By Anthony Ricciuto
A look inside the kitchen of the Sports Greatest
Hey folks it’s the Power Nutrition Guru coming at you with another information-filled column. Well, I have been getting plenty of emails requesting more Power Profiles of my athletes and as you know I hate to disappoint any of my readers. This month we are going inside the kitchen of one of the greatest athletes to ever grace the Powerlifting platform. He is no other than my good friend and long-time client Gerry McNamara.
Now unless you have been living under a rock for the last three decades then you will for sure know exactly whom I am talking about. If you are in his weight class and have competed against him you know he is built like a Sherman tank with more muscle than a Silverback Gorilla. Gerry has competed for over 30 plus years and he has retired more lifters than Social Security. That’s right Gerry has broken 29 World Records 37 European Records and a whopping 56 National Records in his illustrious career.
Gerry’s bodyweight fluctuates between 148 and 154 and his best personal lifts are an 854 squat a 465 bench press and a 640 deadlift. He has lifted in the IPF, the GPC and the WPC federations where he has set all these World, European and National records. Gerry is a lightweight who can actually squat with guys who are in the 275 class and put them to shame! Gerry’s goal is to crack the 900-pound squat barrier at 148 pounds and I am sure that he will break this in the near future mark my words. His long time coach and mentor is none other than another lifting legend Louie Simmons. Gerry has been training Westside style for years and he is coached under the watchful eye of Louie for all his competitions. He designs all his training programs and helps him peak come contest day to make sure he is at his strongest. Gerry is very thankful to have Louie on his side even though he lives thousands of miles away but this is just another sign of how the brotherhood of iron knows no boundaries.
Oh, yea for all you gear lovers out there Gerry uses Titan Support Systems suits and shirts and swears they are the best on the market. He would like to thank Pete Alaniz for all his help and for making suits that can withstand the beating he puts on them week after week without being ripped to shreds. I have done profiles on several of my American athletes in the past but this is the first profile that I have done on one of my top European athletes. I know my European athletes deserve just as much respect and now all of you from around the world will get a chance to peer into the Kitchen of the worlds most feared lightweight lifter and what he does to fuel his body through his intense training sessions that have helped him capture more world records than most of you could accomplish in ten lifetimes.
Gerry hails from Ireland so you better know that he won’t only outlift you any time of the day but once he does whip your ass he will be kind enough to take you out to the local pub for a nice mug of Guinness to help ease your tears! Now in this issue, I am going to cover some of the most popular foods that Gerry eats day in and day out to fuel his powerful muscle-packed body. Oh, yea I go inside the kitchen of without a doubt the most feared lightweight lifter who squats like a heavyweight!
Bison is a Great Source of Protein!
Well, you should have known this one would be in his plan. Hell just about everyone on the planet consumes this well know protein staple. Gerry prefers to use the bone in skinless breasts simply because it adds more flavor and he finds that it dries out less when he bakes these in the oven or throws them on the BBQ.
Now another thing that I have introduced into Gerry’s plan is more fish. He wasn’t a huge fish eater before we started working together but once he saw all the amazing benefits that he could take advantage of from including more into his meal plan it has now become a main staple. Sometimes Gerry will use other fish as well like Sole or Cod but his favorite is salmon without a doubt. Gerry can eat this a few times a week but sometimes when he is cutting weight to get into a lower weight class he could be eating it as often as twice daily. No canned salmon for him since he likes to consume high-quality fresh salmon steaks. MMM, I m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Salmon is Loaded with Healthy Fat!
Organic Grass-Fed Beef
Now after all the bad things I have talked about over the last year especially about the beef industry you would think that I wouldn’t allow any of my lifters to consume it. Well first off like I mentioned before Gerry lives in Ireland and not in the USA where the majority of the despicable beef farming practices occur. On top of that Gerry only eats Organic Grass-Fed beef. This way you know that his side of the flank isn’t loaded down with Trenbolone and Estrogen to make it even bigger. Plus the guarantees that his cow was actually allowed to live her life like a cow grazing on grass fields not stuffed into some fecal infested coral with hundreds of other cows being fed corn (Which by the way is something cows shouldn’t be eating) and even other ground-up cow parts like is the normal practice in the United States to save a few bucks only to let their citizens take the brunt of the health later on when they come down with Mad Cow disease or get hit with a strain of E.coli that has killed even children in the past. Gerry likes to eat high-quality organic beef that is raised and slaughtered like nature intended not what helps finance billions of dollars into greedy corporations that could care less about what sickness will hit their consumers!
