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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:38 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:40 am
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I've got a problem, I don't want to give up bodybuilding and my 95kg frame, I get bad reactions from grains, and I realize I spending a thousand or two extra on meat every year for the rest of my life has a dramatic impact on how much I will have to work.


This is a place where many unique interests intersect and I've seen some people who understand the Paleo diet here, so I hope some of you have grappled with this question: where can I get a large percentage of my protein from without breaking the bank?


I've had a lot of success over the last 7-8 years being on the Paleo diet and overcoming issues that people, including my doctors and dermatologists, often believe are not impacted by nutrition. Number one was acne, which was severe and now completely absent, and the second is seasonal allergies, which flare up immediately when I have some gluten containing foods, but are absent otherwise. I want to stick to the diet as closely as possible while trying to incorporate a "safe" protein rich food in order to reduce my expenses dramatically.


I've resigned myself to accept that a grain or legume based option is probably the cheapest source of protein, and then look at how to minimize the negative impact on long term health.


Right now all signs point toward soaked and pressure cooked lentils. There are a few studies on Pubmed showing that pressure cooking lentils destroys most of the antinutrient properties, including lectins and a large portion of the saponins. The soaking drastically reduces phytate content. I am unaware of the impact of pressure cooking on their trypsin inhibitor content (which is very relevant for protein digestion).


I've done the math, and at an average bulk price it seems to be about 20 cents per 26-30 gram of protein serving of lentils, which surely beats a can of tuna or anything else paleo.


If anyone has other suggestions I would love to hear them (for various health reasons I am not willing to have soy, peanut, or wheat protein sources).




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:19 am 

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I haven't worked out the $/gram ratios, but the first things that come to mind are dry beans and bulk eggs. Here pinto beans are about half the price of lentils so you might look at different bean varieties. Peanuts and tofu are probably competitive though you've ruled them out.




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:56 am 

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I would definitely suggest soaking legumes as a supplement. I have read a lot of the research on phytates, etc. and the soaking really seems to increase the nutritional potential. I know personally, my digestive tract has an easier time with soaked+sprouted legumes, so that's a good day-to-day incentive to remember to soak them. It does take some planning.




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:09 am 

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This thread has a lot of discussion on diet / bodybuilding: http://forum.earlyretirementextreme.com/viewtopic.php?t=2081


Spartan_Warrior has a nice cost break-down in there, too!




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:23 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:24 am
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Location: Bodymore, Murderland

The diet I outlined won't sustain 96kg of bodyweight, and it's definitely not Paleo. I've actually modified it myself to contain a bit more protein including a serving of whey protein in my after-workout shake. I'm now getting between 146 and 189g of protein per day. Maybe I'll post the updated version (but again, I doubt it will be what Roark's looking for as I do rely on wheat and grains substantially).


Based on my local prices, catching the 8-packs of chicken breast when they're on sale for 1.99/lb is about the cheapest protein source I can find based on my current cooking expertise (whole birds, etc, might be even cheaper). Comes out to about 1.77 cents per gram. My stand-by meal is chicken, rice, and veggie stir-fry. The main way I added more protein to my diet was by eating this meal more often. ;)


Whole eggs would be another competitive source at about 2.4 cents per gram of protein. For comparison, whey protein (Optimum Nutrition 5 lb, $50 jug) is 2.72 cents per gram.


I haven't done the per-day/per-meal cost analysis on my new diet yet but I imagine it's not more than $150/mo.


Anyway, for Paleo specific, I'm not exactly familiar with it but I believe it's primarily leafy vegetables and animal protein/fats? The ultimate cheap source of these would be gardening and hunting, respectively. I think Riparian might eat this way.




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:49 pm 

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Location: NYC

Rice is a non-gluten grain, so it probably wouldn't cause the same reactions you have to wheat. It should be good for filling out your calorie requirements.


And as mentioned before, whey protein is about as low-cost as you'll find.


Of course, neither of these options are strict paleo.




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:12 pm 
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I've got five large screen-covered yogurt cups on a constant sprout rotation. I keep them on top of the fridge and rinse them morning and night. Mainly I sprout broccoli seeds for the anti-cancer sulforaphane but frequently toss in some lentils, garbanzos, adzuki beans and soybeans.


Once they've grown I blend them in the vitamix and gulp them down. The more beans I add the more horrible the taste. The taste serves as a good daily reminder that the food I eat can be medicine or poison, depending on my choices.


