Breaking Out of a Training Rut

 

Strength training can take a toll on your body and your mind.

Here’s how to avoid staying in a rut you can’t pull out of.

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Anybody would think that the weight lifting / strength training lifestyle would be good fer ya.

But once you’ve been doing it for a while,
… there are gonna be times when you come to doubt it.

You roll out of bed in the morning with your shoulder poppin’,
and your knees hurtin’,
and your elbows achin’,
and your back screamin’….

Of course, you might just chalk that up to getting old…..

I’m 52, and stuff is gonna hurt just natural from chasin girls all those years.

Naaaah…… 52 is the new 32, din’t ya hear?

Yeah, raht.

We all know that weight training IS good fer ya, especially if you’re over 40 –

it allows you to keep the muscle you already got,
… and maybe even put on some new muscle, too….

it helps keep your body producing vital hormones like testosterone and growth hormone….

it stimulates the mind and helps keep you alert and focused……

it is a vital part of maintaining libido, promotes firm erections, and drives motivation…..

it help keep you looking younger and fitter than most people fifteen or twenty years younger than you….

( it also puts you in close proximity with gym hotties you probably wouldnt get near without tuckin’ five dollar bills in their g-strings otherwise….. )

But some days……… yow.

I recently went through a period of time, about 5 weeks, where my training was just draggin’.

Man, I mean really draggin’.

It wasn’t like I wasnt lifting as heavy —
—it just seemed that I was just working a lot harder to get it in.

My joints seemed to hurt more, and my recovery slowed to a crawl.

I wasn’t adding more weight to the stack —
— and I was walking out of the gym every day feeling completely done in.

Now,
…. let’s talk about the several possible culprits here,

———- assuming you don’t just say that I’m past it.

Cause I ain’t.

Nowhere near.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, ask yourself the questions I have listed in BOLD.

The first thing I did when I noticed the lack of progress and the additional soreness, was to have a physical and my blood checked.

What the doctor and I were looking for was a reduction in my T-Levels, or a physiological problem, like with red blood cells or liver function.

And, although I did have raised levels of creatinine
( a by product of creatine supplementation, but also a marker for reduced liver function )

…… and a surplus of Iron —
( mens bodies don’t use much iron, and if this additional iron isn’t cleared from the system, it can be dangerous ),

there wasn’t anything immediately pertinent to the issue at hand…..

T levels looked nominal, red blood cells slightly high but ok.
No infection, nothing that out of the ordinary.

This is the first question one should ask —
— is there a medical condition that could be causing a lag in training?

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Secondly, I looked at my sleep and rest patterns.

Again, somewhat problematic —- I work at night – and sleep a broken pattern–
a nap in the morning, then hit the gym, and a couple hours sleep before work in the evening.

But, the truth is, that really hasn’t changed much in the last coupla years — I see no reason why it would be affecting me much more only now.

I can’t discount the fact that I am lifting more weight — I am working harder — than ever before, and that very well could mean that I need more sleep than ever before, too.

I found an extra half an hour I was wasting in the morning before my nap, and another half hour in the evening – an extra hour of sleep translates into 20% more sleep – which should translate into me being more rested – and boosting my recovery, too.

As far as ‘rest days’ is concerned, I was lifting five times a week, with a ‘compressed all around day’ on Saturday, which included several leg components previously worked that week on Wednesdays ( my regular leg day ), including heavy squats and deadlifts.

Over-training could be a possibility, certainly.

I decided that, for a time, I would delete the Saturday ‘all around’ workout completely, and especially not work my legs on any other day than my regular legs day.

An extra off day shouldn’t affect my strength negatively, as long as I’m hitting it hard the rest of the week.

As you know, your muscles only grow when they’re at rest – so I should actually gain strength in the long run.

So, the second question one should ask —
— Am I getting enough rest, sleep and recovery time?

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Now it was time to look at my nutrition.

I realized right off that my protein intake had been seriously reduced over the last couple months due to a Spring lean-out program I had been following, which stresses fruits and vegetables over meat — very effective at leaning me out, but clearly might be affecting my strength.

( Hey – ya can’t blame me for wanting to look good in my bathing suit, ya know? )

I had not compensated for the reduction in protein with more whey, because I wanted to avoid the calories, instead adding more BCAA’s.

