Cyberpump's NutriMuscle Q&A Archive - March 1999

Welcome to Cyberpump's NutriMuscle Q&A Archive - March 1999


Question Index


Question:

Mr. McDonald,

My name is Jason I am 26yrs. old, 5'11'' 277 with about 27% bodyfat. I have just recently been introduced to this educated and different approach to training and nutrition(Cyberpump,Hardgainer,Brawn etc.). I have been reading a book called EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR TYPE, I don't know if you have heard of it. Well for my blood type I am supposed to eat similar to that of the protein and fat diet. I like the blood type diet because it allows for more fruits and vegetables. It is hard to justify not being able to something created by nature. Any imput you could give me on one or both of the diets would be great. Next question, I read (by you) that it is almost impossible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. If that is the case I want to lose the fat first so I can see what my muscle I have looks like. Is there a workout routine and nutrition regement that would help me retain as much muscle as possible while losing the fat. Thank you for the imput.

Answer:

As far as the Eat Right for Your Blood Type book (which I haven't read but am passingly familiar with), all I'll say is that feedback I've gotten is that it works well for some people but not for others. This suggests to me that the underlying assumptions D'Adamo is making are a shot in the dark that might be right for you or not. To put it differently: I wouldn't worry about it. What I typically suggest is to get on a good baseline diet (meaning get into the habit of regular protein and carb feedings, healthy fats, fruits and veggies) and see how your body responds to that. Once you've got your baseline figured out (meaning couple the baseline diet with productive training for a few months), then you can experiment with other stuff to see if your progress is better or worse. If your progress is truly better than at baseline, that approach is a valid one ; if not, it's not. Pretty simple actually.

As far as fat loss with minimal muscle loss, there's tons of questions in the archives (I really should write a diet FAQ for this site) but the basic rules are:

1. Moderate caloric deficit: start with 10-20% below baseline calorie level or just use 12 cal/lb current total bodyweight.
2. Protein: 1 g/lb
3. Fats: no lower than 15% of total calories
4. Carbs the rest

Obviously you should be weight training intensely, and small amounts of added cardio can help as well.

Good luck.


Question:

a friend of mine was talking about a supplement called d-ball...i don't like the sounds of this but i was wondering what it is and what affects it might have..do you know anything about it?

if so i would greatly appreciate any info you may have to offer

Answer:

Hmm, the only substance I'm familiar with that goes by d-ball (usually d-bol) is an anabolic steroid. If that's what your friend is suggesting, I'd suggest you stay away from it (the supplement and the friend).


Question:

Dear Lyle:

My question involves nutrition, I am 31 years old 275pds 6'0 I currently workout 4 days a week. My workouts are very intense. Now here is the question Which foods would be good for me to eat in order to keep my muscle mass while I lose weight? I seem to be having a problem losing the excess weight I ride the bike each day for 45 minutes in the morning and take protein throughout the day as well as 2 vitamins 200 mgs 19 nor-andro 2 servings of myoplex. What other supplements (if any) would you recommend. I am a strong man have been natural my Max bench is 450 for 2 reps.

Thank you
Anthony

Answer:

The two main determinants (as I've written many times before) in terms of keeping muscle mass during dieting are:

1. Adequate protein intake: a good rule of thumb is 1 gram/lb of bodyweight during a dieting cycle.

2. A small daily deficit: excessive caloric deficits (greater than about 1000 cal/day although some people will have to use even smaller deficits) seem to hasten muscle loss no matter what is done or how much protein is eaten.

Beyond that, there are really no specific foods which will prevent muscle loss while dieting. I should note that *some* (but not all) people seem to lose less muscle on lowered/low carb diets (think Zone/Bodyopus) than on higher carb diets. But this is far from universal.

The only supplements which might be of use during a diet are the ECA stack (which I've talked about a lot in the archives). There was also a study suggesting that branch-chain amino acids spared muscle loss in wrestlers. But I have a feeling that a high-protein intake would do the same.

Good luck.


Question:

i have a weird schedule. I go to bed at 10-11pm, get up at 3:45am for work(Newspapers), i don't eat when i get up and i do jogging by going to lots of houses, not extremely intense but some good aerobics. Get back around 6:30am, eat breakfast and go back to bed at around 7:30am-8am and wake up at 12-1pm. I know I shouldn't eat much carbs before going back to bed. What should i eat, when?

For example, should i eat before i leave at 4am? Should i eat a low carb breakfast before i go back to bed again at 8am? My main question is what type of food should i by eating, during the day: carbs, protein, fat. If i woke up normally like everyone else after 8 hours straight of sleep, i know i would eat lots of carbs early in the day and low carb-high protein in the late afternoon evening.

Answer:

The general rule of thumb not to eat a lot of carbs before bedtime doesn't really hold here, because it's after a workout where the rules change. After training, calories are preferentially moved into muscle instead of fat cells. In contrast, during sleep, when the body is inactive, calories *may* have a greater tendency to move into fat cell. Still, that doesn't meant to stuff yourself when you return to bed after delivering the newspapers. But having a decent breakfast shouldn't kill you in terms of fat gain, because the carbs will go to muscle glycogen, not fat. Basically: don't worry about it. Obviously if you find yourself gaining a lot of fat, cut back on the total calories consumed at that meal.

As far as eating through the rest of the day, I think your best bet is to simply shift how you'd normally eat (i.e. assuming a more normal hourly schedule). So when you wake up at 1, consider that breakfast, when you go to bed late, consider that dinner. I typically stay up late (writing, goofing off, etc) and sleep late as well, adn I do basically that: when I wake up I eat breakfast, etc.