The broccoli sprouts cost about 20 cents a serving. The beans vary but are very inexpensive as I buy them from the bulk bins at the health food store.




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:23 pm 

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Location: Bay Area, CA

I eat "dirty carnivore" with IF'ing (intermittent fasting), which is almost solely animal products. While I'll never be able to compete with the low cost of legumes, I do lower my food cost by the following methods:


(1) I only have to eat once a day due to the amount of fat I consume, which fuels me for about 22 hrs before I feel hunger again. If I'm hungry more than once, then I do eat, but that is pretty rare and usually due to not eating enough fat the day before.


(2) I buy some higher-cost/quality meat (a rib-eye, roast, etc) and supplement with sales/lower-cost products like eggs, tuna, frozen chicken wings.


This is what my body/energy/mood responds best to and I'm not going to sacrifice that, but I have found that I can easily do 200 a month and sometimes less on groceries.




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 12:32 am 

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Can you get away with dairy on paleo? Powdered skim milk is incredibly cheap in bulk, and is basically just protein and sugar.




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 12:52 am 

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I try to eat Paleo as well, and I've resigned to the fact that it is just more expensive than a grain-based diet. However, I feel it's worth it if it makes you feel better and if it contributes to long-term health. I used to only buy organic/grass fed meat and eggs, but this was breaking the bank so I generally buy conventional protein now. I buy whatever cheap cut of meat is on sale, and tend to make a lot of stew that lasts the week or can be frozen. I want to learn to hunt this year, which I think could eventually lead to a cheaper protein source (money wise, not time wise).




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 1:33 am 

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I'm not really into the paleo thing, but my guess for cheapest protein: goat meat, raised yourself, provided you have a small plot of land that grass grows on. From what I can gather goats survive and reproduce regularly, cost very little to acquire and raise. It seems that some of the poorer self-sufficent folks raise goats to eat. I don't really know the cost.


$1.99 chicken breasts is pretty cheap. I buy a lot of whole chickens, and can occasionally get these for around $1/lb, but there's bone and fat in there as well as protein, and typically the cheaper whole chickens have been "fortified" or "flavored" with broth-- meaning that 20% of the weight is salt water, not animal product. I don't try to go cheapest anymore with whole chickens, I concentrate more on quality. I am eating it after all.


During the "swine flu" scare, pork was very cheap, and depending on your region can be very cheap. Buying a whole pig and having it butchered may be reasonably economical if there is someone in your area who does this.


At one point, years ago, soy protein was very inexpensive, but I don't think that is the case now, and it may not meet with your paleo desires.


Other options that may be cheap depending on availability: squirrel, rabbit, and offal.




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 3:07 am 
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I'm no expert on Paleo diet, but I pick up 5 lb. bags of Whey Protein at BJ's Warehouse for about $30 (It might have been $32 the last time I was there). I suspect other warehouse stores (Costco, Sam's Club) would probably sell them for about the same price. I mix it with some water and almond milk and it tastes great and helps with my muscle building. The bag says there are 76 servings which sounds about right. At about $.40 per serving, and 23 grams per serving, you're talking less than 2 cents per gram.




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 4:16 am 

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The cheapest protein is a roll of picture wire, which will keep you in rabbit snares for years.


After that would be a few rolls of non-slip twine for a fishnet, if wild fish where you live haven't been poisoned, depleted, or regulated out of reach of the people.


I think the highest quality low cost meat would be beaver snares.


I have guns but I rarely use them in getting meat.




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:06 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:40 am
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"Rice is a non-gluten grain, so it probably wouldn't cause the same reactions you have to wheat. It should be good for filling out your calorie requirements."


I really have no problem filling out calorie requirements, just protein. I eat rice as my main carb source around workouts, since I've been in Asia the last year. It doesn't cause me any problems, mainly for the reason you stated.


For those who suggested whey, I don't like it that much because in practice I get a bit of acne, nose oilyness, spring allergies, and some minor digestive issues with it. I do like the convenience and the price, but I think some legumes may work out to be cheaper and may not have those effects, which is why I am looking into them now.


Dairy is not as subsidized in Asia as it is in North America, so whey is significantly more expensive here (it is imported from Canada) but when I'm back in Canada I can usually find a reasonably priced bulk purchase.


