There you have it... A textbook definition of what it means for
something to be essential. I didn’t make this up; this isn’t my
definition. Nor was I the one to identify specific fatty acids and
amino acids as being essential. I make the assumption that you were
paying attention in your high school biology lecture and picked up on
the notion that there are essential amino acids and essential fatty
acids. Accordingly, that would mean that there are specific fatty acids
and amino acids that we would be required to consume because our bodies
are unable to synthesize them on its own.
If you’re even somewhat serious about gaining muscle, improving
performance, dropping bodyfat, or whatever may be required in order for
you to reach your physique oriented goal, I’m sure you have already
firmly grasped the concept of protein supplementation. I’ve talked to
people who say they are eating 2 grams of protein per pound of
bodyweight. For a 200 pound man that’s four hundred grams per day.
Damn, even I don’t take in that much.
The point is, people have embraced the idea that adequate and proper
protein intake is necessary for muscle repair and growth. Taking a look
around, between the abundance of quality animal proteins, protein
powders and amino supplements, I doubt anyone is in danger of not
fulfilling their essential amino acid requirements.
On the same note, you would be hard pressed to find someone who thought
it was okay to skip the carbohydrates. C’mon, you know you’ve always
been told how important carbohydrate intake is for fueling your body
with the energy it needs to function properly, perform at optimal
levels and train with maximum intensity. Wait a second. What did you
say? Oh yeah, you’re right.
Technically there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate or
sugar. That’s true, only amino acids and fatty acids are essential for
life. But hey, people still eat plenty of them anyways. Aside from the
fact that the practically obsolete food guide pyramid suggests that you
make carbohydrates the foundation of your diet and get the majority of
your calories from them, many people still believe that carbohydrates
should serve as the basis of a solid diet.
Alright alright, I’m not here to talk about whether or not carbohydrate
intake is necessary or to talk about ketosis dieting or anything like
that. I am simply illustrating the fact that people take in plenty of
carbohydrates even thought they are not even essential for proper human
nutrition. And people have had an easy time accepting the fact that
essential amino acids exist and protein intake must be optimal in order
for you to be at your best.
So what about fat? Fat. Such a dirty word. I don’t know when it started
but in my twenty-five years on this Earth I have always heard a low fat
diet being advocated by the masses. I was always told to stay away from
fat. Fat makes you fat. Sounds logical right? It’s almost as if you’re
going to eat some fat and it is going to enter into your body and
immediately attach itself to your abdomen or your ass or your thighs.
Damn… I hate when that happens.
Let me ask you this--if fat is what makes you fat and you can have your
pick of everything from lowfat cheese to lowfat peanut butter
(seemingly a contradiction of the very nature of these foods) then why
the fuck is everyone so damn fat?! You’ve seen it yourself. People have
gotten and continue to get fatter and fatter and fatter. Interesting
huh? You’re damn right it is. It’s interesting because it makes no
fucking sense and people continue to do it.
What do I propose? Well I think people should take a look at the fact
that there are essential amino acids and essential fatty acids and make
them the foundation of their diet. If you had a question about World
War II and referred to an encyclopedia for your answer I assume you
would trust the information you found and accept it as truth. I
encourage you to pick up any reference book and read about essential
fats. An encyclopedia will tell you how you must have them in your
diet, how crucial they are in order for you to function properly and
all the positive effects of consuming your essential fatty acids.
So why are people so resistant to incorporating fats in their diet?
Because they’ve had it beaten into their brains that fat is bad for you
and that fat makes you fat. Fat does not make you fat. Not eating fat
makes you fat. That’s right, you heard me. Not taking in any one
vitamin, mineral, and or macronutrient puts you at the risk of
seriously fucking up your metabolism. That’s because you need vitamins,
minerals, water, and the proper macronutrients to look and feel your
best. Neglect any one of them and how could you expect to function at
an optimal level? You can’t. And if your metabolism is not functioning
at 100% because you’re depriving it of something that is essential,
such as fats, then you will get fat. C’mon, it’s not rocket science;
it’s just common sense.
Personally speaking, I can tell you of the marked improvements I’ve
seen in my physique after incorporating essential fatty acids in proper
amounts into my diet just over two years ago. I had always tried to
follow a low fat diet and coincidentally (or perhaps it is no
coincidence at all), I had always been overweight. Even after losing
over 70 pounds in high school I still did not have a low bodyfat
percentage; I was not lean.
