The holiday season is upon us, and with it come the hopes of time spent with loved ones, reflections on the year past, and hopes for renewal in times ahead. Indeed, 2003 has been a tumultuous, yet remarkable, year.
Those of you familiar with this column will be more than aware of the content present in the August segment. For those of you who have not read that edition, let me provide a bit information to orient you.
In the August edition of this column, a question was submitted regarding MuscleTech Research and Development, Inc. The reader wanted to know what my views on MuscleTech were, if, in fact, I had any at all. Given that I work in the industry, I did, and I presented them. Included with my answer were examples from MuscleTech advertising and from their corporate website. Here is a select few examples, along with a summary of my thoughts.
"To get the attention of that ample-bosomed goddess that's strutting down the beach, all you have to do is put on a smile.l.. and... be yourself. Not likely!... It's time you learned the facts on what will... capture the interest of a beautiful woman. Don't worry, it doesn't involve you reciting a sappy poem or giving her a cuddly teddy bear. Save those for the first time you screw up..."
"Hydroxycut can help you achieve the... results you and the ladies are looking for... Your workouts will seem intensified as you jump from machine to machine, free weight to free weight, determined to hypnotize the ladies with your incredible feats of strength... It's time to stop simply admiring that babe at the beach and start helping her with her tanning lotion. It's time to set the wheels in motion for a... physique no woman can resist! " (Rock Hard and Ready For Summer!)
The Following Is A Summary Of My Response:
It is advertising... like this that I detest. I am of the opinion that advertising like this represents the lowest mentality that the industry has to offer... The fact that it's approved for publication does not say much for their advertising manager, or the company. Any company that values its reputation in the industry would run from crap like that. It's the dumbest advertising I have seen in all of my life... it is an insult to women and to the intelligence of all who read it. It is an insult because this company, somehow, believes that the bullcrap they print in the advertisements will actually be believed. This kind of advertising makes it pretty clear that they think their customers are stupid.
I do not think that other examples from their "advertising" material are required to demonstrate the point, as the other examples in Augusts column are roughly equivalent to the provided material.
The other issue I took with MuscleTech was with respect to the so-called science that they use to promote their products. On this issue, I wrote the following. I also take issue with some of the so-called "science" that MuscleTech uses to promote and support the efficacy of its products.:
1. Burke, D.G., et al. NITRO-TECH + CELL-TECH: The "Stack." University of Saskatchewan, 2000. Unpublished results.
On their corporate Web site, MuscleTech discusses Nitro Tech and Cell Tech. They cite a piece of research undertaken at the University of Saskatchewan in the year 2000. However, after three years, the research remains unpublished. Let me explain to you what that means.
Any time that a study is published in a scholarly journal it must undergo a peer review process in order to ensure that the research is sound and is of the standard acceptable in the profession (whatever profession that may be). If there are errors in the research, it will be rejected. If research is genuine (if it is research at all) it will cost a considerable amount of money to conduct. Therefore, the individuals that conduct studies desire to have those studies published as quickly as possible after the studies completed. They never usually wait for three years to publish.
In fact, nobody knows exactly what this particular study had to say, how it was designed, the methodology, how the data was computed, or the rationale. For crying out loud, there is not even an abstract to read on the research! When you go to the Web site of MuscleTech and you click on the section that provides you with a listing of all available abstracts for the research cited, this study does not appear on that list.
The big questions that should be going through the minds of consumers are: if this study was important enough to be cited as evidence to support the efficacy of the product, why is it that nobody can read the details? Why is it that there is no abstract? And why, if the research was credible, has it not been published in any professional journal? Why is it that MuscleTech is using a source that nobody can check on? It all seems kinda fishy to me.
Since the publication of Augusts column, there has been no response from MuscleTech on this issue. Their muted response is somewhat surprising, considering that around the same time an aggressive campaign was mounted against bodybuilding web boards to suppress free speech regarding their products. Legal action was threatened, and a scare campaign was launched against individuals who has dissenting opinions regarding MuscleTech. For verification on these actions regarding the message boards, refer to those boards here on Bodybuilding.com.
Rather than defend themselves with evidence against public consensus, it seems that MuscleTech has chosen to continue their mass advertising campaigns in the magazines. Surely, MuscleTech has a duty to consumers to address issues regarding advertising responsibility and decency, as well as product efficacy and validity. They have a duty to issue a response in a forthright, honest, and straightforward manner. If they have nothing to hide, then the opportunity to discuss these issues openly should be welcomed.