I started researching sprouted legumes and buckwheat since the creation of this thread. Lectin and phytate content are drastically reduced and the proportion of protein and fiber increase from sprouting. Other micronutrients increase such as vitamin C in most cases.


I am looking more into offal. Unfortunately there is no Mexican community in any of the places I live, because I've heard Mexican butchers offer ground offal for very cheap prices. I'm not sure if butchers throw it away here, or what (in Korea). In Canada... I haven't even seen a butcher. Supermarkets get meat slabs that were pre-butchered, and then they cut them. It is tempting to think of how cheap and nutritious a multi-bean ground offal chili would be, or a ground offal meat loaf thickened with lentils.


To the person that mentioned intermittent fasting. Yeah I do that a lot. Here there are $9-11 all you can eat BBQ beef/pork buffets, so I often just hit up one of those for the day. I might like to get things slightly cheaper even if it means cooking at home and shopping.




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 10:22 am 
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I think the cheapest source of protein may be soy flour. For the defatted variety it's over 64% protein by calories (and averages around 50% by weight) and costs $61.29 for a 50 lbs bag on Amazon (plus $4.49 shipping). That's $5.79 for a kg of protein if I didn't miscalculate here and that's just 5 min. of research. Since Amazon tends to take about a 30% cut and you could cut out the shipping it will be even cheaper. May need some fermentation magic to get rid of the lectin stuff, but I am completely ignorant about that.

Soy is heavily subsidized, and if you eat that instead of the animal it is fed to, you basically cut out the middle man.


This is purely theoretical at this point from my side as I have no idea what to do with that stuff. Apparently one can bake things with it. Might be worth it for a cheap protein shake from looking at the macros.


I know soy is not paleo, but it's vegan if that still counts for anything. :-)




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 5:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:58 am
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@Felix,

Haha... Very funny.


Round of applause from me for "most original" answer within a dedicated thread.




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm
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IMO it's very hard to eat paleo on a budget. The meat is supposed to be from a free-range, grass fed source, the vegetables and nuts from an organic source. Pretty pricy stuff!

Legumes like beans, lentils and chickpeas are cheap and full of proteins, dietary fibre and minereals. If you sprout them, even better. Pseudo grains/cereals like quinoa and amaranth are complete proteins and doesn't contain gluten.

Legumes and pseudo grains are easier to store than meat, a lot cheaper and versatile - but yeah, they lose points on the manly caveman scale...




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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:30 pm 
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Thanks, Surio. :-)


I guess my idea with making a protein shake out of soy has already been done with the invention of soy milk.

(http://www.soyfoods.com/recipes/SoyMilkRecipe.html , but consider this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXS5GBuk-GQ)


Here are some further infos & recipes:

http://www.soyfoods.com/soyfoodsdescriptions/soyflour.html


Soy Pancakes:

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=628184


Looks like it's actually feasible at least as a partial source or a cheap protein supplement kind of thing. Now I'm surprised myself ...




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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:08 am 

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There is some debate over whether is healthy for males to consume more than 1-2 servings of soy protein per day.


A lean 95kg is freaking huge! Sustaining that type of size is going to cost you. You probably need 2x as much food as a normal person.




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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:25 am 
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@Scott2--I agree about the soy. I've been warned by a couple of doctors not to give it to my boys.


@Roark--I think eggs are the cheapest. Organ meat can also be blended into dishes to add a lot of protein and nutrition. Can't you get enough cheap fish where you are? You could also try and make your own fresh cheese. I like making ricotta. There are lots of recipes out there but here's an easy one http://www.frugalvillage.com/2008/10/05/make-your-own-ricotta-cheese/

I wouldn't give up just yet. I find it's not just the gluten but the legumes that bother me when I stray from a paleo diet. (I obviously follow paleo + dairy).




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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:43 am 

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I eat grass-fed ground beef as my protein and at $4.99/lb most of the time, it's a decent deal. Add to that some organic eggs and that's pretty much it for me.


I think food is one of those areas where it really pays to figure out how to earn an extra $100 than to figure out how to cut out an extra $100 by eating sketchy food for your type.


It's easy to turn to food though as a "variable cost"; but I'm guessing there may be other areas you could make some cuts in...




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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 2:34 am 
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The thing with soy is that some of its components mimics the female hormone, so males should not take too much of it. But I eat tofu at least once every week and I do work well as a male. :-)


I know that you probably will not be interested in my opinion about this, but as this is a forum where there are others reading and your question is an interesting one, I will post it anyway. Maybe it help you in someway too.


