An Interview By Chris Kelly About Supplementation!

Today we are going to talk about some of the most important supplements you can take for cutting, bulking, and athletic performance. We will also talk about what not to take! Get all the facts right here!

[ Q ] For cutting, bulking, and athletic performance what are the most important supplements on a budget?

    Regardless of the goal there are a group of supplements that I call basic supplements that anyone involved in weight training should be taking at all times. These supplements are:

    1. A Multivitamin And Mineral Formula: are essential to ensure that your body will operate at maximum efficiency.

      Why? Because on a very simplistic level, without vitamins and minerals it is impossible to convert the food that we eat into hormones, tissues and energy. I take a multivitamin and mineral pack made by Prolab Nutrition that contains all of the vitamins and minerals that my body needs.

    2. Protein Supplements: Because of hectic schedules it is impossible for most people to eat the six perfectly balanced meals that are required to get in shape every day.

      Therefore, these supplements can be used as "fast food". They are easy to prepare and most of the formulas that are available on the market today pay close attention to taste.

      Having said that, there are many categories of protein supplements: weight gainers, pure protein powders and meal replacements. You need to choose one based on your goals.

      • For calorie restricted diets, or if you are on a budget, a whey protein powder works best as a scoop typically yields 20-25 grams of protein with no more than 5 grams of carbs on the average. This powder can be mixed with milk, water or even oatmeal in order to create a meal.

      • Meal replacement powders typically come in packets and provide more protein (around 40 grams on the average) along with carbs (between 25-40 grams) and some good fats (3-8 grams).

        The goal of the meal replacement is to replace a meal that is higher in carbohydrate content. If on a budget however, you are better off with a straight protein powder as it is more cost effective.

      • Weight gainers are great products for the naturally skinny who want to pack on some muscle. The main difference is that the caloric content is higher due to the increased carbohydrate content. The most cost effective weight gainer on the market, in my opinion, is Prolab's N-Large 2.

    3. Essential Fatty Acids: Essential fatty acids, Alpha Linoleic Acid (Omega-3s) and Linoleic Acid (Omega-6s), are fats that need to be consumed through one's diet as the body cannot manufacture them. They are most important as they are involved in several key body functions such as energy production, fat burning, brain and nerve tissue development, mood regulation, insulin metabolism, hemoglobin production, etc.

      In addition, these fats have some interesting properties such as anti-inflammatory properties, anti-lipolitic properties (prevention of extra calories being stored as fat), reduction in allergies, and immune system strengthening. 1-2 tablespoons per day of Spectrum's Flaxseed Oil is my favorite way of consuming these oils.

    4. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that improves your immune system and helps you recover faster from your workouts by suppressing the amount of cortisol (hormone that kills muscle and aids in the accumulation of fat) that is released by your body during a workout.

      Vitamin C is the only vitamin that I recommend to be taken in mega dose quantities. Remember that since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it will not get stored by the body. Research shows that if taken an hour before a workout (1000mg dose) it significantly reduces muscle soreness and speeds recovery.

      I recommend a total of 3000 mg per day of Vitamin C. If your multivitamin pack already has 1000 mg, and you take this in the morning, then all you need is an extra 1000 mg at lunch and 1000 mg at dinner.

    5. Chromium Picolinate: Chromium picolinate is a mineral that may enhance the effects of insulin, the hormone that pushes amino acids (protein) and carbohydrates into the muscle cell.

      As we have previously discussed, insulin is one of the most anabolic hormones in the body; it determines if the food that you eat is going to be used for muscle production, energy production or fat production.

      When insulin is secreted in moderate levels, it aids in muscle and energy production. In excessive levels it only promotes fat storage. chromium picolinate may upgrade insulin's capability to produce muscle and energy by making the cells in the body more prone towards accepting this hormone (in other words, enhancing insulin sensitivity).

      In doing so, it may help you to gain muscle and lose fat faster as insulin will now be able to deliver the desired nutrients to the muscle cell.

      Chromium may also keep blood sugar levels stable, thereby preventing insulin levels from going high enough to begin promoting fat storage. Again, chromium only works if we follow a proper diet.

      Also, while it is not the magic bullet that it was claimed to be for building muscle back in the early 90's I still feel that it is useful for ensuring that our insulin sensitivity is at its peak.


[ Q ] How much should a consumer expect to spend for effective supplementation?

    Depends on the goal. If a consumer sticks to just the basics as outlined above, chooses a company that produces high quality products at low cost, and goes to a discount site like www.bodybuilding.com to get the best prices, then you are looking at:

    • Prolab's Training Paks - $12.49

    • Prolab's Pure Whey - $35.97 x1 (one 2 scoop serving/day) or x 2 (two 2 scoop servings per day).

      Note:
      Women only need 1 scoop per serving.

      -Or If You Prefer A Meal Replacement Powder-

    • Prolab's Lean Mass Complex - $37.95 x 2 if 1 serving per day, x 4, if 2 servings per day.

      -Or If You Prefer A Weight Gain Powder-

    • Prolab's N-large II - $47.97 x1 (one 4 scoop serving/day) or x 2 (two 4 scoop servings per day).

    • Higher Power Chromium Picolinate - $4.95 (will last you 3 months-100 caps)

    • Higher Power Vitamin C (1000 mg caps; Qty: 250) - $10.49 (Will last you almost 3 months at 3 caps per day)

    • Spectrum Flax Seed Oil runs typically for $11.69 for a 16-ounce bottle which gives you around 30 servings (each serving being 1 tablespoon). I get the flax oil at my local health food store as it needs to be refrigerated.

    Having said that, assuming you go for 2 servings of a protein powder and 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil per day, your expenses per month are in the order of $101.30.

