Q & A: Get Your Questions Answered!

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April is upon us! It is astounding at how quickly time has passed. It seems like only yesterday this column began, but it is now in its third issue. I am overwhelmed by the genuine outpouring of excitement and enthusiasm that all of you have shown for this column!

No matter how important this column may be, however, there will always be something, and someone, more important: YOU the reader. You see, this column is YOUR forum for inside bodybuilding secrets and information. It is the place that you come to get the TRUTH on bodybuilding related matters, when no one else will provide it. It is the place where you come to get YOUR questions answered.

Reading the magazines can be a confusing task, because much of what is in print can be contradictory, or confusing. What's more, much of the information is great for experienced or chemically assisted professionals, but what about the regular bodybuilder, or the beginner who is starting out?

This column will never dispense GENERIC "one-size-fits-all" information. The questions that you see here are YOUR questions, and will be answered SPECIFICALLY with you in mind. Also, you will never find the latest products from one specific manufacturer being promoted here on a continual basis. If a product is a scam, you can count on finding a straight answer here.

As a writer and as a bodybuilder you have my commitment and my word of integrity that I will continue to endeavor to answer YOUR questions, no matter how controversial or unusual. With a big thanks to YOU, here is issue #3 of Q and A. Enjoy!

Hello. I just purchased some N-Large 2 from Bodybuilding.com, and it took only 4 days to ship to Canada. That's pretty darn good! There is one thing I didn't think of though. On the days I am not training, would it be wise to skip taking the N-Large 2 and conserve it for when I'm on a training day? I hope you can help. - Dan

The question you raise is a valid and pertinent one, and it is great that you are thinking about the most important part of your bodybuilding lifestyle - nutrition. It often said that bodybuilding is 90% nutrition and 10% training. While this cliché may not be totally accurate, it does have relevance in that it illustrates a truth that all bodybuilders must realize: without a sufficient, adequate and exact supply of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients, muscular growth will be minimized at best, and non-existent at worst.

One fundamental error that is still permeating the bodybuilding world, and one that comes mostly from contemporary so-called "bodybuilding literature", is the idea that to build massive amounts of muscle one must lift heavy weights and spend hours upon hours in the gym. The truth is that to build muscle, lifting heavy weights is NOT the answer. Adequate stimulus and nutrition are.

Lifting heavy weights does nothing more than SIGNAL your body to repair muscular damage. In order to do this the body must look to the blood stream where vital nutrients are located, after eating. NUTRITION is the part of bodybuilding that allows the body to BUILD muscle. Lifting weights simply sends the signal to the brain to begin the process.

In the article Survival Strategies For The Traveling Bodybuilder! I wrote the following: "Everything... operates according to the principles of supply and demand. It is important to determine what demand your body places upon you. Put another way, if demand is nutritional requirements brought about by... training, the supply... must be tailored to match it..."

With respect to "supply" I was referring to nutrition. If your training stimulates the body to look for minerals, vitamins and macronutrients, and they are not found, any attempt to repair the muscular damage brought about by weight training will not occur. Translation? You will either stay the same size, thus having wasted your time in the gym, or you will become SMALLER from your body tapping into existing stored protein [muscles] for amino acids to repair the damage. Thus you will have wasted your time in the gym, and you will be the smaller for it. So how does this relate to you specifically?

It is important to realize that for a muscle group to repair itself you must sustain adequate nutrition levels for several days. The reason for this is simple: a muscle will take several days to recover fully, and sometimes up to one full week. For this reason I do NOT recommend depriving your body of the necessary fats and carbohydrates needed to stimulate your endocrine system.

Stimulating the endocrine system by eating healthy fats will result in more testosterone production, and eating carbohydrates will result in secretion of insulin by the pancreas. When insulin is released it acts as a catalyst for driving protein into a muscle. Protein REPAIRS muscular damage, and because of this you want to get as much of it to the damaged muscle as possible.

So to sum up, muscular growth occurs when you are NOT training and when you ARE eating. So, to preserve existing muscle and to create new muscle, I do not recommend cutting back on calories, carbohydrates, fats or protein on non-training days. Good luck to you!