Question:

I recently read an article written by some doctor at some university about saturated fat. In the article, he says the average person should only consume 7-10 grams of saturated fat per day. I know that I get a lot more that 10 grams of saturated fat in a day. Today, for instance, I got more than 43 grams. I know that saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol levels, but as a 20 year old athlete with 10% body fat, I'm not too worried about it. So my questions are, 1) can I burn saturated fat through exercise (I would think so, but my roommate tells me otherwise), and 2) is it really that bad for me to get 30 or more grams of saturated fat per day?

Thanks,
Jason Smith

Answer:

1) Unless you were to exercise immediately after consuming saturated fats, I don't see that you will necessarily be burning off the saturated fats. That is, when dietary fats are processed (through the stomach and into the bloodstream), they have a few different fates. They can be burned for energy (if needed), or they can be stored for later use (as bodyfat). What I'm not 100% sure of is what the time frame for saturated fat stimulating cholesterol synthesis in the liver is. That is, I don't know if it happens as soon as you eat them or not. But overall I don't think that, strictly speaking, you are burning off the saturated fats you're eating before they can have an effect on cholesterol levels.

2) While the guidelines of <10 g saturated fat may be valid for sedentary folks, I don't know how much it will apply to active individuals. Exercise is known to positively affect blood lipid profile and I would guess that those involved in intense exercise can get away with proporitionally more saturated (and total) fats than someone who is totally sedentary.


Question:

Lyle,
Thanks for answering all my questions in the past. This one is about
Ultimate Orange. What do you think of it. It sure does give me a boost when I need it, but I'm skeptical why, whether there are ingredients that are bad to take or cause adverse side affects. Pretty much what do you know about it. The drink prides itself on the herbal side of things like, Ma Huang, Guarana Seed, Green tea, Siberian Green tea and others. What do each of those supposedly do for a human body? Thanks again

Answer:

First let me point out that I've never personally used Ultimate Orange, although I know of folks who like it. Basically, UO is an ephedrine containing product that also has some carbs in it. The carbs are of various chain lengths some of which burn quickly and some of which take longer, with the idea of sustaining exercise performance through a workout. While this might be useful if someone were training more than 60' at a time, for workouts shorter than that, and assuming you're eating a normal carb-based diet, blood glucose/glycogen shouldn't become limiting.

MaHuang is just herbal ephedrine (a stimulant), guarana is herbal caffeine. I'm not sure what the green tea or siberian ginseng tea are in there for, probably just more stimulants.

For all practical purposes, you could get more or less the same effects as UO from taking the ECA stack, or a strong cup of coffee.


No major announcements this week. However, if you haven't done so already, go read Dr. Ken's Iron Talk part III. Dr. Ken has never been known to mince words and his comments about the current obsession with rep tempo and time under load should be read by all.


Question:

I have 2 questions.
1) I have read the research on bicarbonate enhancing performance, and from what I have seen it is relatively inconclusive. Since I am on a CKD diet, will HCO3 supplementation help more than usual? More specifically, will it give me more endurance without effecting the diet?

2) I have read that you are skeptical of effervescent creatine. In the adds, it says something about being creatine plus citric acid and bicarbonate. Will mixing creatine into a glass of coke with some extra baking soda have the same effect, and more importantly, is it worth the time to do so?

Thank you for your time. Your advice on all your net forums has been invaluable to me.

Answer:

Because of it's mode of action, I would expect bicarbonate to only improve performance during very specific tasks (those which generate lots of lactic acid), so I can understand why the studies don't all agree. I wouldn't expect a 100 meter sprinter or a marathon runner to have their performance enhanced by bicarb. As to it's use on a ketogenic diet, there is definitely a loss of buffering capacity in ketosis and bicarbonate might have an effect. The only problem is that at the doses necessary to have a true ergogenic effect (I don't recall for sure but .3 g/kg sounds right) most people report major gastrointestinal upset. You might experiment with a lower dose and see if it helps you with your weight workouts.

According to the manufacturers, effervescent creatine is somehow bonded to the bicarbonate so you can't just mix regular creatine and bicarb and get the same results. I don't know enough about the physical chemistry of the products to say one way or the other if this is correct. However, I still remain unconvinced that effervescent creatine is significantly better than regular creatine *unless* you are a creatine non-responder. Apparently, while the eff. creatine study didn't find a difference between individual responders for the eff. creatine vs. non-eff creatine group (that is, everybody who responded to either type of creatine responded about the same), the eff. creatine had less non-responders. So if you're someone who doesn't get any effects out of regular creatine, the effervescent stuff might have some benefit. If you respond fine to regular creatine, save your money.


Question:

Lyle,
I am a 19 year old college freshman who has used HIT for about a year now. I can Bench 225 6- 8 rep range, Squat 355 8-10 reps, and Deadlift 280 8-10 reps. I am 6'1, 215, and about 22% bodyfat. I want to get my bodyfat down to 8-10% in about 6 or 7 months, and continue to make strength gains. I would really appreciate it if you could give me some nutrition requirements, like how much protein, carbs and fat I should be taking in, and maybe even a sample nutrition program where I would be eating 5-6 meals a day. Thank you so much for your time
Greg McGlone

Answer:

Ok, here's another perfect example of why folks should check the archives/read my articles first. I've answered a zillion and one questions about setting up fat loss diets. On top of that, I"ve addressed the whole idea of gaining strength/mass while losing fat previously (in general, it can't be done except for beginners and those returning from a layoff). Checking the archives would have saved this person 2 months waiting for me to tell him to check the archives.


