MASCULINITY SPECIAL: Our Deputy Editor goes from scrawny to brawny - Part Two: Feed the Beast

The December issue of Attitude is all about masculinity, and to find out if muscles equal happiness, Deputy Editor Adam Duxbury went through a three-month body transformation. You can read all about how those physical changes made him feel in the issue, and for the full lowdown on what it takes to get your body in tip-top shape, read our three-part series. Part Two: Feed the Beast In the first part of this series I learned that correct technique is everything if you want to quickly get from scrawny to brawny. But despite working my ass off in the gym with Geoff, I felt like my frame wasn’t filling out quite quickly enough to match the effort I was putting in — and after all, the whole experiment was about bulking up to see if my sense of masculinity changed as my muscles grew. So, we both agreed it was time to start chowing down. In the legendary words of Kelis, “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard…” I had already started bulking up my diet with extra protein and things like brown rice and quinoa, but to see where I was going wrong it was time for some professional advice. I asked Phoebe Wynn-Jones at Impressed Health to help me work out a plan that would add bulk (but hopefully not make me look like a blimp). She told me to keep a food diary for three days to get an idea of what a typical day in my diet looked like. This is actually a great idea for anyone who’s looking to change their body shape, whether you are working with a nutritionist or not. Just writing down what you eat every day is a great eye-opener. Full disclosure: I have a very high metabolism and have been a vegetarian pretty much my entire life — a combo that means gaining weight is something I’d need to actively try and do, like ‘drinking tubs of melted Ben & Jerry’s’ try and do. Mind you, I’m just as susceptible to a bit of belly fat as the next bloke. Why does fat never go where you want it to?! So, my challenge was always taking on enough fuel to make the effort in the gym count. It’s something I’d battled with for years, working out but feeling skinny and inadequate — like I was never as physically ‘masc’ as other guys. And then never being able to break out of that cycle. You can read my article in the latest issue of Attitude for more on that side of things. The plan Phoebe came up with was relatively straightforward, with a few odd quirks, and in some ways actually made my life easier. The key was all in the preparation. Throughout the process I’d be spacing my meals 2-4 hours apart then leaving a gap of 10-14 hours between my last meal of the day and breakfast. This is known as interval fasting and it helps support circulating testosterone levels. Testosterone has been shown to support muscle growth — which of course was the basis for the whole experiment — and testosterone follows a circadian rhythm, meaning a 12 hour cycle where the amount of testosterone serum found in the blood peaks between 8:30am and 5pm. Levels will then taper off, before they begin to rise again towards the end of the day. Hopefully by following my body’s natural rhythm I would be well on my way to a bigger physique. A typical meal plan looked something like this:
  • Morning: Bulletproof Coffee or Matcha Tea
Basically coffee or green tea blended with coconut oil
  • Breakfast Shake
I alternated between three, made with things like nut milk, oats, protein powder, frozen fruits, banana, raw sweet potato
  • Lunch
This was all about eggs — 6 egg whites and 2 whole eggs to be precise. Usually as an omelette with some pulses on the side and some leafy greens.
  • Afternoon Snack
Where I’d normally have nothing, I was now eating things like roast sweet potato, avocado on toast or rice cakes and peanut butter.
  • Dinner
Yet more eggs, 3 whole ones cooked any way I liked and with lots of veg on the side.
  • Bedtime Snack
As a ‘treat’ I could eat a parfait made with oats, coconut yoghurt and some dark chocolate. As the months progressed Phoebe made constant tweaks to my diet to up the calories. I went from 2,300 a day at the start to a whopping 4,500 calories by the final week! But as Geoff pointed out; “Unless you're taking on surplus calories you will be facing a mountain to climb when looking to add lean mass.” Supplements are also important, especially when it comes to gaining that lean mass. I opted for the Monkey Nutrition range which is highly respected for the purity of its ingredients. They also have great options for vegetarians and vegans. I used the Herbivore powder, Nox Night-time Recovery System and APE Performance Booster. Although alcohol was never off the menu entirely, I certainly needed to cut back. Nothing makes you bloaty like a Friday night pint (or six). So, for the first time in my life I was showing restraint and ordering soda water and lime when out with friends. And I found it actually came with a side order of smug when I was bouncing out of bed fresh as a daisy the next morning. But with the right diet in place and a steady gym routine I was starting to see big differences after two months. Next time it’s: The Final Hurdle. The Attitude ‘Masculinity’ issue – available to download and in shops now – features exclusive interviews with former Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears, non-binary musician Shamir, camp comedian Stephen Bailey and queer performance artist David Hoyle, who share their views on maleness in the 21st century. Plus, editorials on masculinity and race, femme-shaming, and the results of our exclusive survey of over 5000 gay men to find out how our readers feel about their masculinity.