This is just one question out of many! View the full listing of FAQs here.
This guy wrote to me twice and I decided to post both e-mails onto this FAQ. He asks several questions that I think some of you may benefit from, enjoy.
Will 4-AD/SAN A-100 Be Out Of Your System In 3 Days? I Don't Eat Red Meat, Do I Need To Supplement With Creatine?
Part 1: The original E-mail
From: Johnny Bravo
Subject: advice on supplements please
I have just hit 18 & I am tempted to try out some 4-ad/san a-100. I was wondering if any PH's can be classed as natural? So far I've never touched them and still may not. I've been told that all traces of 4-ad will be out of your system within about 3 days post cycle so how do we really know that natural bodybuilders don't use them?
A short creatine question...I am not a creatine user. I have noticed most bodybuilders use creatine except Shawn Ray; however he eats a fair amount of steak which contains creatine monohydrate. I don't eat red meat so should I consider a low dose of creatine? I have an issue with the whole muscle bloating thing that is why it would only be a low dose if any.
Some IFBB Pros use creatine and some do not, as far a Shawn Rayâ€¦ when he is competing he is full of "Juice" and he doesn't need creatine! Furthermore, from my experience creatine will not bloat you in the extracellular spaces which are located between the skin and muscle. It may however bloat the muscle tissue which is considered intercellular or inside the muscle tissue. This is obviously a good thing from a bodybuilding stand point. More fluid yields more nutrients yields faster repair and growth. You mentioned that Shawn eats a lot of meat which contains creatine.
I am not sure on the exact specifics referring to how many grams of creatine are present in "X" amount of red meat. I do know that creatine is present in red meat and one would have to eat a good bit to get let us say 15-20 grams which is not an uncommon amount in the world of natural bodybuilding. Dr. Joseph Clark notes that consuming 3-5gms of creatine each day raises creatine levels so it is safe to say that this is valid, but in my experience more than likely food consumption alone will not provide you with this amount. Dr. Clark also notes that humans can obtain roughly 1gm of creatine by consuming a rather large serving of the right sources of meat and recognizes that a vegetarian diet would require a person to synthesize most all of their required creatine (1).
You claim that you do not eat red meat at all so you definitely need supplementation. The human body requires roughly 2-3gms of creatine each day. Astonishingly, the body can synthesize about 1-2gms everyday and the remaining 1-2gms is obtained via dietary means. If an individual does not eat their share of creatine containing foods, such as red meat, the body will increase synthesis in attempt to meet daily requirements (1).
In muscle cells, creatine is phosphorylated into phosphocreatine(1). Phosphorylation is a chemical process where a phosphate group binds to an organic molecule. In cells that have "life", such as muscle cells, this is associated with respiration (2). Respiration takes place in a muscle cell's so called "powerhouse", the mighty mitochondria. Phosphocreatine (PCr) is then present and used in the conversion of ADP to the energy yielding ATP.
Creatine undergoes phosphorylation yielding PCr:
PCr + ADP = ATP + creatine
Creatine gave up its phosphate group to ADP therefore ATP (energy) was formed and creatine is in its original state.
One can now see the relationship between creatine and ATP through this explanation.
Pro-Hormones (PH) are natural as long as your sanctioning organization says that they are. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says they are a no - no! This seems to remain a personal interpretation and a question the only the user can answer. They are not illegal and they are not anabolic steroids so to speak, but merely a derivative of the later mentioned illegal substance. Personally, I'd never use them (PH) again as I have had too many bad experiences.
I have acknowledged the fact that I have successfully completed 2 cycles. I have also been know to say that I rather use sound sports nutrition tactics that are valid and proven to work. Timing the nutrients is a much better investment in effort and proved time and time again to remain the proof within the pudding.
People ask me about PH all the time and I say NO WAY! They can mess you up. The "NORs" will stay in the system for up to 4 months or longer and leave you with little to no libido for quite sometime. People e-mail me quite often asking me to "fix" them and it just takes time. Stay away as I stated before the better thing to do is follow the program outlined in the article I have on the Bodybuilding.com web site called the Anabolic Nutrient Timing Factor, which is a rendition and enforcer of the original author's version who is none other than the respected Paul Cribb of AST.
Questions About Supplements: Lecithin Granules, dessicated Liver, AST VP2 Isolate, And CoQ10?
Part 2: Johnny bravo wrote back the following day:
Thanks for your reply.
I had no idea Shawn Ray was juicing! No wonder the man uses hardly any supps. I feel I should apologize if I came across as rude or abrupt in the last e-mail, I'm used to people not replying so I just skipped all the pleasantries as I wasn't expecting too much! So thanks for your reply. I'll read your article later on today when I get back from college.
Could I just ask for your opinions/remarks on a couple of supps please:
AST VP2 Isolate
And then either chromium picolinate or ALA to stop fat on high carb days/while bulking. Which one is best?
And if there are any supps u would like to recommend...