Dear Sir, I'm a student and I used to work out with my friends in the gym, but in the last couple of days my friend asked me to try this steroid and he said it is so great...[Metandrol]. He offered to sell me one tablet for $3.00. I think this is pretty good. May I ask you please, what do you think about this? How much should I take? Is it good or not, and what will happen if I use it 2 or 3 times a week?? Thanks a lot.

The drug you refer to, Metandrol, is also called by many other names. The most common, and popular, is dianabol, or d-bol for short. Dianabol has always been a very popular drug. While the trade name "dianabol" is no longer used, the drug is replicated with questionable accuracy by many companies in Europe and Eastern Bloc countries. Its' chemical name is Methandrostenolone. Let me tell you a bit about it, about how it works, and what to expect from using it.

As I mentioned, this drug is the substance Methandrostenolone, so any trade name like "Dianabol" "Metandrol" or "Anabolin" will not really matter. You mention that you are going to be using pills instead of cream, so I will stick to talking about tablets that come in 5mg doses.

When thinking about using drugs of any kind it is necessary to think about two main factors: results and side effects. Many bodybuilders and bodybuilding enthusiasts think only of the results, often neglecting the powerful and potent side effects that can result from using drugs improperly. I will present both to you here for your consideration.

If results are what you are looking for, Methandrostenolone is a good choice. One bodybuilder I know was on this drug for a period of six weeks and gained 21 pounds of lean mass. These results are not exceptional or rare. So, this drug is extremely effective at promoting gains in lean muscle mass.

However [and there is always a however], users of this drug put themselves at risk of having to deal with several nasty side effects. These side effects can include water retention, gynocomastia, prostate enlargement, acne and male pattern baldness. Put another way, if you use this drug in too high a dose you can end up looking smooth and pasty, end up with puffy, itchy nipples, and have a bald head like your 80 year old grandfather! Not a nice picture.

So what should you do if you, knowing these side effects, still insist on taking this drug? I recommend that this substance be used in conjunction with an anti-aromatize drug and an anti DHT drug. An anti-aromatize drug will prevent the testosterone in your system from converting into estrogen. A good drug to serve this need is Clomid [clomiphene citrate]. Try dosing with this at 50mg per day. With an anti DHT [dihydrotestosterone] drug like Finasteride or Propecia you can prevent male pattern baldness.

I'm now going to address one other thing you asked me about in your question: the cost at which you are able to obtain the Methandrostenolone. You said that your friends offered the tablets to you at $3 dollars per tablet? If that is truly the case then you need to realize that the cost of one methandrostenolone tab on the black market is currently between 75 cents and $1.75 USD. It does not appear as though you are being dealt with fairly. Somewhere along the line someone is trying to overcharge you.

If you figure that you will be taking 15mg of Methandrostenolone per day for six weeks, along with the other drugs I recommended, here is a cost breakdown of what it is going to cost you overall.

COST ANLYSIS FOR 6 WEEK CYCLE

Drug Name Your Price (USD) Current Black Market (USD)
Methandrostenelone $540.00 $315.00
Clomid $465 $240.00
Propecia $332.40 $107.40
TOTAL PRICE $1337.40 $662.40

Now, I do not know about you, but I think that $1337 is a LOT of money. I am also not quite sure that, as a student, spending nearly $1500 USD is within your price range. After all, you have to buy food, books, and have entertainment money on top of the tuition you pay. So, at this point your probably asking what you CAN take that will help you to add mass while not putting you in the poor house?

The closest thing that is currently legal and that will give you "steroid-like" results is the prohormone 1-AD from ErgoPharm. In contrast to the $1337 price tag quoted above, a full cycle of 1-AD will cost you about $200.00 This product can be purchased here on Bodybuilding.com for the lowest price around! Over the course of a six-week period you can expect to gain 15 quality pounds of lean mass. This comes with no water retention, and no fears of excess estrogen.

Methandrostenolone is a good drug, if you have the money to buy it, and the know-how to use it properly. As a beginner, however, and at the price that someone is willing to sell it to you, no, it is not a good deal. Stick with a good prohormone and leave the real juice to the big boys.

