What Should Spencer Do?

Joes Barbell
Comments Off on What Should Spencer Do?


I want to talk to you someday about nutrition. My entire life has revolved around working out since 15 years old. My sole reason for starting to workout was I weighed 130 lbs and wanted a better physique (remember those tony atlas ads in mags where the nerd was getting sand kicked in his face at the beach only to return in the final scene very buff after lifting weights all summer?). Fast forward to now and my mentality has only changed slightly. In my old age, sure, I care slightly more about eating right and working out for health purposes and to extend my life (hopefully). But really, down deep, I still cede that I only do it to look good without clothes on. What I really want to know more about is dieting. Clearly you’re strict with yours and I have a great deal of respect for you for that.  I have begun, for only the 2nd time in my life, to focus a lot on what’s going in my body and finding that I’m just not eating enough. I know for the most part what I should and should not be eating.  My questions revolve around trying to eat well and hopefully ENOUGH good food.  Currently, I eat eggs, bacon and honeydew melon for breakfast. For lunch it’s usually turkey, a handful of almonds and some fruit.  Dinner is steak, chicken or fish, some kind vegetable and a starch (sweet potatoes are my staple). I just don’t feel like that’s enough though. I am losing weight and just feel gassed early in my workouts.  I feel like all I eat is protein and fats and I guess just need to find more “acceptable” carbs?  I know in bodybuilding they’re always talking about needing approximately 1-1.5 grams of protein per lb of body weight. But that seems f**king insane when I try to sit down and actually get that much protein on a daily basis.

My confidence walks a fine line and is directly tied, at 37 years old, to me eating right and staying on track with workouts. However, despite seeing good results the past 3 months eating 100% paleo 85% of the time I don’t want to be in the 140-150 pound weight range.  I’d like to pack back on some good weight. But I’m realizing that’s its pretty tough. Help!

That’s Spence with his babies and beard.  I didn’t ask his permission to use the pic so I took my best shot at protecting their identity.   


First off I’m not as strict as you’d think.  I’m just smart with my cheats and have a pretty good grip on what I can get away with.  I’m going on two plus years playing with this paleo thing and didn’t get to my current state without encountering some of the same issues you’re asking about.  In fact there was a day about a year ago while I was on a long strict paleo run where my weight dipped below 170.  Not a huge deal but when coupled with a loss in strength numbers I freaked out.    Truthfully, you’re on point with the protein number. It’s the best way to put on lean mass and build strength.  I two lost my mind when I figured out how much meat I’d need to eat to make gains. So I supplement with 16oz of whole milk and a scoop of whey isolate protein to keep my numbers up.  I have found that consuming milk post wod doesn’t mess with my digestion.  The only way you’ll figure this out is to go strict for a month to six weeks and bring it back.  Don’t go from no milk to a gallon a day.  I guarantee you’ll be unhappy and so will your family.  Bring it back slow and keep it to post workouts.  It works for me and if you can handle milk it’s worth a try.  I’d suggest a raw source but being in Hawaii that’s about impossible. 

Acceptable starches would be sweet potatoes, yucca root, taro root and white rice as a cheat (cup or so a week if you can handle it.  How do you know?  See above milk explanation).  To be honest white potato will work as well. Their only issue is they aren’t as nutrient dense as the others. However, since you’re looking to gain weight you shouldn’t have worries. One word of advice, don’t eat the skin, it’s bad for you. 

Not eating enough is a big mistake often made when people start their paleo journey.  Another mistake is not focusing on quality food which is more nutrient dense than cheaper foods.  This is another issue here in Hawaii.  A lot of what is at the grocery store comes from thousands of miles away, error on the side of local food that didn’t cross an ocean to get here.  With your meats look for wild, free range, and local as well.

Lastly, I didn’t seem to recall you talking about fats so much.  They are crucial.  Slip some olive oil over your greens (which I didn’t hear you mention to much of that either), coconut oil into you’re your sweet potato, and learn to make yourself some beef tallow so you can start to cook for real. Here is a sweet read regarding nutrition from my favorite blog that is right up your alley; What Should I Eat.  Don’t be afraid to breeze through TTMJ for all things strong and bad ass.  When I slip up on anything and can’t recall what I should be eating this my go to place for quality info.  Give it a once over and let me know what you think.  Remember when you’re crushing weights and on the go, like raising two kids, you need fuel and rest to come back strong the next day. Eat meat and make noise brother.