Q & A With Clayton South - September 2003!

Learn all about the law of diminishing returns, if arimidex is good to take, the truth on myostatin protein powders, what you need to do to take your phyisique to the next leval and more...
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.

What is the "law of diminishing returns" that you written about in your publication Why Are You Not Making Gains? I've been trying to understand it and figured that since you wrote the article, you were the person to ask. Please help.

The law of diminishing returns refers to the process of stimuli and adaptation. Adaptation results from the body being subject to stimuli. Initially, adaptation is seen in the form of neuromuscular gains. This is central nervous system adaptation (CNSa). Resulting from this type of adaptation, great strength gains may be seen in a very short period of time. Resulting from these initial strength increases, muscular adaptation follows next.

Muscular adaptation is nothing more than the simultaneous simulation of the body's endocrine system tissue sites, and the depletion of the target muscles glycogen and ATP stores. This simulation results in an increase of anabolic hormone levels, which triggers the body to synthesize more protein to initiate repair and build muscle tissue.

When a trainee subjects his body to stimuli for the first time, progress is often rapid. As the body adapts to the specific stimuli to which it has been subject, gains seen over time began to decline. This why it is beneficial to have a dynamic training program, and why static programs result in stagnation. This is the reality behind the concept of "diminishing returns." For more information see my publication The Principles of Bodybuilding.

I have been thinking about doing a cycle of gear and I've been told about this stuff called "aromasin." A buddy of mine told me it's great. I was thinking of going with Arimidex. What's your take?

Personally, if it were my money, I'd bet on both, at different times. Here's why.

Arimidex (Anastrozole) is an anti-aromatase that's pretty good at preventing bloating and gynocomastia. The only down side is that a box of 1mg tabs will run you around $300 US on the black market. Aromasin is not an anti-aromatase: it is more powerful than that.

Aromasin is one of the many compounds out there that has purported anti-estrogen effects. Other compounds with anti-estrogen and anti-aromatase properties include chrysin, tamoxifen citrate, cytadren, arimidex, and more recently, 4-Etioallocholen-3,6, 17-Trione.

Aromasin (also known as 6-methylenandrosta-1, 4-diene-3, 17-dione) is a relatively new type I inhibitor made by Pharmacia & Upjohn. It was introduced in 2000 and is what is known as an irreversible or suicide aromatase inhibitor.

The aromasin will seek out the aromatase enzyme, and then will irreversibly bind to it, thus rendering it useless. This is far more effective than a drug that simply occupies the receptor site (and not very strongly).

4-Etioallocholen-3,6, 17-Trione is a suicide inhibitor. If you are going to do a cycle of steroids, use an anti-DHT drug and an anti-aromatase drug (arimidex) during the cycle, and then use Clomid for after the cycle, in conjunction with 4-Etioallocholen-3,6, 17-Trione or aromasin, but not both.

The Clomid will kickstart your natural testosterone production, while the 4-Etioallocholen-3,6, 17-Trione or aromasin will render some estrogen useless, thus tipping the scales of your hormone system in favor of muscle gains. In doing this you will avoid a "crash" that so many experience resulting from using gear incorrectly.

It seems like every magazine I read has an advertisement for one of these new myostatin protein powders. Do they really work? They are pretty expensive and I want to know if it is worth it to spend the money, or if I should just stick to a regular protein powder.

I'm glad you wrote in because if you had gone ahead and had purchased a myostatin protein powder, you might as well have flushed your money down the toilet. In fact, you'd get better gains from calling Miss Cleo for a training routine than you would from buying any of these supplements. Quite simply: myostatin ANYTHING is a scam.

As of this writing, there is no scientific evidence to even remotely suggest that myostatin capsules or protein can do anything that regular protein cannot do.

Don't get me wrong: the protein in the mixture will act as protein does. It will maintain nitrogen balance and repair damaged muscles. However, the so-called "myostatin inhibitor" part of the powder is junk.