I would take a step back and question: what's the reason to keep this size? It probably is some of the two motives: appearance or strength. If it is appearance, why the appearance? Not only to impress the girls, I hope. If it is strength, it is important to remember that size is not the same as strength. You will be able to find some references on the internet of the sherpas carrying loads sometimes twice their size with a smile in their faces. The guys are like 50kg in size and are able to carry 100kg in the thin air of the Himalaya. In a less dramatic example, I once was told by a 100kg+ guy who I fought jiu jitsu with that I'm very strong, although i usually weigh around 65 to 70 kg. As I know that you are into fighting, it should also be remembered that strength may be wasted if used with bad technique. Being in Thailand, the birth place of muay thai, you should know it by know. I bet there are some very though skinny guys over there. After all, it was where the art was born and the people there were never huge in the past. Eating almost only rice doesn't get anybody huge. Another place that was a birth place for a lot of martial arts including the jiu jitsu is japan, another rice eating kingdom. Japanese are also not known as being a huge people, much the opposite. Most are small and even weak. Because of this, they developed a lot of techniques to allow them to use better leverage to boost not only their fighting, but their whole culture. As did most of the asian people as your own, that you sure know better than I.


But now if you are still interested in professional fighting in the top class, that's a rude place the professional sports competition. They don't care for your personal health, only care for the exhibition and the money. Any athlete with some experience in peak performance will tell you that. It is a ugly place to be, there are high prices to be paid in terms of health. But yet, there is at least one professional mma fighter that is vegan, his name is Mac Danzig if I'm not mistaken. He is not huge, is is about my size, but fights quite well. Interesting, the guy just doesn't get tired.


I once saw a huge guy wearing a green t-shirt written "VEGAN" in his chest. I don't know how vegan he really was, and I have no idea if he was strong or just big. But that's a clue, maybe you could look into vegan bodybuilders, there must be some useful info out there on their diet.


But also think that while your acne gets bad when you eat wheat, there are lots of other people that eat a lot of it and don't get acne. If wheat could bring acne, most European would be full of acne in the past, as that was the basis of their diet. Off course each person has a different constitution, but I'm not comparing you to me, I'm comparing you to a whole continent of people. Even more dramatic, you will see no acne in old asian people, and they didn't eat much meat and no dairy. It was only after the western habits took hold of the world that the situation changed. I would say that it is not only the wheat itself, but the combination of white fiber-less wheat with loads of animal grease that brings this condition. But you see for yourself if you are interested in this. If gluten makes you feel bad, surely avoid it. If you want to try six months of animal products no more than twice a month (and a small portion), avoiding also refined sugars and white rice or white flour of any kind, specially no dairy, you may find some interesting results. The oil from the acne doesn't come from the air, it comes from your diet.


But if I didn't care about long term consequences and wanted some strength and bigger size I would have no doubt about eating more read meat. A lot things are possible in this world, but everything that goes against the nature has a price.




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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 3:49 am 

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"But also think that while your acne gets bad when you eat wheat, there are lots of other people that eat a lot of it and don't get acne."


--You can't draw any conclusions from that statement. There are a lot of people who smoke and don't get lung cancer. In fact, the majority of smokers do not get lung cancer.


"If wheat could bring acne, most European would be full of acne in the past, as that was the basis of their diet."


--Europeans did not eat genetically modified, selectively bred wheat that has dramatically increased its protein (and thus gluten) content in the last 50 years. They also did not eat quick rise bread, but sourdough traditionally prepared fermented bread which if fermented long enough can even be handled by those with Celiac disease (thus the fermentation process breaks down nearly all of the gluten). And also, I think you are overstating the significance of wheat in many traditional European diets--many regions of Europe ate a majority of their grains from oats, buckwheat, etc which are out of vogue now.


"Even more dramatic, you will see no acne in old asian people, and they didn't eat much meat and no dairy."


--They don't have acne because they ate a diet more similar to a hunter gatherer, meat, fish, vegetables, and rice. Old Asian people did not eat wheat. You could not afford wheat in Korea until very recently. And they cooked with pork lard. Koreans savour the greasiest parts of the pig, and all of their traditional soups are made with pork/ox fat and bones as the base. I think the reason for low prevalence of acne is more likely to be the absence of industrially processed grains and dairy.


