About the episode:

In today’s episode, I interviewed Dean McKillop of FlexSuccess. Dean was a competitive natural bodybuilder, is an expert in strength & conditioning and has a depth of knowledge about nutrition.

I was excited about this interview because I’ve seen that many of the principles CrossFit-focused nutrition programs use – especially for mass gain- have been taken from what works for bodybuilders.

Obviously, CrossFit is a much different activity than bodybuilding, so I am on a mission to separate the wheat from the chaff. Bodybuilding has a massive body of knowledge and experience behind it, but is also polluted with “Broscience”.

I am determined to learn which bodybuilding principles might apply to people who do CrossFit and your everyday fitness enthusiast, and which bodybuilding principles don’t translate.


Principles That Translate:

  • Diet Accuracy for performance goals.
  • Basic principles like high vegetable and lean meat intake for body composition goals.

Principles That Don’t Translate:

  • Neurotic food-choice restriction.
  • Very low carb intake. Will not allow you to perform at a high intensity which can negatively affect body composition.

Mass Gaining Principles:

  • Pick three main lifts (ex. Squat, deadlift, press) and progress intensity of each. Should consistently make progress.
  • Increase frequency of muscle stimulation. Work a body part 3-4x per week.
  • Eat a calorie surplus (more than you burn).
  • Specific supplementation for performance- Creatine, Citrulline Malate, Beta Alanine

Maintaining on a Deficit Principles:

  • Again, progress intensity of three main lifts.
  • Increase protein intake
  • Carbs have the highest muscle sparing capacity for high-intensity work.

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

[02:12]3 How Dean thinks differently than traditional bodybuilders.
[03:06] What bodybuilding nutrition principles he believes CrossFitters and general fitness enthusiasts can ignore.
[04:17] A very important point about low-carbs.
[05:13] His thoughts on food choice restriction.
[06:16] The positive side of food choice restriction.
[07:29] The merits of diet restriction.
[08:47] How he might approach how helping an athlete that wants to put on muscle while doing about 5 CrossFit classes per week.
[10:05] Why volume over time is probably the most important factor but it’s not the only factor.
[11:00] Why increasing volume of repetitions for a CrossFitter might potentially cause more harm than good.
[11:35] More about “frequency of stimulation” and “progression of intensity”.
[13:05] What we can learn from bodybuilding nutrition principles to help us gain muscle mass.
[14:52] How being on a deficit can create an unnecessary mental block to performance.
[16:14] Some insight for Crossfitter for maintaining muscle on a fat-loss, focused calorie deficit.

Resources Mentioned

Don’t Trust your DXA…or Do With Dr. Gary Slater

Connect With Our Guest


FlexSucess on Instagram

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