Monday, September 10, 2001


THE WAY TO TRAIN USING MAXIMAL WEIGHTS- posted by BigDave

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: a large percentage of professional bodybuilders are about as weak as a one-armed, octogenarian stamp collector with severe arthritis. If some of these pro bodybuilders had a bench-press contest with supermodel Kate Moss, Kate would win, emaciated chest and all. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but over the last few years, I've had the opportunity to train arms with a whole slew of pros, and it never fails to chop their immense egos down a few notches. Why? Because simply, I can generally handle more weight than they can, using stricter form, even though they're usually up to 70 or 80 pounds heavier than I am.

Why am I so much stronger? The secret to my superior relative strength comes from the regular use of maximal weights.

Most bodybuilders stick religiously to a 6 to 12 rep range when training arms. In most cases, 6 to 12 reps is the best range for building up the arms, but like anything else, it only works for a while. I'm utterly convinced that one of the reasons bodybuilders fail to achieve their growth potential is that they're simply too weak for their cross-sectional muscle area.

When you look at a hypertrophied thigh of a weight lifter or power lifter, it's most often a case of "what you see is what you get." Yet, in many bodybuilders—particularly in those that use massive doses of anabolics and growth hormone—their size rarely reflects their strength.

Believe it or not, I've seen at least three Mr. Olympia contestants that couldn't even bench press 315 pounds for six reps, and that was in the off-season, when they're supposed to be their biggest and strongest. One of them even asked me to open up a peanut-butter jar for him. Okay, I'm kidding again about the peanut-butter jar, but my point is, there are plenty of strongman contest competitors with massive arms who are every bit as strong as they look.

What's the difference? Drugs, you may ask? No. Many strength athletes also use anabolics, but the main difference is in their choice of training methods. As a general rule, strongman competitors train using few exercises, done for multiple sets of low reps with long rest intervals between sets.

I recently used one of these IFBB pros as a guinea pig to test my theory. Milos Sarcev, a very popular and widely known professional bodybuilder was in the midst of serious muscle plateau. When I convinced him to start using heavier loads in his workouts, his physique skyrocketed. As a result, being narrowly edged out of first place, he almost won the prestigious Night of the Champions competition. Maybe he took solace in the fact that he knew he could easily beat the winner in an arm-wrestling contest.

Why Use Maximal Weights?

As I've said time and time again, the nervous system is the forgotten component of bodybuilding, and training with maximal weights targets this area by improving the link between the central nervous system and the muscular system. This is what German exercise physiologists refer to as intra-muscular training. By using this method, the trainee will learn to access a greater percentage of motor units in a given cross-section of muscle tissue.

General Tips for Training With Maximal Weights

Although training with maximal weights is fairly straightforward, there are various things to keep in mind so that you can make the most of this 12-week period:

1) If possible, train in groups of two or three athletes. This will make it easier to load and unload plates, as well as serve as a natural "clock." In other words, when lifter B and lifter C finish their sets, it's time for you to do your next set. Training partners also serve to motivate you and help cut down the risk of injury.

2) Increase the weight or load by 1-3% when you achieve your rep goals. Most gyms don't carry a lot of small disks, but you can buy Eleiko Olympic disks of 0.5 kilograms and 0.25 kilograms from Sports Strength (1-800-285-9634). Another alternative is to buy PlateMates. They're magnetized weights that fit on the end of a bar. They sell both 1 1/4 pound weights and 5/8 pound weights. They're a great thing to have anyhow, as they also attach to dumbbells for making intermediate jumps in weight. I recommend you buy the donut-shaped ones, as they also fit on hexagon dumbbells. Their number is 1-800-877-3322.

3) Record all sets, reps, and rest intervals for purposes of motivation, monitoring, and program evaluation. Invest a few bucks in a training diary and keep meticulous records. The more high-tech approach is to use an Apple Newton, of course, like one of my clients. Unfortunately, this method has inherent disadvantages. For some reason, training partners "inadvertently" drop weights on them to see how far the computer chips fly.

4) Try to pair agonists and antagonists together. This helps with muscle recovery. The ability of a muscle to produce full motor-unit activation may be enhanced when preceded immediately by a contraction of the muscle's antagonist. It's also effective to alternate agonist/antagonist exercises to increase motor unit activation, as long as you allow for enough rest in-between sets.

5) Don't overdo it. Keep the workouts under 1 hour, as working out longer will deplete androgen levels.

6) Make sure that you're motivated before you begin to work out.

7) Keep in mind that, contrary to popular bodybuilding methodology, maximal weight training imposes lower energy requirements per time unit. To put it simply, you won't burn as many calories and your caloric requirements will be less during this training period.

In closing, let me say that maximal weight training isn't for everyone. People who are only interested in having arms that aren't the least bit functional should avoid them like the plague and work out with Kate Moss.

Friday, August 24, 2001


BRIDGING - answered by NAPALM1

Q: Napalm, I saw that you are gonna be on AS till April. I am interested in staying on AS and bridging without loosing testicular function permanentaly. How do you guys cycle in clomid, hcg, tribulus with your bridging cycles? What do you tipically bridge with? I would like to start bridging but am worried about loosing testicular function(i don't mind loosing it short term, but don't wanna wind up impotent). Any info that any of you guys can provide me with on bridging info or examples is greatly appreciated. Thanks alot (BIGJOSH)

A: I bridge with primo, T3, insulin and clen. I have been doing 16 week cycles with 8 week bridges. I like the way it works out and have been pretty happy with the results. In April I am going to get completely off everything for 8 weeks and start fresh with a huge mass cycle. Well unless I place well at the Emerald cup, then I will stay on until after nationals.

