I was writing programs for friends, that sort of stuff. I’m also a voracious reader, and I had read his articles on, which was what was called at the time, and I saw that he was studying at UWO. And it’s not often that we Canadians get experts in our own backyard. So I thought, “Why not?” I just dropped him an email. And he was really cool about it, he got back to me with something like, “Come by the lab and we’ll talk.” But I had no idea where or what “the lab” was. And you don’t ask for directions, right? [Laughs.] So I spent a good couple of hours wandering around until I found it. But it was definitely worth it, in fact it turned out to be a key moment for me. JB was looking for well-trained individuals to be subjects in his studies, so of course I volunteered…

PN: So you were actually a subject in the post-workout nutrition studies?

CS: Yeah, in fact I think I was the very first participant. JB was doing mock-up studies, trying to come up with the protocols to use to test this workout drink he was formulating, which eventually would be the basis for Biotest Surge. And he was trying to decide what to use as the exercise modality. Originally it was going to be weightlifting, and so he had me come out to the gym. And of course, this is only the second time I’ve met the guy, and I want to impress. So he had us doing these volume circuits, real hard volume circuits, and I’m going all out, whipping the weights around, acting like it’s nothing. And about halfway through the workout, I start to feel nauseous, and he kinda looks over, and all the sudden, “Blaaahhhh!” – I’m puking all over the gym floor. [Laughs.]

PN: So that’s why he changed the protocol!

CS: Yeah, exactly, I guess he wasn’t too fond of mopping up vomit. [Laughs.] He ended up changing it to a cycling protocol, which was actually still very tough. I did that one too. But he could control it a bit better.

PN: What exactly was the circuit he had you doing?

CS: If I recall correctly, it was barbell back squat, standing barbell shoulder press, pulldowns, flat barbell bench press and bent-over row for 3 non-stop circuits of 10 reps per exercise. I think I threw up after completing the bent-over rows during the second circuit. [Laughs.]

PN: Couldn’t have been all bad, you ended up working together not to long after that.

CS: Well, after everything was mopped up, I actually did go on and complete the workout, so maybe that had something to do with it. [Laughs.] But yeah, I think he was impressed by my efforts, or at least I hope he was, and we got along really well. I talked a big game the first meeting, and I tried to back it up in the gym. I mean, I always try to make sure that I walk the talk, and JB is the same way, so I think that was some common ground between us. So anyway, he asked me what I was doing for training, I think he was going to offer to draw me up a plan or something, so I showed him my latest design. And I think he was impressed, because I ended up designing his training plan for the next few months. [Laughs.]

But it was great, because he was designing my nutrition programs, and I got to pick his brain the whole time. We’d go back and forth, discussing the research, figuring out ways to apply it in real life. We were both doing our studies, but we’d meet up on campus and talk shop. I was working with a bunch of local athletes, and John had all these clients from around the world who he would consult with over email and all these teams he worked with.

Over a couple of years, it turned out to be this massive number of case studies. And since John had access to all the lab equipment, we were able to test everything in detail, and when you do that you really start seeing what works and what doesn’t. And we started to come up with this way to codify the process. Like, how do you take someone from point A to point B? There are virtually infinite point A’s and infinite point B’s, but it’s always the same logical process going from one to the other. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an athlete looking to get faster, or a guy looking to get big, or a woman looking to lose fat or get healthier or whatever. It’s always a series of interventions, then a series of tests to measure what happened. So we started putting it all together and systematizing it.

Eventually, once John got his PhD and we were both out of school, we began to build this coaching program that existed entirely online, first at and now with We would sit down together and design programs, pour over results, plan out strategies. Then I would have tell the clients to shut up and do it, sort of thing. [Laughs.] John became the good cop, I sort of became the bad cop. But really, that’s how I got started, it just kind of came about naturally.

PN: If you had to give yourself a job title, what would it be?

CS: Well, it’s interesting because traditionally you’re either a personal trainer or you’re a strength and conditioning coach. And I’m neither of those, really. I think if I had my druthers I’d call myself a body optimization consultant, as highfalutin as that may sound. What I do is almost exclusively distance-based. I coach, I design programs, I monitor progress, I provide support. But I don’t go into the gym with clients, which makes it fundamentally different. So really I’m a consultant you bring in to either supplement or replace the expertise available to you locally. I mean, you know what you’re getting with us, you can read all the articles on the site, you can read the books, you can see the teams we work with, in fact, you can even talk to clients and members on the Precision Nutrition forum. With us you can be certain you’re going to get the best. Walk into the average commercial gym and it’s a total crapshoot. You really have no idea what you’re going to get. Some trainers are superb, and some are just awful. And it’s really hard for people to differentiate. We get clients who deal with both, some are really unhappy with the advice they’re being given, and some are also working with the best coaches in the world, like some of our Olympic athletes, and they just want another expert on their team of advisors. So that’s the “consultant” part of the title.

As for the “body optimization” part, that’s the best way I can describe what a good trainer or coach really does. You take a client and figure out what they want, what their goals are. You look at where they’re at now, what their life is like, what their body is like, what their strengths and weaknesses are. And then you show them how to build the best body they can possibly have, and you use every tool available to do it. And it goes beyond training, that’s the thing. You work it all, training, nutrition, supplements, all of it has to work together. That’s critical.

PN: So body optimization requires bringing the training, nutrition and supplement components together in one program.

CS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, they’re components, yes, but they’re only pieces in the larger puzzle, and really the only way to get results is to make sure all of them are optimized individually and then to make sure that they’re completely integrated with one another. How you train in the gym will affect how you have to eat and what supplements you should take. Take one guy who works a desk job and lifts weights four times a week, his plan will look totally different than a guy who trains five hours a day for elite athletics, even if they’re the same age, body type, whatever. He’s going to be taking different supplements, too.

