Q & A With Clayton South - February 2003!

Get your questions answered by one of biggest upcoming names in bodybuilding. Check back monthly for updates and new questions added! What do YOU want to know about?
Note: Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of this website's publisher or staff. Bodybuilding.com does not condone any form of illegal drug use for bodybuilding or for any recreational purpose. Bodybuilding.com also does not condone abuse of legal drugs for any purpose.

Since last months inaugural column I have been flooded with e-mails from those of you with questions and comments. I wish to express my regret at not being able to answer every single question, but I do want to thank all of you for your enthusiasm and kind words regarding the column. As always, I endeavor to deliver to you accurate, relevant and timely information, in a professional and objective manner.

Because this is the column where you have YOUR questions answered, and because this column is seen exclusively on the worlds #1 bodybuilding website, this is a column FOR bodybuilders, BY a bodybuilder. So, lets get to it! Kudos to everyone, and here is issue #2 of Q and A coming at you!

Do you have to be cardiovascularily fit to use creatine? From a year and a 1/2 of constant bulking my cardio is bad. I've gotten winded from running up stairs too fast. My bodyfat is low however. - Andy

Thanks for the great question, Andy. As you may already know creatine monohydrate is an excellent product to use if your looking for strength gains and lean muscle mass gains. It is perhaps the most popular and widely used sports supplement out there today, aside from anabolic steroids. This being the case it is not simply used by bodybuilders, but many other athletes as well.

One of the most common myths regarding creatine is that its uses are limited to the bodybuilding domain. This is clearly not true, as we can see from everyday examples. For example, many runners, tri-athletes and powerlifters use creatine. In the article What Supplements Should You Take? I included creatine monohydrate powder as a standard supplement for any fitness athlete or bodybuilders supplementation arsenal.

Although track athletes are incredibly conditioned for running and high-endurance activities, they are not bodybuilders. However, as mentioned, even they use creatine. Powerlifters are not bodybuilders, and they are certainly not track stars, but yet they use creatine monohydrate. It is clear that even persons who are not "cardiovascularily fit" use creatine because of its benefits. So, to answer your question we must ask: What are the benefits of creatine monohydrate? There are many and I present some to you here.

One of the major benefits of creatine is its effects on muscle hydration. Simply, creatine causes your body to store more water in your muscles, thereby providing a hydrated, anabolic, environment that is primed for growth. After all, a hydrated muscle is a healthy, happy, growing muscle.

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The other major benefit of creatine is its ability to increase aerobic power. In one study (Rico-Sanz et al., 2000) creatine was shown to increase oxygen uptake. This suggests that in your situation it is absolutely a good idea to supplement with creatine. It will help improve what you see as an area of your fitness that needs work.

I believe that creatine is an excellent supplement that can assist in physical development and athletic skill for persons free from existing health conditions. As always, one should check with a physician before introducing external substances into the body. Remember people, lets be strong AND safe! Thanks for the great question!

I just finished reading the first issue of your Q&A. I noticed that you were giving a lot of advice on supplements. I know all about most supplements but I just have to ask you about NO2. What do you think, does it really work? - Conrad

NO2 was sold here on bodybuilding.com and is manufactured by the company MRI - Medical Research Institute. In case you did not know, this is a company run by the same man - Ed Byrd - who introduced creatine monohydrate to the supplement market in 1993. Most recently their rights to N02 were purchased by General Nutrition Centers.

NO2 is a "hemodialator." In last months column I made reference to "hot stuff" - a vasodilator. As I explained, a vasodilator is a product that heats up the skin and brings veins to the surface, thus giving an impression of impressive and increased vascularity. A hemodialator is not the same thing. Hemodiolation involves, if one is to translate literally from the Greek words haima and dilatare - "blood widening."

Hemodiolation operates by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and by making more oxygen concentrated in the blood. This leads to what MRI's product website calls "a perpetual pump."