Hello! I am a 25 year old female and very into weight training. I train hard 3 times a week with weights followed by 30 min of cardio. I can see the muscle I have built, but it is not as defined or cut like the other bodybuilders I have seen. I have been training intensely for over a year now and I weigh 160 lbs. I'm happy with my weight-training, but I just want to get rid of the extra fat that's hanging on! I eat well and have my protein before and after workouts. Does it take many years of hard training and dedication to achieve that well-defined, muscular body or am I just missing out on something? Thanks for any advice! - Amy

Thank you for your question Amy. You make reference to "other bodybuilders" who are more defined and cut than you perceive yourself to be. This is a common concern amongst male and female bodybuilders alike. Given that we are involved in a sport that involves competition and comparison with others, this is no surprise.

When aiming to rid oneself of unwanted bodyfat, it is important to understand that certain steps are required to achieve this goal. Such steps include dietary modification, the modification of your workout regimen, and a good, comprehensive, cardiovascular workout regimen. Once you have constructed your diet plan, your workout regimen, and your cardiovascular schedule, you can then incorporate supplements into your arsenal for increased affect. You stated that you have built muscle, and that you are pleased with your workout regimen, so I will answer your question by focusing on supplementation and nutrition.

The matter of first concern and of primary importance in any bodybuilding related matter is nutrition. I would, therefore, recommend strongly that you establish your Basal Metabolic Rate [BMR], and also establish how many calories, grams of protein, fat and carbohydrates you eat per day, along with the frequency of your meals. How many times per day do you eat? How many hours elapse between meals? And, what about calories? Fat? Protein? Carbohydrates?

By determining meal frequency you can take steps to eat more frequently, if necessary. It is important to speed up the metabolism via natural means. To do this try eating 6 smaller meals per day, spaced apart every 2 hours. When many people first endeavor to do this it seems like a drastic change to their lifestyles, but with a bit of planning and foresight it quickly becomes part of the routine. By eating 6 times per day instead of 3 you speed up the rate at which your body burns calories. To use a comparison, if your body were a furnace, you would be turning up the heat exponentially.

It is a common myth that to lose fat one must avoid all fat at any cost. The proliferation of nutritional ignorance by the media has perpetuated this belief and has led to the development of things like the "fat free brownie." However , make no mistake: Fat does not make people fat, carbohydrates do. Specifically, two types of carbohydrates contribute to the storage of adipose tissue. These are:

Refined sugars, such as those found in fast food products, sodas, brownies and other "junk foods" work wonderfully to promote fat storage in the body. To avoid refined sugars people often drink all "natural" fruit juices. This, however, does nothing for them as they soon discover that so-called "natural" sugar acts in the body in the same way as refined sugars. When sugar enters into your body, it enters into the blood stream, and then insulin is released from your pancreas to remove it. Now, insulin is a great anti-catabolic and very anabolic [muscle-building] hormone. However, it also encourages the storage of fat. This is something that you want to avoid except at very specific times of your choosing.

High glycemic index carbohydrates are also a nightmare for someone attempting to reduce their overall bodyfat levels. You see, complex carbohydrates are excellent for providing your body with sustained, time-released, energy. However, depending upon the food source, the resulting reaction in your body can differ. Let me give you an example. Let us, for purposes of ease consider two carbohydrate sources: Baked Potato and brown rice. Which do you think is more ideal than the other to eat while trying to lose bodyfat? My vote must go to the brown rice. Why is this so? Ultimately, the answer is as it was above with simple sugar: Insulin. Depending upon the source of the complex carbohydrate, differing levels of insulin will be secreted by your pancreas. Now, this is not to say that insulin secretion is a bad thing, because it certainly has its place, even when trying to reduce bodyfat.

After a strenuous workout your body secretes cortisol from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory steroidal hormone that reduces swelling in injured bodyparts. However, cortisol, despite its benefits, is a hormone that you will want to reduce as much as possible. So what is the answer? Insulin.

After a workout, then, when cortisol is being released in your system, you should ingest simple carbohydrate sources, to secrete insulin, offset cortisol, and restore muscle sugar [glycogen]. However, this is the ONLY TIME OF DAY, when on a fat loss program, that you want insulin levels to be at their highest. At all other times it is important to consume complex and simple carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index. From simple sources you can focus on vegetables, and from complex sources, brown rice, yams and other low glycemic complex sources. You can refer to the article archive here on bodybuilding.com for more information on the glycemic index.