Studies indicate that whole proteins are more effective in this context.

I was also not ‘eating up’ for a training session like I used to… and decided to follow my carb intake more carefully to ensure the necessary fuel for my workouts.

The best strength training diet contains enough calories to run the body and a little extra to build muscle – in the proportion of 40% proteins, 30% carbs, and 30% fat.

A daily caloric restriction below 2500 is not efficient for strength building.

Third Question —
Am I getting enough good calories – at the correct ratio – to fuel my workouts?

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Another important concern has to do with supplementation.

I wondered how resistant my body had grown to absorbing certain supplements I had been using for a long period of time.

Creatine is a good example… I don’t ‘cycle’ Creatine as some people do, i don’t see the point.

However, I did realize that my creatine intake was sporadic- I would take it on my workout days, but not on my rest days… was that causing my creatine levels to be less than optimally loaded?

The fact that my creatinine levels were high makes me wonder whether there’s too much, or too little, creatine being reserved in my cells.

I decided to be more consistent in my creatine intake, and that of beta-alanine as well.

I’ll have another blood test in six months…. we’ll see what the regularity of intake will do to my creatinine levels….. and go from there.

Glutamine is a terrific supplement to aid in recovery — again, it’s used extensively on my workout days, but hardly at all on my off days – and now that I have an extra off day, I will have to make an extra special effort to get it in.

Two supplements that I had taken completely off my list were: Glucosamine/Chondrotin/MSM and Cissus… they were expensive, and I thought I could do without them…..

I realize now that they had been very effective in keeping my joints feeling well, and the pain in check, and have since added them back.

I have also added back a testosterone booster …. I was using X-Test by Xcience, which I found to be excellent, but it was pulled by my supplier, and I have been doing without. I have added a product called “Tribuloid”, and am currently evaluating it. I’ll let ya know.

I guess the bottom line on these supplements is this:
……… you might not feel them working, but you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Fourth Question:
Am I using those supplements that help me attain my goals?

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A lot of guys who find themselves stuck in a rut start with the next question…. and it certainly is an important one…. because of muscle fibers’ uncanny ability to adapt themselves to a workout program….. you’ve got to mix up your workout, and try to keep your muscles off balance— constantly responding and growing.

This is the ‘muscle confusion’ theory… it’s almost like your muscles are like a repetitive job worker— they get bored of doing the same old work, and just kinda do the minimum required of them. Punch in, do whats required, punch out. Yawn yawn.

If you wanna get stronger, you’ve got to constantly change up your workout- the intensity, the movements, the implements, even the order of when you work certain groups.

The changes can be simple, like alternating wide grip bench presses with narrow grip, or more complicated, like adding dumbbells and machines to overhead pressing with just a bar.

A change like using a straight bar instead of an easy curl bar will force your body to respond, when it has adapted to curls the old way, you betcha. Even if you have to temporarily lighten up the weight.

I modified my workout so that I’m adding new movements, and variations on old ones. I’m alternating stiff legged deadlifts with sumos, for instance, and the variety feels great.

I changed the order of my push-pull sets… and varying the intensity as well.

I needed the change, and it really rejuvenated my whole routine.


Question Five:
Am I constantly provoking my muscles to add strength with new challenges??

This last one is the one most overlooked, and also the one that causes the most people to give up strength training all together…….

It’s not enough to go to the gym, and do the work.

You gotta have the eye of the tiger while you’re doing it.

It’s one part intensity, one part aggression, one part just plain bad attitude.

You gotta know you’re a monster…. and there ain’t a weight made you cant lift.

Call me a jerk, but get outta my way, cause it’s time to hit it.

Pain? I’ll worry about that after I’m done lifting these cream puff weights.

It just boils down to attitude….. you gotta stay fired up – or find a way to get fired up.

And everybody has a different way of doing it, although it really is all self-talk.

By self talk, I mean encouraging yourself through positive statements, and avoiding thinking negative.

It can’t be: ” oh jeez, not time for the gym again…”

It’s gotta be: “oh yes!!! Time for the GYM !!! ”


The last question:
Do I have my mind right???


…………………….. Well, DO YA ?????

HOY!!!

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Putting on Mass

I got an interesting question over the weekend, and since the person didn’t say I could use their name, I’ll just go ahead and answer it personally and then post a more detailed answer.

