Q & A With Clayton South - November 2003!

Find out if NO2 will shrink your nuts, if it works, what kind of protein is best to take before bedtime, what a good creatine and glutamine are, and all about this year's Mr. Olympia placings...
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.

I am taking No2 and I was wondering if you knew any of the side effects. Does NO2, like steroids, shrinks your testicles? Would you happen to know if it would effect a person with a bleeding disorder like vonwilibrans or hemophilia? Does it for sure give you strength? Not just muscle but strength?.

The great thing about NO2 products is that, assuming you do not have pre-existing medical conditions, they work well. Unlike other supplements, N02 products are relatively free of side effects. Having said that, nothing is side-effect free.

N02 products contain Arginine Alpha-KetoGlutarate (A-AKG). The production of Nitric Oxide occurs when the amino acid L-arginine is converted into L-citruline through an enzyme group known as Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS). For more information on the process of chemical conversion, refer to the information page that I wrote on N02 - Nitric Oxide.

To put your mind at ease, there is no known scientific evidence to suggest that supplementation of a nitric oxide precursor will shrink your testicles. In fact, given that the chief purpose of nitric oxide is to expand blood vessels, the reverse would be expected. While nitric oxide serves to enhance erection and increase ejaculate fluid levels, no evidence has emerged to suggest that it enlarges the scrotum. So, nitric oxide has neither positive nor negative aesthetic effects on the scrotum or testicles.

Regarding individuals with pre-existing medical conditions and bleeding disorders, I would strongly recommend against supplementing with a nitric oxide precursor. Individual suffering from hemophilia already have difficulty forming blood clots. The inability to form blood clots can result in death, even from a minor injury. Because nitric oxide supplements increase blood flow, should a hemophiliac on nitric oxide sustain injury, it is theoretically possible that the chances of a fatal injury are increased. Persons with pre-existing medical conditions should be careful when selecting any supplement, N02 products included. As always, and especially in this case, consultation with a physician is strongly recommended.

Because I have already conducted an uncontrolled trial on NO2, I will direct your attention to that publication should you wish to know about the products efficacy and ergogenic capabilities.

Your articles are great, very refreshing, and I appreciate the sincerity of your opinions. My question is this: Is a protein powder or supplement before bedtime really any better than, say, some cottage cheese or a can of plain tuna fish? I do appreciate any advice you can give. Thank you, and keep up the good work!

Thank you for your kind words. When people first begin to bodybuild one issue that they usually struggle with is the question of whole foods vs. supplements. Is one kind of protein superior to another? Should I be eating chicken or tuna? Can I avoid having to eat this type of meat and simply replace it with a protein powder? On and on the questions go.

Questions relating to nutrition are extremely important. Nutrition is what will make or break your bodybuilding career. It will decide whether you are a success, or a failure. So, it is very important that you discover the answers to your nutrition related questions sooner rather than later. The quick and dirty answer to your question is: it depends. Everything in bodybuilding is relative.

On the one hand if you are attempting to diet down, then I would recommend going with a casein protein powder before bed. This will allow you take advantage of casein's time released properties (thus maintaining even blood amino acid levels over time) without having to consume the carbohydrates present in cottage cheese. On the other hand, if you are not too concerned about dropping bodyfat and simply desire a time-released slow-acting anti-catabolic protein, cottage cheese should be more than adequate to serve this purpose. This is not to say, however, that you can not get the best of both worlds.

Some professionals will consume cottage cheese before bed and will set their alarm clocks for four hours later. At this time they will consume a protein shake, to offset the catabolism associated with sleeping and not eating for long periods of time. I have done this for some time and can verify that it is an effective practice.

I don't recommend tuna fish before bed. The reason is that tuna fish protein is less biologically active, and while (because it is solid and because it is animal protein) it will be metabolized more slowly than a protein powder (eg. Whey), it lacks the time-released qualities of casein.

Two great publications written by a couple of my colleagues are The Protein Bible and Protein Supplements vs. Protein Foods. I do not usually endorse or recommend many publications, but I direct your attention to these publications, simply because they are outstandingly well done, and anything else I would say on the matter would be somewhat redundant. If you want to know how different types of protein function (and thus when it is appropriate to consume one type over another), read those publications.

After you have done this, and when you are ready to purchase a protein powder to suit your needs, you can read two of my publications: What should you look for in a protein powder? and My Review on Optimum Nutrition's 100% Whey.

I must like everyone else start off by saying that I really enjoy reading your articles because they are so informative. My question is about supplements.