Question:

Hi
I believe in good training and health, and try to practice it consistently. I met my girlfriend about 6mnts ago. She is has always complaining about her weight, due to this she has done many mistakes in order to lose some weights in the past. Since then she has given up and have try to rebel against the search for a good quality healthy lifestyle. She is tall, not slim but not round, the problem is she has put alot of fat on her legs, thighs, waist. I tell her that she needs to get into some kind of physical exercise. She hasn't done any form of consistent exercise in so long. Now that she has my encouragement she is letting me guide her. She wants to lose the fat on her leg which makes her legs big and her hip. She is now doing aerobics and weight training, mainly the squats, shoulders , all of which is light to medium.

I want your guidance on how to help me help my girlfriend get back into good nutrition and exercise for her if she wants to lose the fat properly. She watches what she eats but doesn't eat alot of fruit or veggie. She often has her diet coke and calorie free cordial. I try to get her out of it but she argues that is fat free.

How can I guide her in the right direction as she is willing to listen and do something about her big legs, which out proportion from her nicely shape upper body.

Answer:

This is a tough one because you're dealing with deprogramming a lot of old habits. It sounds as if your girlfriend is of the old 'eat as little as possible' to lose weight mentality. This is quite common but it's quite a poor way to go about it.

What you need to impress on her is that her long term results will be better if she develops good nutritional practices now. Most folks focus only on the short term, looking for ways to lose as much weight as they can in the shortest period of time. Invariably these approaches backfire and the person ends up worse off than before.

The main suggestion I'd make is that you suggest changes to her gradually. Trying to get her to change her entire way of thinking overnight won't work (and she'll just rebel and quit). So first you might try to get her eating 3 quality meals per day. yes, we both know that eating 5-6 times per day is ideal, but it's tough to get into that habit immediately. Since most women are used to skipping meals when they diet, getting her to eat consistently (breakfast, lunch and dinner) is a good first step. Ideally each meal should contain some proportion of protein, carbohydrates and fat. I find that many women tend to overconsume carbs and not eat enough protein and fat.

After you've gotten her into the habit of 3 good meals per day, you might have her start introducing smaller snacks in between those meals. Once again, I strongly believe that snacks should have protein, carbs, and fat. This makes a bagel or a piece of fruit a poor snack. I think a lowfat yogurt or something like that is far better.

By this point, I expect that your girlfriend will have lost some weight (especially if you are getting her active regularly) as well as feel a lot better. In fact, the feeling better is usually what gets people to stick with habits like these, the weight loss is just a nice benefit. When she starts to have more energy during the day, sees her progress in the gym, etc. hopefully she'll start to realize how much better it is to be healthy and active than unhealthy and inactive.

Also, feel free to print out the articles I"ve written on this site about protein, carbs, and fat. While they are aimed primarily at weight trainers, they contain good general information about the nutrients, why they are important, etc.

Finally, and this is perhaps most important, don't nag. If you constantly harp on your girlfriend about how she should eat better, or work out, she'll start to resent you. Keep any suggestions you make gradual and supportive, not extreme and nagging, and you're much more likely to succeed. Good luck.


Question:

Hi Lyle,
I am new to this concept of HIT and have noticed that most of the info seems to be geared toward hard gainers. I am a 29 year old female who is a natural mesomorph, in fact I gain so quickly that my hamstrings were back to 40% strength within 2 weeks of my reconstructive knee surgery. Anyway, I have been lifting using cycling of heavy and light days training upper & lower body parts on different days 4 days a week. My current goal is to lose body fat and start to show the muscle I have. How would you suggest I continue or start to lift to maintain strength while losing bodyfat. I understand that I will have to change my caloric intake, but my concern is that if I do so that I will also adversely affect my current muscular base. Currently I am doing kickboxing for my cardio work 4 days a week.
Thanks for your help, Jewells.

Answer:

In general, I am a believer in the sentiment of 'Dance with who brung ya', when it comes to weight training for fat loss. Meaning that I disagree with the idea that training should be changed (typically to higher reps) for fat loss. For some reason, folks tend to confuse weight training with aerobics when it comes to fat loss, and seem determined to switch to high reps and short rest periods. While this may burn more calories, it tends to cause muscle loss in natural athletes because the 'signal' to maintain muscle mass is no longer present.

Put a bit more clearly, I feel that trainees should perform at least some of their 'normal' training while on a diet to maintain muscle mass. So if you've found that you build muscle on 8 rep sets, I think you should continue to do at least 1-2 8 rep sets to maintain that muscle while cutting up. Now, if you want to (and can recover from it), adding a set of higher reps may be beneficial in depleting muscle glycogen (which enhances fat loss) and burning more calories.

Beyond all of that, fat loss will ultimately be determined by a reduction in caloric intake or an increase in caloric expenditure (through additional aerobics). The main suggestion I can make in terms of fat loss while avoiding losing your muscular base is this:

1. Don't cut calories excessively: My usual suggestion for fat loss is 12 cal/lb as a starting point. That seems to work well for a goodly rate of fat loss without causing muscle loss. You can make adjustment to this 12 cal/lb value depending on weekly fat loss. I think anywhere from 0.5-1.5 lbs fat loss/week is probably about optimal for most folks. If you're losing less than 0.5 lbs, you can reduce calories a bit more. If you're losing more than 1.5-2 lbs, raise calories.