Cottage Cheese/ Greek Yogurt
Now Gerry doesn’t consume a ton of dairy products compared to some other lifters on the scene. He does have a liking for Cottage cheese and Greek Yogurt among others. The cottage cheese is an excellent source of not only calcium but also casein protein. This
slow-digesting protein is perfect to take at night before bed so it will feed your muscles all night long and Gerry is not one to miss out on these anti-catabolic benefits. For yogurt, he loves the taste but the fact that most yogurt is high in sugar, high in carbs, and low in protein can make the nutritional profile a turn-off. This is why Gerry goes with organic Greek Yogurt because the protein content is much higher and the Carb content much lower giving it a much better nutritional profile that is more suitable for a world-class strength athlete.
Gerry Loves his Yogurt!
Yep, you won’t see any egg white omelets in Gerry’s meal plan, as he can’t stand them. Gerry is hardcore old school when it comes to his eggs and you better believe that he will eat them whole. Gerry loves a nice six whole egg omelets in the morning or evening with
some Ezekiel Bread especially when he isn’t in a cutting phase. Gerry likes to use brown Omega 3 organic free-range eggs to make sure he is getting the best quality nutrients for his body.
Well, you should have known that this one would be on here. I have been a big brown rice fan all my life. Even as a competitive teenager brown rice was a staple in my meal plan and continues to be to this day. Gerry used to eat white rice more often in the past
but since I have converted him over to the brown side he hasn’t looked back. He uses this for meals like his lunches with sides like a chicken breast and some veggies. Other times it will be a breakfast staple and used pre-workout to fuel his training sessions.
Now before I hooked up with Gerry, which is like at least a decade ago, he never heard of this Powerhouse Grain. Yes, it’s true that one of the very first articles that I did in the early 2003 issues was an Interview with Ian Murray a holistic Nutritionist about the health
and performance benefits of this ancient grain. Now that I have gotten him to eat this grain it has become one that he eats several times per week. Not only does he love the taste but even more the dramatic effects it has on his energy levels and endurance in the gym. I have mentioned this many times in the past and once Gerry saw the major improvement in his training endurance he hasn’t been able to put it down!
One of the Best Carb Sources in Existence!
Now, this is another really good carb source that Gerry has taken on since I introduced it to him. Many lifters eat white bread, which is downright disgusting not only for your performance about also that blood profile. You basically are getting the nutritional value of
wolfing down a jar of white sugar. Obviously not something any lifter who even cares 10% about improving his performance would do. Ezekiel bread is the best bread you can get to improve your performance, as you won’t find anything better. Now you might
not find it at your local grocery store as in the past even I had to go to the health food store that has it shipped in twice per week to get it. But even over here in Canada many of the major grocery chains are listening to the public who want healthier choices and they now
also carry it but this was not the case years back. Gerry finds his blood sugar levels much more stable when eating this type of bread when compared to even whole wheat bread. This is my top choice for my lifters to eat and now that I have gotten Gerry to fuel his
body with some real quality foods he could never go back to anything sub-par again!
Just hearing that name is making my mouth water, as I love avocado. Most of you will think that avocado is a vegetable but it is actually a fruit. Now when it comes to monounsaturated fats the avocado‘s profile is hard to beat. This was another new thing introduced to Gerry’s plan since he really never touched them very often before I forced them down his throat. But he sure is happy as he has found some really good benefits. These fats are excellent for fueling his performance during his weight cutting when his carb intake is lower than usual plus the fact that they help cut cravings for sweets is another major benefit that most people don’t know about.
Almond Butter/Cashew Butter
Now Gerry isn’t a huge peanut butter fan but since I taught him about the other types of nut butters out there he now consumes them on a regular basis. Again these are used more close to a contest due to their concentrated forms of Monounsaturated fats. That doesn’t mean he won’t be adding them to his shakes or putting them on his Ezekiel bread in the offseason either. They add a nice variety to your meals and can be used on just about
everything. Gerry loves butting the almond butter on his chicken breasts and if you have never tried this then you don’t know what you are missing out on!
Cashews are an Excellent Source of Healthy Fat!
Macadamia Nut Oil
Now, this is another fat source that Gerry never even heard of until I put it in his plan. I remember the first time he saw it in his new program he asked what the hell that was all about. Now this source of high-quality good fats is something that many lifters also are not
aware of but they should be. It is one of the best oils to cook with because of its high temperature set point. Plus it tastes great when added to a protein shake or drizzled over a salad. It has numerous health benefits and even though I have not talked about it a lot in
the pages of PL USA I will be enlightening you on this in the near future.
