This is just one question out of many! View the full listing of FAQs here.
I Have A Ton Of Little Questions. Please Help!
Here is a question from a visitor with my answers throughout.
Dino: This question is a follow up. I had given this guy help a few months ago and he was not sure exactly what to do with it. Read on to gain insight and clarification concerning training, supplementation, protein in the form of raw eggs, prohormones, and carbohydrates. I know you are thinking, heck what else is there, and this is a good point. He asks questions in a vast range and I thought that posting his follow up would be beneficial to many. Enjoy!
Visitor: "First, you say that I should perform 6-9 sets and not go higher than 10 reps per set and can go as low as 2-4. Wow! This is much different than what I do now. For almost all exercises, I do four sets. So, 6-9 would be a huge leap for me. I do the typical 12-10-8-6 mode for reps for each set. I guess I need to change this routine."
Dino's Response: Yes you should change your routine. Why? Well you asked for a program that would help you bulk up. Traditionally a routine that utilized heavy/correct training gets the job done. There are some exceptions to this rule but lifting heavy weights during training, particularly squatting allows the body to react to the stress by releasing some anabolic hormones. This is of course beneficial to the athlete. Your 12-10-8-6 program can build mass granted that you are training to true failure. In other words when you shoot for 10 reps you should barely be able to get those 10. Shoot for a weight that you know that you can get 8 with and use the other two to challenge yourself.
A general rule is that if you are getting some delayed onset muscle soreness AKA DOMS you will grow. DOMS is a true sign of muscle breakdown, which is a result of training. The body compensates this by building itself up allowing for bigger stronger muscles. The low rep theory allows you to dense up the muscle fibers, which is associated with thickness and mass. So experiment with the two and expect results. Oh, by the way, none of this will occur if you are not eating properly and resting.
Visitor: "Okay, for the part about supplements. I don't know much about supplements. So, I don't know what a "multivitamin" is, I don't know what "antioxidants (A&E)" are, and I don't know what "L-glutamine" is. Can you tell me what these things are and recommend some brands I could purchase? Also, which is most important, least important? I ask because I don't want to start taking plenty of supplements all of a sudden."
Dino's Response: The three supplements that you inquired about are basic supplements that have no side effects if used properly. They will only strengthen your immune system and allow your body to recuperate faster. This is a break down of what each supplement actually is:
Multivitamins - a variety of cooperating vitamins in a small dose usually taken once or twice each day. Your body needs these and they are beneficial for anyone that trains. They do not really promote energy or anything like that, they are just good to have in your system.
Antioxidants - These may be in your multivitamin in microdosages but you can take an extra dose after training to help the muscle cells fight off the free radicals that were brought to them via the blood during training. O2 can be harmful, as you may know. Look at it this way, the air we breathe works but it is not pure. These act as a filter.
L-glutamine - this is an amino acid, which is a protein broken down into its digested form. L-glutamine is really important for the recovery of muscles as well as proper glycogen reloading. The muscles have L-glutamine in them but it is the first thing to go during training so you need to replace it via supplementation.
As previously stated, none of these will hurt you if you take them according to the instructions of the product. The importance rating in my opinion would be as follows 1) L-glutamine, 2) Multivitamin and then 3) extra antioxidants. All of these products can be purchased from the Bodybuilding.com web site at a great price. Any product that Bodybuilding.com sells is of quality so it is really up to you as far as deciding on which to use. Click the blue supplement links above for a list of products and more info.
Visitor: "As for protein shakes, how does this sound? Usually, when I come home from a good workout, I take four egg whites, put them in a big cup, pour in some milk and some Ovaltine, use a handheld blender to blend it, and drink it."
Dino's Response: This is really important so take this to heart. NEVER consume raw eggs. This was a common bodybuilding practice in the past but we now know that it will more than likely result in salmonella poisoning which is BAD. Invest in a good protein shake or cook your eggs. I would not eat eggs after a workout anyway. This is when you need to be eating a carbohydrate meal only; you have plenty of time to get your protein later on. Milk will just clog up the system and I would can the milk as well. If you are worried about getting calcium you can take a supplement. The Ovaltine has protein in it so I would can this as well. Just stick to carbohydrates after training and buy a good protein supplement or cook a protein meal about 1 - 1.5 hours after your workout and carbohydrate meal, which should be consumed immediately after training.
Visitor: "What is a prohormone cycle?"
Dino's Response: Prohormones are precursors to steroidal compounds. It goes like this: the bodybuilder takes a prohormone then the body can convert it into a steroid. Since the reaction happens in the body and you are not taking a pure form of a steroid hormone they are legal. A cycle is a 3-8 week period of prohormone use. The use period is followed by an off period of equal length. So if you cycle for 6 weeks you need to get off for at least 6 weeks at the least, perhaps more. Big Cat, another writer for Bodybuilding.com, has a great article concentrating on basically all of the prohormones on the market. Read it and decide if you would like to experiment with one. I have used 19-Nor, 1-androdiol, and 4-androdiol and have gotten great results. The diols seem to be the safest and benefit the lifter the most.
Visitor: "300 grams of protein through whole food and drinks??? Hmmm... I've never been one to add up figures on labels. I try to eat eggs in the morning, eat chicken when I can."
Dino's Response: This is good but try logging your protein intake for one day and see how much you actually take in. It may be much less that you think. One thing is certain; if you want to grow muscles you need to feed them a lot of protein.
Visitor: "What about carbohydrates?? I thought it was bad to eat stuff like pasta at night when you are relaxing. But are you saying for me to eat carbohydrates AFTER I work out? Maybe I should eat more carbohydrates in the morning. What should I eat in the morning?"
Dino's Response: Since you are relatively lean and trying to gain weight you can get away with eating carbohydrates in the morning and after training. Besides those feeding times concentrate on eating some fibrous carbohydrates like leafy greens and high quality proteins.
Visitor: "Thanks so much."
Dino's Response: Not a problem at all. Now that these things are clear you should be well on your way to a bulkier physique. Good luck!