2. Don't do excessive aerobics: Most people (esp. women it seems) go nuts with aerobics. Not only can it cause muscle loss but too much aerobics can slow metabolism just as much as cutting calories too much.

3. Keep protein intake high enough: Assuming you follow the above 2 rules, 1 gram of protein/lb should be plenty.

Good luck.


Question:

Lyle,

I was wondering if you do pvt phone consultations, and how much you would charge me for and hour. I am 40 year old male I have trained with Gironda and Mentzer. (got some great stories about Mike...yikes!!!)

I have not been training as regularly about 5 years, and have several questions about your training techniques. Please let me know how (or if) we can do this.

Thanks
Matt Black

Answer:

Right now I am not doing phone consultations, although I may set something up with Mesomorphosis.com (another web site I write for). For the time being you're better off sending questions to me here (be forewarned, I have about a 2 month backlog but I"m getting to them one by one).

And to be honest, *my* training techniques really aren't just mine, they are an amalgam (good word) of many other luminaries in this field. I have drawn from as many of the greats as I can to reach my opinions about weight training (and nutrition). Most of the ideas I believe in can be found somewhere on this site.


Question:

do supplements like major mass or cell tech/meso tech led to acne ?? i thought about it and maybe the steroids used or unnatural supplements in the drink might cause it just wondering though.

Answer:

Well, I'm not familiar with major mass, but I'm not aware of anything in any of the Cell Tech or Mesotech supplements that would cause acne. And I guarantee you that there aren't any steroids any there.


Ok, as of this update, I am finished with the Jan 1999 questions (there weren't many of them). Looking at my list, I have probably 4 updates of February questions, at which time I will get to the March questions. Once again, please be patient and I will get to your question.

And to say it again, those of you who aren't subscribed to the HIT digest are missing out. Lots of good discussions going on over there. You can find subscription information here.


Question:

Dear Lyle & associates:

Before anything, let me thank you for this consulting service. I have a technical nutrition question and before asquin the manufacturers I'll be glad to hear the answer from a third uninterested party. Let me first give you some background on myself.

33 year old male, 167 lbs. 6.0"

During my high school and college years I used to do track and field (100m 200m long jump) and swimming.

I was never very good on endurance sports.

That's what I'm trying to do now with (mostly aerobic) 40-50 minutes of running HR 167-169 and 3 to 4 miles distance and then light exercise (push ups and sit ups).

Problem is I'm not constant, so as soon as I build up some endurace (It's not easy for me to run that long) I leave my daily routine and have to start from the bottom.

Problem is my body is changing, (you know, belly and "love handles").

Here's the question:

In order to get rid of this excess fast, I bought 2 products to help me in my workouts, and i woul like to know if i can MIX them?

The products are:

Endurox from Pacific Health Laboratories, made up of (every 2 tablets) Ciwujia extract (root) 800mg
Calcium (sulfate) 130mg
WITH
a product from Cytodine Technologies..Lakewood, NJ 08701 called
"Xenadrine RFA - 1" made up of
the following ingredients every 2 capsules:
Citrus Aurantium (standarized for 4%synephrine)125mg
Ma-Huang (standarized for 6% ephedrine) 335mg
Guarana extract (standarized for 22% caffeine) 910mg
White Willow Bark Extract(standarized for 15%salicin)105mg
Acetyl L-Carnitine 100mgL-Tyrosine
80mgGinger Root
50mg
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 40mg

Are these products compatible, can they be mixed?Thank you for your advice.

Regards: Edgardo Restivo

Answer:

Associates? I'm not even sure I have any friends......

Ok, even though you didn't ask a question about it, I feel compelled to comment on something you said above. You mention that you want to improve your endurance performance but that even a short time off means you have to start over from scratch. Without knowing the details of your training, this tells me that you probably aren't suited to endurance activities for whatever reason (of course, I don't know the details, like how long you are training before taking time off, etc). I have a client who spent several years trying to improve his bicyling performance. Every time he'd take a week or two off, he'd have to start over from scratch. Eventually he realized that he was not gonna be the next Miguel Indurain and started focusing on bodybuilding instead. His gains have been spectacular to say the least, telling me that his body is geared towards high intensity activity and away from endurance activity. I'm not trying to tell you not to bother improving your endurance performance, just realize that you may be beating your head against the wall unnecessarily.

Ok, besides that, to your question. Ciwujia (aka Endurox) is a herb that is purported to increase the utilization of fat during endurance exercise. Unfortunately, I'm unaware of any studies (that weren't performed by the company that sells the stuff) supporting that contention. However, I do have a friend who used it when she started on a ketogenic diet and feels it helped her adapt. This suggests to me that it increased fat mobilization in some way. The question on my mind is exactly how Endurox is working, I did some digging into research but never came up with an acceptable (to me) explanation.

Xenadrine is a fairly standard product of the ephedrine/caffeine/aspirin ilk. It works through stimulating the central nervous system. In that Endurox doesn't work through the central nervous system, I don't see any real problem mixing the two. If Endurox actually does what it claims, we might expect an increased response from combining it with ECA.


Question:

I am an overweight 40 year old who is seeing great results in my current regime of taking an ephedrine/caffeine/aspirin stack in the early morning just before my 40 min aerobic run. In a few weeks I will graduate myself from the current every other evening total body lift routine to a more intense push/pull lift routine concentrating on specific body parts on a particular night. Question: When I start the new lift routine, would I be able to incorporate a creatine supplement into my daily supplementation? I would take the e/c/a stack in the early morn and the creatine supplementation at I guess various times other than early morn. Would the e/c/a work against the creatine and its effectiveness in helping build mass?? Appreciate your insight on this matter. Thanks.