Oh, I use clomid for 4 weeks after every cycle at 50/100/100/50. I don't use tribulus or HCG at all. As far as dosages its something like this:

Primo......300mg a week (all 300mg in one inj per week)
T3...........8 weeks at 25/50/75/100/100/75/50/25
slin..........25iu 3x ED before meals for 4 weeks then 25iu ED for 4 weeks
clen.........2 weeks on and 2 weeks off with ephedrine on off weeks.

Peace,
NAPALM1


Monday, August 20, 2001


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS BY THE LATE STEROID GURU, DAN DUCHAINE

Q: I'm a fighter as well as a bodybuilder. I gained 15 pounds using primobolan tabs, and I'm happy. However, next year I'll be competing in kickboxing. Can I pop one or two aggression pills before a fight? I'm normally laid back, and it's affecting my fighting instinct.

A: Before I answer your question, I'd like to tell you that this is the kind of question I really dislike. The bodybuilding subculture doesn't need any more Type A individuals acting like assholes.

Anyway, most of the benign, non-androgenic steroids have been quietly removed from the commercial market . The most plentiful steroids on the black market are the various testosterones, which are not considered anabolics but rather classic androgens.

There have always been some individuals who actually crave increased aggressiveness, and such behavior has been condoned within their peer group. The obvious examples are the overt contact sports like boxing. But football players (when they were not being tested), law enforcement personnel, and military recruits all requested androgenic steroids when I was a steroid dealer ten years ago.

As to this specific question: yes, there is such a thing as an "aggression pill." But I wonder if much of the "effects" are due to placebo. There has been a recent scientific study which validates this possibility.

The obvious choice for Kickassabol is sublingual methyltestosterone, since it's an androgen and has an activity level of only about 20 minutes. Some powerlifters I know would pop them like PEZ just before each lift.

The next choice is the trade-named Halotestin. The generic name is fluoxymesterone. In its favor (or maybe not), it's more androgenic than methyltestosterone. But it's not in sublingual form, so absorption is slow. This is avail able in Mexico as Stenox in two- milligram tabs. I could cautiously recommend 10 milligrams of this drug, but it really doesn't get into the circulation swiftly like sublingual methyltestosterone does.

The current state of the art for commercial androgens is a liquid veterinary or al preparation called Checque Drops (mibolerone). An eyedropper is included in the packaging. Checque Drops is the most androgenic substance currently being sold. It's so powerful that it's taken in micrograms, rather than the usual milligrams. It's used in animal medicine to prevent female dogs from going into heat, and it's usually added to the dog's food.

The powerlifters who use Checque Drops use two full droppers, taken orally. Although some pain-tolerant individuals do inject the liquid, which is mostly propylene glycol, a solvent, it causes tremendous burning at the injection site. It also doesn't do wonders for your stomach lining, either, which is why we have seen a limit of two droppers full.

I can't quite say if Checque Drops is terribly anabolic, because I have yet to see any powerlifter or bodybuilder use large amounts of it. However, we do know that Checque Drops will latch onto the steroid receptor tighter than even testosterone. Usually, the high-affinity androgens like dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or Proviron don't have any anabolic activity.

In the mid-'80's, the black market DDR designer steroids relabeled Checque Drops as dihydrolone and sold it as a so-called East German injectable. The chief side effect was gynecomastia. Although Checque Drops doesn't convert to estrogen, it's one of the very few steroids that cross reacts with progesterone (the other "female" hormone) receptors. It does not block the actions of progesterone but actually imparts progesterone-like activity at the receptor.

So continual use of Checque Drops may cause swelling of the (male) breast tissue, just as estrogen does. Even now, Checque Drops are used for powerlifting out-of-competition training. Within 20 minutes or so, 2 droppers of Checque Drops instill a noticeable psychological effect. So Checque Drops is my candidate for Kickassabol.

But beside s the fact that its use and possession is illegal (even if you're a horny dog), I don't recommend it because the androgens are what usually generate the side effects that lead to all the horror stories that average people associate wi th steroid use.

[pump's side note: Since this article was written, I would like to add that fina/trenbolone tends to make individuals quite aggressive.]

Q: I want to use 3 sustanon 250's a week. Should I space the shots out, or can I inject all of it at once? The sustanons are in preloaded syringes, and the needles are pretty big. How do I transfer t he contents into another syringe?

A: There is no benefit to spacing out the injections. A total oil volume of three cubic centimeters is not an especially large injection. And Sustanon, which is a blend of various durations of testosterone, is so long acting that there is no "magic" in spacing the injections throughout the week.

The standard Mexican Sustanon preload uses a 20-gauge needle. (For readers who are unfamiliar with needle sizes, the smaller the number, the bigger the needle diameter.) Most oil-based drugs are injected with a 21-gauge needle. The smaller the gauge (the higher the number), the more finger pressure needed to force the oil through the needle. In practical terms, in a standard 3-cc syringe size, most steroid users can force oil through a 23-gauge needle by pushing with one hand.