And vice versa, how you eat will determine to a large extent how you’re able to train: how much, how hard, how often, and so forth. And it even goes beyond that. We have to look at the person’s life in general. What do they do for a living? How active are they? How much time do they have for food preparation? How much sleep are they getting? Do they have a family, how many kids, and so forth. Do they have a good training partner, do they have friends who are also interested in health and fitness? There are hundreds of other variables at play in all of our lives. So body optimization, to use that term again, involves all of them. It really does. My job is to create a plan that optimizes that client’s body, how it looks, how healthy it is, how strong it is, how well it performs, how it responds to stress, everything. And to do that I have to influence every single variable I can, and make them all work together.

That’s one of the advantages to having some distance from our clients. A lot of people fall into the trap of focusing only on one of those broad categories. It’s like, “I’m going to go on a diet,” or, “I’m going to step it up in the gym,” or “I’m going to take this or that supplement.” I mean, it’s just easier that way, it’s much easier for our minds to focus on a single thing. Unfortunately that’s not how it works. As a distance-based consultant, I can kind of remove myself from that and look at the grand scheme of things. I can take a client’s feedback, requests, complaints, that sort of thing, and make sure everything I do is focused on the bigger picture, the overall body optimization. I don’t have to act or respond immediately, and I don’t have to make a split-second decision just to please the person. To work with us, you have to retain us for at least four months, sometimes longer, so I have that freedom. Unfortunately, a lot of trainers or coaches who get paid by the hour, they sometimes feel compelled to keep a client happy in the short-term, even if it means compromising their progress in the long-term. That’s a typical rookie mistake. The experienced trainers, the good ones, they don’t care, they’ll just tell it like it is. If you can find one like that, consider yourself lucky.

But even if people aren’t working with a trainer or coach, one of the best things they can do for themselves is understand that all of these things are interconnected. They can learn how they interact, they can learn how to put together a plan for themselves that covers all these facets, and then learn how to test it to see if the thing is actually working or not. I mean, in a nutshell, that’s exactly what I do.

PN: Okay, let’s rewind a little bit. Do you remember the first day you picked up a weight?

CS: Oh yeah, I remember. [Laughs.] I still get a laugh thinking about it. I was probably about 10 years old or so. One of my close friends, who happened to be a couple years older than me, he had a bench set up with those old-school concrete-filled plastic weight sets. I remember benching something like 100lbs for a few reps per set. My friend and I were going back and forth for what was probably 2 hours. Anyway, we ended up doing something like 37 reps each. So I remember later, some older kids were talking about lifting, and I’m trying to get in the conversation. And they ask me how much I bench, and I’m like, “Oh, about 3700 pounds.” [Laughs.]

But my first real experience in iron game came in the 9th grade. My football coach, and that biology teacher I mentioned, they ran the weightlifting club. So I joined after the football season was over. I was fortunate enough to be taught how to properly squat, deadlift, military press, bench and row. The majority of my workouts focused on those lifts. Which was great, I was lucky enough not to be one of those guys who had to learn on the Universal.

PN: Were you an athletic kid growing up? Were you one of those guys who were always in great shape?

CS: No, not at all. I mean, simply put, I was fat. I was 5’5, 175lbs by the time I reached the 4th grade. And I didn’t really get into organized sport until much later. Eventually I was really into baseball and football, so that started to help me lose weight. I could throw a fastball in the low 80’s at age 13, but needless to say, I never really learned to locate it. [Laughs.] I played both sides of the line in like the Canadian version of a Pop Warner league. So I started to get more athletic, more active, as I got older, and it did start to help my body composition.

But at one point I actually became anorexic. I just stopped eating. It wasn’t a body distortion issue, the truth was I was fat, no two ways about it. Like it wasn’t this kind of “I’m not thin enough” thing when you’re 97 pounds. And fortunately, it was controlled, in the sense that once I had I lost the weight, I did start eating again. But really for most of the eighth grade, I wasn’t eating anything. I lost the weight, but it was terrible for my overall growth. Every man in my family is over 6 feet tall, but I topped out at 5’9”. So I ended up losing all this weight, but totally the wrong way, I mean the unhealthiest possible way. And in the end, I wasn’t jacked or lean or anything. I still didn’t look the way I wanted to look, and I still had no idea what I was doing. But I was at least self-aware enough to know that I had to find a better way, fast.

And so from a very young age, I knew that I would have to learn everything there is to know about exercise, nutrition, physiology, everything I possibly could, because it would never come easy for me. I knew that the only way for me to be healthy and athletic and in great shape was to learn everything, and to figure out how to make it work for me.

PN: Now having lived through an eating disorder, has that helped you as a coach?

CS: Well I hope it allows me to relate to people who are struggling, because I’ve been there myself. I’ve had to work for every little bit of progress I ever got. I’m not one of these genetic freaks who never have to train and can eat garbage without consequence. I’ve been down, I know what it’s like. So hopefully it helps me understand them better, to know what they’re going through. But I think it also helps me intervene when I have to. Because as a coach, you do have to intervene. I was lucky enough to have people step in and help me when necessary, I had great mentors and coaches and teachers, people who wouldn’t accept anything but my best. So I feel comfortable stepping in for others, because I know they need it, and I know without it they’re in big trouble. So if I can help clients the way I’ve been helped in my life, then I’ve done my job well.

PN: What’s the difference between the people who get it done and those who don’t?

CS: Putting a plan of attack, whatever the plan may be, into action. Far too often people succumb to paralysis by analysis. They wait for the perfect plan before getting off their butts. And the successful people, they attach their goals with tenacity, but they also understand that these are lifelong pursuits. You might be initially motivated by a specific goal, losing ten pounds or benching such and such, or whatever, but I think what makes the difference is the understanding that eating well and exercising consistently are worthy pursuits in and of themselves. The people who get it done find ways to enjoy the process, they find satisfaction in the meals they eat or in their workouts or whatever. They enjoy the life they’re living.