Answer:

I don't see any reason that the ECA stack and creatine would directly influence one another. The only possibility is that one (maybe two) studies showed that high dose caffeine affected how well creatine worked. If I recall, the creatine was taken with the caffeine, so I see little reason that ECA taken in the morning would affect creatine taken at other times of the day.

The only comment I'd make is that, in general, it is quite difficult to lose fat and gain mass at the same time. It sounds like you're going to try to do this by continuing to run + ECA in the morning and lift in the evening. As someone who spent years spinning my wheels, I would suggest you focus on either fat loss or muscle gain for some period of time, rather than trying to accomplish both at the same time. Your gains will be far better in the long run.


Question:

Hello!

I love everything you have published so far!
I think it is great!
I have a problem and maybe you can help:

I have been bodybuilding for about a year and a half.

Each exercise session lasts about 40 minutes, and I train vary hard (HIT) and to failure. For the first year I trained 3 times a week and than I cut back to 2 times a week. Once every couple of weeks I take a week off. I try to constantly increase my weights.

When I started this routine I weighted about 140 pounds. Now my weight is about 150 pounds.

Obviously this is a vary little gain for all the hard work I have done, and anyway, this gain has only occurred in the first six month of my training and has stopped every since! (note that the weight I lift HAS increased since I begun training, example: bench press went from 60 pounds to failure at 2 seconds up 4 seconds down, to 120 pounds at 4 seconds up, 8 seconds down).

During the last year and a half I have tried all kinds of diets: First I tried a 20%Protein - 20%Fat - 60%Carbs diet. I constantly increased my calorie intake until I reached 4400. This was way to much for me as I felt heavy and bad all the time and could not at a single calorie more, and worst of all, I hardly gained any weight! My weight at the time was still less than 150 pounds!

Than I heard of The Zone where Dr. Sears claims that he caused athletes that weighted about 180 pounds gain lean mass with less than only 2500 calories!

Ever since than I have tried The Zone diet in all kinds of combinations of fat, protein, and calories. I understood that to gain weight I should just increase the fat. My protein was at about 150 grams live protein (I did not count plant protein), and my calories moved between 2000 and 3500 depending on the fat % I used (at some time it reached 50%!!!) With all these combinations - I still never crossed the 150 pound boarder!

I am writing to you now because I can honestly say I have no clue as to how to get bigger!

What so I do??
More fat? more calories? more carbs?
What?!!?!?!?
Please answer, I really have no idea what can I possibly try.

Danny.

Answer:

Ok, first let's talk about weight gain adn weight loss in general terms. When you get right down to brass tacks (what an odd saying), changes in bodyweight are a function of thermodynamics. To gain weight requires that one consume more calories than they are burning. To lose weight requires that one consume less than they are burning.

So the first thing we have to do is figure out how many calories you're burning during the day. On average (average activity, average metabolism), a person will burn 15 calories/poudn of bodyweight. At 150 lbs, this equals 2250 calories. Now, there are variances and some folks have higher and lower metabolic rates. Consider 2250 a starting point.

To gain weight, your caloric intake must exceed this level. As a typical starting point, I suggest you add 10-20% above maintenance (that'd be 200-400 calories) and track your gains over a 1-2 week period. If your bodyweight starts increasing, you've found a good caloric inake. If it hasn't, add another 200-400 calories/day. Eventually you'll find the place where your bodyweight is going up at a reasonable level, with small increases in bodyfat. While I know of at least one person who requires 25 cal/lb to gain weight, most people I've worked with find 20 cal/lb to be about right. That'd be 3000 calories or so for you. Obviously if you're still no gaining weight, you'll need more calories.

On top of that, of course you need adequate protein. My general feeling is that, given sufficient calories, 1 gram of protien/lb of bodyweight is more than sufficient. However, some people do seem to do better with more protein and that is something you can experiment with.

As far as the Zone, I'll just say that I don't think there is any magical ratio of nutrient percentages for mass gaining. Assuming calories and protien are sufficient, I doubt the differences are going to be huge.

On top of all the above, other things to consider are:

1. Eating 5-6 meals throughout the day
2. Getting sufficient sleep
3. Drink plenty of water


Question:

Lyle,

My name is Jeremy Hamilton, I am 19, 6'2, 175 and i have been working out with HIT for about 2 months now and making great progress. I have found a good routine that i dont overtrain and i feel comfortable with. But the one area i am still slack in is nutrition. I bought a book, Protein Power, that recommended eating only protein with about 20grams/day of carbs. I tried this for a while, but it made me extremely tired. Right now most of my diet consists of eggs, tuna, oatmeal, and some veggies and pasta. I eat about 4 meals / day and 1 protein shake, but i have problems with snacking in between meals on starchy, high carb foods. What are some good alternative foods to snack on? is 20 grams/day too little?

Answer:

Ok, first let me identify Protein Power as one of many lowcarb (i.e. ketogenic) diets that are out there. While such diets may have benefit for those wishing to lose fat, diets low in carbohydrate are absolutely not ideal for folks involved in intense exercise (hint: this means weight training). I am not surprised that you got tired on this diet.