Some individuals can use a so-called vitamin needle of 25 gauge, but it entails using both hands to push the syringe plunger. Most vitamin needles do not use a screw-on connection between the needle and the syringe, and trying to force the oils through this combination generates so much fluid pressure (think of hydraulics) that usually the individual blows the syringe off the needle, and he's left with a needle sticking out of his ass, an empty syringe in his hand, and the oily steroids pewed about onto the worst of places.

When I self-surrendered to prison in 1989, I was trying to do the same vitamin needle stunt outside the prison gate inside my friend's new Mercedes and sprayed 3-ccs of Sustanon all over his beautiful Palomino leather interior.

But you're right, the 20-gauge Sustanon needle is damn big. And since you're insisting on using three preloads a week, that would create three very big holes that will accrue muscle scar tissue.

Here's how I used to do it, but first, I suppose I should give the standard warning of don't try this at home: my preference was a 23- gauge, 1-inch length. I would remove the plunger and hold it in my teeth. I held the empty syringe in my left hand, and I carefully plunged the Sustanon preload's contents into the open syringe top. I emptied two more Sustanons into the syringe, which filled it to the 3- cc limit. I then carefully and gently replaced the plunger right at the very edge of the syringe rim. I didn't want to push the plunger in too much at this point because I'd dribble steroid out of the needle end.

Once the plunger was in position, I turned the syringe upside down (plunger pointing down). I gave the syringe a few shakes downward, and that moved the trapped air up! to the needle end. At this point I could push the plunger in more, removing the air from the syringe. And then I was ready to finalize my felony.

Q: I've read that testosterone has great IGF-1 generating abilities, and Deca Durabolin is not nearly as good. Should I avoid Deca if I want to get maximum growth?

A: Testosterone is a more potent anabolic than Deca Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate). It might be that a steroid's ability to aromatize into estrogen is tied into the IGF-1 elevation. Testosterone has more conversion to estrogen than Deca Durabolin does, even though Deca Durabolin is made from an estrogen .

We know that the use of the estrogen blocker Nolvadex lowers IGF-1. And we knew years ago that something about Nolvadex was inhibiting muscle growth because I received many comments that bodybuilders grew better without Nolvadex. So should you avoid a steroid which has less side effects than testosterone in your quest for ultimate growth? It depends on how old you are.

From AIDS research, we now know that testosterone depresses the immune system. Deca Durabolin does the opposite (but not to any great degree). My recommendation is that from middle age onward (pick an age, I use age 40 as the starting point), men should use Deca Durabolin instead of testosterone, even in situations of testosterone replacement. We also should be realistic.

After a certain age, both growth and IGF-1 are not secreted at their previous youthful levels. So does it matter if Deca Durabolin reduces IGF-1 production if normal levels in middle age and onward are already insignificant?

No. Research on that question has been done. I have a feeling that IGF-1 production declines so much by middle age that its suppression from Deca Durabolin would have no effect. Another point to make about testosterone use -- we don't have a blood test that can tell us which individuals are going to lose their hair from testosterone use. I have a close friend who is 60 years old and uses 600 mg of testosterone a week and has a full head of hair. And he has been using various steroids, including testosterone, for close to 30 years.

As we can see in the professional bodybuilding ranks, some bodybuilders are losing a lot of hair to be able to compete at the over 250-pound body-weight mark. It would be interesting to interview a number of balding bodybuilders and ask them if they wished they had avoided the various baldness-causing steroids.

Is the loss of hair just a small price to pay for greatness? That probably depends on if the individual has any kind of life outside of bodybuilding. If the person's whole self and peer esteem is completely centered around his body "looking awesome," then I imagine that hair loss is no big deal.

But remember, when the person stops steroid use and muscle size decreases, the hair, of course, doesn't grow back.

Q: One of the arguments against steroid use is that all the gains I would make would disappear once I stopped using steroids. Is this true?

A: Yes, eventually, virtually all of the gains from steroid use would disappear. However, it would take years for that to happen.

This is one of the reasons football players have not been getting smaller since drug testing began . Off-season, players don't get tested, and they can accrue enough muscle mass to "coast" though the playing season. The same logic applies with drug-tested bodybuilding shows. A bodybuilder could swear on a polygraph that he hadn't used steroids for a year. Swell, except, during the year of being "clean," a good amount of steroid-generated muscle will still be there.

Steroids are still the anabolic bargain. In the studies of geriatrics using growth hormone, all of the beneficial effects induced from the growth hormone went away within a matter of weeks. I predict that the same fleeting anabolism will happen with IGF-1. Clenbuterol's effects diminished even more rapidly.

Many doctors don't want to admit it, but limited steroid use of a yearly, eight-week cycle would have virtually no adverse side effects and would probably vastly improve the health of the individual through the rest of the year. It would be interesting to put a group of bodybuilders on a mild short cycle and then track the decreases of muscle mass over the months after the end of the cycle. These results wouldn't surprise me, but I don't think the anti-steroid crowd would like to hear that steroid gains do last for a long time.

Q: I've been using some liquid GHB from two different sources. Both taste bad, but one tastes more like paint thinner than the other. The powder never tasted this bad. What gives?