Well if you have been reading my column for anytime now you will know I have been pushing this stuff down your gullets for close to a decade. Damn, I have been here a long time giving you all shit for eating so bad and I really believe that all my ranting and
raving over this time has definitely opened the eyes of thousands of lifters to take responsibility for their eating. I put this in Gerry’s plan right from the start and I clearly remember that he was not thrilled especially when I told him that I wanted him to take
straight fish oil on a spoon and not to use the gel caps. Well to this day it has helped him not only keep joint pains away but over this time it has helped bring down the high cholesterol level he once suffered from.
Here is another powerhouse fat source that I know most of you reading this have not used before that is unless you are from the Caribbean. This good fat source was actually touted years ago as a bad fat by nutritionists but by doing more research into its properties and chemical make up they have now changed their mind completely. This fat has so many health benefits from improving your cardiovascular health to helping strengthen your immune system to helping grow hair. It really does have a lot to offer but one thing that lifters will perk up and listen to is its anabolic properties. Oops can’t give you all the goods right here but for sure I will in an upcoming issue. Well, Gerry uses this religiously as well and he simply loves the taste of throwing some into his protein shake to give it that rich creamy coconut flavor.
Fruits and Vegetable Favorites
Now raw spinach is one of my favorite green vegetables for many reasons. It is very alkalizing in nature and is compatible with many different meals from egg white omelets to raw salads on the side of your main dish. I also put raw spinach in my green smoothies since it is a great green to start with for beginners’ because it virtually has no taste when mixed with other fruit. This is not the same for other green vegetables that can be used in a green smoothie. Gerry uses this in his omelets as well as raw salads.
This green powerhouse is full of nutritional value and that is why it is one that he eats almost daily. It is a great add on for lunch and dinner and he sometimes uses it with his snacks as well as you will see below. For those of you not eating broccoli its time to listen to your mother and eat it. She was right all along.
Your Mom was Right, Eat your Broccoli!
Now here is the king of all green vegetables as it is the highest in antioxidant protection. It has a bitter taste and is one of the harshest greens if you are not used to eating them but it should be part of all your plans simply because it has so much to offer. Gerry does include this in his plan but not as much as spinach and usually does so at dinnertime to make sure he is getting enough antioxidant protection on a daily basis.
Berries of all types are a daily staple with Gerry. He uses them in his oatmeal as well as blending them in his protein shakes. He uses a lot of blueberries but will also include blackberries, strawberries, and occasionally cranberries. They pack a huge antioxidant punch that no lifter should be without. Gerry not only thinks of his performance but also his longevity and health which is something too many lifters even at the world-class level seem to ignore until some type of health problem pops up and takes them by surprise.
This is another one of Gerry’s favorites and rightfully so. This potassium power-packed fruit is great when trying to gain weight and is one that Gerry eats often in the offseason or when trying to go up a weight class.
Bananas are Loaded with Potassium!
Apples are an all-around great fruit. Its low glycemic index, its portability, and its ability to sustain energy levels make it a one of a kind. Gerry liberally eats apples daily for not only the added vitamins and fiber but also cause he loves the taste. He will usually
pack a couple of them in his lunch cooler and bring them to work to eat on his break with a high-quality protein source.
Gerry uses a protein shake anywhere from 2 to 4 times per day depending on where he is in his training cycle and also whether he is trying to increase or decrease his current weight. Gerry uses products from the Ultimate Sports Nutrition (USN) line because he
loves their high quality and a large variety of different products available. This is a major sports supplement company in the UK and this is why you may not be as familiar with it over in North America. Gerry is very picky when it comes to taste when drinking
his shakes so the fact that he can drink several USN shakes per day shows truly how good they taste. For those of you in Europe that would like to know more about the exclusive line that Gerry uses you can check out their website at www.usn.co.uk
Gerry wouldn’t be caught without his daily multivitamin. Like I mentioned years ago training without a good multi is like drag racing without a seat belt and that is the stark reality even though many lifters still to this day ignore these facts. Gerry will take a
nice dose after his breakfast and after dinner to make sure that he is topped up when it comes to all of his micronutrients.