The gist of the question was this: how can a 20 year old male put on mass when he’s not been able to gain any weight ?

I know people like that, who wouldn’t seem to gain weight wearing a 75 pound back pack.

But ya know, there are certain characteristics of the healthy human body that are consistent throughout the species, and one of them is the ability to gain weight.

Lean muscle?

Yes, that too– assuming you have the necessary building blocks in place.

Now this fellow explained that he does an hour cardio per day and eats about 3000 calories. He weighs 155 pounds, drinks plenty of water, and eats healthy.

I could say there’s your problem– you’re eating healthy. LOL

Truth be told, if you were to eat junk food for a couple months straight, you certainly would see some weight gain, but then, you wouldn’t be keeping a 3000 calorie diet either.

(… you’d probably be pretty sick, too.)

And that’s obviously not the kinda gain he’s looking for.

But I do think that 3000 calorie number might be part of the issue.

Let’s look at it logically.

To maintain his body weight, his body requires about 2500 calories, at a light overall exertion level throughout the day.

He’s burning at least another 300-600 calories in his cardio training, leaving him with only a very small or even negative calorie surplus.

The math don’t lie, man.

If he wants to gain weight and lean mass, he has to have a reasonable calorie surplus, just as if he wanted to lose weight, he would need a negative one.

If you add a surplus of, say, 1500 calories daily, you could conceivably gain about 2 pounds a week, but that’s not taking into account some other things at work here.

One of them is his high level of cardiac training– his body isn’t working all that hard when he’s doing his cardio, because he’s so heart-fit.

Another is being 20, he’s got his hormones buzzin’, so his metabolism is also going full blast —

And it’s harder to gain muscle on a cardio-only regimen. ( I would say almost impossible )

Now, personally, if I was 20 in that condition, I dunno if I’d change anything– the girls are sure to enjoy his body more the way it is now, despite the impression people have that the hotties like muscle-bounds.

The truth is hotties like MEN who aren’t scared of being MEN.

But, ok…

I don’t wanna spoil the party here, so….

The first thing I would do is ramp up my diet to about 5500 calories a day — at a split of about 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fats.

I’d add several supplements, including 10 grams of creatine monohydrate, 200 grams of whey isolates, BCAA’s, HMB, and Glutamine.

I’d change up my workout — at least 45 minutes of weight training 5 times a week– at 12×3@80% 1RM, with 2 minute rest intervals between sets, with 45 minutes of cardio AFTER.

And I would FAST (no food- water and supps/vitamins only) two consecutive days a week.

Insane?

Well, mebbe so… but shocking the body out of it’s rhythm is what you’d be trying to do, here.

Back in the 90’s, there were … ummm… substances that would do this for ya..

……… but now, it’s Crash and Binge.

Guys that have done this always complain about the same thing— they can never get their metabolism back to where it was.

So, unless you’re as crazy as this sounds, just add some weight training and some food and don’t go for Arnold, if you’re body says Mark Spitz.

Just sayin.

Cheers.

Weight Management: Eating 5-6 Meals a Day

Eating small meals throughout the day sounds difficult- but with a little simple planning, and the right advice, the rewards can be quite amazing.

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Eating 5 or 6 meals a day on a weight reduction plan

You might have heard this before….

That you should eat 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day,
instead of maybe skippin breakfast,
throwing together a junk food lunch,
and having a big dinner.

I know there’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there…

So maybe you didnt figure the concept had any real science behind it.

And I feel ya… the first time I heard it, I rolled my eyes, and scoffed.

But that was several years ago, and after many studies, and much personal experience,
…… I can tell you that it is the real deal.

This is a key concept to not only losing weight, but keeping it off..
… and although it might sound difficult–
with a little advance planning, it is quite simple.

If you work, carry a small cooler bag, or keep some backup supplies in a fridge.
Stash some fruit or trail mix in your desk, in case you’re pressed for time.

It is essential that the meals you consume are appropriate for the time of day-

— in order to ramp up your metabolism, and enhance optimum hormonal production, including those responsible for fat-burning, and muscle building.

It is especially important that NO meals are comsumed within 3 hours of bedtime–
—- that the heavier meals are consumed early in the day,
and any evening meals are light and low in calories and fats.