A: As much as the FDA doesn't want gamma hydroxybuterate (GHB) being made, it's an absurdly simple compound to make. Just add water and lye to the lactone solvent, adjust the pH to 7, and it's done. And no, I won't give you the recipe again, and I won't tell you where to buy the lactone.

The toughest part of the granular GHB refining process was turning the liquid into a solid. The drying gets rid of all the trace solvents that impart the petrochemical smell. The various new (underground) GHB producers don't have the esoteric equipment to dry the liquid.

What is the difference between the different-tasting liquids you allegedly have? The fouler one of the two probably has a pH of slightly under seven. A well-made liquid GHB is no more toxic than the dry form. And overall, GHB has virtually no toxicity. The problem is how to know if the particular GHB is a good one.

The best you can do is scrutinize the packaging. One GHB on the black market has both contraindications and research listings included with the packaging. But don't get too worked up about GHB. It's not really an ergogenic aid. The corresponding rise of cortisol negates any positive effect caused by whatever slight growth hormone may have been caused by GHB use. GHB is a (mostly benign) recreational drug. Those who claim otherwise are just in denial.

Q: Whenever I use clenbuterol, it works great for about two weeks. After that, I can use ten tabs a day and my temperature will hardly rise. What can I do about this?

A: Clenbuterol is a beta-2 agonist. It attaches to the same receptor as your natural adrenaline and noradrenaline do. It has a very high bonding capacity to the adrenergic receptor. Whenever a drug fits well onto a cell receptor , the receptor becomes resistant to that drug. For example, the thermogenic effect of ephedrine seems to have a longer duration (though it's not as potent ) for two reasons:

1) ephedrine doesn't have a high receptor affinity.

2) ephedrine is not beta-2 specific. You might have heard about the newly discovered beta-3 receptors. The receptor is primarily a thermogenic messenger, and over half the thermogenic effect from ephedrine is from beta-3 stimulation.

Although the thermogenic message is not as intense as the beta-2 message, beta-3 receptors are very resistant to down-regulation. Clenbuterol, however, has very little beta-3 stimulation. Until some new synthetic beta-3 agonist is commercially available, the beta agonist of choice is still clenbuterol (although the stronger cimaterol is available as a research chemical in the U.S.). The rapid receptor sensitivity attenuation happens to all users, and the various dosage schemes (i.e., two days on, two days off) just aren't successful.

This attenuation and the lowering of above-normal body temperature are governed by two different mechanisms. I've written about one of them before: the shunting of T4 thyroid away from the active T3 form into the ineffective reverse-T3. Most of the thyroid in the body is the inactive T4 type. The active thyroid that actually fits onto thyroid receptors is a reduced T4, and reduced T4 occurs when one of the iodine atoms is cleaved off the molecule by a specific enzyme (deiodinase).

Since we have no way of stopping the T4 from being transformed into ineffective reverse-T3 instead of he active T3, and there's no such thing as injectable deiodinase (which would prevent the reduction), the best approach is to supplement the missing T3 with Cytomel, a synthetic T3. The trouble is, it's likely a daily amount of Cytomel higher than 25 mcg would eventually stop the production of natural thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and the up-regulation will take about 8 weeks.

Then, when you go off Cytomel, your body's still laggin' in production of TSH. So now you know why almost everybody who stops taking thyroid (with the exception of the drug Triacana) gets fat. For eight weeks, the body doesn't need as many calories. Up to this point, the Cytomel trick was only a partial solution.

The second and major decrease of body temperature is caused by the down- regulation of the beta-2 receptor. The receptor actually is still in the cell but not in its usual place. The receptor must be at the outside of the cell surface to be available to the beta agonist. There is research showing that the antihistamine ketotifen (trade name Zaditen by Sandoz) in large dosages will up-regulate the beta-2 receptors. This is similar to the American Periactin (cyproheptadine).

This class of antihistamine will cause drowsiness, hunger, and irritability, but you may think the negative symptoms are a small price to play.

Here are the particulars. Zaditen is only available in France in 1- mg capsules , 60 capsules to a box. It sells for 65.10 francs (about $12.25). Because of its appetite-stimulating and muscle-building properties, Zaditen is sold through some of the American AIDS buying clubs. The average price for it in America is $40 a box. The dose needed for the up-regulation of the beta-2 receptors is about 10 capsules (10 mg)--assuming you've been using 3 clenbuterol tablets (60 mcg) each day.

Sigma Chemicals, the company that has all the bodybuilding goodies that we like but can't buy (including steroids), does sell ketotifen (the fumarate version is water soluble) in raw bulk form. Keep in mind that even when used with clenbuterol, which both reduces appetite and is more of a stimulant than caffeine, Zaditen will still cause sleepiness and hunger. Those aren't nice effects, especially if you're dieting.

Your final solution to sustain clenbuterol's action is to use both Cytomel (25 mcg) and Zaditen (10 mg) each day after using clenbuterol by itself for 2 weeks . You'll need only 60 mcg of clenbuterol for a very pronounced thermogenic effect, hypothetically speaking, of course.

Q: I plan on using insulin, the Humulin R kind, and was wondering if I should take vanadyl and metformin with it ?