This is another supplement that Gerry likes to use especially when he is trying to cut weight. He feels it helps him maintain more muscle mass and strength while dieting to squeeze into that lower weight class. He swears by it not only for helping improve his
recovery but also the positive effects it can have on your immune system during stressful times when it can be compromised from gut-busting workouts.
Gerry also is a big believer in creatine monohydrate and that is why he uses USN’s formula during his intense training cycles. It helps increase his cell volume as well making sure his ATP stores are loaded to the brim so he can power through those crazy training
sessions day after day. Gerry also loves the great pumps he gets during his loading phase and his improved recovery rate between sets.
Now I have talked volumes on Vitamin C over the years and yes Gerry has heeded my call on this one once again. Gerry will take between 3,000 and 6,000 mg of time-released Vitamin C daily. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin it should be taken several times per day to take advantage of all it has to offer your health, training performance, and recovery!
This is another staple in Gerry’s plan not only to help optimize his natural Testosterone levels but also to help him get a solid night’s rest. Gerry works long hours and then after a training session, it can keep you amped up not wanting to go to bed after having Adrenalin
flying through your veins. ZMA helps take the edge off at nighttime and as he told me it makes him sleep like a baby. He also uses USN’s ZMA formula consistently throughout the year because he feels that he doesn’t get enough magnesium and zinc from foods alone and the way he depletes his stores in the gym goes without saying.
One-Day Meal Plan
Now, this article wouldn’t be complete without laying out at least a one-day sample of one of his meal plans over the years. Now I have made Gerry literally dozens of different phases of programs over this last decade and they have changed dramatically upon
what he is trying to accomplish. There are times when Gerry is trying to cut weight, gain weight, or simply maintain his current level. We have also worked on some different holistic health programs over the years to help control his cholesterol and blood pressure issues that he has dealt with, which are now a thing of the past due to some good old natural healing. See you don’t always have to load your body down with high-powered pharmaceutical drugs to get your blood values normalized. Healthy food and natural supplementation can make a bigger difference than you could ever imagine and Gerry is living proof of that. I am going to layout one of our early meal plans that I did when Gerry was trying to pack on some mass in the offseason. Just because Gerry isn’t a superheavyweight don’t think he eats like a bantamweight case he can pack away more nutritious foods than some of the 300 pounders that I have coached. So let’s take a look into a one-day plan of what Gerry the living legend consumes!
2 cups of Steel Cut Irish Oats
1 cup of Blueberries
2 scoops of USN Whey Protein
10 grams of USN Glutamine
2 cups of low-fat Cottage Cheese
½ cup of almonds
2 cups of Broccoli
1 teaspoon of fish oil
8 ounces of chicken breast
2 cups of Quinoa
2 cups of Broccoli
2 tablespoons of Macadamia Nut Oil
2 Scoops of USN Whey Protein
1 cup of Blueberries
2 tablespoons of Coconut oil
1 teaspoon of Fish Oil
10 grams of Glutamine
8 ounces of Bison
2 cups of Brown rice
4 cups of Raw Spinach salad
2 tablespoons of Macadamia nut oil
1 teaspoon of Fish Oil
6-Omega 3 whole Eggs
2 tablespoons of Almond Butter
3 Slices of Ezekiel Bread
1 teaspoon of Fish Oil
2 scoops of Hydro Whey
10 grams of USN Glutamine
10 grams of USN Creatine Monohydrate
1 cup of oats blended
So as you can see Gerry takes all aspects of his nutrition and supplementation plan very seriously not only during his contest cycle but also throughout the year. He does not want his competition to have an advantage over him and he knows that by being a lazy ass with your eating plan you will give your competitor too much to work with. Gerry has been a good friend of mine and client for over a decade and I can honestly say that he is one of the most dedicated athletes I have ever worked with in any sport. His dedication to his meal planning and supplementation resembles that of a professional competitive bodybuilder, not a Powerlifter. It makes me happy to see the dedication he has in all aspects of becoming a better lifter and not just focusing on training and finding that new ”better” bench shirt while eating like a misfit. This is a very common problem among the powerlifting community and Gerry is a champion that is willing to go the extra mile to make sure he is dominating the platform no matter who he competes against! Gerry is a true champion in every sense of the word and he has earned all that he has accomplished in this sport.
Gerry Giving Back to the Sport He Loves So Much!
So for all of you who may be reading this that will be going up against Gerry in the future, you better have all aspects of your training and nutrition down set because you will be battling a true a warrior who will not rest until you are holding that second place
If you have any questions or are looking for customized nutrition program design and analysis you can reach me at email@example.com