If you want to become a better strength or physique athlete, there are two key aspects of programming you need to master:

  • When to change your diet and training program.
  • How to change in your diet and training program.

If you're doing a 12-week powerlifting program to prepare for a meet, you have to know how to increase your intensity and reduce your volume. If you're dieting for 16 weeks for a bodybuilding show, you have to know how to reduce your calories, fats, and carbohydrates as you get closer to the show. If you're doing either of these things for 30 consecutive years—and you expect to keep getting better — you're going to make a lot of changes. Your diet and training at 40 years old will look drastically different than it did at 20, 30, or even 35 years old.

WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — Exercise Execution, Pre-Workout Food, and Recoverability

This is the topic for today's Table Talk with Dave Tate and Mark Dugdale. They begin by discussing how Mark's training has evolved over time, beginning with the years that he used a Yates HIT Style training philosophy, including how he eventually felt so beat-up that he was wrapping every joint that he could just to get through his workouts. He discusses how this led him to look for new ways to structure his training, and how he finally found what he was looking for in John Meadows' programming.

Dave and Mark also talk about a controversial topic in the strength community: genetic ceilings. Do they exist? If so, how do you know if you've reached yours? And is it possible to break through them by changing your training or supplementation? Dave and Mark share a similar perspective, agreeing that if you think that you've hit your genetic ceiling, you probably haven't. Even for Mark, when he altered his training to follow John Meadows' recommendations, he broke through what he previously believed was his genetic ceiling — and he had already been an IFBB Pro for a number of years.

The Questions

  • (0:39) How have you changed your diet as you have gotten older?
  • (3:12) Do you count fiber as part of your carbohydrates for the day?
  • (5:29) Has your total daily calorie intake reduced as you've gotten older?
  • (6:35) How have you changed your training as you've gotten older?
  • (7:36) What program did you use when you first started training?
  • (10:15) When and why did you start using John Meadows' training?
  • (12:56) If you could go back to the years you were doing HIT style training, what would you change about it?
  • (16:25) Is there a genetic ceiling?