So it’s really about having the proper perspective. I sometimes use an example with clients who are feeling down for not having made a drastic transformation in a few short weeks or even months. I’ll calculate how old they are in weeks. For example, a 30 year old has been living for well over 1500 weeks. If that 30 year old has been making a concerted effort for about three months, that’s still just 12 of those 1500+ weeks! For more than 1488 weeks of their lives they didn’t have a goal, weren’t working towards it, or were actively doing counterproductive things. So in that person’s lifetime, they’ve done one week of productive work for every 124 weeks of counterproductive or ineffective work. So don’t get down about the 12 good weeks! Get down about the 1488 bad ones and start replacing them with good ones! That’s the proper perspective, and while it’s important to get short-term results to keep fueling the fire, it’s also very important to keep that in mind.

PN: What makes an ideal client?

CS: Someone who is intrinsically motivated. Someone who has definitively made the decision to do this. Because we’ve worked with the whole gamut of individuals, athletes of virtually every sport, business execs, students, retirees, stay at home parents. And it really doesn’t matter where you’re at right now, if you’re novice or elite, rail thin or morbidly obese, or whether you’re looking for performance gains or just to improve your quality of life. It really doesn’t matter what the goal is, or who the person is. All that matters is their willingness to put forth and maintain the effort. That’s all I ask.

PN: And what about the coach? What makes for an ideal coach?

CS: Well, a couple of things, I think. First, you have to be good with psychology, you need to be able to understand, motivate and influence people. It would be so easy if it were just about program design. All the top coaches, consultants or trainers know that you have to be able to read people and play on their mental and emotional strengths and weaknesses. A relationship has to be built, you have to know each other, what gets them going and what doesn’t. The ideal coach is like the ideal teacher. Most of us have that one teacher that sticks out in our mind. The one that made you believe that they believed in you and in turn gave you reason to believe in yourself; the one that didn’t give up on you when you were struggling and the one that knew when and how to light a fire under your butt when you were dogging it. That’s what a good coach has to do.

And the other main requirement is flexibility. A good coach has to be flexible in who they train, how they train them, the methodologies they use, their approaches or strategies. Great coaches figure out what that person needs and adapt their programs to produce the required result. And it’s the required result, not necessarily the desired one. A good coach sometimes has to overrule the client. You may get a client who wants to bench three times a week but really needs to work on their posterior chain and subscapular stability. So you have to figure out what a client needs, see if that meshes with their wants, and from there make use of as many different approaches as necessary until you find one that works.

As Bruce Lee once said, “Use no way as the way.” When asked about his fighting style, Bruce told people that he had no style. Instead he tried to be like water, flowing and adapting to the opponent and altering his approach until the opponent is vanquished. Well, same thing with coaching. You don’t want to vanquish your clients, but you definitely do need to adapt to them. [Laughs.]

PN: You coach your clients exclusively over the web. In fact, most of them would have an easier time recognizing your writing than recognizing your face on the street. How has the web changed your job?

CS: Well, it provides a platform for an expert to reach a broader range of people, and vice versa, for that broad range of people to reach experts they otherwise couldn’t have. But it certainly wasn’t an easy transition. I think we were one of, if not the very first, to go the distance-based Internet route. We were basically making it up as we went along. The great thing is that it opens up the world to the trainer or coach. We’ve had clients from Africa, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, the Czech Republic, England, Germany and the list goes on. So it allows me to say that I’m world-renowned. [Laughs.] But it definitely makes it more global. So you have these interesting scenarios, like for example I had a client in Ghana who had remote Internet access, but no real access to a modern gym or Western medicine, that sort of thing. That’s an extreme case, but in general you have to be more aware of the client’s lifestyle, because it may be much different than your own. It creates challenges I could never have imagined. And it also let’s you collaborate in ways that weren’t possible before. Prior to all web, there would be no real way to have a skill coach, a sports psychologist, a doctor, a strength coach, a nutrition coach, and all these specialists all working with the same athlete. Now we have ways to monitor someone’s progress on the web, and share that information with whoever needs to see it. So you can have the top experts in each field monitoring you, kind of like your own personal board of advisors.

And the other thing it does is force us to track everything. All of my programs are written, and I have to go into great written detail for them to make sense. And that forces me to clarify my own thought process and to be able to explain every part of the program. And since I’m not in the gym with my clients, when I want to know how someone is doing, I can’t just eyeball it, or listen to their tone of voice, or read his or her body language. I have to know for sure. I have to be able to quantify it. And so we have all these measures that we track regularly, be it body composition, recovery, blood work, strength, flexibility, whatever. We even have this web-based software that we’re working on called the Results Tracker [Ed: accessible only to beta testers], which basically tracks everything for you online. So everything is there in black and white, it’s either working or it’s not. And I think that forces me to stay on the ball, and it keeps the client on track. Even things like taking digital photos. All our clients have to take photos and send them to me, and of course they have to look at them themselves, and often that alone is motivating.

PN: Do you ever get tired of looking at other men in their underwear?

CS: No comment. [Laughs.]

PN: How do you think the web has changed things for the fitness enthusiast?

CS: Much more direct access to the experts. Prior to the web, for example, if you wanted to learn the Westside Barbell methodology, you’d have to actually go to Westside Barbell or know Louie Simmons personally. And that’s if you were even fortunate enough to know what Westside was. But now, good information spreads fast, and you can read everything by Dave Tate and learn a lot about probably the most innovative powerlifting system around without ever leaving your desk. [Laughs.] And so it’s fantastic, if you actually use it. It’s a double-edged sword though. Now every keyboard jockey can position themselves as an expert. Hang around any forum for more than a couple posts and you’ll see that this is true. A guy that weighs 140lbs @ 20%+ bodyfat is preaching about how one should best eat and train to be a 220lb bodybuilder @ 5%. Or a 300lb self-proclaimed powerlifter, who can’t bench a plate, is preaching to others how best to utilize bands or weight releasers. So the problem is still learning who to trust, and basically holding them accountable by testing their advice.