The first five or six years of my bodybuilding career I just ate to
grow and thought that being fat was just part of the process and I
accepted that. It wasn’t until I dieted for my first national level
show, the 2006 NPC Junior Nationals, that I learned how important
essential fats were for supporting both fat loss and muscle
preservation. And ever since that show, I have never gotten fat in the
Compared to how I used to get and how I see a lot of other guys get in
the offseason, I stay fairly lean and feel great. I can’t help but
think it’s because I make essential fatty acids and essential amino
acids the foundation of my diet. I grow easier and stay leaner in the
offseason. And pre-contest, I keep more muscle size and strength and
lose fat easier. But more importantly, whether I’m dieting or trying to
gain lean mass, I feel better than I ever have. I do not have cravings,
my moods are very steady, I sleep well, my muscles are fuller, my
strength is up, and I do not experience sudden hunger followed by
I’d like to share with you the essential fatty acid regimen I followed
over the past two years when I won the overall at the 2006 NPC Junior
Nationals and the overall at the 2007 NPC Nationals where I earned my
IFBB pro card. As many of you know, I'm a bodybuilder who takes
nutrition very seriously. Here it is:
• 1,000 mg fish oil x 3 times daily
• 1,300 mg evening primrose oil x 3 times daily
• 1,000 mg flax seed oil x 2 times daily
• 1,000 mg conjugated linoleic acid x 3 times daily
Now keep in mind that I’m an elite bodybuilder and this is what works
for me based on trial and error. For you, you’d need to scale back your
intake and tailor it to your specific needs. But as you can see, it is
a fairly straightforward regime. I get fats from both fish and
vegetable sources to make for a complete and comprehensive approach.
I take fish oils because it is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA
(eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are
important for mental health, neurological development, regulating
inflammation, and sharpening insulin sensitivity. Increasing insulin
sensitivity is especially important because the more sensitive you are
to your insulin, the less your body will need to produce. Less insulin
production means less fat storage, better blood lipid profiles, and a
healthier heart. Furthermore, fish-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids
are very easy for the body to assimilate and use.
From vegetable sorces, I include some flaxseed oil because it contains
the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which can be used by
your body to produce EPA and DHA. While some may argue that it first
needs to be converted to EPA and DHA, I feel that it is always a good
idea to have a variety and to cover every angle. Besides, EFA
supplementation isn’t just about EPA and DHA. You want a wide range of
fatty acids in your diet.
I also supplement with evening primrose oil in order to get sufficient
amounts of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) which is vital in order for the
body to produce prostaglandins. Prostagalandins are hormones which are
necessary for growth, mood regulation, and immune system function. And
I round out my supplementation with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
which, although it is not an essential fatty acid, has been shown to
help keep bodyfat in check. For this purpose, I’m also thinking about
adding sesamin in the future.
So there you have it. For a long time, I was buying four different
products to fulfill my essential fatty acid needs. Once I heard that
Animal was coming out with their own EFA product, Animal Omega, you
better believe I was very interested to see what the new product had to
offer. Why? Because I’ve seen a lot of fatty acid supplements which
give you a lot of one cheap ingredients and not much of the good stuff.
I’ve seen many that are made for the average health nut. But I will say
that I was impressed when I was first shown the profile for Animal
The first thing I noticed was that Animal Omega is a very
comprehensive, all-in-one product. If I were to supplement with Animal
Omega I would be getting all of the fatty acids that I got with my
regimine plus more. Like I mentioned earlier about taking in ALA in
order to cover myself even though I was getting a good amount of EPA
and DHA, Animal Omega did the same giving you some flax oil plus fish
oil from a wide variety of species.
The same was done with the omega-6 fatty acids, which are also
essential. Borage oil and primrose oil which are both high in GLA were
included but so was some safflower oil because it supplies LA (linoleic
acid) which is the raw building block for GLA and is a good source of
CLA. All the bases are covered. On top of the essential fatty acids,
sesamin has been added for their positive effect on bodyfat and overall
health. And to make the whole thing go down, lipase enzyme and lecithin
were added. Honestly, I’ll be trading in all my current bottles for a
single can of Animal Omega. I know I’m going to like the formula and