"It was only after the western habits took hold of the world that the situation changed."


--That is correct, but "meat" and "animal fat" are not Western inventions. In fact, Westerners ate a lot less calories from animal sources compared to many traditional cultures.


" I would say that it is not only the wheat itself, but the combination of white fiber-less wheat with loads of animal grease that brings this condition."


--Before we can have a useful conversation about this you have to grab a dermatology textbook and look up the "proximal causes of acne."


--All industrialized cultures are full of acne according to the research, and it is at a rate of almost 90% presence in adolescents living in industrialized cultures. It is absent in hunter gatherer populations.


What is the causal evidence you have that "animal grease" causes acne? I think if you have a causal argument as to why animal fat would cause acne, then it would be hard to reconcile with the fact that acne is completely absent from all hunter gatherer populations. These are populations that on average survive on 40-50% of calories from animal sources. Non-industrialized Inuit populations also eat an enormous amount of "animal grease" and do not suffer from acne. It is only when they eat industrialized foods that they begin suffering from acne and other diseases of civilization.


" If you want to try six months of animal products no more than twice a month (and a small portion), avoiding also refined sugars and white rice or white flour of any kind, specially no dairy, you may find some interesting results. The oil from the acne doesn't come from the air, it comes from your diet."


I already have a diet which has made me acne free for 7 years, as long as I remain on it: a paleolithic diet (with added white rice). The acne (and allergies) reappear whenever I reintroduce dairy or grain products. I think I would definitely see "interesting" results by virtually eliminating meat from my diet: a dramatic loss in muscle mass (with no change in acne or allergies, since I currently have none).


PS I'm in Korea now :-)




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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 3:55 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:15 pm
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Location: Bay Area, CA

My problem was carbs/sugar and teetering close to diabetes or on my way. Cutting that out or down to 10-20g/day = higher energy, crazytown fat loss, better sleep, clearer skin, shiny hair, better mood, less or zero stomach issues (of which i had most of my life until changing eating habits), hungry far less often, laser-sharp focus/clearer thinking, higher endurance, and more defined muscles . . . and I'm a woman.




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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 4:38 am 

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"I would take a step back and question: what's the reason to keep this size?"


First, thank you for your contributions to this thread Bigato. They are good questions to think about.


I think the reasons for remaining at this size are both intrinsic and extrinsic. The first is that I just enjoy pushing myself to this level, the same as a marathoner enjoys running for miles on end. He is not increasing his health by running additional miles or races, in fact there is very good evidence that at a certain point, marathon running is harmful to his health. Not all things in life are process related, some are just ends in themselves.


Now, I do have extrinsic motivations which add to the pleasure of training to be both bigger and stronger (I enjoy both aspects). One is for my partner, who actually prefers a man slightly bigger than I am now. I do like being stronger than my opponents in Muay Thai, wrestling, and Judo. I enjoy continually increasing my absolute strength in the gym as well (not just my strength to weight ratio). I also like being strong for a fighter overall, rather than strong for my weight class. I don't see much point in being a small and less strong fighter. For example, I don't like the idea that they sell to women, that she can somehow defend herself against me in a fight as long as she has enough Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. How is she going to triangle me? I dumbbell snatch more than her bodyweight in one hand, for reps. If she tries to triangle me I can literally throw her into the sky. A small human being should carry a legal weapon if they are worried about their self-defense.


That said, I don't train combat sports to ever prepare for a street fight, but for love of the game. I just like the idea of attempting to become the absolute best I can be in all dimensions that are open to my influence (which includes gaining strength and weight) rather than just within a specific weight class. If I shrank down to 55kg and mopped the floor with women and little boys I wouldn't be so "proud." My Greco coach told me I'd do very well by cutting to the 80kg weight class but I just prefer not to go there for now.


There are probably other extrinsic motivations, such as being more attractive according to my culture's standards, etc. Attractiveness is not all about getting women (see: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904875404576530350876953890.html [note that this researcher found erotic capital was more rewarded in men than in women] ). However let me state that I believe physical attractiveness for a man is more about his grooming and type of dress as well as facial symmetry, more than his muscles. Anyway, these issues, if they are true, are just icing on the cake of an activity that I'd already prefer to do.


This line of conversation is probably boring to people and would prefer to get back to the topic of finding the cheapest source of protein. I'd like to "have it all" so to speak, rather than give up something I really enjoy for the sake of being able to eat less protein.




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