PN: Say someone comes up to you and tells you they’ve been doing this for a few years now, trying to get lean, or muscular, or both – but they say they haven’t had any luck at it. If you had to wager on what they’ve been doing wrong, what’s your guess?

CS: Well, first of all, luck has nothing to do with it. But generally I would say that if results are lacking, the person is either not changing his approach, or changing it way too often, in other words changing for the sake of change rather than the sake of need. Those are two problems that I see all the time, but obviously those are just generalities and there are a ton of other possibilities. Another problem is a simple lack of intensity in the gym, people going way too easy on themselves. It’s supposed to be hard, at least some of the time, and if it’s not, that’s a problem right there. But there are more, and that’s why we have a whole screening process, to figure out exactly what’s holding the person back.

PN: Is that person likely to be doing some things right, or is a full overhaul of the entire plan usually necessary?

CS: If you’re eating whole foods and lifting weights than you’re doing a lot of things right. That’s the foundation. From there on out it’s about optimizing how one lifts those weights, in other words the exercises they use; how much or the volume one uses, how heavy or how intense the lifts are and how often they lift the weights. And of course what they’re eating, how much of it and at what time. As to how far the individual might be off from optimization, it depends. Some just require a few tweaks and someone evaluating the big picture for them while others require a slap upside the back of the head. [Laughs.]

PN: How important is nutrition in the body transformation process?

CS: Absolutely critical. Nutrition is 100% important just as exercise is 100% important. I mean, you often hear people say things like, “Nutrition is 90% while training is 10%,” or even, “Nutrition is 50% while training is an equal 50%.” I think they’re missing the point. It’s like asking, “What’s more important, the lungs or the heart?” Bottom line is that if you can’t breathe, you die, just like you die if you can’t pump blood. They’re both necessary, and there’s no room for fractions of importance, it’s an absolute. But which do I see people neglecting the most? Definitely nutrition.

PN: Carter, this has been great, thanks for taking the time out to do this.

CS: No problem, any time.

Training and Nutrition For Muscle Size

An Interview with Dr John M Berardi, CSCS

Whenever Dr Berardi gives an interview, you're bound to learn a thing or two. Here are a few choice questions and answers Dr Berardi provided for an interview with Craig Ballentyne of

CB: John, you've truly advanced the science of "getting big" without getting fat. Can you give a synopsis of your philosophy?

JB: Thanks for being so generous with your words. While I wouldn’t be so dramatic as to say I’ve “truly advanced the science,” I think one thing I have been able to do is reach a lot of individuals and help them understand the science and art of “getting big”. My nutritional philosophy (whether you’re after weight gain or weight loss) is made up of 3 central tenets:

1. The human body best responds to structure. You’ll successfully gain weight or lose weight only when you learn to structure your training and nutritional intake in such a way that your eating and training behaviors are consistent from one day to the next.

2. Reaching your goals requires an integrated approach. Training programs, nutrition programs, and supplement programs should be highly integrated in such a way that they all work well together. If there is no integration, it’s a case of the left arm not knowing what the right is doing. This component of success is the hardest for most people to grasp because expertise in all 3 areas is rare. A fully integrated approach usually requires a coach.

3. It’s true that managing total calorie balance is critical to success. Both exercise and nutritional intake affect total energy balance (energy spent vs. energy ingested). It’s true that if you want to gain weight, you simply have to eat more and/or train less. And if you want to lose weight, you simply have to train more and/or eat less. But since we’re not interested in weight gain or loss but the gain of lean mass and the loss of fat mass, we can improve this relationship by paying close attention to the types of foods we eat and the timing of this ingestion.

CB: Briefly, what are your thoughts on training for muscle mass?

JB: Wow, it’s hard to describe my entire training philosophy “briefly” but I’ll try. As most experts would agree, there is not a single type of program that’s effective for increasing muscle mass. In my clients, I’ve found that some guys gain mass rapidly on the conventional 3 sets of 10 reps, “bodybuilding” style programs. Others do much better on more conventional 5 sets of 5 reps, strength type programs. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know who will respond to each type of program without some trial and error.

With most clients, I find that their muscle strength and power is a major limiting factor in their quest for bigger muscles. As a result, we usually start them out on hybrid strength and power program incorporating exercises like cleans, snatches, push and drop presses, and speed dead lifts for power and squats, bench presses, dead lifts for max strength. After their muscle strength and power improves tremendously (and it always does), we re-assess their goals. If they want to continue working on strength and power (most guys LOVE this type of training), we continue on this path. If they want to focus on size exclusively, we then begin to incorporate programs that are 25-50% devoted to strength and power, and 50-75% devoted to “bodybuilding” training. We rarely ever drop the strength and power movements entirely. Take, for example, a client of mine who just competed in the Canadian National Bodybuilding Championships. I had this guy doing cleans and snatches right up to the week before the show.

In the end, though, you can have your training optimized but if you aren’t eating properly, you won’t gain a pound.

CB: Okay, now for the good stuff. What are some of the secrets that you have uncovered in the lab and over the years "in the trenches" when it comes to optimal muscle hypertrophy gains?

JB: After optimizing your training program, the next step is optimizing your nutritional plan. While conventional dietetics suggests that all one needs to do is focus on total energy intake, that idea is far too simplistic. Sure, most athletes chronically under eat – to their detriment – but it’s no surprise why they under eat. Conventional nutritional strategies ensure that when an athlete eats enough, fat gain will go hand in hand with the muscle gain. I’ve tried to discover ways of allowing an athlete to eat enough without promoting a lot of fat gain. Here are a few strategies I’ve used with great success.