Accordingly, I am calling on MuscleTech to address these issues in the interest of consumers. For too long the consumer has been taken advantage of by companies that manufacture shoddy products and who attempt to obfuscate the truth by swamping the media with irresponsible and insulting advertising propaganda. NO MORE! The time for clarification and accountability has arrived. Should MuscleTech choose to honor its commitments to clarify these issues, I will publish their response, in full, without modification, in this column. In the interest of consumers, these issues of responsibility, decency and science need to be addressed.
I was reading your supplement summary and figured I'd ask someone who really knows what they are talking about. I have been trying to get rid of my gut and tone my mid section and chest. I have lost most of the weight, but now I don't know what the next step to take is.
I am 6'4'' 240lbs. I need to lose more of the weight, but I would like to concentrate on toning my abs. My arms are toned, my legs are as well; I just can not get rid of the handles and the gut to where I can show off the torso area. If you could give me some dieting and work out advice, it would be great.
Your situation is common. Often, one can see vast bodyfat reductions in other areas of the body, but the midsection can stay looking the same, often irrespective of what steps one takes to remedy the situation. I am going to use this opportunity to explode a commonly perpetuated tabloid-fitness myth: it is impossible to "tone" any part of the body. No, that was not a misprint. It is impossible to tone, just as it is impossible to spot reduce. The use of the word "tone" hints at underlying confusion, which is responsible for your current situation.
When bodybuilding neophytes use the word "tone" when referring to the body, they most often mean that toning is the process of reducing bodyfat through cardiovascular exercise, and tightening up muscle tissue through resistance training. The sad fact is that when uninitiated members of the public use the word "tone", their subjectively-negotiated definition is even more imprecise, ultimately boiling down to something along the lines of "toning means looking better so I can see my muscles." You can see how quickly the word "tone" takes scientific concepts and degenerates them into subjectivity and, ultimately, irrelevance. Imprecision is insufficient.
So, if "toning" is impossible, and therefore does not occur when attempting to reveal the underlying skeletal musculature, what process, or processes, do occur? Two processes occur, often simultaneously, and the word "tone" is grossly obtuse in that it blends these two distinct processes.
Simply, revealing underlying muscle is a two-pronged process of reducing bodyfat, and eliminating subcutaneous water. This is achieved via dietary manipulation, cardiovascular training, and weight training.
Before & after taking Clayton's advice...
(It's actually a Muscletech ad)
Dietary manipulation is, by far, the most important of the three in reducing bodyfat levels. You must structure your eating program as you would your cardiovascular and resistance training programs. You should consume quality, whole foods, in limited amounts, with emphasis being placed on protein content and good fats.
In your letter you indicated that you still have "handles." This tells my experienced mind that you need to focus on reducing your bodyfat levels to single digits, and work on water retention. For more information on structuring a nutrition program geared for fat loss, and a workout regimen tailored for the same, refer to my publication A Step-By-Step Plan For Bodyfat Reduction! Sometimes, people mistake water retention for bodyfat. To eliminate water retention you need to watch your diet and avoid foods high in sodium. This should logically follow as whole foods are typically low sodium. You should also consume at least 1 gallon of water daily.
Cardiovascular exercise and resistance training will oxidize tissue from adipocytes for energy, and this will results in an increase in the metabolic rate. Over time this will lead to less bodyfat, and over time, drinking enough water will result in a reduction in water retention.
If you can make the separation between fat loss and water retention, your abdominals will reward you by showing separations of their own.
I am a female who is into fitness. I lift weights 3 times a week and I run every night. I just recently went to some competitions that sparked my interest. I need to know how to get started with body building. I have NO idea where to start. Please help!
There are many parallels between bodybuilding and being a soldier, sailor or airman. Having been a soldier, I can tell you that my military experience has been an invaluable help to my bodybuilding, careers and writings. Given that you are in the United States Navy, I shall outline some of the similarities so that you can better appreciate what is involved with the lifestyle, and where to start.
1. Always Have A Plan.
Bodybuilding is about discipline and the achievement of goals. Simply, this means assessing situation before you (time, money, equipment, external factors), and operationalizing your objective(s) accordingly.
