Q & A With Clayton South - August 2007.

Clayton sorts out another list of questions relating to constructing a workout, use of flax seed oil, Ecdysterone, and more right here!

[ Q ] Hey Clayton, I just read your article on constructing a workout. I saw on the split you had laid out to take three days off a week. Would it be possible to achieve the same results while working out six days a week? I know it may be pushing overtraining but I feel like I'm not doing anything if I take that much time off.

    [ A ] The article that you cite entitled A Step By Step Guide For Constructing An Effective Workout is a practical, step-by-step "field guide" that was designed to allow bodybuilders from all levels of experience to intelligently construct an effective workout - i.e. one that builds muscle - without having to know some of the more advanced mathematics and kinesiological theory behind exercise This practical "do it yourself" guide has safety as one of its fundamental operating principles.

A Step-By-Step Guide For Constructing An Effective Workout! A Step-By-Step Guide For Constructing An Effective Workout!
Are you trying to design a workout program? But cannot find anything, anywhere about how to make an effective workout. Look no further!
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      It's simple: building muscle is just like the stock market - in the stock market if you want to make money, you must first make sure that you're playing the game and that you're not losing money.

    To build muscle, you have to eat well train right and make sure that you don't get knocked out of the game because of injury, and that your method of exercise doesn't cause you to lose muscle tissue.

    Injury Prevention:

    If you can satisfy these two requirements first, then you have a realistic chance of building new muscle tissue and enhancing your physique. It is this mindset that lies at the heart of this program.

    Lifting weights exerts a tremendous amount of stress on not only your skeletal muscles, but also your central nervous system and every system in your body. And while lifting weights is hard work, growing new muscle is even harder work.


      It's simple: lifting weights causes the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate - two immediate energy system fuel sources.

    The breakdown of these fuel sources cause a build up of negatively charged hydrogen ions within the muscle cell, and leads to a state of acidosis - the buildup of acid and a corresponding pH change. And, this series of events triggers the release of interleukin-6, a pro-inflammatory hormone that amplifies and sustains the inflammatory cascade and its effects.

    So, while lifting weights is predominantly about moving muscle tissue under a heavy load to induce microtrauma, building muscle is about recovery and controlling inflammation while supplying the body with the nutrients it requires.

    Controlling the inflammatory cascade and its effects takes time. Overtraining has sometimes been called "total body inflammation" and for good reason: without enough time between training sessions, it is impossible to reduce inflammation and control the inflammatory cascade to the degree required for recovery and muscle growth.


    Due to the heavy lifting involved in a workout program, and especially those designed using the article you cite, you simply cannot exert the same amount of intensity over double the amount of exercise workout sessions (and half the recovery time) and expect to grow. Not only will you become chronically inflamed, but your hormone production will shut down.

+ Click To Enlarge.
You Can't Just Double Your
Exercises And Expect To Grow.

    When you are in the gym, work hard. But, be sure to avoid the temptation to do more than is necessary as it will only increase the potential negative effects while simultaneously killing our muscle growth potential. Work hard and then rest and recover - it's the only way to go and the only way to grow. Good luck.

[ Q ] I had to have a major hysterectomy and in the last year and I feel I've aged ten years. My hair, skin and nails are dry. My hair which was blonde has gotten darker and thinner. I have no energy or motivation.

Someone told me to take 4 flax seed oil pills in the morning and 4 at dinner time. Someone else told me to only take one in morning and one at night. Tell me please will this stuff help me in any way? If so, how much do I take? If so, how long before I see results? Please help me, I feel so old and ugly.

    [ A ] For those who don't know, a hysterectomy is surgical procedure whereby a physician removes a woman's uterus. Although some debate about the overuse of hysterectomy surgery has been ongoing in recent years, hysterectomies are usually performed after a doctor has identified some problem with a woman's reproductive organs.

    Although I cannot say that flax seed pills will help with the management of the consequences of a hysterectomy - i.e. the appearance of aging and the decline of hair, skin and nail health - I can say that, in general, flax seed oil is helpful for the maintenance of healthy hair, skin and nails. Again, whereas the pills are generally ineffective, cold-pressed flax seed oil has been shown to have some health benefits.

    However, supplementation is not the only area of concern when you have had a hysterectomy. Several of my clients who I provide nutritional counseling services to have had hysterectomies, and I can tell you that your eating habits play a critical role in managing your life after you have had your uterus removed.

