Dr. Clay Hyght

Dr. Clay Hyght

Dr. Clay Hyght

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I’m always analyzing cause and effect, thinking of ways to do things better, reading anything I can get my hands on, and picking the brains of anyone who’s had some physique success.
No doubt that my physique got better largely because I was willing to work hard on a consistent basis, year in and year out for over 20 years – THAT is, in fact, the secret to physique success – stubborn determination combined with a relentless work ethic.
But if you want to be your best, you can’t just work hard, you have to work smart. That’s why no matter the sport in which I’m involved, I study it thoroughly.
In bodybuilding, my first epiphany was that you can gain fat even if you don’t eat any dietary fat. Sounds silly now, but at the time (late 80’s) educated people thought that it was fat that made us fat. So I ate no fat…along with 30g protein and 100g of carbs six times per day, just like the pros in the magazines! I was certain I’d look like them in no time.
I did gain ~ 10 lbs before too long, but then I realized I had gained over half fat mass (which I didn’t even think was possible). So I knew at that point that people, even ‘smart adults,’ sadly don’t know that much about losing fat. So I set out to figure it out myself.
My next big epiphany, which has been my biggest & best to date, was that losing fat is primarily a matter of controlling blood sugar and it’s closely associated hormone, insulin.
Today, we (people in general) are closer to understanding and accepting that, but in 1993 talking about insulin was crazy, it just wasn’t happening. So I only shared my theories with a couple training buddies.
I’ll share one more epiphany that taught me a lesson – some time in ’94 after continuing down the insulin/glucose trail of thought, I came up with a theory and shared it with my training partner Ricky to see what he thought.
“What if we took half the calories we’re eating in terms of carbs and replace them with fat calories? (And keep protein intake the same.) This would keep blood sugar lower and more stable, which should lead to more steady energy AND less insulin secretion, thus more fat loss.” At the time this was pretty revolutionary cause this was still in the ‘fat is evil’ era.
About two years later, the late (and avant-garde) Dan Duchene came out with his book Bodyopus. In there he goes over one of his eating strategies which is eating 1/3 protein, 1/3 carbs, and 1/3 fat (in terms of calories) – or isocaloric eating as he called it.
He went on about how it works so well because it controls blood sugar and so on – just like I’d mentioned to Ricky.
On one hand I was elated, and in a way, really proud of myself for thinking outside the box and coming up with a unique (at least to me at the time) eating strategy that was simultaneously being used by an experienced, physique-coaching brainiac like Duchene. On the other hand I felt like a dummy because I didn’t trust myself and my instincts or knowledge enough to continue fine-tuning the moderate carb/moderate fat approach.
Instead, I largely abandoned the strategy because no one else was doing it…and we humans tend to follow the masses. But once Dan Duchene unknowingly approved of my way of thinking, I started to be much more confident in my knowledge and understanding.
And to this day, those two epiphanies are models by which I construct all meal plans: 1) control blood glucose/insulin 2) overall, eat moderate amounts of carbs and fat.

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