A Behind the Scenes Look at how to Gain Lean Muscle Mass Part 2

Last week I introduced the concept of food prepping and macros (ratio of protein, carbs, and fat) that I learned from three years of body building with two different coaches. 

One of my readers emailed me this response:


Great article Sam. Please sign me up as I definitely need weekly motivation. I have never tried eating and lifting like a body builder so I have a few questions for you to address in future posts.


1. How do you overcome the boredom of eating plain rice and chicken all the time?

2. How do you overcome the boredom of drinking water?

3. When you are not preparing for a BB competition, how often do you permit cheat meals/days?

4. How detrimental are sweeteners to your progress?

5. In your exercise routine, how serious are you in adding weight to your lifts? I mean, at some point, you have surely maxed out and it would take a great deal of effort to add even a pound or two to your lifts. Is this a priority?


Just thoughts I think about when reading your article and drooling over your photos.




I will address Jim’s nutritional questions this week and the progressive overload question next Friday.


1.   Boredom of chicken & rice. Although many body builders talk about chicken & rice as if that is all they eat, this does not have to be the norm. Instead of chicken and rice, think healthy protein, carbs, and fat. Now the options open up significantly. Protein options may include steak, turkey, shrimp, salmon, tofu, flounder, pork, spirulina, seeds & kernels, almond butter, beans and legumes, and of course protein powder.


I may eat a lot of chicken, but I seldom get bored because of a plethora of incredible seasonings. I love spicy and can easily spice up this dish with low-calorie products. Tired of rice? Think of healthy carbs like baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted potatoes, or oatmeal. Add salsa to your dish with avocado for your healthy fat and it will be so good your tongue just might slap your brains out. 


2.   Boredom of Water. This is a tough one because water alone is so healthy and many flavored options or energy drinks have sucralose that research increasingly shows has a detrimental impact on our health. Coffee is actually a good alternative in moderation or finding EAAs (Essential Amino Acids) sweetened by stevia, a natural sweetener that appears to be healthier than other options. For my age, I like how my skin looks and I attribute this to drinking lots of water. So go with the flow and drink H20.


3.   Cheat meals. If you are preparing for competition, you are allowed cheat meals or now we call them “refeeds” (don’t you feel better already). Normally once a week until you get closer to show date and then your coach my cut them out altogether. On show day a good coach will monitor your look every couple of hours and may allow you to have a nice refeed before you walk on stage to achieve the look he or she is after. My favorite cheat meal is a wood-fired pizza loaded with almost every option.


Next Friday we will learn how to lift like a body builder and answer Jim’s question about progressive overload (how much weight do we keep adding). Until then, let’s liberate greatness in ourselves and others. If you need a coach in your journey, contact me at the email below.




Sam Bartlett

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William S. (‘Sam’) Bartlett is a leadership practitioner who has guided both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations to high levels of success. Sam’s diverse experiences have made him a sought after motivational speaker and consultant to results driven companies. He is a noted authority in the areas of team building, employee engagement, customer service, conflict management, leadership, and what it means to “live inspired.” Sam has a love and passion to help others succeed. At 62, he compet

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