Hysterectomy Hysterectomy.
Need help!! Had a full hysterectomy a year ago (age 41) and have only just been able to train. Muscles were cut and am struggling to get strength back in my lower abs. Any advice or exercises and time scales please!!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    While the creation of a specialized diet is specific to the woman and should be created with a competent nutritionist and in consultation with your gynecologist, here are some general tips that have proven effective across a wide range of women who have undergone a hysterectomy surgery:

    1. Drink plenty of water.
    2. Eat a clean diet.
    3. Use a high quality multivitamin.
    4. Supplement with antioxidants.
    5. Continue any prescription medications that you have been prescribed.

    It is important to drink enough water throughout the day even when you have a uterus. It is more important to drink plenty of water throughout the day when your uterus has been removed and your health conditions have changed. Water helps support optimal organ function and helps remove toxins from your body that may cause inflammation and slow healing.

Water: Your Secret Weapon Water: Your Secret Weapon. There are many types of water and like anything some are better than others. This article will shed some light on the importance of water including how much to drink, types, and more.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Also, women who have had hysterectomy surgery generally do best on a clean diet that is free of processed chemicals and additives. This entails eating plenty of fruits and vegetables - preferably grown organically - and eating lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish that are relatively low in saturated animal fats. This is especially important because saturated animal fats promote inflammation and have been tied to various forms of cancer.

    Supplementing with a high quality multivitamin and multilateral product will give your body the nutrients that it needs to support the millions of chemical processes that occur throughout the day. Vitamins and minerals assist in the healing process and prevent nutritional deficiencies from slowing the healing process.

    Vitamins & Minerals:

    Following a surgical procedure, it is especially important to supplement with potent antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C. B-vitamins are also important, as is zinc citrate.

    Specific intake ranges vary, but vitamin C is generally dosed at 1000 mg daily, an ideal B-vitamin should contain 50 mg of each B-vitamin, and zinc citrate can safely be dosed at 15 mg daily. Follow up with your doctor for more information on the specific dosages that are appropriate for you.

    Because you've had a hysterectomy, you're probably taking one of three synthetic hormone medications:

    • Premarin
    • Provera
    • Prempo

    I strongly caution you against listening to some of the advice in the natural medicine that makes claims against these drugs.

    Specifically, many in the natural medicine movement claim that these drugs are not as effective as so-called "bio-identical" hormones because these drugs are synthetic.

    It is absolutely critical that you comply with the instructions of your doctor with respect to these medicines, and that you consult with your physician prior to making any changes to your drug or supplement intake.

    Finally, it goes without saying that whenever a person undergoes life-changing surgery, psychological issues result in addition to the physical realities. Many women who undergo a hysterectomy experience mild to severe depression in addition to self esteem difficulties.

    Forum Threads:

    Seeking out a qualified and professional psychologist experienced in women's health issues is something you want to consider as you must not only heal your body but also mind.

    I encourage you to do more research into this matter and to seek out the advice of a professionally qualified competent nutritionist who can work in conjunction with your doctor to devise a specific nutrition plan that takes into account your health challenges and seeks to maximize your quality of life. You can still use flax seed oil, but don't expect miracles.

      View Flax Seed Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

[ Q ] Hey, Clayton. I've read about Ecdysterone inside and out. What's your personal opinion of this stuff? I'm looking into trying it but I want to know if you think it is really worth it.

    [ A ] Ecdysterone is an interesting ingredient that showed promise when it first came out on the market. Known chemically as 20-Beta-Hydroxyecdysterone, Ecdysterone was discovered in bugs and was shown to exert some mild anabolic effect.

    Subsequent research into this ingredient showed that athletes who supplemented with Ecdysterone had greater stamina, increased energy, improved strength and overall improved exercise performance. Additionally, one study performed in 1988 found that some study subjects lost 10% body fat and gained 7% muscle in just 10 days of supplementation. Pretty incredible stuff, right?

+ Click To Enlarge.
Incredible Stuff? Or Hype?

    Unfortunately, the marketing hype surrounding this ingredient created the conditions that led to inevitable eventual disappointment. When Ecdysterone first came out, and when word got around that it exerted hormonally anabolic activity, many marketing departments at supplement companies began to promote Ecdysterone as an alternative to anabolic steroids.


    Unfortunately, this is a typical pattern that we see with all new supplement ingredients that show even the smallest amount of ergogenic promise. These days, everything has become "revolutionary."

    Unfortunately, Ecdysterone did not live up to the hype. And, although it is effective at certain dosages, the benefits of Ecdysterone were largely lost on bodybuilders because of the disappointment surrounding its failure to make anabolic steroids obsolete.

    For those athletes who use Ecdysterone and experienced its benefits firsthand, another issue arose: cost.