A: Vanadyl and metformin will affect the action of insulin in both good and bad ways. The good thing is less insulin is needed for the small amount of carbohydrates consumed. Increasing the effects of insulin at its lowest possible dosage is the ideal situation. The bad thing is that if you maintain the insulin dosage and food intake levels you had prior to adding vanadyl or metformin, you'd probably get some kind of hypoglycemic reaction, perhaps even go into a coma.

The over- the-counter insulin is enticing because it's cheap and its usefulness is supported by stories from top professional bodybuilders. The underfunded and uninformed recreational bodybuilder, however, may suffer many adverse side effects. Even at moderately low daily dosages of Humulin R, visceral (interorgan) fat will accumulate. At best, this is cosmetically repugnant (men looking pregnant). At worst, visceral fat is associated with heart disease. This fat, at least in male bodybuilders, appears to be the last fat deposit lost when dieting.

Metformin was heralded, a few years back, as an "alternative to insulin", but neither type II diabetics nor bodybuilders have been raving about this drug. What little positive effect metformin has on insulin resistance occurs only at high dosages.

We now have hopes for the next generation diabetic drug. Rezulin (troglitazone), recently available here in states. Since Rezulin's action appears to work on the insulin receptors (increasing their number) and not at the gut level like metformin, it looks like a possible bodybuilding drug. Increasing insulin receptors is a good thing, unless it happens on fat cells, too. We don't have a formula for the reduction of insulin when using these insulin synergists. Half the usual dose? Less/more ?

From my BODYOPUS experiments I've found a glucometer isn't accurate blood glucose indicator for readings under 120 dl/ml. I wouldn't try this stack. You're always cutting edge. What's the next bg thing in bodybuilding drugs ? I mean, beyond DNP and insulin, what floats your boat ? Injectable, once-a-year growth vaccasines-two are being worked on.

One vaccine inhibits somatostatin, which is a trace hormone, mostly secreted in the hypothalamus. Somatostatin is a growth-hormone- inhibiting factor, one of the counter hormones which stops the secretion of growth hormone. The other vaccine is an antigen that causes the sama anabolic response through the same receptor stimulated by clenbuterol (and other beta-agonists). Clenbuterol is anabolic in animals in only very high dosages, and these dosages would be lethal for humans. The new antigen vaccine would stimulate the same anabolic receptor, nut it wouldn't cause any of the side effects. Both of these vaccines are being developed in the beef industry in Australia.

Q: In your recent estrogen article, you mentioned Clomid (clomiphene) was safe for long-term use by bodybuilders. But in the World Anabolic Review, the authors say Clomid should be used for no more than 14 days and that it's a poor estrogen blocker. Also you gave Proviron (mesterolone) a poor mark while the World Anabolic Review claims it's one of the best estrogen blockers. What's up? I'm totally confused.

A: Although Colmid isn't the best of the anti-estrogens, it also has the dual function of mimicking luteinizing hormone, which stimulates gonadal testosterone. So, if you want to lower estrogen and raise testosterone or maintain a natural testosterone level during steroid use, Clomid, if found economically, is an attractive option.

I believe the World Anabolic Review writers probably misread the warnings about Clomid and printed the duration of use for women. There are no adverse reactions with long-term use in men that I know of. If a steroid user is looking for a pracrical estrogen blocker to prevent gynecomastia, Clomid is not the besto choice. In this case, the usual choices are either Nolvadex or Proviron. After recent discussions with one of my newsletter writers/researchers, Bill Roberts, I've come to believe Proviron might not be the terrible, androgenic steroid I always assumed it was. Bill Roberts has pointed out that the liver metabolizes Proviron into something with minimal androgenic action. Although on paper Proviron appears to be a classic androgen, its ultimate fate in the body is much more benign.

Monday, August 13, 2001


GLUTAMINE - part 1
Reach Your Peak With Glutamine

You know about the importance of eating enough protein every day. It provides vital amino acids for your body, helping you build a defined, muscular physique while enjoying good health. But did you know that the usually recommended amount of protein is still not enough to reach your peak in muscle mass or optimize your immune system? It's true: Even protein intakes exceeding the RDA can provide less of the amino acid glutamine than you need. Studies have shown that you must supplement with this important nutrient if you want to get the most from your diet and exercise program.

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body. The majority of which is stored within the skeletal muscles, although significant amounts are also found in the blood, lungs, liver, and brain. Glutamine is involved in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid in the body. And while it shares many characteristics with the other amino acids, it does have one major difference: Because it has a nitrogen atom to spare, glutamine is able to transport nitrogen around the body. This allows it to perform some of its unique functions.

Gets Rid of Lactic Acid

When you engage in intensive exercise, it often leads to a "burning" sensation that eventually becomes so strong you have to stop for a few minutes. This "burn" is produced by lactic acid, which is a byproduct of anaerobic glucose and glycogen metabolism during muscle contraction. Glutamine plays a vital role in regulating the body's acid-based balance. It gives rise to the production of bicarbonate ions by the kidneys, which neutralizes some of the lactic acid. The kidneys also break down glutamine to produce ammonia in a multi-step process. This neutralizes even more of the lactic acid. During periods of high-acidic concentrations, these two mechanisms can increase glutamine consumption in the kidneys six to ten times over the normal rate. The greater the availability of glutamine, the greater the potential for rapid restoration of the body's acid-based balance. This can allow you to resume exercise sooner and may even permit higher levels of force production during your workout.