The diet you're currently on looks far better in terms of sustaining training intensity than Protein Power; you're getting good protein sources, as well as both starchy and fibrous carbohydrates. As to the snacking problem, as I've written many times before on this site, I'm a big believer in getting a mix of protein, carbs and fat at each feeding, including snacks. I find that it keeps appetite more stable, and is more beneficial for mass gains. In this respect, try to find some easy protein sources to add to your carb-based snacks. Milk is always good, yogurt, put some turkey or chicken breast on bread and have a sandwich, stuff like that. I think you'll find that your energy levels and gains are both better.

I would definitely say that for someone doing intense weight training, 20 grams of carbs is too little. Folks who use lowcarb diets usually either insert a day of carb-loading on the weekend (eating up to 600 grams of carbs) to refill muscle glycogen, or consume 25-100 grams of carbs right around their weight training to sustain performance.


Question:

Dear Lyle,

I am currently doing the following workout. One set of each exercise is taken to positive, static, and negative failure.

Monday:
Calf Raise
Hamstring Curl
Leg Press
Deadlifts
Abs

Friday
Bench Press
Pull Downs
Shoulder Press
Row
Abs

Hamstring curls are done because the leg press doesn't hit my hams hard enough. I used to do trap bar deads which stressed my quads wonderfully. Since switching to regular deads (for more back work) my quads aren't getting sore anymore while my glutes are totally blasted. What's going on? Should I throw in a set of leg extensions?

Thanks so much and keep up the great work

Answer:

Depending on the form used, squats and leg presses may or may not hit the hamstrings very hard. As well, depending on the form used, deadlifts may or may not hit the quadriceps very hard. I think the better choice (assuming your low back can handle it) might be the combination of deadlifts and leg presses on Monday. Deads will hammer glutes and hamstrings (and back, and traps, and just about everything else in your body), leg presses will hammer quads. I'm simply not a huge fan of leg extensions. Also, on a different note, I seriously question the safety of taking deadlifts to static or negative failure, there is simply too much chance of an injury ocurring.


Question:

Dear Lyle,
I have a friend who is making great size gains and he attributes it to taking in a lot of protein. He eats about 300- 400 grams per day. I was thinking about trying to take in that much too but I was wondering is you think it would damage to my body at all? Thanks, -J-

Answer:

Arguably the major side effect of excess protien is increased urea production, which forces the kidneys to work harder, and can cause dehydration. Beyond that, I see little problems (except expense) in consuming that much protein. however, neither do I see any point in it. The studies show that protein requirements are a little less than 1 gram/lb of bodyweight. Above that point, excess is simply oxidized (burned) for energy. However, this 1 g/lb assumes your friend is consuming enough calories to begin with. It may be that he's underconsuming calories (and carbs) and using a lot of that protein as an expensive (financially and metabolically) energy source.


Question:

Hi, I am 15yrs old and almost 16. I wanted to get more muscular for football and I started taking creatine. I bought this product called "Creatine Pump" made by Cybergenics. I was wondering if it was safe to take this supplement at this young age, and whether or not I got something that had real Creatine in it? I read some stuff that said Creatine causes the muscles in the body to grow faster!! My Mother is worried about me taking it in fear of growth of my heart! When I first heard of Creatine I thought it was for more energy, not to grow muscles? I am currently not taking it in fear, please tell me what am I to do?

FREDERICK BROWN
of Goose Creek, SC

Answer:

I don't see any real risks with taking creatine at 16 although there have been some reports of increased cramping in some people (possibly related to dehydration). Whether the product you bought is real creatine or not, I can't say. However, Cybergenics doesn't have the most sterling reputation among sports supplements, although they have supposedly reformulated their products.

As far as creatine and muscle growth, the data is still fairly equivocal (meaning, no conclusions have been made). Some studies suggest that creatine increases protein synthesis but others do not. In all likelihood, creatine's main role is to increase training intensity (it may allow a rep or two more during weight training or better sprint performance). But it won't magically cause muscle growth. The weight gain that occurs from creatine is simply water.


Question:

Hey Boss,
How many days should I take creatine before I give my body a break??? Please respond Thanks

Answer:

I don't think there's really any hard and fast rule for how long to use creatine before taking time off. Of course, there's really no reason to use a maintenance dose very often once you're loaded (despite what manufacturers claim) so I don't see why folks would need to cycle. That is, assuming you're eating red meat, after you've creatine loaded you can stay loaded for quite some time. If you really want, you could take a 5 gram dose 2-3 times per week to make sure you stay loaded. But I see little reason for a daily maintenance dose of 5-10 grams. If you're not taking high-daily maintenance doses, I see little reason to cycle.


Question:

Hi ,

i have a question regarding low glycemic carbs. It seems that maltodextrin is the preferred source of carbohydrate in all of the meal replacements or weight gainers out there. But isn't Maltodextrin , a high glycemic carb therefore creating a insulin response a little bit on the high side?

There is a product called Kwik Size by Labrada nutrition which is supposed to contain low glycemic carbs, what would they be?? If so, than that weight gainer could be an interesting product. Also it supposed to contain little sugar. What are you thoughts on such a product ( Low glycemic carb, weight gainer formula ) ?

Thank you

Answer:

It is my incomplete understanding that the GI of maltodextrin can vary quite a bit. But I do seem to recall that the GI is generally fairly high. The question is whether it will cause a significantly greater insulin response than a lower GI carb. The problem with drawing exacting conclusions is that GI only applies to foods consumed by themselves. So while maltodextrin may have a high GI when consumed by itself (in 50-100 gram amounts after an overnight fast, which is how GI is measured), as soon as you start adding protein, fat and fiber (or eating less than 50-100 grams), GI changes (almost always goes down) and it's hard to say what will happen. Still, in general terms, I don't see any real need for high GI carbs in meal replacement powders. The only exception is immediately after training where you want a high insulin response.

