1.) it is too good to be true. It's meant to make your body realize that all this junk food is not too good for you. I think there is not a single one of us here who didn't realize this quite soon and started eating healthy.
2.) I often watch special ops training videos, and these people are not allowed to ingest any food supplements, including protein shakes and their training is much tougher as you'll ever have as a body builder. I think there should be no complaining about how their bodies look. On the other hand, talking from personal experience, protein additives are not advised for the professional athletes. The reason being that they may contain traces of substances that might cause them to be tested positive on anti-doping tests and because there aren't any real benefits of protein shakes over an old-fashioned steak. Ingesting good quality proteins, as in egg yolk, good quality meat... in high enough quantities will do you more good as any protein shake. Most of the muscle you see at the 'traditional' fitness competitions is a consequence (I don't claim this is so in all cases, but probably in majority of them) of anabolic steroid intake. At least so they say though it's no actual proof of it because these competitors do not fall within the anti-doping supervision. To achieve the muscle mass the anabolics induce a person probably needs to take protein shakes to catch up with the increased metabolism needs.
Google 'natural bodybuilding' if you want a healthy one. This is a movement within the fitness/bodybuilding where the athletes do not take performance enhancing drugs (doping) and they submit themselves to the testing authorities. If you don't want to be tested just don't start competing but you can still train as they do and achieve amazing results. As a woman I find them much easier on the eyes as the traditional bodybuilders. Though, I'd say most women would still go for a lean athletics look.
At the end of the day, the call is yours on what you'll do with the shakes.
3.) if you plan to do a rigorous training during the whole 'diet' (I prefer the word lifestyle) regimen, I'm a bit sceptic how you'll manage to have enough protein intake during the phases 1 and 2. If you go through it, I'd consider replacing grazing on nuts with grazing on eggs, jerky.... and some vegetables to keep your peristaltic working. We are versatile in how our metabolisms work, in our daily routines..., asking for advice is good, you'll receive many ideas, but you have to listen what your body tells you. Stage 3 should be no problem with the protein intake.
As for when I don't have experience. I've heard that fitness people take their proteins after the workout to prevent muscle atrophy. But I also know world class cross country skiers who didn't have any special nutrition regime on when to eat what.
Thanks for your input and opinion. So do i skip stage one? I was kind of looking foward to it...
just an FYI I wanted to share with you, I'm not a bodybuilder. I'm into competitive powerlifting. The difference is bodybuilders lift to sculpt their muscles, powerlifters lift to get stronger, specifically Benchpress, Squat, and Deadlift more. As a powerlifter, the calorie requirements are much much higher, because its quite acceptable to go into a competition 'fat' as long as you fit into your weight class, (personally im aiming to drop to the 242 pound weight class from the 320+) and is common knowledge that more calories= more raw strength
And to say special forces training is 'harder' is not correct. It's a different goal. I may not be able to run or swim a mile at the same speed as them, but none of my navy seal buds can benchpress any where near 500 pounds. Its a different thing we prepare our bodies for, they do endurance, I do raw brute strength.
Thats why i asked about Shakes; I require more protein than them simply because i have more muscle to maintain. Its difficult to eat 300 grams of protein a day eating only 'real food'
Also, i'm not into this for looks. At 290lbs im quite happy with my physique, heck, at 320 i was happy with my physique, a six pack and 'ripped look' never was or will never be be a goal for me, this is more of a health issue. RIght now everything checks out, but the body can take much more punishment at 24 than it can, at say, 40. and I want to be able to powerlift well into my old age, not have my body give out due to cholesterol or high BP at 40. Thats why I decided to try and drop wieght classes
And dont worry, i've never doped. Never had to