Boosts Growth Hormone

Growth hormone is one of the most important hormones in the body. Secreted by the pituitary gland, it plays a major role in muscle growth and retention due to its ability to promote cell division and proliferation. It does this by increasing the amount of amino acids transported across the cell membrane. Growth hormone also promotes the growth of bones and connective tissue. It also increases the level of free fatty acids in the blood, resulting in a greater use of fat as an energy source and the sparing of available protein and carbohydrates. By raising the body's energy expenditure at rest, it helps to reduce your body-fat level, too.

A study by researcher Thomas Welbourne found that oral glutamine supplementation has a dramatic impact on growth hormone secretion. A dose of only 2 gm following a light breakfast increased growth hormone levels by 430% over baseline levels after 90 minutes! There was an increase in plasma bicarbonate concentration as well, which confirms that oral glutamine supplementation is an effective way to reduce lactic acid levels. Since growth hormone concentrations decline with age, such dramatic increases are especially good news for people entering middle age and beyond.

Fights Catabolic Reactions

Glutamine plays an important role in fighting catabolic reactions in the body, thereby promoting the greatest anabolic response to exercise. During intensive training sessions, microcellular damage to the muscle tissue usually occurs, along with increased secretion of the catabolic hormone, cortisol. These two factors result in an initial breakdown of muscle. Eventually, the body overcomes these negative forces and begins to build new muscle tissue (protein synthesis). The time it takes for this to occur, however, depends on your level of nutrition and supplementation.

While branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have sometimes been recommended to fight catabolism, several research studies have shown that glutamine is superior to the BCAAs in promoting protein synthesis. Glutamine peptides have also been shown to prevent the muscle atrophy induced by high cortisol levels. Glutamine also increases water levels inside the muscle cell, although the increase is not as pronounced as with creatine. This higher intracellular water supply enhances protein synthesis, providing more raw materials for building new muscle tissue. Glutamine even promotes the storage of muscle glycogen, a vital energy source during high-intensity training. Despite its importance in muscular development, glutamine is virtually the last nutrient to be restored to pre-exercise levels. This makes supplementation essential if you want to maximize the gains from your training program. Glutamine supplementation will also allow the other amino acids in your food to be used for their intended anabolic purposes, enhancing the biological value of your entire protein intake.

Improves the Immune System

There is no doubt that strenuous exercise can tax the immune system. Numerous studies have shown a higher incidence of infections and cold symptoms following a bout of intense exercise. Glutamine depletion appears to be partly responsible. A study by L.M. Castell and colleagues found a significant drop in the plasma level of glutamine in endurance athletes after a marathon. However, when these researchers gave 5 gm of glutamine to more than 100 athletes, they discovered that only 19% of them reported infections during the next seven days, compared to 51% of the athletes in the placebo group. Glutamine's anti-catabolic benefits are also used to promote recovery in hospital patients. A wide range of studies reported improvements in immune parameters when glutamine is added to the meals of bone-marrow transplant and chemotherapy patients as well as burn and trauma victims. Clearly, glutamine is powerfully beneficial!

Glutamine supplementation helps to keep you healthy and strong in many ways. In fact, when you consider how inexpensive this amino acid is, it could be one of the most cost-effective supplements on the market today.

GLUTAMINE - part 2
Glutamine and the Over-Training Syndrome

Most weight trainers and other athletes are familiar with the Over-training Syndrome. Excessive training with insufficient rest intervals can result in an over-trained state, which in turn, leaves the athlete at risk of muscle or connective tissue injury, infection, chronic fatigue, and under performance.

Strangely enough, one of the "nonessential" amino acids - glutamine - appears to play a key role in preventing Over-training Syndrome. Although classified as nonessential because it can be synthesized from other amino acids, glutamine is in face, the most abundant amino acid in human muscle and blood. It is critically important for growing and regenerating cells, including those found in exercised muscle tissues, and white blood cells. During catabolic states such as surgery, injury, infection and the recovery period following high intensity exercise, glutamine supplies are taxed, and the body cannot manufacture it from other amino acids nearly fast enough to meet the demand. To sustain tissue growth and healing, and to turn catabolism into anabolism, glutamine must be supplied from somewhere else, namely, dietary protein, or supplementation.

Several recent scientific articles on the Over-training Syndrome discuss the relationship of glutamine nutrition to the symptoms of over-training. Athletes with these symptoms have lower levels of plasma glutamine at rest than active healthy controls. These reduced levels of glutamine impact white blood cells, reducing the ability of the immune system to ward off infection.

In catabolic stress states, including the recovery period after exercise, tissue requirements for glutamine are increased, while plasma glutamine is depleted. This is, of course, the period during which it is MOST CRITICAL to maintain proper nutrition in order to GAIN strength from the precious workout, rather than lose it! In fact, it takes several hours for normal (pre-exercise) levels of glutamine to be restored. The problem is compounded if the athlete does not allow for adequate recovery periods between workouts, creating a serious shortage of glutamine. Eventually, the Over-training Syndrome sets in, accompanied by low plasma glutamine levels that can persist for months or years.