Timing is critical, here.. so plan your day accordingly.

> Workout no closer than 3 1/2 hours of bedtime.

> Do not consume any food 45 minutes or less before your workout,
and be sure you eat
a meal containing protein immediately,
or within 1 hour of finishing workout.

When choosing your meals, stick with the 40/30/30 index as much as possible.
— 40% protein, 30% carbs, 30% fats – with no more than 1800 calories per day.

Remember – fats contain 9 calories per gram, carbs and proteins only 4 calories,
so you can have only half as much fat as protein or carbs.

Use only healthy fats like Olive Oil (preferred) or Canola Oil.

NO MARGARINE, Lard or “BUTTERY SPREADS” — only unsaturated fats will do.

Avoid fried foods (foods absorb extra fat),
alcohol (empty calories),
high sodium or salty (water retentive) foods,
soy based (hormonally unsound) foods.

DAILY MEAL PLAN

Breakfast: 1 fruit (usually a banana, apple, plum or orange)
1/2 C. V8 juice, or orange juice, plus coffee or tea ( <1 tsp sugar ok )
3 oz. protein (hard boiled egg and palm sized portion off protein list)

Meal #2: 1 fruit (usually a fruit I did not already eat today)
3 oz. protein (see protein list – baked chicken, turkey, lean beef or pork, or fish)
A small piece bread/half baked potato or 1/2 C. rice/pasta ( TSP tomato sauce/oil OK.)
1 vegetable or dip (guacamole, salsa, salad, steamed asparagus or broccoli, etc)

Meals #3 and #4: Same choices as Meal # 2 with an extra vegetable but NO starches.

Meal #5: 3 oz. protein (see protein list) plus 1 fruit, 1 veggie

Meal #6: 1 portion fruit

Caloric intake should be carefully monitored-
— there are many books and online resources to help you keep track of what foods have the most nutrition with the lowest amount of calories.

As previously mentioned, you’re shooting for a plan that will give you about 1800 calories.

If you were to have five 300 calorie meals, you would still have room for an extra snack, or a protein shake.

In practice, you should be eating a heavier meal in the early part of the day, going lighter as the day progresses.

Choosing your proteins will probably be the most complicated part of your meal planning.

The good news is that there are plenty of good, nutritious proteins to choose from.

Here’s a short list of some of my favorites, in 3 oz portions unless noted.

Protein List

Tuna (in water) 30 grams protein, 135 calories
Cod (smoked) 20 grams protein , 88 calories
Shrimp (boiled) 21 grams protein, 99 calories
Lobster (steamed) 16 grams protein, 81 calories
Cottage Cheese 14 grams protein, 84 calories
Turkey (white meat) 25 grams protein, 130 calories
Trout (smoked) 29 grams protein, 155 calories
Crab ( 2 – steamed) 20 grams protein, 100 calories
Chicken (roasted, white) 23 grams protein, 128 calories
Salmon (steamed) 21grams, 126 calories
Beef round (lean broiled) 24 grams protein, 163 calories

Incorporating fruits and vegetables that are low in calories is also very helpful in meal planning.
And, if you find yourself desiring a snack between meals, grab one of these!

They include:

Vegetables

Popcorn (unbuttered, very lightly salted)
Rice Cakes
Cucumber
Celery
Brussels Sprouts
Boiled Potatoes
Broccoli
Mushrooms
Tomatoes
Watercress
Pigeon Peas
Red Peppers

Fruit

Cherries
Apricots
Melon
Chayote
Currants
Grapefruit

A weight loss goal is helpful, as long as you don’t attach an unrealistic timetable to it.

Weigh yourself no more than once a week, and always at the same time of day.

Remember that body weight fluctuates up and down, even when you’re losing fat…
— you didnt put on the weight overnight – so don’t expect to lose it overnight, either.

The most effective weight management plan isn’t a temporary fix,
……… but a permanent change in how and what you eat.

Finally, be sure you are hydrating properly, at least 64 ounces of water a day.

This will actually help you to lose weight..
–once your body becomes acclamated to getting the proper amount of water, it will not ‘hold on’ to water as much or as long.

It will also help flush toxins out, and keep your hormonal system running properly.

Now, GO GET IT !!!

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HOY!

Give Your Monster Another Cookie

This is just one man’s perspective of the social pressures surrounding obesity.