1. Try to avoid meals that are high in both fat and carbohydrate. In other words, meals that contain combinations like steak, eggs, home fries, and toast are not the way to maximize your lean gain to fat gain ratio. Of course, eEach daily meal should be rich in protein.

2. Eat most of your carbohydrates within 3 hours of training. One of the best ways to gain lean mass while avoiding fat gain is to eat most of your dietary carbohydrates during the 3 hours after training. During the rest of the day, the diet high in protein and good fats. Veggies are also a must during this time. A small amount of fruit is acceptable during this time as well.

3. Workout Nutrition! Sip a drink containing whey protein and carbohydrate during training. Also sip a drink of the same composition after training. A good starting point is to consume 0.4g/kg protein and 0.8g/kg carbohydrate during the workout and another 0.4g/kg protein and 0.8kg carbohydrate directly after. Then, 1 hour later, eat a meal containing the same nutritional breakdown. For a 180lb guy, that’s about 32g protein and 64g carbohydrate.

CB: How can the typical Men's Health-type reader apply your knowledge to his everyday routine, considering he might be "chained" to his phone and desk for 10-12 hours each day, and a 2 hour round trip commute? What are his top snack options and post-workout meal options?

JB: While this lifestyle presents a challenge, it’s not impossible to eat properly, train hard, and balance work and family. One strategy is to hire a food preparation service. In most cities, if you look hard enough, you can find a caterer who will provide made-to-order meals for health conscious individuals. While many people balk at the cost, I propose this question – how much is your health worth to you? Forget muscle mass, most guys in situations similar to what you’ve described aren’t even eating well enough to prevent disease.

Beyond this scenario, protein drinks do come in handy although I prefer it if people can eat mostly real food. If you absolutely refuse to find a way, though, most people can find time to prepare and eat 3 meals per day. In addition to these meals, 3-5 additional liquid meals can round out one’s muscle gain strategy as follows:

* Breakfast

* Snack: 2 scoops protein + ½ cup yogurt + 1 serving greens + 1 tbsp flax seeds + 1 tbsp mixed nuts

* Lunch

* Snack: 2 scoops protein + ½ cup yogurt + 1 serving greens + 1 tbsp flax seeds + 1 tbsp mixed nuts

* Workout Drink: 1 serving recovery drink

* Post-Workout Drink: 1 serving recovery drink

* Dinner

* Snack: 2 scoops protein + ½ cup yogurt + 1 serving greens + 1 tbsp flax seeds + 1 tbsp mixed nuts

CB: Let's look at another scenario. The massive bodybuilder that still wants to add another 10 pounds to his frame prior to starting his pre-contest preparation. However, this guy thinks he's stuck; he's tried all avenues. What approach do you have him take?

JB: Massive juicing. Ok – I’m just kidding! Actually, check out this scenario. One of my competitive bodybuilders hired me after winning a provincial bodybuilding championship in Ontario. Since he had about 10 weeks to prepare for Canadian Nationals he wanted me to help him get leaner for the next show. But since I knew his main weakness was muscle mass, I convinced him that we would spend the first 6 weeks getting him bigger and the last 4 getting him shredded. Upon hearing this and then seeing his first program, I think he was re-thinking his decision to hire me. However, after some encouragement, he bought into my strategy. The result - he entered his show noticeably leaner, drier, and 3 lbs heavier than his last show, only 10 weeks prior.

So, what did we do? Well, I immediately switched his routine to a strength and power program including all the exercises discussed above. The first week was comical, as he had never done a clean or a snatch before. However, he was a fast learner. In addition, rather than conventional cardio, I had him doing high intensity interval sprints on a bike and a rowing machine. Furthermore, I added the workout nutrition strategies from above. The first 6 weeks were very successful as he gained about 10-12 lbs.

With 4 weeks to go, he was a little worried about his conditioning so, at this point, we dropped the workout nutrition (to eliminate extra calories), we put him on a low carbohydrate diet, and we increased his workout frequency to 2x per day (higher volume lower intensity). This worked wonders and he entered the show in the best shape of his life, with a net muscle gain of at least 5-7 lbs in 10 weeks of contest dieting! And for the record, no drugs were used during this process!

CB: And our final scenario, the University athlete and in-season post-workout nutrition. Can these athletes still gain muscle while playing once a week and practicing 4 times per week? What approach do they take, and where do they load up on cost-effective calories? Any pre-game or game time tips for performance nutrition?

JB: Yes, they can still gain muscle. In fact, as you may have noticed, many of them can certainly gain fat during the season. With training volumes reduced from pre-season, many athletes actually detrain a bit and spend some of the season in positive energy balance. Since the season is hectic, their diet is usually crappy and therefore they gain fat. By focusing on good food selections, appropriate meal timing, and supplemental workouts in the gym, these athletes can easily improve throughout the season.

Getting into a full program is probably beyond the scope of this interview, but simply, if they follow the strategies from above (i.e. not eating lots of carbs and fats together, eating most carbs during the 6 hours post-workout, and using proper workout nutrition), they will be on the right track. Furthermore, I usually have my athletes add 3-5 gym workouts in per week. Two of these workouts are strength workouts while the rest are cardio work designed to maintain fitness and keep body fat low. This strategy is unique to the athlete and his/her needs, though.

As far as pre-game strategies, there isn’t anything magical there. It takes a consistent eating program to ensure good performance on game day – no magic elixirs can remedy a week of poor training and nutrition.

CB: Thanks for the great interview!

A Brief History of Oats - And How You Should Eat Them

By John K. Williams, Ph.D.