Clearly, this data makes a strong argument for high-protein supplementation immediately before and after workouts, and for glutamine supplementation for several hours or days after workouts. Without adequate glutamine, not only are the benefits of the previous workout lost, but the entire body is put at risk of eventual Over-training Syndrome - with its staleness, tiredness, injuries, infections, and all the rest. If you currently suffer from over-training, crank up the glutamine and total protein intake, and give you body a chance to re-accumulate its reserves.

Tuesday, August 07, 2001


10 QUICK TIPS TO BUILD MUSCLE MASS (part 1)
Thanks BigDave

Muscle mass is the straw that stirs the drink in the sport of bodybuilding. Talk all you want about symmetry, shape and definition, but in the final analysis, muscle mass is the defining element of a physique. The mass building equation has three components: a correct diet strategy, hardcore training and high tech supplementation. It;s not rocket science, but there are tricks to it, nonetheless.

To save you time and trouble, I've complied 10 tips to jump start anabolism and create a positive nitrogen balance - to pack on muscle mass, you need to take in more nitrogen via protein and training than you excrete through the natural metabolic process.

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1. Emphasize the Negative

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Muscle growth is the logical byproduct of muscle contraction. Much emphasis is placed on the concentric phase of a lift where the muscle shortens as it contracts. But the stretching of the muscle during the eccentric, or negative, phase where the muscle lengthens while maintaining tension can directly cause muscle hypertrophy, too. Emphasizing the negative is an easy technique to overload muscles and promote radical gains in mass.

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2. Eat Fish

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Fish containing higher amounts of fat - salmon, for instance - provide us with the ever popular omega-3 fatty acids. Why is this important? The omega-3s make the muscle more sensitive to insulin; hence, they fuel glycogen storage and amino acid entry into muscles while also preserving glutamine stores.

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3. Increase Sodium Intake

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I'm not kidding. Sodium is an essential mineral that is an absolute must for muscle growth. Sodium has a bad rap because it can cause water retention - anathema to contest ready bodybuilders. On the plus side, sodium enhances carbohydrate storage and amino acid absorption while also improving the muscle's responsiveness to insulin.
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4. Stop All Aerobics

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Aerobic exercise has a detrimental effect on mass building. Aerobics interfere with strength gains and recovery while burning up valuable glycogen and branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Adding mass is the best way to upgrade your resting metabolic rate (RMR); is the RMR is elevated, more calories are burned and it is easier to stay lean.

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5. Lift Explosively

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The amount of force a muscle generates is proportional to the amount of muscle growth you'll be able to create. Force is defined as mass (the weight you use) multiplied by acceleration (the speed at which you push a weight against resistance). To generate more force, then, progressively increase your poundages while lifting explosively - in this context, you actually increase speed during the second half of the rep.

10 QUICK TIPS TO BUILD MUSCLE MASS (part 2)
Thanks BigDave

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6. Dramatically increase your calories for three days

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You will never achieve a positive nitrogen balance with a low calorie diet. It takes raw materials - carbs, protein and fats - to build new muscle mass and support recovery. Increasing your calories by 50% (from 3,0000 to 4,500 per day, for instance) for three days can spur growth while adding little if any bodyfat. The key is to limit the increased calories to a designated three day period; you'll be able to stimulate growth by improving muscle sensitivity to insulin and by providing more carbs for glycogen storage. If you are in a overtrained state - and if you're not gaining any new muscle mass, this is probably the case - the additional calories will promote anabolism before fat storage is able to kick in. That's why you want to limit the 50% increase to a three day period. After that time, return to your typical intake of daily calories; you'll have stimulated new growth without adding unwanted fat.

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7. Rest

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Many bodybuilders are unable to pack on mass because they are always training and, therefore, always recovering from those grueling workouts. Taking a couple of days off can restore glycogen, increase anabolism and allow hormonal indexes such as testosterone and cortisol to return to optimal levels.

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8. Eat in the Middle of the Night

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Anabolism depends on an excess of calories. As you are well aware, bodybuilders eat four to six times per day to increase the absorption of nutrients and to provide a steady influx of carbs, protein and fat. Expanding on the four to six meals per day plan is to include a protein drink in the middle of the night that can encourage additional growth. Glutamine EFX, providing 30 grams of protein and carbs along with the 'big three' (see tip #10), is a good option for this late at night infusion of nutrients.

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9. Increase Strength Through Powerlifting

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Your muscles respond to training in three ways. When you train with high reps (more than 15), there is an increase in endurance with no substantive improvement in size or strength. The six to twelve rep range - the range that all big bodybuilders rely on - promotes an increase in both size and strength. Powerlifters generally stay with low reps, two to four per set, which supplements strength with slight variances in size. However, if you set aside one week of training to pile on the weights with low reps the subsequent improvement in strength will make you stronger when you return to the six to twelve rep routine. Here's the formula: More strength equals more tension on the muscle equals more growth.

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10. Supplement with the Big Three:
Glutamine, Creatine and BCAA

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Glutamine is known as the immunity amino. If you are overly stressed from dieting or training, the immune system kicks in, releasing glutamine into the bloodstream. Having low levels of glutamine will inhibit muscle growth - that's why supplementing with glutamine is important.