To save you some time and effort I did a bit of research on this product. I called several supplement stores and pretended I was "just starting to work out to keep in line with my new years resolution." I told them that I "had a buddy who was pretty big who told me I should get some of this 'N-zero-2' stuff." [I purposely messed up the name so they would think I did not know anything!]. Basically I was pretending to know nothing, to see what they said. After correcting me on the phone about how it was "N-O-2" they went on to tell me things that I had either already known about the product, or had learned through research.

After providing me with the usual sales pitch, I closed in with the real questions I wanted answers to: what kind of results their customers were getting from using this product. Now, I already know that they have a vested interest in telling me that it's the next best thing and will soon overtake anabolic steroids, because for all they know I have money to spend, and I might spend it in their store. If they only knew!

What I heard, however, was that virtually all of their customers were pleased with it, and that they all reported having harder, fuller muscles. The general consensus was that although this product would not turn you into a pro overnight, it was still a worthwhile product for recovery and muscle fullness. In consulting with my colleagues here on Bodybuilding.com I have heard the same anecdotes. Contrasting what I just told you, I recently came across an article by Paul Cribb, director of research at AST performance nutrition, claiming:

"After a review of the available literature I cannot find any research that remotely indicates increasing nitric oxide levels plays a part in increasing protein synthesis, contractile strength or any other biochemical pathway that may lead to increases in muscle mass."

RELATED POLL
Did NO2 Work For You?

Yes.
No.
Haven't Tried It YET!

Many people would interpret that to mean that this product is a scam. However, not being able to find any science on the product could also mean that a) to this date no studies have examined the product or b) his research skills are poor and therefore he was unable to locate existing studies. So which is it? Either way I don't think that it really matters. As athletes, we knew that RDI's were insufficient for our needs long before the medical community came to the same, but obvious, conclusion. Also, we knew that anabolic steroids worked long before doctors did. For proof of these claims, see the informative article Do You Believe In TRUE Bodybuilding?

So, in the spirit of discovery what I AM going to do for you and the other readers is review this product, using myself as a guinea pig. Watch for the review because it will tell you whether or not this product works for SURE. For more information you can also go to the companies website at http://www.getno2.com and you can consult the message boards here at Bodybuilding.com.

In your article A Step-By-Step plan for Bodyfat Reduction you give a description of what the workout for day one should look like. Then, to get the full workout, you have the link to The Ultimate Mass Building Workout. My question is, do we tailor the "full workout" to do the same sets/reps as you outlined for day one? I really want to get started off right. Thanks for the great workout. -Aaron

Thank you for the great question Aaron, and you are not alone in your confusion on this issue. As many of you may not realize, I tend to write articles in succession to one another. Put another way, all of my articles are related to all others in that I cover broad ideas over the course of many articles. For example, I have written extensively on the bodybuilding lifestyle.

As a primer and background on the subject, I wrote the article Do you believe in TRUE bodybuilding? which was an outline of the history of the true movement. After this I wrote Bodybuilding: Its TRUE nature! which outlined that bodybuilding was an applied science. After these articles were written that explained the history of true bodybuilding, and its nature as an applied science, I wrote the articles titled Should you become a bodybuilder? and Are you a healthy bodybuilder? Each one of these articles compliment the others, and they are meant to be read together in order to understand the concepts presented over the course of the series.

In the same spirit I wrote the article A-Step-By-Step Plan for Bodyfat Reduction! along with the article A Step-By-Step Guide for Constructing an Effective Workout! and The Ultimate Mass Building Workout! These three articles also follow the same theme.

In the article on how to construct an effective workout I outline steps for making a fat loss weight-training regimen, as well as one for building mass. I detail the differences in exercise selection and set and repetition schemes, as well.

Please read these three articles together to get a better picture of how best to proceed with your own training.

Tomorrow I turn 21 and I was just wondering do you think it would be ok if I had a few beers or would that effect my gains and make me lose muscle? Do you think some pro bodybuilders have a few beers once in a while? I also was thinking about taking some legal steroids like 1-test do you think this is a bad idea? Is there anything legal that's stronger than 1-test?

Congratulations on your right of passage into the legal majority. That's my fancy way of saying: Happy birthday! I hope you had a good, happy and safe one.

