Nutrition Plays A Small Role in Building Muscle Mass – Controversial Video

What if half of what you have been told about building muscle mass is completely wrong? You see, building muscle is almost 100% about training and has very little to do with nutrition.

The main thing that nutrition affects is gaining or losing body fat. The mainstream fitness publications would have you believe that you can eat your way to quick muscle gains. This simply is not the case. John Barban has created an exclusive video for the readers of this site, that you guys have to see!

building muscle mass

[I like to look at ancient Greek and Roman statues as ideal proportions to shoot for. Although centuries have gone by, the proportions of these statues are still considered optimum by most of the population.]

A Favor From a Supplement Developer and Industry Expert

I recently asked my friend John Barban to record a 5 minute video about building muscle mass. His stance on building muscle and losing fat is the same as mine…You use nutrition to lose fat and you use your workout to build muscle.

To quote John…”Nutrition plays a negligible role in muscle building”. Click on this video to see him explain why this is the case. I have had several conversations with John and I’m convinced that he knows more about building muscle than any other industry expert.

Pretty Heavy Stuff for a 6 Minute Video!

[John is very well-respected in the health and fitness industry. He has formulated supplements for some of the largest supplement companies in the world. I am glad someone of his stature is coming forward and saying what needs to be said about building muscle. I support his message 100%.]

You Can’t Accelerate the Muscle Growth Rate by Eating More

Back in 1990 after lifting hard for 3 years, I tried to “bulk up” and put on 10 more pounds of muscle. I remember eating my way up from 210 pounds all the way to 230 pounds. I trained hard during that time for 9 months and then I spent the following 4 months “leaning out”.

After dieting hard and getting lean again, I wound up at 212..a whopping 2 pound muscle gain in a little over a year!

You Can Quickly Build Muscle Just Once in Your Life Time

The only time in your life that you can build a lot of muscle quickly is when you first begin training. It isn’t unusual for an untrained person to put on a decent amount of muscle his first 1-2 years of training, but that will be the last of the quick muscle gains (unless he uses steroids).

The window for even faster gains is when a male is in his late teens and early 20’s…because when a teen enters into his 20’s he typically adds a bit of weight naturally and “fills out”.

If a person adds in training along with this time of naturally filling out, then ultra-fast muscle gains can happen…but that will never happen again in that man’s lifetime.

Trained Guys of Same Height Have Similar Amounts of Muscle

This is where the HUGE paradigm shift happened for me. John explains that an experienced lifters of the same height almost always carry the same amount of muscle (5-7 pounds give-or-take)….the only difference in size comes down to how much body fat each person is carrying.

He also explains that frame size (somatotypes) play a role, but only 5-7 pounds in either direction.

Note: I am going to reference John Barban’s Blog in the future and probably do a few podcasts with him, etc.

I like the message he is sending out in regards to gaining muscle and achieving a pleasing physique. When you head over to his blog, make sure and subscribe to his newsletter…”The Truth Hurts”. The first message that gets sent is one called “Get Ready to UNLEARN”…love it!

96 thoughts on “Nutrition Plays A Small Role in Building Muscle Mass – Controversial Video”

  1. Norbi,

    Thanks for your comments. This is my old email address: I will check it in the next several days to see if you respond. I would be happy to answer any questions you have to the best of my ability.

  2. Jason G,

    excellent comment, exactly what I wanted to point out (more or less). I think the message in the video wasn’t entirely clean, or let’s just say, let way too much space for different interpretations. Also I find you thoughts on the ‘audience and their interest’ very very true.


    ps.: I’d really love to get in touch with you with a few muscle building questions, as you made some really good points in regards of my personal case earlier, do you think is there any way to make it happen?


    thanks for your reply! Fortunately, my arms and shoulders are not injured, just literally weak. I’ll keep working out and hope to build them strong enough soon so I’ll be able to do everything right.

  3. Hi Rusty,

    I am curious about what your diet is now since you are following ESE. If I understood a previous passage from this post, you recommend eating the primal way so I would assume you mean the warrior diet, correct? From what John Barban said, can you follow ESE and also the Warrior diet or something similar to it where you eat light through the day and larger meal at night on the days including the nights you are fasting?

  4. how about for skinny guys who have a hard time gaining muscle, are we not suppose to eat alot like u say.

  5. Rusty/John Barban,

    In order to reach Genetic Potential would you recommend lifting as heavy as possible (while in control and good form as not to injure yourself) and include major muscle group lifts like Squat, Dead, Clean, Bench, Row? What I am specifically concerned with is maximizing HGH and Testosterone output natrually. I use ESE, fasted workouts, get plenty of rest, sex, etc. How much of a calorie deficit do you need to be at before it starts effecting testosterone. I’m trying to find the sweet spot and I don’t want to screw up my testosterone in the process by going too extreme. I know a balanced diet is important as well. Plenty of fat and carbs to go along with the protien for optimal testosterone output.

  6. Jason,

    Well said. You put it into perspective that did not have a chance to in a short video.