It is not meant to criticize or mock anybody.

Don’t take it personally.

OK?

Give Your Monster Another Cookie.

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Like the nuns used to like to say in Grammar School:

“We have all have our crosses to bear in life.”

Some people walk around miserable just ’cause they like it…

But most of us have some little monster or other that walks around with us-

Clawin’ at our back….

….. constantly nagging at the back of our minds…..
Trying to get us to do something we know we shouldn’t.

Something that will keep us from being the person we want to be.

That monster might like booze…

…. or dope…

….. or clandestine rendevouses
(ummm… what is the plural for ‘rendevous’ anyway?
)
with $10 chantoosies behind the Gas and Lube.

With me, it’s being lazy.
 (that, and redheads)

AND ——–

If I gave in to that damnable little monster…..,

I’d be the laziest, fattest, pizza-eatenist redhead-crazy dumb meathead
(……….I’ll keep the redhead-crazy dumb meathead part, thanks…) on the planet!

I mean it.

Now, some of you might understand what I mean, and some of you won’t…

Because if you happen to be one of those people who couldn’t gain weight wearing a 75 pound backpack, (known in strength training circles as a ‘ectomorph’..) ,

…. you just wouldn’t understand how just lookin‘ at a piece of cheesecake can add 25 pounds of ugly spare tire to an already ample body.

But, if you do know what I mean, well, Buddy….. I feel your pain.

It ain’t easy – not being cheesy.

My daily diet (otherwise called by those who write nutrition books as ‘healthy lifestyle’) is a royal pain.

I spend three times the money, time and effort to consume 1/3 the amount of food everybody else on the planet seems to eat.

I have to eat when I’m not hungry, and not eat when I am.

My kid’s rabbit wouldn’t eat the greens I do…

Hell, some of my food couldn’t even be used as a secret ingredient on “Iron Chef” for chrissake…

………… and those guys’d cook with ANYTHING!.

It’s no wonder that some folks look for an easier way.

I have a good friend who weighs somewhere around 350 pounds.
(…..sort of like how Florida is ‘somewhere around’ Virginia.)

Now, this guy is a great cook…

……….and he makes stuff that’ll break your cotton pickin heart it’s so good.

He and his wife are Italian,

and their idea of celebrating is eating…

their idea of the good life is eating….

……… their idea of happiness is eating.

“Manja! Manja!”

I can’t sit down and eat his food, I can only smell it and walk away….

………..it’s got butter, it’s got cream, it’s got duck’s liver, it’s got 2000 calories per tablespoon.

How in the world can anybody who can cook like that be expected to be thin?

But, therein lies the rub.

He wants to eat like Pavarotti, but wants to look like a 25 year old Frank Sinatra.
– – – – – – – – – – – – and, an ectomorph he ain’t.

OF COURSE, he don’t wanna work out either.

So, he’s decided to have a ‘surgical procedure’ done, called a “gastric bypass”.

It involves cutting him open, slicing his stomach, closing off the majority of it, and sewing a small remainder of it to his intestine.

After this heals (assuming it does) he will have only about 3 tablespoons of stomach capacity left with which to process food and nutrients——

Now, I don’t want to be a stick in the mud here, gang,

………but who the hell ever thought this kind of elective surgery was a good idea?

I know the idiom of ‘no pain-no gain’ is apparently passe and completely outdated, but this method of weight loss seems a little extreme-

—-  even to a guy who complain incessantly about how much of a pain his ‘healthy lifestyle’ is.

‘Cause now that I think about it, it’s still better than putting my life and health in the hands of people who are only still ‘practicing’ medicine.

Call me when you’ve got it down to a science, fellas.

My generation, and my father’s generation before me, blindly trusted the medical establishment—and look at the results- the poor health of our citizens, the intolerably expensive state of the health care system, and the unavailability of health insurance for those who need it the most.

I’m gonna trust those money grubbin’ hacks to lay me down on a table and cut on my intestines ?????

Oh sure, — right after I ask Lorena Bobbitt if she wants to play with my cajones,
……..or Gary Glitter to be a counsellor at the annual Girl Scout jamboree…
……….or Brittany Spears to teach parenting skills,
……….. or Jane Fonda to sing the national anthem,
…………..or Ozzie Ozborne to dedicate the new museum at the Alamo,
………….. or O.J. Simpson to teach anger management…………

Man, talk about folks with their own private monsters… hoo boy.