I think having a few beers now and then will not destroy your physique. I avoid alcohol for many reasons, not the least of which is that it has been linked to type II diabetes. Not only that, I find that beer of any kind makes me feel really bloated. Do I enjoy it? Sometimes yes, but when its warm and if its an a dark beer like Rickards Red or some other type such as Kilkenny or Irish Stout, no. I do not like the bloated feeling I get from it.

Do keep in mind that when losing bodyfat the carbohydrates from beer easily convert into fat. What's worse, people usually drink at night in bars. After a certain point in the day your metabolism slows. This puts you in a favorable state to store those extra carbohydrates as fat.

Further, one should not confuse the nature of alcohol. It is a poison. There is a reason your body tries to filter it out of your system after you drink it. It can kill you. It was used to preserve Einstein's brain and is used to preserve laboratory specimens. It dehydrates you as well, which will put you in a state of catabolism. Depending on the type of alcohol that your dealing with it can cause blindness and even death [isopropyl and ethyl alcohol]. Beer also has carbon dioxide in it, which is a waste product of the body.

I am, because of my own bias toward avoiding alcohol, presenting to you the bad side-effects of alcohol consumption. However, alcohol can have beneficial effects on your health, if consumed in moderation. Red wine, for example, has enzymes that are healthy for the heart.

To answer your questions about the professionals, yes, many of them do enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage now and then. Some who will remain nameless enjoy them too often, as their frequent run-ins with the law would indicate.

You asked me a question about 1-Testosterone and my advice regarding this so-called "legal steroid" is to keep in mind that 1-Testosterone products are in their infancy as of this writing. I would, instead, recommend going with a reliable 1-Androstendiol product, like the one made by ErgoPharm. You can find this here on bodybuilding.com. With lawmakers now trying to ban all andro, testosterone and anti-aging compounds, if your going to get some 1-AD I would stock up now. Of course, if you are under the age of 21 I do not and cannot, for health reasons, recommend that you use prohormone products of any type. And, especially with products affecting your endocrine system, a check-up with your physician prior to use would be most recommended. Good luck to you!

I am a young aspiring bodybuilder and I'm looking to go into some competitions in the future. I read in a magazine that some Olympic athletes have sex the night before their athletic events. As a bodybuilder would it also be beneficial for me to indulge the night before a competition? - Bill

Bill, thank you for the question. Your question is an interesting and pertinent one and, as human beings, is one that we can all appreciate.

You touch on something that points to an underlying psychological event present in athletes. This event is NERVOUSNESS, or better termed, apprehension or uncertainty.

Athletes, regardless of sport, want to do well. They train for a long time, do their best, and when the time comes they put on their game face [their war mask] and go to battle to compete for the only prize that matters: #1.

In order to ensure that they are at their best, athletes must become physiologically aroused enough to perform at optimum levels, but not so physiologically aroused that they are unable to concentrate on the task and performance at hand.

Sex, with yourself or someone else, is a great way to release stress and tension associated with intense competition. It is also good for the health of your prostate. There are many, many other physiological and psychological health benefits to sex, such as its fat burning benefits, but I will not address those here. You can find more information on human sexuality by consulting resources like the Good Vibrations Guide to Sex or other human sexuality texts.

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Reducing your nervousness, via the sexual route, about competing is something you can try if that is your desire. Some athletes prefer to maintain complete and total focus on the task at hand, while others choose to mix it up and enjoy the best that the human experience has to offer. The key is to find what works best for you and go with it. If sex before a competition helps relieve stress for you and this translates into increased focus and drive toward the goal, then I say go for it. Good luck in your competitions.

Come back next month to see YOUR questions answered! From steroids to supplements, workouts to injury prevention, the answers you want are here!

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 truly_hardcore@hotmail.com and be heard! Say your peace!

References

Rico-Sanz, J. et al. (2000). Creatine enhances oxygen uptake and performance during alternating intensity exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 32: 379-385.

Disclaimer

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, 2003 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.

Past Issues

March 2003

Thanks,