Furthermore, if, as you mention, water retention is a concern for you, I recommend avoiding dairy products and products high in sodium. If you eliminate dairy products from your diet be sure to supplement with calcium as women are at risk for osteoporosis due to calcium deficiencies. Furthermore, it is a good idea to supplement with calcium while on a high protein diet, in order to prevent calcium loss, and to ensure strengthening of the bones. Besides, calcium is essential for muscle contractions, so it serves many purposes.

The second area that you must focus on is supplementation. Specifically I would recommend that you supplement with a multi-vitamin, free-form l-glutamine powder, BCAA's [Branch Chain Amino Acids], and a solid protein powder that is a blend of all four protein types [whey, caseinate, soy, egg]. To enhance your fat loss, you may also wish to supplement with a quality thermogenic like Xenadrine NRG, Xenadrine EFX, or Hydroxycut. Before taking products containing ephedrine or stimulants, however, consult your physician to receive clearance. For more information on supplementation please refer to my article titled What Supplements Should You Take?. For information on how construct a fat-loss program for your specific needs, please refer to my article A Step-By-Step Plan For Bodyfat Reduction!

After year off training due to illness, and eating all the wrong foods you can imagine, my current weight is 183lbs. The year before this, my weight was 163lbs, and I was in good shape. I was wondering if I should eat good clean food, enough to hold 183lbs and cut back slowly to get to the bodyweight of 163lbs that I had a year ago, or just enough for my current bodyweight?. - Paul

The answer to this question, Paul, is not a simple one. I would first recommend that you check with your doctor and get clearance to engage in strenuous physical activity. I recommend this not only because of your time off, but also because you did not indicate your age. Age can be a factor when determining the kinds of exercises you should and should not do.

From the tone of your question I am going to assume that your goal is to lose bodyfat while holding onto as much lean mass as possible. To achieve this goal it is absolutely essential that your eat clean and structure your diet in such a way that emphasizes a high protein intake while reducing consumption of carbohydrates and fats. Your idea of cutting back slowly is a good one and will prove effective toward the realization of your goal. For more information on how to reduce your bodyfat levels, refer to the informative article A Step-By-Step Plan For Bodyfat Reduction! This publication will go into the details of fat loss and will explain key concepts like BMR in more detail.

I am hoping you can help me with my current dilemma. I am 23 and I've been seriously bodybuilding for two to three years. I am in pretty good shape, I think, and all of my friends consider me to be a very good looking guy. I have competed a couple of times before in small shows, and have met lots of people. One director I met has offered me a role in an adult movie. I want to be an actor, but I wonder if I do this, will it come back to haunt me? - Anonymous

Thank you for having the courage to send in this question. I am really glad that you did, because it is an excellent question.

The dilemma that you face, unfortunately, is one that is often faced by many of us in the bodybuilding industry. Often times as athletes we compete and you never can be quite sure what kind of people will frequent bodybuilding shows. I will say, however, that offers of the type you received are quite a common occurrence in the industry. I have had several offers of the type forwarded my way, and I have turned down all of them, without hesitation.

The answer to your question is clear for some, but not so clear for others. When you have to put food on the table, what are you supposed to do? When your hopes and dreams are hanging in the balance, should you or should you not take the role? Will this so-called "director" have contacts that will lead you to obtain mainstream acting parts?

"Attempting to find order in confusion will create more confusion."

When unsure of what to do, it helps to analyze what you DO know, instead of trying to figure out what you DO NOT know. Attempting to find order in confusion will create more confusion. By examining objective reality you can arrive at a solution that will serve your best interests.

I was approached once by a man who called himself a "director." He began talking to me by asking me if I knew how he could contact another bodybuilder. After telling him to contact the federation that the man competes for, or to contact the mans agent, he began to move the conversation into other areas. This technique is called the "foot-in-the-door" technique. The idea is that if you can appeal to a persons natural tendency to help, you can quickly get them thinking about your real objective. Many people try to exploit the natural human desire to help, to serve a personal agenda.

This person began to throw around names of famous bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robby Robinson. The person began to shower me with praise, telling me that he would create a movie role just for me, and that I would be a "big star." To this day I don't believe he realized that I have no desire to be a "big star" or an actor. I just really do not care about fame. I also was not buying his story from the beginning.