Clayton's Health Facts: Ecdysterone. Clayton's Health Facts: Ecdysterone.
You might want to build yourself a more athletic body-- maybe even one with deep muscular cuts of muscle, perhaps a chiseled six-pack, and possibly even some ripped legs?
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    The fact is, Ecdysterone is a supplement ingredient that exerts beneficial effects. Unfortunately, the dosage amount required to see benefit are so large and the cost associated with the dosing so high that using Ecdysterone in amounts needed to see results is simply not economically realistic for most bodybuilders.

    Ecdysterone is just too expensive for the results that it can deliver, especially considering the fact that creatine monohydrate is phenomenally effective and incredibly cost efficient.

    I have used an Ecdysterone product in the past that was clinically proven in lab reports to contain active Ecdysterone in significant amounts. However, although I strictly adhered to dosing instructions, I observed no noticeable results.

    Further investigation led me to conclude that the product was severely under-dosed despite containing genuine Ecdysterone. So, it is pretty clear that dosing with a small amount of Ecdysterone is virtually the same as taking none at all. Ecdysterone is an "all or nothing" proposition. And, if you want the "all", you have to be willing to shell out the big bucks for it.

    With effective and considerably cheaper alternatives available - i.e. creatine monohydrate - and with the cost of Ecdysterone unlikely to change to the downside in the foreseeable future, I recommend spending your money elsewhere.

      View Ecdysterone Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

[ Q ] I have a question in regards to two supplement ingredients: Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE) and Arginine Ethyl Ester (AEE). Some products out there contain CEE only, while others contain AEE only. There are also products that contain these ingredients and other ingredients in combination.

My question is: would you recommend buying a purely CEE and AEE product, or would it be more worthwhile purchasing a product that has these ingredients and a heap of other stuff meant to enhance results?

    [ A ] This is a great question, and one that I know is on the minds of everyone out there, considering the number of questions I've received on this issue.

    Despite the criticisms to the contrary, creatine ethyl ester and arginine ethyl ester are unquestionably effective ingredients. Not only are they superior to regular creatine monohydrate and regular L-arginine in a number of ways, but they are superior ingredients in their own right.

    In my experience and in the experience of countless athletes that I know personally, supplementing with creatine ethyl ester and arginine ethyl ester in combination is vastly superior to supplementing with either of these two ingredients individually.

    And, the good news is that the synergistic effect of these two ingredients is magnified by using them in combination with other proven muscle builders. This is why I recommend using a creatine ethyl ester and arginine ethyl ester combination product over using them as stand-alone ingredients.

+ Click To Enlarge.
These Ingredients Have Synergistic Effects
With Other Muscle Builders.

    As you know, CEE increases intramuscular adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate concentrations. AEE is a potent nitric oxide precursor that stimulates nitric oxide production via nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Di-arginine malate works with AEE to increase nitric oxide levels further, while nicotinic acid is a precursor for co-enzymes that supply energy to your cells.

CEE (Creatine Ethyl Ester) Rountable CEE (Creatine Ethyl Ester) Rountable.
An eye-opening look into the politics and personalities of our sport in this roundtable discussion on creatine ethyl ester...
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    The final ingredient, Humanofort, is unquestionably one of the strongest natural anabolic primers ever developed - and is proven by research and the real-World experience of hundreds of thousands of people here in North America and across Europe.

    Clinical studies show that Humanofort contains growth factors that increase anabolic hormone levels. While Humanofort won't give you steroid-like results, it is a clinically proven true natural anabolic agent.

    From personal experience, I can tell you that it makes a big difference in the time it takes to recover from exercise, and I've heard the same from others that use it on a consistent and long-term basis. Currently, Humanofort is regulated as a drug in Europe and is used by European doctors to boost testosterone levels and to combat ED - erectile dysfunction.

Erectile Dysfunction Supps. Erectile Dysfunction Supps.
Is there any supplements I can take for ED that will help it? Im not sure how much Test boosting products (natural for off cycle) can help me, and I can and am prescribed Viagra (but its really not "cool" to carry round and I have to wait 30 mins......before doing anything....)
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Together, these five ingredients fuel your immediate energy system needs for adenosine triphosphate, creatine phosphate and nitric oxide while also supplying your cells with energy and boosting anabolic hormones. Together, these ingredients work in tandem to make your stronger, and to help you recover faster for better results.

    A lot of the research that I do in my professional life focuses on drug absorption and pharmacokinetics. The research is clear that achieving a steady state within blood plasma is critical, and I find that the dosing schedule of this product is ideal as it sustains blood plasma concentrations of the active ingredients within therapeutic ranges for the whole day.

    In other words, the dosing schedule and the ingredient concentrations are such that it maintains even levels of the ingredients in your body all day, so the CEE, AEE and other ingredients are constantly working! This can't be said for other supplements that pay no attention to such biochemical issues and stop working after the one daily dose they proscribe.