I don't see any problem with a low GI weight gainer (it actually makes good sense) but at that point I'd be inclined to mix my own weight gain shake. 1% milk is a good source of protein and fat with a fairly low GI (because of the fat content). Throw in some peanut butter (slows gastric emptying even further), a banana, or whatever (tuna shaky anyone) and you've just made a weight-gain shake that is probably just as good as anything commercially available. Cheaper and tastes better too.


Question:

The night I stop my carb-up I take 200-300 mg of lipoic acid before bed to help get me into ketosis (I repeat this the next evening also). I take in 25 grams of soy protein and 40 grams of monounsaturated fat with it. Is it possible this could lower my blood glucose too far? Also, I've noticed that I can often "taste" some of my meals up to 8 hours later (if I burp). Is it possible my body is having trouble emulsifying the huge amounts of fat required by the diet?

Answer:

I do think it's possible for ALA to lower blood glucose too far but it depends a lot on dosing. I got a feedback letter from one guy who was going hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) by taking lipoic acid on his lowcarb days. All I can suggest is to be careful with your dosing. You'll know if you're hypoglycemic, typical side effects are nausea, dizziness, sweating and the shakes. That's your sign that you took too much.

As far as digestive problems, it does seem that some folks have trouble adjusting to the inreased dietary fat intake of a ketogenic diet, especailly if they've been on lowfat diets for a long period of time. One strategy that seems to help is a high fiber intake, which slows digestion. If the problem persists, you may simply need to consider a less extreme diet for fat loss. Or spend some time on a more moderate diet (i.e. Zone/Isocaloric) before trying the full-blown ketogenic. this seems to give the gut time to adapt to the increasd fat intake.


Question:

I've been able to get down to 6.5% BF (Parillo Method), and have extemely good muscularity in th midsection, back, chest and arms( tris lag behind the other body parts) but my legs seem to be months behind. I like to compete but I'm a realist. Would some kind of estrogen blocker be helpful? I'm a male 52 Years of age, 5"7", 185lbs. Any help would be appreciated.

Mike Parente

Answer:

In all likelihood, your problms with lower bodyfat isn't related to estrogen. More likely, it's related to something called an alpha-adrenoreceptor. Without going into great technical detail, fat cells have two primary types of adrenoreceptors (receptors which react to adrenal hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline): alpha and beta receptors. Beta receptors stimulate the breakdown of fat cells. Alpha receptors inhibit the breakdown of fat cells. It's been shown that women (who tend to store more bodyfat in their lower body) have a much higher proportion of alpha-receptors than beta-receptors. This is a big part of why it's so difficult for women to lose lower bodyfat. It seems possible that men who tend to hold more bodyfat in their legs have the same problem.


Question:

My name is greg im a 17m and i want to get in shape for the summer. i started workin about 9 months ago.i need to put on some size quick i heard you have to eat mutiple small meals a day.and lift heavy weights the problem is that it not possible for me to eat 6 to 8 meals a day.when i first started i saw results but not big ones.please tell me how i can put on size with out eating so much? is it possible thanks for your reply!!

Answer:

First let me say that it's impossible to put on muscle size (except in begginers) if you're not consuming sufficient calories. However, I think 6-8 meals per day is probably overkill for most people. I think a better strategy for most folks is 3 regular meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) with 2-3 snacks in between. This keeps your body fed with the nutrients that it needs without having to prepare so many full meals. I should note that when I refer to snack, I don't mean junk food or a piece of fruit. I think snacks should contain some amount of carbs, protein and fat, as should your meals. This might mean lowfat yogurt or a couple glasses of milk, or a sandwich. This means that you need to plan ahead. If you're in school, or at work, this means preparing your meals the day before so they are ready.


Question:

Hi ,First of all i just wanna say that your site is the best i've ever seen on the net in the field of bodybuilding and similar sports,keep the good work...Hail!!!

then i'll go straight to my question(S)i'm 19 yrs old,100kgs,190cm,i was in bodybuilding for 2 years but i was not regular in goin' to the gym i didn't eat well ,and wasn't a hard worker,so no big gains r accomplished ,but now i'm back,seriously for 2 month i play 2 days and rest for 1 and so on,i started playin' aerobics beside weight trainin',sorry for the long intro but i want u to be aware of the conditions so please tell me:

1.What diet should i have to burn the mountain of fats around my abs,thighs, glutii?

2.will aerobics beside weight trainin'will make me lose some of the muscle mass i gained?

3.about supplements,i took amino fuel from twinlab but i didn't know when to take, after the workout or before or both?

4.can i play the aerobics directly before workout as a kind of warmin' up?thanks a lot please don't neglect my mail cause i don't know who to ask or what to do thanks in advance.

Answer:

1. Losing fat is ultimately a function of calories. The two most important factors will be total caloric intake (it must be below your maintenance levels) and protein intake (which must be sufficient to prevent muscle loss). I've written articles on both topics on this site. And there are about a zillion and one questions in the archives about setting up fat loss diets.

2. Too much aerobics can definitely cause muscle loss. For some people, small amoutns of aerobics seems to help with recovery and appetite. It's a matter of striking a balance between too little and too much.

3. Amino acid supplements are a waste of time. If you're determined to throw money towards supplements, a good basic protein powder and a one-per-day multi-vitamin are your best choices. After that, maybe creatine.