Bodybuilding, like military science, is goal oriented - meaning that everything you do is for a purpose, and is according to a plan. Always ask : what is it that you wish to accomplish and whether your actions are consistent with your stated objective. If, in the theater of war, one acts without calculation, failure is always the result. The same holds true for bodybuilding. In bodybuilding, if you fail to plan, results will be fleeting at best. It is essential that with any bodybuilding task you clearly identify what it is that you wish to accomplish, and then you develop a plan that will allow you to succeed.
2. Always Be Disciplined.
This, naturally, means being disciplined. Once you have a plan you must stick to it, until it is finished. When I was a soldier I had to do some unpleasant things, but these tasks were necessary for the goal to be realized. Bodybuilding requires military-like discipline. Being a soldier is a twenty-four hour job, and so too is being a bodybuilder. In the way that war is military science, bodybuilding is body science.
You will not always like what you are required to do, but, as I always say, "emotions have absolutely nothing to do with objective reality." Don't like it, but do it anyway!
3. Determinism - Cause & Effect.
Bodybuilding, like military science, operates on the basis of cause and effect. To be the best soldier you can be, you must be intelligent and able to think on your feet. This means being rigid, yet flexible, and being able to adapt quickly when conditions dictate. The same holds true for bodybuilding.
Bodybuilding is a science. It is not an art. While some may bodybuild because they appreciate how the human form appears, the method of manifesting that form is a science - ie. specific conditions are required to obtain the specific result. For more information, refer to my publication Bodybuilding: What It Is Really About!
To better illustrate the point, consider the following situation. A hostage and his captor are in a small room. The task is to rescue the hostage alive. This means that the captor must be neutralized, and the hostage must survive. Any other resultant constitutes a failure. The question is: does it make more sense to:
- Use a fragmentation grenade to kill the captor, thereby rescuing the hostage
- Use a flashbang grenade to stun the captor, then shoot the captor, thereby rescuing the hostage
I am sure that you can see option B makes the most sense. First of all, a fragmentation grenade has a destruction radius far exceeding the dimensions of the room. Deploy one of those and everyone, including the hostage and members of your team, are dead. Therefore, success via condition A is an impossible event. Condition B, by contrast, stipulates using the flashbang grenade to stun the hostage and the captor, and then killing the captor, leaving the hostage no worse for wear.
This example is a good one because when we look at bodybuilding related events, we find that although we want to achieve a goal, and though it may appear as though many options are available, our actions must be precise to achieve what we want. Otherwise, we end up blowing everything to hell, like in our example with option A.
Make no mistake: bodybuilding is about stimulus and response. It is about specific, tactical, decisions. If you fail to be precise, things will not work in the way you want. You must be excruciatingly precise in all bodybuilding endeavors. I recommend writing down everything related to your nutrition, sleep habits, and exercise regimen. This will require discipline of the type discussed above.
Having outlined the above, it is important to start bodybuilding off on the right foot. Have FUN! I do not recommend throwing yourself into competitions right away. Take some time to enjoy the lifestyle, and to learn and grow as a bodybuilder. Allow bodybuilding to be a stress-releasing event for you.
I understand the stresses associated with being a service member, and believe me, you need more than your job to keep you going. Sometimes the service can rob you of your inner life by having an unrelenting focus on absolute discipline, and the chain of command.
Just enjoy yourself and your bodybuilding, and allow yourself to be human. Be disciplined, but not to the point where it takes all of the joy out of the activity. Don't make bodybuilding seem like another burden, or task, to you. Be cognizant of why you want to bodybuild in the first place.
Sometimes I think that I've gotten a bit soft now that I am a civilian. I can enjoy my bodybuilding in the greatest, most peaceful, continent on Earth. Sometimes I think that I've gotten soft, but then I realize, it's the joy of bodybuilding that I love; it's the process of being what I love to be that makes it all worthwhile; a bodybuilder.
Bodybuilding is hard work, but it can also be health-enhancing, if done correctly. Just don't take yourself too seriously by focusing on doing this or that. Do what you want, how you know best, and relax. When you have learnt to enjoy the lifestyle, then the next step is turning it into business. For this you can keep your ear open for local contests at gyms in your area. A good resource is the contest listings here on Bodybuilding.com. For more information, refer to the publication Should You Become A Bodybuilder?
But always keep learning, and keep living to your fullest. It's just that simple!
I have a friend who is new to bodybuilding and who is still going through that "grow like a weed" phase. He is seeing his body change right before his eyes and it seems like he is a little "over motivated". He recently bought a couple of magazines and wants to jump into supersets and shock-techniques... things I've been taught you use rarely, or even better, just when your growth stalls. Should I calm him down or IS it ok to throw a couple of super sets in? I'm just worried he's going to over do it at the start and burn himself out.