Creatine is associate with added power and the ability to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) - the chemical fuel source for training and growth. Supplementing with creatine allows bodybuilders to raise creatine levels in the muscle - therefore enhancing strength and ATP - without the unwanted fat that you'd be saddled with by getting all your creatine exclusively from food.

Branched chain amino acids act as a handy fuel source when glycogen stores are low. Adding BCAA to your nutritional program will increase your nitrogen balance while preventing the dreaded catabolic state that derives from overtraining or overdieting.

[BigBody]

Saturday, July 28, 2001


PROPER DIET WHILE ON DNP
(from DNP Guru)

In my other informative thread about dnp cycling tips (below, Monday July 23) I mentioned that an appropriate diet while on dnp should be isocaloric, meaning same amount of calories from the 3 major macronutrients, protein, carbs, and fat. this is by no means optimum, but is the easiest to remember and follow for beginners.

As you get more advanced with dnp cycles you should switch up this ratio a bit. Either way it won't make a huge difference because it's mostly about the total calorie consumption.

This is what i'm proposing to be the optimal dnp diet:

50% carbs, 35% protein, 15% fat. It's not a misprint, carbs are essential for dnp to work properly. From this point it will get a bit complicated, but read over it a few times and you will get the gist of it. I'll also try to keep it as simple as possible.

When fatty acids are broken down they need to be fed into an energy cycle for a complete break down so that more can be broken down later. the beginning of this cycle is called the citric acid cycle. Fats enter the citric acid cycle as a 2 carbon molecule called acetate and to start off this cycle it needs to bind to another 2 carbon molecule called oxaloacetate. Without enough oxaloacetate this cycle can not procede. With little oxaloacetate this cycle is slowed down, thus fat burning is slowed down. Where does oxaloacetate come from? Several sources, but the main one is from pyruvate, the end product of the first step of glucose (carbohydrate) metabolism. Without enough glucose in the blood, fat burning becomes very inefficient.

This is not to say the more carbs we eat the more pyruvate we can generate, therefor the more fat is burned. We only need adequate levels of pyruvate to supply the citric acid cycle of the necessary starting material for fat to enter, then it will eventually procede to be completely oxidized in the electron transport chain.

Don't worry about eating too many carbs while on dnp because these carbs can not be stored and are immediately used for fuel to try to replenish cellular atp. While keeping the calorie level at maintainance level, it would be most beneficial to eat about 55% calories from carbs, 35% protein and 10% fat (mostly unsaturated). It may be optimal for fat burning to raise the carbs a bit more, but the protein should be high enough so that muscle catabolism is kept at a minimum when dnp creates the huge calorie deficit in the body.

The least effective form of dieting while on a dnp cycle is a fat diet, or ketogenic diet, but the high amounts of fat helps to slow gastric emptying, so you feel more satisfied for a longer period of time. This is one reason why i first recommended the iso caloric diet to beginners who may have trouble controlling their appetite while on dnp.

Friday, July 27, 2001


THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP

You have taken all the steps possible to assure maximum muscle growth. You carefully measure protein intake, you take the best "supplements", and bust your ass in the gym, but your gains are still not what they should be...... what went wrong?

Sleep may be the answer. Deep sleep patterns may mean the difference between big anabolic gains and none at all! Both bodily repair and anabolic growth occurs only during quality rest, and when deep sleep patterns become routine. How many of us resist the drowsy call that is time to sleep, everyone at times views sleep as an unwanted intruder into their work, play ,or leisure activities.

How long can a person go without any sleep? Based on small animal studies in which subjects have been exposed to extreme sleep derivation, scientist have estimated that the average human may not live past 10 days without sleep. Not as clear, however, are the exact physiological mechanisms resulting form sleep deprivation that ultimately lead to death. It has been said that hypothalamus, which regulates several of the body's metabolic activities, is not able to control body temperature after being deprived of sleep for many days.

While lack of sleep can have detrimental consequences, adequate sleep provides only positive benefits. In a typical day, a persons waking hours are used trying to meet the many physical and mental demands encountered, as well as replenishing vital nutrients as they are being used up during the day. In the hours remaining–during sleep– the body takes time out to rebuild and recharge, preparing for the day ahead.

Recuperation during sleep is related to a sensitive built in biological clock. Electrical activity measured in the brain during sleep indicates that healthy physiological changes occur in 90 min periods throughout the night, this result in different stages of sleep. The most important stage of sleep for the bodybuilder is the 4th stage or REM sleep this is where dreams and actual muscle paralysis takes place. If. for some reason, muscle paralysis does not occur, the vividness of the dream state will physically draw the dreamer into an active state of sleepwalking or , worse yet, intense physical activity that will further break down exhausted muscle tissues already in need of repair. During undisturbed sleep or slow wave sleep, the plasma growth hormone (HGH) in humans is found to be at its highest levels. If sleep stage process is interrupted, complete repair of soft tissue is impossible due to the resulting decrease or absence of (HGH). This means uninterrupted deep sleep periods of at least 90 min are necessary for complete muscle recovery.

Some tips to ensure enough (REM) sleep:

1. Try and sleep 8-10 hours per night
2. Sleep in a dark quit place (any sound over 60db's will cause the heart to race and adrenaline) making REM impossible
3. Glass of warm milk before bed
4. Natural drugs include Melatonin and Kava
5. Other drugs include GHB and GBL