    Totally agree with you. I am definitely not talking about eating 1000 calories per day in cheeto’s. And you are also correct that many of rusty’s readers here aren’t even interested in approaching their genetic potential.

    I must admit my years in the bodybuilding and supplement industry still make me think everyone has bought into the 300 grams of protein per day hype and the 5000 calories per day to bulk up hype.

    Thanks for helping to put it all back into perspective.


  7. Yash,

    You said it with your ‘sweet spot’ line. That is exactly what we are all looking for.


  8. Frank,

    My intention is not to say that we can all eat a ‘junk food’ diet. Far from it in fact. I’m making the assumption that people understand the concept of a mixed diet with a high percentage of whole foods a limited processing and junk is th way to go (big assumption I know).

    I was pointing out that going out of your way to eat excessive calories in an effort force faster muscle growth is not necessary or even possible.

    I think I need to clarify this point with another video.


  9. Aditya,

    The research study I quoted points out that you can lose weight both eating 3 meals or one meal per day. So this perfectly supports Ori’s or Brads book.

    The study indicated there was no significant difference between the different meal frequencies. So if you choose to eat one meal per day you’ll be fine, and if you choose to eat three meals per day you’ll also be fine.

    The choice is yours really. The point I was making is that it is not necessary to go out of your way to eat 5-6 times per day if you don’t want to in order to lose weight.


  10. Aditya,

    Sorry but Bear Grylls is a fraud. He’s a tough guy no daoubt and knows a thing or two and has done some nutty stuff but that show got proven to be a fake. They take him to hotel rooms at night he eats/drinks whatever he wants outside of the filming and the show is simply a big fake act. He does really do some wild things in front of the camera (drink his own pee, eat live snakes, tons of other crazy crap) but he sleeps comfortably and gets to wash out the tastes of gross stuff with whatever he likes. A photographer followed the Man vs. Wild crew and secretly caught all this stuff on camera and exposed the show as being a lie. It’s pretty obvious though because he’s always got make up on and the camera shots are awesome. Entertaining show no doubt but don’t think Bear is a super hero.

  11. Rusty,

    I think what is making this article so controversial is the vagueness of the information presented in the video and the controversial title. For example John states that “nutrition plays a negligible role in muscle building”. What is negligible?

    Negligible: Able to be ignored or excluded from consideration; too small or unimportant to be of concern

    John didn’t expand on that comment so many of your readers made responses thinking that he was saying it doesn’t matter what you eat or how much you eat when trying to build muscle(or reach your genetic potential). Your response to me was that you can actually get by with eating 60 to 100 grams of protein. Now Rusty I’m not trying to give you or John a hard time, but 60 to 100 grams of protein (two chicken breasts or three to five scoops of whey protein) would not be considered negligible by most people.

    Furthermore people will have different protein needs based on their work outs. Would you argue that a person who only works out his chest and biceps needs the same amount of protein as a person who does a full body workout including multiple sets of squats and deadlifts? If the answer is yes then protein consumption is negligible in your opinion. I would disagree.

    I will agree that the exercise routine is the main stimulus for how much muscle will be built and over consumption of calories will not result in extra muscle mass. Nevertheless for muscles to recover it needs energy and building material and that comes from food. If provided with the wrong food (close to zero protein or very little carbohydrate) the body will take longer to recover or in extreme cases waste away. I really just want to clear this up so that fitness black book readers don’t try to build muscle on a thousand calorie diet that consists of Froot Loops and Cheetos thinking that nutrition plays a small or negligible role in muscle gaining.

    I also find Johns statements on genetic potential a little misleading for this particular audience. Ironically I think John is probably right that most people of the same height will have about the same amount of muscle as they reach their genetic potential. The problem is that most of your readers are going for the Brad Pitt look or the Daniel Craig look. Both of these people have not come close to their genetic potential as far as muscle building is concerned. Similarly most of your readers do not need to be concerned with reaching their genetic potential because it will make them look larger than they want to.

    Individual needs and individual training styles (high rep verse low rep for example) are going to result in physiques that are very different even among people with similar heights. Example Brad Pitt is 5’11” and Danial Craig is 5’10”. Another example is Brad Pitt in Troy and Brad Pitt in Fight Club. Needless to say every person has a lot of choices on how they are going to look based on choices like diet, which muscles they choose to work out, and what rep range they choose to work in. This creativity is what makes working out fun.

  12. Rusty,

    As I mentioned in a previous post I have been in Mexico doing volunteer work for the past month. Since I have been living with a host family I have had little control over what and when I can eat throughout the day. As you know, many of the meals have been highly carb oriented and although I have attempted to do some IF to keep the weight off, however in Mexican culture there is much emphasis placed around meal time and, as I found out the first week I was here, it is extremely rude to turn down someone´s request for yoiu to eat with them or the food they made for you. Unfortunately, I have gained some weight, around 6 pounds since I have been here and would like to get it off as soon as possible. I would like to use The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook from Lyle Mcdonald to really kick start the weight loss since I would like to lose around 15 pounds total in the next 5 weeks. I saw that you previously recommended it. Have you ever used it to lean down and does it work well?