4. I wouldn't suggest doing a full aerobic workout prior to weight training, as it will only tire you out. Doing 5-10' of light activity is a good idea as a warmup but I think you should save a real aerobic workout for after weight training. Or put it on a different day.


Question:

hi my name is earl, i want to know if i am overtraining?

Monday heavy-chest, shoulder, tri

tues heavy -leg

wed heavy- back , biceps

thurs-off

fri-same as monday but not with heavy weight, exercises like pushups , cable crosser overs, dips for chest, and light shoulder, and tri movements.
thanks

Answer:

Unfortunately, there's no single answer to the question of "Am I overtraining?" Someone with super-genetics and hormone levels might be able to get away with the above routine, Someone with normal genetics and less than super hormones probably couldn't. However, I would say that, assuming you are of normal genetic stock, the above will eventually overtrain you. First and foremost, I never like to see more than 2 days of training in a row without a day off. Research has shown that too many days of intensive training tends to negatively affect hormone levels. Second, the entire split doesn't make much sense. I dont think the Friday workout is doing anything useful for you in terms of growth. I expect that you'd do better training the same split but work:
Mon: chest/delts/tris
Wed: legs/abs
Fri: back/bis

Just hammer each bodypart hard then give it time to grow.


Question:

I was wondering why body builders have very little hair on their bodies? Is it because they wax their bodies, or do they take some sort of drug that reduces the amount of hair on their body?

Thanks for taking the time to read my question

Joe

Answer:

Most probably shave, not wax their bodies (waxing hurts too much). The reason is simply one of apperance. As can be seen in any before/after supplement ad, shaving someone's body hair off makes them look more defined (tanning helps too). So bodybuilders shave their hair off so they can look more impressive. I'm not aware of any drug that causes hair loss like this, but they are working on new laser treatments.


Question:

Hi,

I have a question regarding the use of Coconut oil or powders in Diets. There is a nutritionnist here, that uses coconut oil in almost all of his diets. This guy is a very respected figure regarding sports nutrition around here. And his theories seem to work very well, i have witnessed amazing results.

I was just wondering why coconut oil, isn't almost the same thing as MCT oil as nutritional values go?

Thank you

Answer:

Yes, coconut oil is fairly close to MCT in terms of composition (I seem to recall it has slightly more long chain triglycerides). Outside of that, I have no idea why he would be so pro-coconut oil (you might want to ask him what his rationale is). It's highly saturated meaning it can have negative effects on blood lipid levels. Then again, saturated fat may be necessary for optimal testosterone levels.

My best guess is that it's simply a concentrated source of calories. Many lifters who have trouble gaining mass simply don't eat enough. By putting in a concentrated calorie source like coconut oil (or any fat), he may be getting them to consume enough calories so that they grow. Other than that, I'm stumped on this one. If you find out what his rationale is, please let me know.


Question:

Hello ,

I have 1 question regarding the immune system.

I keep getting tonsil inflammation when i start training a little harder than usual. There is no infection however. Looks like my immune system could be the weak link. What do you think?

Any suggestions as to any strategy to help boost my immune system Vitamins,herbs,medication, etc..

Answer:

Hmm, this is a stumper. Training can have a negative effect on the immune system although studies tend to be somewhat variable. In general, light to moderate intensity training seems to have a positive impact on immune status whereas intensive training has a negative impact. But I'm no sure why this would show up in such a localized way (tonsil inflammation). Might be indicative of something else (tonsilitis getting ready to develop?) that's worth getting checked out.

As far as nutrients, etc to improve immune system status, the biggest factor I can think of is adequate caloric intake. Beyond that, adequate protein is important for optimal immune system status. Other nutrients like glutathione, N-acetyl-cysteine and glutamine have also shown to have a beneficial impact.


Question:

Lyle, first let me say thank you for all of the advice that you give, thanks to the likes of you, Kubik, Strossen ect. I have made more progress in the last 18 Months than I did in my first 8 years with the weights.

OK, now my question. I looked thru the arcives and I don't see anything like my problem. As I said, I have been following the "old time-Dinosaur" kind of programs for a while now and making great progress. The only thing in my training that is really left for me to improve greatly is my nutrition. I understand and follow your advice for all of the macronutrients ect. My only problem is that I don't like vegetables. When I say don't like I really mean it. I can't even eat most veggies, I don't know why, but their taste totally disagrees with me. I have tried to force them down before and I just can't. Anyway, finally my question; Knowing that I can't get them any other way. Do you think it is worth my money to buy those concentrated veggies in pill form(eg. Vital Veggies), or should I just take my multi-vitamin, some Metamucil(fiber) and hope for the best?

P.S. I do like fruit juice and drink alot of this.
Thank You,
Joe

Answer:

Hmm, this is a tough one. On the one hand, I have a hard time suggesting someon take the pill route. On the other, if that person simply will NOT eat vegetables, they may not have any other choice. The biggest problem (you know this but it bears repeating) with the 'take a pill route' of getting your veggies is that supplement manufacturers can only include those nutrients which are known to occur in fruits and veggies. So by definition, no supplement can take the place of real food (since you can't put in something you haven't discovered).

I guess my first suggestion would be to try different means of disguising your vegetables. If it's a taste issue, find a salad dressing you like the taste of, it should cover up the taste of all but the nastiest vegetables (for example, no amount of dressing can make me eat red peppers, just too bitter).

If you find that you just can't disguise veggies such that you can choke them down, I guess supplementation would be the next choice.