    If you go for 2 servings of the meal replacement powder and 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil per day, then you are looking at approximately: $181.16.

    Now, assuming you go for 2 servings of the N-Large 2 weight gainer and 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil per day, then your monthly total will be: $125.30.

    Now, if you are really serious about your program and you add creatine and glutamine to your supplement stack that will incur additional expenses.

    • Creatine: For creatine all you need is 5 grams per day (half a dosage before and half a dosage after the workout).

      Since recent studies, and my personal experience, indicate that there is no need to load on creatine, then 5 grams is all you need. By getting Prolab's 1000 gram creatine bottle through Bodybuilding.com you will only add $3.60 / month to your supplement bill.

      The reason for this is because 1000 grams of Prolab creatine runs for $23.99, but since it lasts you 200 days then the monthly price gets diluted.

    • Glutamine: For glutamine you can get 1000 grams of Prolab Glutamine for $44.95. I like to recommend 3 servings of 5 grams per day of glutamine (1 first thing in the morning, 1 after the workout, and one before bed). Therefore, if you get Prolab's 1000 gram bottle, it will last you for 2 months so that adds an additional $22.48/month.


[ Q ] When choosing a product, what features do you consider first and why?


[ Q ] Many products seem to have emerged lately that make fantastic claims. Can you name a few that are based on sound science, and a few that fail to live up to their hype?

Backed By Science:

    All of the products that I mention as my basic stack are backed by science. As far as performance enhancing products, as I call them, I have to go with creatine and glutamine.

    RELATED ARTICLE
    Creatine Super Feature
    This will be an introduction regarding misinformation surrounding the very well known supplement, Creatine.
    Creatine monohydrate, unlike some uninformed critics claim, is one of the most researched, effective and safest supplements around, with benefits not only limited to increases in lean muscle mass, strength, and recuperation capabilities, but also an array of health enhancing benefits ranging from improved brain function to helping with various dystrophies and even Parkinson's disease.

    Glutamine is another supplement that is heavily backed by science.

    Though glutamine is not an essential amino acid, studies indicate that taking it helps against muscle loss, helps in preventing overtraining for athletes that train too hard and too long, helps in increasing glycogen (stored carbohydrates) stores in the muscle and liver after the workout, and helps in boosting immunity.

    I could not see myself training without glutamine.

    I cannot recommend the two supplements mentioned above enough as they do everything that they claim and if you notice, some of the benefits that they provide are the same benefits provided by anabolic steroids, except that in the case of the two supplements above, the benefits are provided through non-hormonal pathways and thus they do not come with the side effects that steroids do.

No Backing:

    Regarding supplements that promise a lot but have no backing by science and worst of all, do not stand to their claims... let's talk about fat burners.

    First of all, if the product claims that you do not need to diet or exercise then do not even look at it any further because even on steroids you still need dieting and training. Also, while I cannot mention any brand names, I will tell you this; some fat burners today are just a mix of various herbs that contain caffeine. For instance, while on the surface the following ingredients appear to be different: guarana, yerba mate, and kola nut, all of them are herbs that deliver caffeine.

    Green tea delivers caffeine as well. So beware of products that are just glorified caffeine pills because if caffeine is what you want, you can get caffeine tablets way cheaper at the pharmacy, Bodybuilding.com or through black Colombian coffee (my favorite).

    Note:
    For more information on products that I like please take a look at my site 'www.hrfit.net' and check out some of my product reviews.


[ Q ] Based upon price and quality, where would you recommend shopping? And why?

    Bodybuilding.com for sure. While I may sound like they are paying me for this, all I can tell you is that these people really have their act together. I never wait more than 3 days before getting an order from them. As soon as I order I get a confirmation e-mail indicating that the order was received and shortly after I get one indicating that it was shipped.

    In addition, their prices are unbeatable and their site is also loaded with tons of free information from authors all over the world on all topics relating to bodybuilding and fitness. As a matter of fact, you will find numerous articles from me on their site.


[ Q ] Based on these same criteria, do you recommend or support any particular supplement company or companies?

    Yes. Since 1993 (I started lifting in May 1990) I have been using Prolab products and the reason for that is simple: With Prolab you buy quality at low prices. The first product that I used from them was their creatine as they were the first ones to sell two 300 gram bottles for the price of one in the days that creatine was extremely expensive (as in $25 for 100 grams).

    What impressed me the most at the time is that when I did my research on their manufacturing of the creatine, it was German made 99.9% pure creatine (the highest quality). So then I jumped also on their glutamine and their whey protein. Prolab saved me tons of money as I was going through engineering school and had limited resources.


    Click To Enlarge.
    With Prolab You Buy Quality At Low Prices.

    To this day, they continue to produce high quality items at a low cost and because of that, back in October 2001, I contacted them and offered to become a spokesperson for them.

    I signed with them around January 2002 and have been with them ever since providing the company feedback on new products, helping to educate the consumer on how to use their products, and letting others know about this brand.


[ Q ] Anything else that you would like to add?

    Just remember that supplements are just additions to a good diet and training program. They do not make up for improper diet and lack of training. However, if your training and diet are dialed in, then supplements will certainly accelerate your results and take your physique to a place you never thought possible.


Conclusion

If you would like more information on training and diet, then please visit my website www.hrfit.net or check out some of my books like:

  • The Body Sculpting Bible for Men
  • The Body Sculpting Bible for Women (if interested in weight loss/toning)
  • The Hardgainer's Bodybuilding Handbook (if you are naturally skinny and want to gain weight)
  • Body Re-Engineering (an e-book that will be of interest for anyone who wants to become a bodybuilder)

Best of luck with all your fitness endeavors!