I use whey, glutamine and ZMA. I also have an 8 week supply of HMB in my cupboard ready for when I start bulking in November. I guess I'll give creatine a go as u seem to like it, so do most natural guys (I see Skip La Cour takes 15g/20g a day!) thanks for your time it is very much appreciated
I think that just as in any professional sport there is a high percentage of the athletes "Juicing." There are probably more juicers in the professional bodybuilding world than in other sports; however, not all IFBB Pros are juiced up. Jeff Willett earned his IFBB Pro-Card this past year and he is 100% natural. You mentioned Skip LaCour in your e-mail so I'll use him as another great example. Skip was offered his Pro Card and turned it down but there would have been another example of a guy in the IFBB Pro Ranks not using steriods.
Now understand that these guys were offered their Pro Card at the NPC Team Universe a drug tested bodybuilding competition, and they would probably be the first to admit that Pro or not they could not be competitive as an IFBB Pro. Personally I have more respect for those two men than I do for the top ten at the Mr. "O", but I am a natural bodybuilder with the dream and goal of earning my IFBB Pro card. Although like Jeff and Skip I'll certainly never be a true threat at the professional level but I can earn my Pro card.
In short, Shawn Ray Juices and is more than likely relatively open about it as most Pros are. (Jokingly) Ohh I almost forgot Ronnie Coleman is all natural.
Now onto your questions concerning supplementation. Let us begin with lecithin granules. First of all what are they? Lecithin is also known as phosphatidylcholine (PC). This is a lipid or fat that is naturally occurring in the body. What does PC do? Well I'll start out by saying that every human cell needs lecithin because the cell's membrane is composed primarily of just that lecithin. Other benefits include enhancement of both function and health in the liver, gastrointestinal tract, brain, and cardiovascular system.
Something so vital must be found in food right? Yes, but unfortunately it is found in fattening and processed foods. To keep saturated fat intake to a minimum supplementation is important. Healthy adults need at the minimum 6gms/day of lecithin. You can take lecithin in granular form, 3-4 tablespoons sprinkled on cereal, over salads, or mixed into you favorite protein shake all are good recommendations. Honestly, I do not use lecithin but I do think it has its role in bodybuilding (3).
In terms of dessicated liver supplementationâ€¦this is somewhat of a forgotten supplement. At one time it was very popular with the bodybuilding community but I think that was back in the 1970's during Arnold's heyday. An article written in 1992 titled "Be Good to Your Liver" claims that it has helped many. It is obtained from the liver of select-healthy cattle. It is free of fat and dessicated at temperatures beneath 37 degrees Celsius allowing the retention of "raw" enzymes as well as hormones. Liver contains high amounts of vitamins A and B, folic acid, as well as selenium. All of those are believed to help prevent against diseases, act as antioxidants, and aid in energy metabolism. I do not use this supplement (4).
Moving onto AST's VP2 Whey isolateâ€¦well now, AST, right there enough said. High quality and research to back the results use it! I use and love this supplement.
That was simple now how about that CoQ10? This supplement was summarized pretty well by James F. Balch, M.D., and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. They described it in their 2nd Edition of the Prescription for Nutritional Healing. "Coenzyme Q10 [also called ubiquinone] is a vitamin like substance whose actions in the body resemble those of vitamin E. [...] This substance plays a critical role in the production Of energy in every cell of the body. It aids in circulation, stimulates the immune system, increases tissue oxygenation, and has vital anti-aging effects." In addition to this it is of importance to note that stress of all types deplete it rather easily. Among this stress includes the self imposed stress of resistance training therefore I believe that this is a wise supplement to take. I do not use this supplement(5).
You asked about using either chromium picolinate or ALA to stop fat storage on high carb days when you embark on your bulking program. I would not rely on either; instead rely on proper nutritional practices. What you are trying to do is mimic insulin and I am not sure that these are capable of doing that. I tried an experiment with this theory but I was lacking insulin via nutritional manipulation and I did not see the results that I had hoped for. You can manage your blood insulin levels just fine through proper nutritional approaches which are described in my articles. I know that chromium is important in carbohydrate metabolism and that ALA is a great antioxidant. I have used both in the past.
You also state that you use whey, glutamine, and ZMA. All of those supplements are great and I use them regularly.
HMB on the other hand is not so hot. There is little to no evidence that HMB is a wise supplement for athletes to take. I'd use what you have on hand then leave it alone till more reliable research comes available.
The latter supplement recommendations should have answered all of your questions. If you want to know what I do on a daily basis you can follow me by subscribing to my Eating & Training with Dino-Offseason 2003-2004 program.
Thanks for the inquiry and good luck.
Dino Paul Pierce, CFT, RD
1. Clark J. Creatine -- performance enhancer. Biol Sci Rev. 2000; 12:23.
2. Phosphorylation. The Columbia Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. 2000; 30359.
3. Wright J. Lecithin is more: why you should be using this unique supplement. Flex. 2002; 20:266(5).
4. Bowles WV. Be good to your liver. Total Health. 1992; 14:30(3).
5. Guest DK, Scheer JF. Getting to the heart of the matter with CoQ10. Better Nutrition. 1999; 61:52.