Despite their widespread praise by nutritionists and bodybuilders alike, oats have a humble origin. They were the last of the major cereal grains to be domesticated, around 3,000 years ago in Europe, and apparently originated as weeds that grew within cultivated fields of various other crops.

Part of the reason why people were slow to embrace oats is because they go rancid very quickly, due to the presence of natural fats and a fat dissolving enzyme present in the grain. As a result, they have to be processed immediately after harvesting. The fats in oats are relatively healthy, with a lipid breakdown of 21% saturated, 37% monounsaturated, and 43% polyunsaturated.

Greeks and Romans considered oats to be nothing more than a diseased version of wheat. Oats were a lowly horse food for the Romans, who scoffed at the "oat-eating barbarians", or those pesky Germanic tribes who eventually toppled the West Roman Empire. Come to think of it, the Romans were never able to conquer the Scots. Big oat eaters, those Scots. Oats 2, Romans 0.

Even today, less than 5% of the oats now grown commercially are for human consumption. The chief value of oats remains as a pasturage and hay crop, especially for horses. Thousands of years and several empires later, most people still haven’t caught-on.

Oats, What’s So Good About Them?

Oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain. Soluble fiber is the kind that dissolves in water, so the body turns it into a kind of thick, viscous gel, which moves very slowly through your body. One of the benefits is that your stomach stays fuller longer, providing satiety. Soluble fiber also slows the absorption of glucose into the body, which means you're going to avoid those nasty sugar highs and lows. Last but not least, it inhibits the re-absorption of bile into the system, forcing your liver to get its cholesterol fix from your blood. This serves to lower your blood-serum cholesterol. See what the Romans were missing?

Oats also have anti-inflammatory properties, and have been clinically shown to help heal dry, itchy skin. Oats are also highly absorptive, hypoallergenic, and help to soften skin, if you’re into that kind of thing. They have the best amino acid balance of all the cereal grains, and thus can be used as water-binding agents in skin care products. Oat grains and straw appear in shampoos, dusting powders, moisturizers, cleansing bars, breast implants, and astronaut suits. OK, maybe those last two are figments of my imagination.

Varieties of Oats

From least to most processed:

Oat groats, or whole oats: These are minimally processed, only by removing the outer hull. They are very nutritious, but need to be cooked and/or soaked for a long period of time to so you don’t break your teeth on them.

Oat bran: This is the outer casing that is removed from the groats. The bran is particularly high in soluble fiber. Oat bran is very versatile, and can be used with groats or alone, and as an addition to baking recipes, or even raw in shakes.

Steel-cut oats, or Irish oats: These are groats that have been chopped into small pieces. They have a firmer texture than rolled oats, and people in the know often prefer them for hot oatmeal cereals and muesli. A tip on purchasing steel-cut oats: some of the name brand varieties are prohibitively expensive, so search for them in bulk, where you can fill an entire tub of protein powder (empty it first!) for $5 US.

Rolled oats, or old-fashioned oats: These are oat groats that are steamed and flattened with huge rollers so that they cook quicker, in about 5 to 15 minutes.

Quick oats: These are groats that have been cut into several pieces before being steamed and rolled into thinner flakes, thus reducing the cooking time to 3-5 minutes. While they cook quicker, any oat aficionado will tell you that they lack the hearty texture and nutty flavor of the less-processed varieties.

Instant oats: These are made by chopping groats into tiny pieces, precooking them, drying them, then smashing them with a big roller. They need only be mixed with a hot liquid. They usually have flavorings and salt added. All of this processing removes all traces of the original texture and rich flavor of the groats.

Oat flour: Oat flour is made from groats that have been ground into a powder, and contains no gluten so it does not rise like wheat flour. It can also be made at home by grinding rolled oats into a powder in a blender.


Enough rambling-on about fallen empires and baby-soft skin, it’s time for the lowdown on how to cook these little miracle grains. I’m always baffled when I hear people say how much they despise oats. Maybe they’re not so good if you use the quick oats, plain, cooked in the microwave, with dishwater, while being whipped by giant fish heads. I’ve never met a person who wasn’t impressed with the taste of my blueberry oatmeal. And I’ve introduced it to a lot of people. Roommates, parents, friends, friends of friends, girlfriends, roommate’s girlfriends, family and friends of girlfriends; nary an unsatisfied consumer, yet.

By the way, all of these recipes are compatible with John Berardi’s dietary advice outlined in his Massive Eating and Don’t Diet plans. In other words, protein is included with every meal, and large amounts of carbs and fat are avoided in the same meal. In case you weren’t paying attention earlier, the oat is a grain, thus making it a carbohydrate source. So all of the following recipes are for P+C meals.

Blueberry Oatmeal

Here it is, the breakfast that fulfills your every nutritional want and desire. A little warning: once you go steel-cut, there’s no going back. This recipe makes a large bowl of oatmeal, which I usually eat during Massive Eating phases. You can reduce the ingredients if you want fewer carbs and overall k/cals during dieting phases.


1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1/3 cup oat bran
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1.5 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
Water, as directed
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of cinnamon (big dash)
Dash of Splenda (big dash)


Add steel cut oats into 3 to 4 cups of water at night before you go to bed. Bring to a boil, simmer a couple of minutes, then remove from heat, cover the pot, and hit the hay. The longer you simmer and/or the more water you use, the larger the bowl of oatmeal, as the oats tend to soak up water like a sponge.

In the AM, bring the oats to a simmer once again on medium-low heat, adding the salt, cinnamon, and raw oat bran. Continue stirring and simmering for 5 minutes, or until you get the desired thickness (you may have to simmer for longer to boil-off some of the water). Turn off the heat, then add the frozen blueberries and some Splenda.

Stir until the blueberries are melted, thus cooling the oatmeal and allowing the protein powder to be added. The consistency should be fairly thick, especially after the oat bran has been added and cooked a bit. You might need to add some water in the AM, depending on how much was boiled-off the night before.