I want to start taking glutamine but am unsure about which specific product to use as well as the correct amount to take. I am looking for a mid-range product. I want quality but don't want to use the most expensive product on the market. Could you please recommend a glutamine product for me? I would also appreciate your advice on a creatine product other than Cell-Tech. I like the taste of the product but have heard mixed reviews and would like a recommendation or input for a better product if possible. I would like a product I can take with water as compared to those I have to take with juice. Once again, a mid-range product would be ideal.

My last question concerns the amount of protein I am taking. I currently take between 170 and 200 grams per day. Would you recommend any more or less? I consistently eat around 2000 calories per day. Thank you so much for your help.

Wow! That is a lot of questions, but I guess it pays to get them all in there in one shot if you are going to ask anyway.

Glutamine is a great anti-catabolic supplement, and is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. It serves a wide variety of purposes, not the least of which is pituitary gland stimulation, resulting in an increase on somatropin levels.

If I were to "recommend" a glutamine product, it would have to be either Higher Power Glutamine Powder or Optimum Nutrition Glutamine Powder. From what you have told me, I would recommend that you go with the Higher Power product. You get 5 grams of glutamine per serving (compared with 4.5 for Optimums glutamine) and the cost is roughly four dollars cheaper. As bodybuilders, we all know how money can be tight sometimes. If you want a brand name that you can trust, Higher Power is always a safe and trusted bet.

As for creatine monohydrate, I would recommend going with a simple creatine monohydrate product. It is up to you if you take it with water (although I would not), or with juice. If you do not want to take your creatine with juice, you can mix it with Gatorade or an electrolyte replacement drink for a post-workout shake. Follow this up roughly 25-30 minutes later with 40-60 grams of whey.

The great thing about creatine monohydrate is that it is very cost effective, and long gone are the days of Chinese creatine of questionable quality. Because capitalism works, the consumer benefits from the virtual glut of creatine manufacturers. Personally, I really like (and use) the product manufactured by Prolab. Again, a cheaper alternative is manufactured by Higher Power Nutrition. You can get 1000 grams of Higher Power creatine for $19.99. This saves you about four dollars over the Prolab product.

As for your nutrition, I would recommend eating more calories. From what you have told me, your protein intake sounds sufficient, but your calories are too low. A great way to increase calories without adding bodyfat is to use Omega oils. They are calorically dense, will skyrocket your testosterone, and will help you get stronger. The extra calories will give you the mass you are looking for, while the fats will help you get stronger, thus giving you even more mass gains. Old fashioned peanut butter is a great food for bumping up calories while avoiding feelings of fullness. Whatever road you decide to travel, try increasing your calories and get ready to grow.

I'm currently 18 and am looking into steroids. If I choose to use them, it will not be until I am 19-20 and am living away from home at college.

It has been said that oral steroids do more liver damage than injectables when used in "high doses, and for long duration." I could understand this to be true, but with some of the cycles you recommended, should this even be a problem (assuming my liver is in great condition)? Also, is alcohol forbidden when on a cycle of steroids? Finally, is there such a cycle that uses only oral steroids of one type, and could it be successful? If so, could I get some brand names of the types?

Because you did not provide me with your particulars (ie. how long you have been training, current strength and muscle mass levels, nutrition regimen, etc) I am unable to recommend a specific cycle, or say that it would or would not be appropriate for you. I suspect, however, that like most young people, you are NOWHERE NEAR your genetic potential. I am also going to assume that, like most young trainers, your nutrition is far from appropriate or adequate. Often the college or high school life leads itself to eating "whenever."

So, this results in the following advice: because you are young, I suggest getting your nutrition under control (if it is not so already), maximizing your recovery plan, as well as your workout plans. There is little sense in taking a cycle of gear for mass, when you are, say, using cable movements most of the time. In my view, a workout focusing predominantly on cable movements during a steroid cycle for mass, is a waste of good gear. Only a fool would attempt it.

Due to your age, my first inclination would be to tell you to wait to take steroids. There are three reasons for this. The first reason is that your natural testosterone and hormone levels are optimal, and you do not want to mess them up. At your age and at this stage in the game you can still make solid gains naturally. The second and third reasons are that it is best to take steroids when your natural levels drop, and it is best to wait because you want to keep your receptor sites as clean as possible so that when you do juice, you need as little as possible. By keeping receptor sites clean, you can get the same results with a smaller amount of steroid hormone.

You are correct in noting that the cycles I outline are mild. That's the point. A very small amount of steroid can make you look and feel amazing; too much steroid can destroy your health. Given that most of us will never beat Mr. Olympia in any contest (bodybuilding or otherwise), it is best to be realistic and juice accordingly.