    Good luck!

      View CEE Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.
      View AEE Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

[ Q ] I am 31 years old, and I stand at 6'0 and weigh 192lbs. I've been working out now for about 3 months, and I've seen some improvements. In this time I've added about an inch to my arms and I've also added mass to my chest. I've also dropped about 13lbs of fat in this time, but I still have some stomach flab left. From what I can tell I would say that I'm an ectomorph, and I want to add muscle mass to my body.

My question is: should I continue to exercise to drop more fat, or should I eat a high protein diet, including whey protein shakes?

    [ A ] First of all, congratulations on dropping 13 pounds of body fat. It's obvious that you've worked hard. Keep up the great work.

    Your question is concerning to me because it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding about the most important and most frequently misunderstood aspect of the healthy lifestyle: nutrition.

    It may be surprising to many people to realize that a fat loss diet and a muscle building diet are almost the same when it comes to macronutrient intake ratios.

+ Click To Enlarge.
Macronutrient Ratios Vary Little
Between Fat Loss & Muscle Building.

    While macronutrient ratios vary slightly between the two eating styles, total energy intake is the only major difference between a nutrition plan geared for fat loss and nutrition plan geared towards muscle building. And, this is not surprising given the fact that muscle building indirectly contributes to fat loss by creating an anabolic environment, and fat loss indirectly contributes to muscle building in the same way.

    It does not matter whether your goal is to build muscle or to lose body fat: in all cases, your protein intake should be kept high and constant at around 1 g of protein per pound of lean body mass. The only thing that differs between a muscle building diet and a fat loss diet is the amount of carbohydrate and fat you consume.

Bodyfat %:

    Whereas a muscle building diet maintains a relatively high carbohydrate intake and a moderate fat intake, a fat loss diet maintains medium to low range carbohydrate intake and low range fat intake. In both cases, protein intake is constant and unchanged. The reduction in calories from a muscle building diet to a fat loss diet is reflective of reduced carbohydrate and fat intake.

    Individual differences in body type and metabolism will dictate the specific steps that you must take within a generalized nutritional framework to lose fat or to build muscle. It is, therefore, important that you correctly identify your body type to establish if you are, in fact, an ectomorph.

What Is Your Body Type? Take Our Test! What Is Your Body Type? Take Our Test!
What body type are you? How can you tell? Take our simple test and know! Learn how to train for your body type and what the differences are.
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    It has been my experience that many people who believe themselves to be ectomorph's do not eat enough food to trigger mass gain. Once they adjust their calorie and nutrient intakes, they usually gain weight rather rapidly.

    If, after experimentation, you definitively establish that you are an ectomorph with an accelerated metabolic rate, you can then make specific carbohydrate and fat intake ratio adjustments to reflect your increased energy requirements while still accomplishing the fat loss that you desire.

    One final point about the importance of maintaining a constant protein intake: you must maintain a protein intake of 1 g of protein per pound of lean body mass when dieting down because reducing your calorie intake puts you at a substantial risk of losing muscle tissue. Often, people who "lose weight" find that they still have a significant amount of body fat to lose and that they still appear "fat" despite their efforts. This reflects a loss of significant amounts of muscle tissue.

    Maintaining a high protein intake will ensure that you are protected against muscle tissue loss and that your weight loss reflects body fat reductions.

    Finally, you should consider posting your workout log and pictures online so that other people with similar goals can benefit from your experience and gain some insight into how you got your great results! Good luck and keep up the hard work!

BodySpace BodySpace!
Create your profile, start a BodyBlog, meet others with similar goals, upload photos, and share effective workout diet and supplement programs with others - quickly and easily!
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Do YOU have a question that you want answered? Do you have an opinion you want to share about the column? If so simply send an e-mail to clayton@bodybuilding.com and be heard!


The information provided in this publication is for educational and informational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement to care provided by your own personal health care team or physician. The author does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. Readers and consumers should review the information in this publication carefully with their professional health care provider.

The information in this or other publications authored by the writer is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Reliance on any information provided by the author is solely at your own risk. The author does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, medication, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be presented in the publication. The author does not control information, advertisements, content, and articles provided by discussed third-party information suppliers.

Further, the author does not warrant or guarantee that the information contained in written publications, from him or any source is accurate or error-free. The author accepts no responsibility for materials contained in the publication that you may find offensive. You are solely responsible for viewing and/or using the material contained in the authored publications in compliance with the laws of your country of residence, and your personal conscience. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising from the use of information contained in this or other publications.

Copyright © Clayton South, 2007 All rights reserved.

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright holder and author of this publication.