Macronutrient Profile:

k/cal: 699
Fat (g): 13 (2.5s, 4.7m, 4.6p)
Carbs: 111 (20 fiber)
Protein: 54

Strawberry-Banana Oatmeal

Given that you will probably never tire of the blueberry oatmeal, you might be tempted to neglect this recipe. But give it a try; variety is good!


1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1/3 cup oat bran
3/4 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
1 medium banana, sliced
1.5 scoops strawberry or vanilla whey protein powder
Water, as directed
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of cinnamon (big dash)


In the evening, prepare the oats in the same manner as the Blueberry Oatmeal recipe. Again in the morning, bring the oats to a simmer and add the banana, salt, cinnamon, and oat bran. Keep stirring and simmer until you have the desired consistency (10 minutes or so), remove from heat, and stir-in the strawberries and protein powder.

Macronutrient Profile:

k/cal: 696
Fat (g): 11 (2.3s, 3.9m, 3.7p)
Carbs: 116 (19 fiber)
Protein: 50

Baked Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal

If you’re in the mood for a hearty meal to feed that insatiable P+C demon inside of you, this one might just appease the beast.


3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup oat bran
1 large apple, chopped (I prefer Macintosh)
4 scoops vanilla or strawberry protein powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
4 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract


Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. In a separate container combine water and vanilla. Combine all ingredients, stirring gently. Pour into 8" x 8" baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal is tender. Over baking will result in dry oatmeal.

If you really want to make it special, put it in a bowl and pour a little milk over it. The two go hand in hand.

Makes 4 servings

Macronutrient Profile, per serving:

k/cal: 520
Fat (g): 9 (2s, 3m, 4p)
Carbs: 85 (15 fiber)
Protein: 35

Apple Cobbler Protein Bars

I took great pains to create a P+C protein bar that is not as dry and chewy as Fido’s rubber bone. These bars provide a multi-layer gooey goodness that appeases even the most finicky of eaters. Just leave out the “protein bars” in the title if you’re feeding them to a disbeliever.

1 cup oat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
6 scoops strawberry or vanilla whey protein powder
2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 jumbo egg white
1 cup oat bran
1 cup granulated Splenda
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
2 tbsp honey
1 large apple, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 tbsp olive oil


Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Combine these in a large bowl: oat flour, whole wheat flour, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and most of the Splenda, leaving a couple of tablespoons for later. Stir these dry ingredients together.

Put the yogurt, egg white, vanilla extract, and olive oil in a blender, and turn it on low. Add the protein powder 1 scoop at a time, until thoroughly blended. Pour this mixture into the bowl, and stir together until it has the consistency of dough.

Coat a 8X12 inch baking pan with cooking spray, then pour the mixture into the pan, flattening it up to the edges.

Next, mix the applesauce, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, chopped apple, and honey together, and pour over the top of the dough mixture in the pan, spreading evenly.

Sprinkle the oat bran over the top, until thoroughly and evenly covered, then sprinkle the remaining Splenda over the top.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350-degrees F, and then switch to broil for 3-4 minutes, just until top is slightly browned. Be careful not to overcook.

Makes 12 bars.

Macronutrient Profile (each serving)

K/cal: 183
Fat: 3 g (1s, 1m, 1p)
Carbs: 27g (4 fiber)
Protein: 16 g

Cranberry Oat Brownies

These are simple, quick, and delicious, combining nutritious ingredients that all compliment one another.

1 ½ cups rolled oats, ground into a powder in a food processor
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 cup granulated Splenda
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/3 cup applesauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, mixing briefly. Add the yogurt, applesauce, and oil to a food processor, and mix on low.

Add the protein powder into this mixture, while blending, one scoop at a time, until thoroughly blended.

Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, add the honey, and stir together until everything is mixed well.

Pour the dough into a 8X12 inch cooking dish, and bake at 350-degrees F for 10-12 minutes (don’t cook it too long or it will lose it’s chewy texture and moisture).

Makes 8 brownies.

Macronutrient Profile, per brownie:
k/cal: 253
Fat (g): 4 (0.8s, 2.2m, 0.9p)
Carbs: 37 (4 fiber)
Protein: 18

Cranberry-Orange Whole Grain Loaf

If you want to surprise your family with a tasty side dish at Thanksgiving, throw one of these on the table. Or make a loaf any other time of the year to fulfill those macronutrient requirements.

1.5 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
4 scoops strawberry or vanilla whey protein powder (for the love of God, don’t use chocolate, ech!)
0.5 cups water
Juice from 1 orange
Grated peel from 1 orange (don’t go overboard on the peel, or it gets bitter)
½ cup applesauce
½ tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp baking powder
Dash of ground nutmeg (small dash)
½ tsp salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
2 teaspoons whole flax seeds*
½ cup granulated Splenda


Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with a large wooden spoon.

Add the water, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Using a fine grater, shave the outer skin from an orange, until obtaining about 2 tablespoons of grated peel. Add the grated peel, and squeeze the orange into the mix, removing any seeds.

Divide the mixture into two loaf pans, coated with cooking spray. Cook for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

*Whole flax seeds are not digested, unless you spend 20 minutes chewing every bite. They are added to this recipe more for texture, so don’t worry about the chewing thing. For the nutritional information, half of the given seeds were included in the macronutrient profile, which is based on the assumption that half of the seeds will pass straight through you.

Macronutrient Profile, per 1/3 loaf:

k/cal: 327
Fat (g): 5 (1s, 2m, 2p)
Carbs: 53 (7 fiber)
Protein: 22

Ginger Apricot Scones

Well, well…aren’t we fancy with our homemade scones? Don’t worry, if the guys in the gym ask you what you’re eating, you can just call them “protein pucks”.

