Bulking Protocol – Part 3

For the third installment of the Bulking Protocol, I am going to outline and discuss the “When to Eat?” part of the method.


There are many theories and myths surrounding nutrient timing over the course of the day.  Lets take two extremes and see how different prescriptions can be.

Lets examine Intermittent Fasting (IF) made popular by Martin Berkhan of Lean Gains.  This nutritional approach promotes a daily 16-18 hour fast followed by a 6-8 hour feeding window.  The macronutrient breakdown is not as massively important when compared to the practice of fasting.  Having tinkered with fasting a few years back, I can tell much of the positive benefits I experienced came from training in a fasted state and by the very nature, the diet is one of caloric restriction.   While many people on an IF protocol claim to consume large volumes of food, I was never able to consume nearly the calories I was when I was eating over the course of the day, starting at 6 AM and finishing at 10 PM.

On the other side of this discussion, we lets examine a traditional bodybuilding diet.  This diet is centered on the consumption of large volumes of food with regular frequency.  The desired state is one of constant growth by feeding and thus by constantly eating bodybuilders believe they can avoid a catabolic state and fuel muscle growth.  This diet usually requires 6-8 meals a day.  From personal experience, I was never able to eat 8 meals a day.  For many years, I consumed 7 meals but that elusive 8th meal always escaped me.

Which one is right?

That really depends on what you are training for and your goals.  But since this series is called The Bulking Protocol it is safe to assume you are reading with the goal of putting on muscle and size.  I favor the more frequent meal model, as it is the only real way for me to consume enough calories over the course of the day using high quality food sources.

Click here to continue reading...


John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.

Latest posts by John (see all)

Posted in Diet, Talk to Me Johnnie | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Bulking Protocol – Part 3

  1. Bernie Alvarez

    John Welbourn thanks for the programming I love it and have definitely seen gains in my strength. I am hoping you can help me out with a problem I have had since I was a kid. I am one of those skinny people that has a real hard time gaining weight (really hard time). I was 123 lbs 6ft 3 years ago when I first started crossfit. I went up to 160 lbs in 2 months of starting crossfit and changing my eating habits to a much healthier diet. I am still to this day at 160 lbs and no matter what I do I can’t seem to gain any weight. My goal is to get to a solid 180 pounds partially because I am in the military and training for a career field that is very physically demanding. And partially because I am just tired of being so small. I also take Serious Mass for a weight gainer but for the last 5 months it doesn’t seem to help because I am still at the same weight. I wanted to see if you have ever had any one come in to your gym that has had the same problem or if there is any advise you can give me. Thanks again for the programming.

  2. Pingback: Bulking in a Bind | John Welbourn

  3. ajarvis32

    Bulking protocol theme song:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *