|Part 1 | Part 2|
For the better part of the past two decades, only a fortunate few had access to Author L Rea, arguably one of the top experts in the field on anabolic pharmacology. With the publication of Chemical Muscle Enhancement and Building the Perfect Beast, Author L. Rea has decided to share his vast experience at creating bodybuilding beasts with the bodybuilding public.
His books provide a fascinating insight into the protocols that have successfully been used to transform the professional and top amateur bodybuilders that Author has worked with over the years. The publication of his books has reinvigorated the discussion of the practical aspects of bodybuilding chemistry and has had ripple effects throughout the bodybuilding and the supplement industries.
I had the opportunity to talk to Author about his experiences with competitive bodybuilding, its participants, the supplement industry, and of course, what exactly goes on during those several months out of the year when he vacations in Mexico and consults with his athletes!
Part 2 concludes my interview with Author L Rea
[ Q ] Since we published the first installment of our interview in CORE (February 2005), there has been extensive publicity surrounding Ergomax LMG on many popular bodybuilding message boards. But I've just learned that ALRI has voluntarily recalled this promising product? Why?
ALR: Yes, Ergomax LMG was awesome and we are still receiving orders from our retailers for crazy numbers. We potentially had a multimillion-dollar hit. But we discontinued it and shipped the remaining inventory to our South American distributor.
We also tried to recall what was left on shelves but it seems no one was willing to give it back. Simple matter of ethics. I do not want to make a living at the expense of the rest of the industry that I love being part of.
[ Q ] I am not sure that I understand.
ALR: Several years ago we were researching the ideas of alternative anabolic substances. We were looking for something safer and more effective than anabolic steroids or even prohormones. There was some pretty convincing research suggesting that specific pheromones had the properties we were looking for.
Later, when I was designing the products for a company called HM Gear we worked to patent one of the compounds, and later, after I opted to work under my own label only (Applied Lifescience Research Industries, Inc. or ALRI), I filed two subsequent patents on other unique pheromone matrixes.
The oral bioavailability of the first one sucked (and was to closely related to one now banned substance), though there does exist a great deal of potential there still. Perhaps in another era though.
Pheromones are naturally occurring and a few are very similar to some androgens. They exist in nature and in the food chain so are therefore quite legal. But as most will recall, so were most of the prohormones now classified as controlled substances. The BALCO labs incident is the main reason for that happening.
After we released Ergomax LMG, there was quite a stir in the supplement industry. The idea of using a unique pheromone matrix for extreme recovery was unheard of. But here it was, people were raving about the results, and we were very proud of the safety profile.
Of course everyone speculated what it was, and naturally a few swore they had it first - yet still could not identify the correct isomers and structure. This is evident in that the same few in the industry began speculating that it was actually the newly discovered, so-called designer steroid DMT (desoxymethyltestosterone).
First, it should be noted that DMT itself is not technically illegal yet, but neither was THG (tetrahydrogestinone) and look where that lead: BALCO Labs, an andro ban and an industry trying to recover.
The FDA can decide that even DMT is a drug, which they likely will eventually, and link it to any related substance. The Pherobolix matrix could erroneously fall into this category if so.
Then again, cholesterol would be related as well if the issue were to be pushed by the media. The government tends to group large numbers of compounds into one class, though they are sometimes technically incorrect. Personally, I would not want to argue with them.
William Llewellyn is one of the few who actually got the basic compound correct and had some very insightful thoughts upon the potential isomers. Then again, that does not surprise me. The lad is sharp! Please do not get me wrong, so are several others in the industry, but they were wrong nonetheless. We all are sometime.
Designer steroids are a very controversial media circus right now. Due to the BALCO Labs/THG fiasco and eventual andro ban, supplement manufacturers, athletes and crack dealers are all viewed in the same shady light by mainstream America and most of the world.
This suggestion that Ergomax LMG was in anyway a performance-enhancing substance even casually related to any media hyped designer steroid could only lead to major interest from WADA (World-Anti-Doping Agency).
This would eventually result in greater controls from the FDA set upon the supplement industry. So I pulled the product. Making a large amount of income only to screw the rest of the industry is not only shortsighted and selfish, it is also unacceptable.
[ Q ] Okay, no more pheromones or replacements for the now controlled items, so what's next?
ALR: Oh, I did not say that there were not other possibilities being explored. We have a prime focus on HPTA Supraphysiological overcompensation: The Holy Grail of optimized natural human performance enhancement.
Picture the ability to allow the body to safely and naturally produce testosterone at a level equivalent to injecting 400-600mg of testosterone cypionate weekly. Not some stupid spurt or increase of 400% that lasts for a few seconds.
I mean all day long for up to 8 weeks at a time. And there is no HPTA regeneration or any other hormone use type side effects post protocol. I know, hard to believe and I am sure someone said it before. But they doubted Ergomax LMG and the power of a pheromone matrix a few weeks ago too.
We need to approach human performance from a totally new standpoint of natural optimization at a scary level if we want to allow athletes to perform at their best without fear of being banned. It can be done and I think the industry is ready to do so. We are.
[ Q ] That is a very bold claim for a new supplement! I'm assuming it will not only be legal but over the counter?
ALR: Of course, and not so hard to believe once you see it done enough times. I had to laugh at just how jaded some of our test subjects have become. One of our test lad's total testosterone pre-test came back at 522ng/dl.
The first supplemented (Ultra HOT) test return was at the 14 day mark and the return was 1255ng/dl. Normal reference range for total testosterone is 250-850ng/dl, depending on the lab.
Anyway, the lad looks at me and said, "huh, I thought it would be more". His results were that of an individual who was administering 400-500mg of testosterone cypionate weekly.
Of course we have seen several results much higher, but the lad missed the significance of having that much legal natural testosterone in his body even though he was gaining muscle and losing fat.
[ Q ] If it works as well as you say it will, then won't it just be a matter of time (a very short time given recent trends) before the ingredients are either disallowed by the FDA and/or added to the doping lists?
ALR: Not likely in this case. We are discussing items in the food chain that anyone would be hard set to show a mode of action that is anything but health promoting naturally. It would be like banning
protein drinks. But of course in this crazy environment anything can happen.
[ Q ] Will the "HPTA Supraphysiological overcompensation" produce any banned metabolites or suspicious samples for drug-tested athletes?
ALR: There are only the natural metabolites your body naturally makes and those of the compounds. Since these are in the food chain they too lack the potential. However I should warn that we have had over 65% of our test subjects exceed 2000ng/dl of total testosterone, which is obviously pretty high by any standard.
But since we are discussing natural made by "The Boys" testosterone, the testosterone:epitestosterone ratio should remain correct unlike when a synthetic androgen is administered. There is also that lack of carbon signatures to be of issue as well, meaning nothing to suggest any doping has occurred.
| What Is The Testosterone/Epitestosterone Ratio?
The ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone,commonly determined through urine samples, is the favorite method to determine testosterone abuse. In the past, a T/E ratio higher than 6 was considered proof that an athlete was abusing. However, the existence of cases describing naturally occurring higher T/E ratios have raised debate around the validity of such tests.
[ Q ] Will this have any adverse effects on one's health?
ALR: LOL, only if more lean tissue, less fat, and more sex is now a negative health issue. This is not suggesting drug effects of making drug-like claims, but just simple basic physiology.
When the body makes its own testosterone and other androgens it uses cholesterol as a raw material. If more testosterone is naturally made the result is better natural lipid numbers and profiles.
[ Q ] What happens to those who choose to use such a product year round?
ALR: We have run tests up to 12 weeks. These have shown only positive results and continued progress. However, I believe that athletes should discontinue at 8 weeks to allow for alternate methods of progressive supplementation to be better utilized.
Consider this: If you trained with the same work-outs, same weights, same diet, same everything year round you would not only see an end to progress you would see a loss of gains you once had.
Reason being that the body achieves progress through adaptation. If the same stimulus is used beyond the point of total adaptation, the body goes backwards seeking a lower level of homeostasis.
[ Q ] Why do you spend several months out of the year in Mexico? What exactly can you do that you are unable to do here in the free United States of America?
ALR: In Mexico and Thailand, AAS and many other drugs can be legally obtained and utilized while in other countries these same drugs are seen as something evil. Kind of like HMO's in reverse. It is not just an issue of laws, it is a matter of ethics for me.
If I am knowingly doing something illegal then it is a loss of ethics and a betrayal of sorts. Just because it is illegal somewhere else does not mean that it is unethical where it is legal.
Think of prostitution. So many see it as evil yet there are very few humans who are not actively seeking to get laid. Many pay a fortune for dates and trips with prospective sex-partners hoping to get laid.
If they get it, is that prostitution? It is only unethical if it is illegal where one is doing so. So is it the sex or money? Or where one does their trade?
[ Q ] Given the current animosity towards androgens by the government at home, it seems like a very wise move for bodybuilders seeking performance enhancement to use products legally available within the United States or travel to countries where the desired products are legally available and can be used accordingly within those countries.
What advice do you have for bodybuilders who either have the luxury of taking 2-3 week vacations in countries such as Mexico?
ALR: Assuming we are referring to protocols, countries and time frames that allow for 3 weeks to legally use performance enhancement drugs; a simple structure with a 28 day high activity period would be of use. A quick creation of a constant plasma level using orals and fast-acting ester injectables with a compounded long-acting ester exit. Something like this:
- Test Propionate 200mg/Test Cypionate 400mg/Methandrostenolone 20mg 2xd
- Methandrostenolone 20mg 2xd
- Test Propionate 100mg/Methandrostenolone 20mg 2xd
- Methandrostenolone 20mg 2xd
- Test Propionate 50mg/Test Cypionate 400mg/Methandrostenolone 15mg 2xd
- Methandrostenolone 15mg 2xd
- Methandrostenolone 10mg 2xd
- Methandrostenolone 10mg 2xd
- Test Cypionate 400mg/Methandrostenolone 5mg 2xd
- Test Cypionate 400mg
- Test Cypionate 400mg
- Test Cypionate 800mg
Of course if they were in the US or Australia I would advise against, due to legal issues.
[ Q ] My next question probably has some applicability for both athletes who use AAS protocols and individuals who are on TRT. In recent years, we've seen a variety of anti-estrogens appear on the market. How does one decide the appropiate one(s) to use?
ALR: That is a rather vast question that could easily go into book length for reply. But there are some general rules that apply.
As a whole estrogen control often gets out of hand during AAS use by many. The reason this applies is that estrogen in itself is very synergistic to, and a co-actant of, androgen mediated protein synthesis.
From the most basic perspective, consider that muscle repair and building requires a great deal of ATP. ATP levels are greatly regulated by available glycogen in cells and the liver. And estrogen mediates the amount of potential glycogen synthesis and resynthesis greatly. An increase in protein synthesis requires an increase in glycogen synthesis. To support ongoing muscle growth this is mandatory.
Estrogen regulation, huh? Hmmm...
This does not apply if the goal is maximized bodyfat loss such as during pre-contest AAS protocols. During mass lean tissue-gaining periods, androgens that aromatize to some degree are mandatory within the structure of any protocol intended for maximum activity.
It is more effective to allow an increase in total estrogen to act in ratio to the androgen level for the synergistic value. However, an athlete would certainly not want this to get out of control to a point of gynecomastia. This means employing first a moderate dosage of an aromatase inhibitor to decrease total estrogen production to a certain point.
Unfortunately, this is not likely enough estrogen control to avoid estrogenic negative side effects such as gyno and female pattern fat deposits. The addition of a site blocker such as clomiphene or tamoxifen citrate at moderate dosages will usually keep this from occurring.
As to aromatase inhibitors, it is best to use those that do not negatively effect IGF-1 production such as anastrozole unless hGH is used within the protocol structure. Actually, this is true of tamoxifen citrate as well. For non-GH inclusive protocols, exemestane and clomiphene are actually better combined options.
[ Q ] If you look on bodybuilding forums on the internet, there are a million and one different PCT protocols. Is there a one size fits all protocol? How does one design an effective PCT protocol?
ALR: No, there is no one size fits all perfectly if the goal were to only respond to the specific issues each AAS user realized from each different protocol. Accounting for all of the Action/Reaction Factors that the given AAS protocol either caused or was part of would be required for perfect PCT each time.
Protocols that include a great deal of aromatizing AAS will require greater post-cycle estrogen control to clean up the Estrogen Negative Feed Back Loop. Testosterones and methandrostenolone are infamous for this. Nandrolone or trenbolone long term use even more so.
Those that are very high androgens with low aromatization over stimulate and desensitize the androgen receptors in the hypothalamus resulting in a shut down in GnRH - the first level in natural testosterone production. Halotestin and M-1-Test are good examples here.
Of course, M-1-Test and Halotestin both tax the neuro-net pretty severely as well adding to the shut down. But for a one-size-fits-all approach addressing each of these issues would suffice for an effective HPTA regeneration protocol in almost all cases.
[ Q ] For those using AAS protocols for bodybuilding purposes, are there some antiestrogens that are better used while "on-cycle" and others that are better used while "off-cycle"?
ALR: Dose dependant formestane is one of the better "off-cycle" anti-estrogens due to its potentiating effect upon IGF-1 release and excellent ability to decrease estrogen while stimulating HPTA activity. Some seem to feel that it readily converts to testosterone-OH and therefore has HPTA suppressive effects itself. This is not so.
First, it would do so by way of the 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme - the same one that was supposed to turn all of the gyno causing oral androstenedione into "amazing amounts of testosterone". And how did that one work out? Pretty poor as there is a very unlikely potential and even less available 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase to do the deed.
My current personal favorite at this time is the matrix in our new Ultra HOT, but lets skip the interview that turns into an ad this time.
[ Q ] We know that certain AAS can adversely affect LDL and HDL cholesterol. How do antiestrogens affect blood lipids? Can they exacerbate the negative effects by lowering estrogen too much?
ALR: That more depends upon the products and drugs used. A correctly formulated supplemental product for estrogen control would take this into account and aid HDL/LDL ratios favorably. As to drugs I have noted, the long-term use of anastrozole often leads to very low HDL (the good cholesterol). This can usually be corrected or offset by co-commitant use of tamoxifen.
|Part 1 | Part 2|