1 cup whole-wheat flour, plus ½ cup of wheat flour, set aside
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup oat flour
6 scoops strawberry whey protein powder
¾ cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup applesauce
2-inch cube of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
¼ cup granulated Splenda
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder
½ cup water
½ tbsp canola or olive oil


Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl (except the ½ cup whole wheat flour). To make the oat flour, process 1 cup of rolled oats in a blender on high, until transformed into a fine powder.

Add the applesauce and water, and mix until a soft dough is formed. Spoon-out 1/3 of the dough and place on a floured surface. Sprinkle flour over the top of the pile, and flatten into a 3/4 –inch thick circular patty. Cut the circle into four wedges (twice crosswise). Place each wedge on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat for the remaining 3rds of the dough.

Cook for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Makes 12 scones

Macronutrient Profile, per scone:

k/cal: 189
Fat (g): 3 (0.5s, 1.5m, 1p)
Carbs: 27 (4 fiber)
Protein: 14

Savory Oatmeal Recipes

All right, there are enough recipes above to satisfy the sweet tooth of your average Krispy Kreme junkie. But don’t be fooled into thinking that oats are synonymous with the adjectives “fruity” or “sugary”. The versatility of oats is endless, and the following savory recipes will put to rest any misperceptions of some schmaltzy sucrose addict feverishly devouring a tray of oat brownies. Here are some recipes that hark back to the time of the “oat-eating barbarians”.


You won’t find many Levantines eating a sugary bowl of cereal for breakfast. Shakshuka, a seasoned mixture of tomatoes and eggs, is a common breakfast in the Eastern Mediterranean. Here is a version with the added goodness of oats.

1/3 cup steel-cut oats
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large egg, whole
¾ cup raw egg whites
salt and pepper, to taste


Bring the oats, tomatoes, and tomato paste to a boil in 2 cups of water. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 25 minutes.

Sauté the onion and garlic in a skillet coated with cooking spray and add these to the pot when the oats have finished cooking. The consistency should be thick, but a little soupy. More water may need to be added at this point to achieve the desired consistency.

Spread the whole egg and egg whites over the surface, stirring gently to break the yolk. Cover and simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve it up.

Macronutrient Profile:

k/cal: 516
Fat (g): 10 (2.3s, 3.2m, 2.5p)
Carbs: 71 (13 fiber)
Protein: 40

Oat-Chicken Salad

This recipe is light and refreshing, for those hot August days when a steaming bowl of oats is the last thing on your mind.

Chicken breast, 6 oz cooked
½ cup steel-cut oats
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large cucumber, chopped
2 scallions, diced
1/3 cup fresh mint and/or parsley, chopped
Juice from 1 fresh lemon
Dash of salt
2 large romaine leaves


I usually grill a few pounds of chicken breasts and store them in Ziploc bags in the fridge for a quick protein fix. Slice one of these chicken breasts and put aside for later.

Place the oats in a pot and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, then drain. When well drained and slightly cooled, mix the oats with the tomato, cucumber, scallions, mint/parsley, lemon juice and salt. Cover and refrigerate until cool.

Serve over the romaine leaves and top with the sliced chicken breast.

Macronutrient Profile:

k/cal: 700
Fat (g): 13 (2.9s, 3.9m, 3.7p)
Carbs: 77 (15 fiber)
Protein: 72

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Here is a hearty recipe that combines the goodness of oats, good quality protein, and plenty of antioxidants from the veggies and spices.

12 oz ground turkey breast (98% lean)
1 cup whole groats, or steel-cut oats
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 whole green bell peppers
1 tsp ground cumin
1 dash dried red chili pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken broth, from bouillon

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.

Sauté the oats and garlic in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray on medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until they start to brown. Begin adding the chicken broth to the skillet ½ cup at a time, until 2 cups of broth have been absorbed. Set the oats aside in a large bowl.

In the same skillet, stir-fry the ground turkey with the onions until the turkey is cooked throughout, and then add the chopped tomatoes, cumin, ground chili pepper, and salt/pepper. Add this turkey mixture to the oats, and stir together.

Cut the top off each bell pepper and scoop out the seeds and membrane, being careful not to break the peppers. Fill each pepper with the ground turkey-oat mixture and place in a baking dish. Add the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth to the baking dish, and cover first with plastic wrap and then tin foil (the plastic wrap will not allow the tin foil to stick to the peppers). Bake the stuffed chili peppers for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Makes 2 servings.

Macronutrient Profile, per serving:

k/cal: 709
Fat (g): 11 (2.3s, 2.9m, 3.8p)
Carbs: 95 (18 fiber)
Protein: 61

Tex-Mex Chicken-Vegetable-Grain Medley

If you’re short on time and need a quick fix, this one’s easy to prepare and is tasty to boot. If you really want to decrease your cooking time, you can make the oats in bulk at the beginning of the week.

Chicken breast, grilled, 6 oz. cooked weight, cubed
Whole groats or steel-cut oats, ½ cup dry
Frozen vegetable mix (corn, peas, and carrots), ½ cup
1 stalk celery, chopped
Red bell pepper, ½ medium, chopped
2 tbsp barbecue sauce

Boil the oats in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. When the oats are cooked, it’s very simple: just stir all of the ingredients together in a pot on medium-low heat, until everything is warm. It can also be nuked.

Macronutrient Profile:
k/cal: 770
Fat (g): 13 (2.3s, 4m, 3.5p)
Carbs: 91 (14 fiber)
Protein: 71

These recipes should provide plenty of opportunities to turn those oats into something much more than a mushy, tasteless breakfast. Now it’s time to go out and buy enough of these grains to fill all of the empty protein powder tubs that litter your house. Bon appetite!


John Williams is an archaeologist by training but his free time is occupied with eating well, training hard, and learning more about fitness and nutrition. John can be contacted at