Because each steroid possesses a unique profile whether or not a steroid cycle will result in liver harm will depend upon the type of steroid being used. For example, anadrol 50 is an oral steroid and even in low doses can be severely toxic to the liver. Even dianabol (1 7-alpha-methyl-1 7beta-hydroxil-androsta-1.4dien-3-on) can have some effect on the liver when taken long term. For you, though, a good cycle with dianabol (or Eastern bloc equivalent) would be 15-20mg per day for 8-10 weeks. Keep in mind that dianabol can aromatize, and thus you may experience water retention or possibly gynocomastia. If you want to avoid this, take something like nolvaex. After your cycle, you can use some clomid at 50-100mg per day to get your natural testosterone levels jump-started.

What did you think of this years Mr. Olympia results? Do you think Ronnie deserved to win? I think Jay should have won, and Lee Priest got the shaft!

This years Mr. Olympia was exciting because of the new talent, and was, as expected, Ronnie Colemans show. No one can argue with any credibility that Jay Cutler should have beat Ronnie; at least not this year. Here are the reasons that I say this.

1. Ronnie had better separation in his hamstrings than Jay.

Anyone who watched the prejudging and saw side comparisons of both mens hamstrings must realize that although Jay's quads are freaky and can take on the best of competitors, his hamstrings are almost invisible from the side when compared to Colemans. From the side, his hams look smooth, and a bodypart needs to look good from all angles.

2. Ronnies glutes were fantastic.

When it comes to women, I admire great gluteus. Normally, I don't look at a guys butt, but(t!) when it comes to bodybuilding an exception is necessary. Again, from the prejudging and even the evening show, it is obvious that Ronnies ass was shredded to the max! Jay was pretty vascular in that area as well, but Ronnie beat him on that shot.

3. Ronnie's back is thick and wide.

As always, Colemans back was phenomenal. Amazing. Classic Ronnie. Even Franco wouldn't smoke Ronnie in this area, and Franco looked like a tortoise from the back.

Ronnies back isn't just wide, its thick - amazingly thick. The guy's back is like a huge shell. It must be Christmas everyday at the Coleman residence with that Christmas tree Ronnie carries around on his back 24/7! There was no man on the stage, past or present, that could compete. The thickness and width blew Cutler, and everyone else, away. Adios, Jay, maybe next year.

4. Ronnie has a better chest than Jay.

Ronnie also has awesome thickness in his chest, which Cutler can't match. Granted, Cutlers chest is mighty thick - AND freaky - but not enough to match Coleman, who is a freaks freak. I bet if Coleman put a soda can between each of his pecs and flexed, he could make a soda can explode!

5. Coleman has superior biceps and triceps.

Ronnies arms - not just the biceps - are, without doubt, the best that the sport and the world has ever know. He has the best arms on the planet - period!

Check out some awesome pre-judging photos, click here!

Jay is a great athlete, and will, someday soon, be Mr. Olympia. Could he ever beat Ronnie? Yes, but only if Ronnie makes a lot of mistakes with his contest prep. If Ronnie shows up and is in shape, he will win the show without question.

As for Lee Priest, don't get me started on that. I think that Lee is a great athlete with an incredible career. Lee is the man, the myth, the legend. Unfortunately, this year he had a poor showing, and in my view deserved it.

First of all, what was up with the hair? A new twist on Lee? Perhaps, but it worked against him. His hair was too long, and clashed with the rest of his body. Markus Ruhl had his hair the same color several years ago and placed poorly because he looked hideous. After Markus changed his hair color, his contest placings improved. I guess Lee didn't notice Markus's example. Besides, common sense should tell Lee that the David LEE Roth look expired with the 1980's. Looks like Lee's career will expire soon if he doesn't chop the mop.


David Lee Roth & Lee Priest.

Secondly, Lee's quads and hams were soft, and he had ZERO definition in his glutes. He looked pretty smooth all over, was retaining some water in the typical areas, and looked like Goldie locks. Something must have happened with Lee's prep. I would never take anything away from Lee, but he either waited too late to prepare, or he tried to experiment and got a poor result. Regardless, he didn't show up in shape and the judges slapped him accordingly.

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!

Past Issues

March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003

References

  1. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003;78:31-9
  2. South, Clayton. Applied Bodybuilding Research. August 18, 2003. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/south43.htm
  3. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2003, 13, 294-302.
  4. Friedl KE, Dettori JR, et al. Comparison of the effects of high dose testosterone and 19-nortestosterone to a replacement does of testosterone on strength and body composition in normal men. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 1991;4:607-612.
  5. Kuipers H, Wijnen JAG, et al. Influence of anabolic steroids on body composition, blood pressure, lipid profile and liver function in bodybuilders. International Journal of Sports Medicine 1991;12:413-8.
  6. Van Mol, Peter. Prohormone Science! Do they work?

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.

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