Somehow we’ve gone from a society of independent, self-reliant can-doer’s to one
of co-dependent, get-somebody-to-do-it-for-me’s in the course of a few short decades.

Weight loss is a relatively simple equation of mathematics and physics: eat less, exercise more.

OH to be sure, I know HOW HARD that equation is to put into practice,

believe me –  I KNOW.

Between the fast pace of modern life, the lack of nutrition education, fast food dumps on every corner, and the virtual unavailability of pure, unadulterated foods —

– it’s a jungle out there.

But, make no mistake-
—- YOU CAN DO IT, if you want to.

The equation EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE works.

Then, with a few refining touches, like:

eating carefully on a 40/40/20 plan,
varying your exercise plan to match your carb/protein intakes,
eating 5-6 smaller meals at the right times of day,
avoiding saturated fats, refined sugars and soy products, etc…..

you can make this equation much more efficient,

and start building lean, strong mass to improve the way you feel and the way you look….

Not just to others, but to yourself.

Not just FOR others, but FOR yourself.

Just start with EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE.

——– OR, if you don’t want it that bad,

Just give your monster another cookie, and BE CONTENT !

Weight does not determine who you are.
Happiness does.

So, If you’re happy, I’m happy.

And I’m not the one who counts, anyway.

It’s all about YOU.

If you know you’re sexy, you are sexy.

If you know you’re beautiful, you are beautiful.

Take it from Cookie Monster himself.

There’s nothing more appealing and attractive than a confident, well-adjusted, non-surgically altered, blue furry monster full of enthusiasm and joie de vive —

……. googley eyes or no.

As Gracie Slick and the Jefferson Airplane put it way back when in 1968:

“You’re only pretty as you feel.”

Protein Supplements for Muscle and Strength

What can the right kind of protein do for you?

It can help you build muscle and strength, that’s what.

Here’s a blog on the ins and outs of protein supplementation.

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Ever read a muscle magazine?

It’s bizarre…

There’s usually about 20 pages of articles of how to build muscle

—- and about 174 pages of ads… mostly for supplements.

One of the most commonly over-advertised item is Whey Protein.

I say over-advertised not because it isn’t important.. it is….

… but because there are so many companies selling the same product claiming that theirs somehow magically works better than everybody else’s.

Man, take it from your ole Uncle Nuts…
— if you buy pure 100% Whey Protein Isolate- (compare and get your best price!!)
— you’ll get 100% of what you need, and 0% of what crap somebody wants to put it in it to make it more profitable.

Let me tell you why supplementation with Whey Protein is important in the first place.

There’s no doubt the average shmoe gets more than his daily requirement of protein, -along with way too much fat – consuming products like Big Mac’s, Hot Dogs, BBQ, fried cheese sticks, shakes, ice cream, etc.

He doesn’t work out, so he doesn’t build muscle- he wastes it. His body doesn’t need supplemental protein. One morning dose of a BK fastfood breakfast sandwich, and Mr. Average Softbody’s got a high fat-carb artery hardon, for Chrissake!

But if you’re working out pretty hard, you’re probably not eating that crap anyway, and your body needs GOOD QUALITY protein for muscle synthesis (new muscle fibers)– as much as 2 grams per pound of body weight. (1-1.5 g should be ok unless you work out like the Governator, or want to bulk up real quick.)

It’s important to remember that while Carbohydrates are necessary for the proper operation of the Central Nervous System and for energy to workout—
———— Protein is the stuff that makes muscle.

Whey Protein provides plenty of BCAA’s – Branched Chain Amino Acids – nutrients that are essential for all sorts of functions in the mind and body… one of them, leucine, a key agent in strength and recovery.

It provides glutamine- used throughout the gastrointestinal system to insure healthy digestion and waste disposal – as well as being another key agent in exercise recovery.

Supplemental protein also enhances glutathione production – an antioxidant which slows the aging/mutation of cells. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and boosts the strength of your immune system. And it’s another extremely important element in post-exercise recovery.

There are no side-effects that have been documented with moderate use of supplemental protein, either.

Why wouldn’t every hard-working gym rat want to supplement with it? I got no idea.