Your concern for your friends progress is admirable. TRUE bodybuilding has always been about being the best you can be, while helping others to be the same.
This situation presents you with a dilemma: Do you try to temper his enthusiasm, or let him run wild to discover, on his own, what you already know?
My advice would be to let him do what he wants. The reasons for this are that you do not wish to discourage him from the lifestyle, you do not wish to make it a point of contention in your relationship, and also because he will do what he wants to do, regardless of your advice. You can attempt to influence him, but at the end of the day the final call will be his to make.
The heart of this issue comes down to the difference between a belief, and a knowing. Beliefs are things that we absorb from other people - ie. parents, churches, schools, etc. We hear all sorts of beliefs all of the time, when people talk about statistics, and probabilities, etc. With a belief we can understand, intellectually, that a thing is possible, and we can listen to people remark that they have done it, have seen others do it, or are going to do it again, but it does not become fully true to us unless we experience it directly. Then it becomes ours. Knowings come from firsthand experience.
All you can do with your friend it tell him about overtraining. The rest is up to him. When he learns first-hand what over-training is, then it will become his knowing, and he will be a smarter bodybuilder for it. At that point I don't think it will be an issue of who is right and who is wrong anymore.
I like your section on Bodybuilding.com. Do you know if 1-testosterone is detectible for NCAA drug tests? If I injected it, would it jeopardize my eligibility?
Before his death, the late bodybuilding guru Dan Duchaine talked extensively about injectable prohormones. He argued that the potential of prohormones had not yet been fully realized because federal laws put restrictions on the delivery systems by which they could be administered. As many know, oral delivery is plagued by the first-pass effect. Injection bypasses the liver and this is one reason why many professional bodybuilders prefer injectable steroids to their oral counterparts.
The NCAA, like other sporting federations, has strict doping guidelines put in place to encourage fair play, and to protect the health of athletes. 1-Testosterone is a steroidal hormone and as such it is banned by the federation. Now, that's not to say that you could not get around the drug test. In fact, urine tests are quite simple to beat, and other drug tests can be defeated. But, that is another discussion altogether.
What is important for you to know is that any attempt to inject prohormones will meet with disaster. Injections of any kind are very, VERY dangerous unless you know exactly what you are doing.
For example, you could hit a nerve, in the best of cases, in which case you would be, depending on the injection site, the victim of severe inflammation and muscle spasms for some time. The other options are not so pretty.
For example, you could end up abscessing the muscle group, in which case you would need to take strong doses of antibiotics in the best of cases, and would require surgery in the worst of cases. Then there is option 3 - death. If you inject improperly, you could hit a vein, and in thirty seconds it would be lights out. Remember what happened to Milos Sarcev when he was messing around with Synthol?
So in that sense, YES, all three of these nasty possibilities could affect your eligibility, should you decide to pursue this. I understand your motivation for wanting to do this, believe me, I do. But, for you, it's a lose-lose situation. On the one hand, if you take orals and do not time it correctly, you will fail the doping test (unless you know how to beat it), and on the other, you may end up dead if you inject incorrectly.
Do you know anything about the drug Primobolan? I have read the risks are lower and it doesn't aromatize. Have you ever heard of anyone doing a primobolan-only cycle with good results?
Primabolan, a steroid, can be taken orally or by injection. The good thing about Primobolan is that it does not lead to bloating, and you won't suffer some of the effects you would if you had decided to take testosterone.
The only downside with Primo is that is hurts like a bitch when you inject it. Also, some consider it a downside that primo is not a mass gaining drug. Its more for hardening and, not surprisingly, a lot of bodybuilders like to use it pre-contest. Primo works well when combined with other drugs like Dianabol or Winstrol.
Although it will not convert into estrogen, and thus will save you from getting a nasty case of gynocomastia, some water retention can occur with the orals. Injections can circumvent this problem, along with the problem of first pass in the liver.
Primo works really well, but just make sure you use it for its intended purpose. Otherwise, it's a waste of your hard earned money.
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!
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003;78:31-9
- South, Clayton. Applied Bodybuilding Research. August 18, 2003. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/south43.htm
- International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2003, 13, 294-302.
- 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.
- 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.
- Van Mol, Peter. Prohormone Science! Do they work?
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