Protein and the other macronutrients work on the level of your endocrine system, which is regulated by your genes. In this sense, the human body is structured in layers or levels. The only way a protein powder could alter DNA is if the powder also contained a genetic splicing drug. Given that such drugs are not found in nature (and even if they were their use would be VERY unsafe and illegal) they cannot be sold legally on the open market as a "dietary supplement." Myostatin inhibitors could only be delivered using chitosan or viral delivery - and only under very controlled conditions. Essentially, myostatin anything is considered a form of gene doping. For more information on gene doping refer to my weekly science update.

It is my view that anyone experiencing gains in the gym resulting from myostatin inhibiting protein is subject to the placebo effect. In other words, it is all in their heads! I would stick with a quality WPI or WPC protein powder. Myostatin protein powders are, in the words of protein expert Dr. Mario Di Pasquale, "completely ridiculous."

I am an advanced bodybuilder and have been lifting for about five years now. I have tried creatine, methoxy, tribulus, the andro's, but I want to take my physique to the next level. I have included some pictures of my physique. Please tell me what a good but relatively safe steroid stack would be. I am not looking to win the Olympia - just to take it up a notch.

Jason, good going on the development of your physique. Because you have been training for a good period of time, and since you have not used steroids thus far, your receptor sites will be nice and clean, putting you in a great spot to mix in a bit of juice for some extra quality mass. Here is a mild cycle. Some might say it is a bit weak, but from what you told me, it looks perfect for you.

    Nandrolone decanoate (deca) - 200mg per week
    Testosterone Cypionate - 200mg per week
    Nolvadex - 20mg per day

As always, do your research. I don't condone the use of illegal substances, but following that cycle, I have known guys who have made good gains.

Be aware that it is a buyers market and that there is a lot of fake deca on the black market. cypionate is pretty easy to get, but finding real deca isn't so easy, unless of course you live in Mexico!

Another good beginners cycle is a 10 weeks cycle of sustanon 250, followed by a cycle of Clomid to restart your natural production of testosterone. Usually the sustanon 250 on the market is real - but even this has been faked in the past. Is pretty cheap too - running currently for around $25 to $35 USD per ampoule. When you are going to purchase sustanon 250, pay attention to the label for tampering, and also look on the bottom for signs that the ampoule has been heated, the product removed, and cooled.

If you see a small dot on the bottom of the ampoule (about the size of a needle dot), you can bet your life it's a fake and probably nothing more than sesame oil inside. Look for sure signs of tampering, ask your hookup a lot of questions to verify his or her story, and you should end up with the real deal. If it seems fishy or if they don't know what they are talking about, chances are they are looking to make a quick buck by unloading a fake product on you.

Last but not least, use your head. If you're going to juice, do so with a full knowledge of what you're doing. If you have a family doctor, talk to him or her, or seek out other qualified, knowledgeable sources before you start injecting substances into your body. Being an ignorant idiot full of child-like enthusiasm and reckless abandon will only get you hurt - or dead. Don't shotgun ANYTHING into your body before you know what your doing. Your health is your primary responsibility, and looks come second. After all, all dead men look the same. It's only the living who have the chance to look GOOD. Good luck.

I'm coming off of a mass building cycle and I'm going to start a cutting phase. I am not sure what to do. Should I focus mainly on isolation movements, or stick to the basic compound movements? Should I do low intensity or high-intensity cardio? And what about diet? I hope that you can help.

I do not recommend focusing primarily on isolation movements during the cutting phase. Nothing will drop anabolic hormone levels faster than failing to stimulate hormone sites, while reducing calories. Stick to the basics. Intensity will determine how many calories you burn over the course of your weight training workout.

As a for cardio, the general rule is: get a sweat going and then maintain it. It is not necessary to be concerned with beats per minute, etc. Keep it simple for best results.

When it comes to diet, dial it in at 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and lower your carbohydrate intake. Focus on carbohydrate sources like oatmeal, yams, and brown rice. Eat a lot of vegetables, and drink olong and green tea. Your fat intake should be moderate and your calorie intake should be fixed at 12 calories per pound of body weight.

Do cardio three times per week, and focus on the main lifts, training heavy and hard three days per week. For more information refer to my article The Big Four!

Come back next month to see YOUR questions answered! From steroids to supplements to sexuality, workouts to weight loss and more, the answers you want are here!

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