  13. Hey rusty,

    You seem to be able to guess the weight of actors seeing as though that is the body type you preach about. How much do you think Steven strait, the guy from 10000bc and the covenant weighs. This guy has ideal proportions and I think has the exact body you preach on you wonderful site.

    Thanks as always

  14. Really interesting food for thought (no pun intended), Rusty! This site is definitely the thinking man’s fitness site. I love how you recommend a mix of fasting and primal eating. I just finished reading Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint book and it is the best lifestyle changing diet/exercise book I have ever read. You should really do a review of it on your site some day.

  15. This whole thing just annoys the hell out of me

    Theres no right or wrong way of doing things. Why dont people just do what works for them? You dont have to follow someones training / nutrtion / Lifestyle etc – just do what you want to do.

    I used to be a bodybuilder and I decided that it wasnt a good look to persue. That was about a year ago and I have cut down from 200lbs to 140lbs without too much strength loss. I used to follow the 1 billion calories and 2 trillion grams of protein per day and base my entire existance around BBing and one day, I just woke up and thought – why? Id much rather have a life, and I look like s**t anyway!

    The first chapter of the adonis effect really resonated with me – you cant physically dominate your way into being successful in life. Working out and having a lifestyle like Rusty advocates on this site has been much more enjoyable and sustainable, and I actually look good. IF works fine, skipping meals does you no harm what so ever, I have high calorie days, low calorie days and everything in between. I have more time for socialising, dont worry if I have a few beers etc. Quitting BB was like being let out of social prison!

    The thing is you can really do what you want – If you want to eat a ton of calories and buckets of protein – fine. crack on. But from experience, and I did this for 10 years, It will be mostly water and fat that you put on. Brad Pillion and Rusty Moore have been down the BB route, like me, and have banged their heads against a brick wall for long enough to realise when you need to just ditch an idea and let go, no matter how much time you have invested in it or how much you believed it to be true.

    Why not TRY to gain muscle and strength on a low calorie diet before people start rubbishing it? Obviously the author has managed to do this otherwise why would he bother writing an article about it?

    Its like in the days of old, great and wise scientists told the masses that the earth was round when they believed it was flat and Im sure they were burned at the stake for it. The bodybuilding community just seem to be this lunatic sect that cant be told anything other that the anciet Bodybuilding Dogma. Its as if its written in some sort of bodybuilding bible and any non believer is guilty of blasphamy and must be destroyed.

    Why dont people just TRY these new ideas? If you dont eat 6 meals a day, you wont get arrested, or die. Working out on an empty stomach wont cause you to instantly become an emaciated weakling. Fasting for a 24 hr period wont put you in the same catagory of a murderer or a rapist (well, it might if a bodybuilder hears about it)

    It just goes to show how badly brainwashed these people have become by the influence of the fitness industry, supplement companies and BB forums.

    Weirds me out

  16. Ok Rusty, pardon me but this is totally Off Topic and I really wanted to get this through in this site. If you are talking about Primal diets, limits of physical exertion, strength, endurance talk about Bear Grylls. I guess he is a living example of how exactly the primal human survived. If you have seen even one episode of Man vs Wild you would know the limits of physical exertion the guy puts himself through, surviving on natural foods solely. I am a huge fan and I hope you guys should check the Man vs Wild thing out! Simply awe inspiring and totally mind blowing! He survives the Moab Desert in Utah, a Tropical Rain Forest in South America, the snowy hills in Iceland and what not! Its tough to be Grylls! Really!

  17. Rusty, Thanks for the info.

    I would like to compare the Warrior Diet with the Eat Stop Eat Diet. After what I came to know reading about both the diets, is it right to say that Warrior Diet is an all day fasting(With One Big Meal at Night). Because in Eat Stop Eat you are fasting for 2 days and Warrior Diet is when you just eat one meal every day.

    My point is, Can we say The Warrior Diet is an All Day Fasting Routine and ESE is a 2 days a week Fasting?

    I myself follow the Warrior Diet and I have this major confusion if I should shift to ESE. The confusion creates a major paranoia about The Warrior Diet and when I read about you, Brad or John following ESE, it makes me think twice with an increased paranoia, if following the Warrior Diet is pushing me to the limit which is not really needed.

    Can you please do a topic where you compare both the diets (the One Meal per day and the ESE)? Not like I am asking you to say which is better, but just that there are some major confusion when it comes to deciding which one of the two to follow!

    PS: I have been trying to mail you personally but havent been able to find your email address anywhere.


  18. Hey Rusty great post but this comment doesn’t really have anything to do with it. You say that you go and travel a lot around the world but how do you regulate how you eat while on vacation and still stay lean? I am going to Hawaii next month for a week and am wondering how to still stay lean while still being able to enjoy all the great food and still also being able to look good on the beach. What do u normally do without depriving yourself on vacation? Thanks. By the way i am already pretty lean ( 6ft / 160 pounds ) and just want to maintain during vacation. Sorry for the long comment

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