Ok, now- here’s the curve: not all proteins are created equal.

Yeah, I know what I said earlier about competing products… but that’s not what I’m talking about.

There are several forms of protein available in supplement form… milk proteins
(like Whey, Cassein), egg proteins, and soy proteins.

While all three of these types are considered high quality bio-available proteins,
Whey is considered by most body builders as the most readily synthesized..
— although if you’re one of those alternative veggie types, Soy should work almost as well until you (hopefully) evolve into a carnivore like nature intended.
(Good luck with that… in the meantime, might I you take a Savate course, instead?… Oh, and keep those soy farts outta MY gym. Thanks.)

Seriously, Soy Proteins are high in certain phyto-estrogens, so it’s not a great first choice,
—- unless you’re trying to look good in tube top, pumps, garter belt, and a micro skirt.

To make it more difficult, many protein supplements aren’t 100% protein.

Remember- buy 100% protein isolate- no fillers, no junk.

I know the price has skyrocketed recently, but repeat – Don’t buy CHEAP CRAPPY PROTEIN!

You want the “isolates” instead of concentrate, if only to avoid extra lactose and fats… the cost difference is nominal.

“Hydrolysates” are fancier and much more expensive than either concentrates or isolates… but their easier digestibility doesn’t really make up for the cost difference.

Watch the ingredient list on the brand you’re looking at… a few carbs in the mix might serve to help get muscle synthesis going.. but more than a few grams will just add unwanted calories to the equation.

If I’m gonna intake carbs, I want to taste them…..

….. not gulp em down like you’ll end up doing with every protein shake you’ll ever take regularly.

YUK.. why can’t these companies make a protein supplement that doesn’t smell or taste like the inside of a bovine intestine??? Jeezzz.

In all fairness, the protein companies have ramped up the tastiness of their products in the last coupla years…

Back in the bad old days, all we had wuz smelly, gloppy egg protein powder…. and that -wuz indescribably horrific- in comparison. I personally find Optimum Nutrition’s (ON) French Vanilla flavor not too terrible at all .. and it mixes well with all the other crap I throw in with it. “Designer Whey” tastes pretty damn good, too.. but it’s not all isolates.

There are ‘pre-mixed’ bottles of protein drinks – you’ve probably seen these in the cooler at the gym. Again, look for a lot of added stuff… and since these are ‘pasteurized’, much of the protein has been denatured- so less of the protein is really bio-available. And considering the taste of these products…. I think Elmer’s glue tastes better – it’s not worth the price to me.

There are protein products made for hard-gainers… these contain mucho additives, mostly in the form of carbs and fats… sure, they’ll put weight on ya, but eating two of mom’s lemon meringue pies a day will too.

I’m not saying these are worthless.

I’m just saying I’d rather have pie.

Here’s another curve:

There are sometimes when you might want a slow absorbing protein like cassein, instead of a quicker absorbing protein like Whey; for instance, at night before bed.

All nite long while you are sleeping ( theoretically sleeping… you might be doing all kinds of stuff other than sleeping… how the hell should I know… but if it involves more than 3 redheads, and you need help, call me )…. your body is rebuilding your muscles and creating new muscle fibers. It uses protein to do that.

But, if you took Whey at 10:30pm, by 2 am it’s all absorbed – and your protein gauge is on E.

However, Cassein takes about 4-6 hours to absorb, it’s kind of like a time release deal…

So, you got protein to burn until it’s time to tell all them girls to go the hell home.
(why the hell didn’t you call me???)

Some guys try to get around using whey protein powder by taking AMINO tabs, BCAA’s, and Glutamine.

While I readily admit that I use these supplements myself, I use them to kick up the value of the protein powder which I also use.

They’re not a substitute for whole protein strands… which is what your body looks for to build muscle.

Interestingly enough, though…

BCAA’s are being studied because of their ability to be burned directly as fuel for a workout, when carbs are depleted. I swear by em…. but, again they’re not a substitute- they’re a add-on.

The bottom line of Protein is this:
you gotta have it if you’re gonna build muscle.
Too much is too much, but enough is just right.
But prepare yourself; it’s not gonna smell or taste like the girl next door.

Tough it out, buddy.

oh…., and STAY AWAY FROM THE SNACK BAR!!!