In your situation the first thing that I suggest you be aware of is that people desire to manipulate your behavior. One of the most effective ways of directing behavior is to get people to think that they are "helping" you. It is a natural human tendency to want to help others, and when someone does help, they often think that it is their own idea to do so. Getting people to do what you want, while having them believe that it was their idea all along, is something that has been shown to be an amazing human behavioral manipulation tool, if your able to craft circumstances in such a way that allow you to employ this method.

Another very effective means of directing behavior is to make people feel good about themselves. It is natural to desire to maintain or increase self-esteem. Human beings are driven to work or to other productive activities that produce feelings of well-being. They are driven to be in relationships because they "like the person they are when they are around the other person." Lets face it, friends make you feel good and enemies make you feel bad. You avoid your enemies because to be in their presence would undermine your self-esteem, thus not allowing you to emotionally survive very long in their midst. Friends are friends because they boost you up, increasing your feelings of well-being. People naturally want to be around others that make them feel good.

Often these so-called film "directors" appeal to your emotions by telling you how great you are. The reason they do this is because emotional appeals are, often, incredibly effective at circumventing the logical reasonings of the mind. First, people will appeal to your emotions, working up to a discussion of your dreams, they make it seem like they are the solution to all that you have been wanting, and then they try to move you to take action that they desire. And make no mistake: there is ALWAYS something in it for these folks. The only question is what? Most times you don't want to know the answer, because I am sure you can already figure it out.

One saying that I have is "flattery is a cloak for deception." The idea here is that if people can pump you up enough and get you to feel good enough about yourself, they can gloss over the details and weaknesses of their stories. By alluding to how much of a star you will be and how you can become an "actor" they play on your fears of being a failure. They attempt to exploit you and mold your behavior by speaking to your fears. They believe that if they appeal to your fears of being a failure, and present themselves as the solution that you have been waiting for, you will fear losing a big "opportunity." Supplement companies employ this method when they advertise that you "don't want to be left in the dust" by not using their product when "everyone else" is using it.

By throwing around big names of other established people, these "directors" think that they can gloss over the fact that they have no credentials whatsoever, and they believe that this will mask the fact that they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes. They believe that by dropping the names of others who are successful, you will somehow mentally equate them in the same camp as these others.

The reason that I outline these techniques for you is because people use them all of the time, and unless you understand what is happening, you may find yourself in a situation that you don't understand, and one that makes you very unhappy. It is only by understanding people's behavior that you can get at their motivations and true intentions. When you walk into a doctors office, what is the first thing that you see? Probably you will notice the doctors Medical Degree hanging on the wall, along with his or her certificates and other medically relevant credentials on display for all to see. Often with these self-proclaimed "directors" they are "just starting out" their company and as a result have nothing to yet show you. The truth of the matter is that they never had anything to begin with and their whole story is a scam.

I would be weary of people approaching you out of nowhere making wild offers. Reputable production companies hold auditions and readings for parts. They do not go seeking talent. Talent comes to them. What's more, they do not employ the shady, manipulatory psychological techniques that I have outlined for you here.

Any company with true intentions and an industry reputation will immediately get down to the details of what is expected of the actor, how long the production process will take, and how much compensation the actor is to receive. These companies care about the service they can acquire from the actor, and what they must give to acquire that service. They seldom care about how "amazing" someone is. These companies want to know things like: Is the actor right for the part? How much money is it going to cost to produce this film? How much will it cost for advertising the completed product? How much of a return can we expect? How much do we pay the actors agent? The difference between the situation you encountered and the one I outlined here is pretty clear.

So, to answer your question, there is no answer, only the one you make. Do keep in mind, however, that there will ALWAYS be alternatives to every situation, and there will ALWAYS be other opportunities out there. The most important thing to realize is this: Very few actors [with the exception of Tracy Lords and Jenna Jameson] have made the cross-over from pornography to mainstream film. With the two examples cited, it is worth noting that Tracy Lords and Jenna Jameson have only been able to get so-called "mainstream" parts that involved - surprise - removing their clothing. In reality, pornography is a biological display that requires no acting. Some may argue that it requires you to sell out your dignity and pride. Either way, however, it seems that once you are known for pornography, it is a label that stays with you for the duration of your limited career.

Consider whether you wish to be known as "the guy who did that porn movie" and how it could impact the rest of your life.

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
April 2003

Thanks,