In this issue of Chris Zaino's Q & A, you will learn about using Creatine and working the delts...

By: Chris Zaino

Can I Take Creatine While Bulking And Cutting?

Hey Chris,
I have a question: Is it better to take Creatine while bulking up? Will its useful properties be minimized if taken while cutting down, due to decreased calorie intake? The reason I ask is because my bulking phase doesn't start for another couple of months and I wish to work my way up to a high calorie diet, increasing calorie intake incrementally and then leveling off once I reach my maximum intake - so should I take Creatine in the time period while I increase my calories, or wait until my calorie intake is at it's highest, and then take Creatine?

I trust your council and would greatly appreciate your advice. I am a big fan of yours and am anxious to hear your reply. Thanks for everything.

Creatine can be used in your bulking phase and your cutting phase. I would say it plays and important role in both phases. Bulking up and adding mass, Creatine, along with the higher amount of calories, protein and carbs, will allow you to lift heavier weights.

Along with that comes a super-hydrated muscle that sets the stage for protein synthesis required that your nutritional intake is sufficient. In your mass phase, I would also not be afraid to have a little sodium in your diet as well. This will also enhance the leverage, strength and absorbing properties when it comes to Creatine supplementation.

While dieting down to lose body fat, it also has its' role. A lot of bodybuilders do not want to use Creatine in fear that it will make the water hold, and obscure definition. It will help the body hold onto more mass while dieting. The extra ATP stores and hydration levels in the muscle and body will help prevent muscle wasting from occurring.

While dieting energy stores and hydration may fall below optimal levels. This will result in decreased performance in the gym. Creatine will allow you to use heavier weights while dieting to force your body to retain more lean mass. Of course, once again, as long as proper nutritional intake is provided.

Dosage wise, 10-15grams, in divided dosages will do. Take care!

God Bless,
CHRIS ZAINO

My Shoulders Never Get Sore. Why Not?

Hey, great articles! You're easily one of the most, if not the most, knowledgeable fitness writer I've come across. My question is about my shoulders. I'm a slim guy, so if anything; I want my shoulders to pop out.

My routine has worked well for all my other body parts, except that after a hard shoulder routine, I'm NEVER sore. I do see slight gains, but I never get the soreness that I do everywhere else. Am I doing something wrong? Or is that just the nature of the delts? Thanks a bunch and keep up the great work.

Hi, thanks for the question. Delts can be a stubborn muscle for man. You need to go back to the drawing board and recheck your form and intensity levels while training shoulders. It may be better to lighten the weight and actually really squeeze and control the self muscles on the concentric and eccentric portions of the movement.

Start working on getting the "mind/muscle" connection with lighter weights, and then slowly start to increase the poundage using the elite form you will now have. This is just one way.

As far as muscle soreness goes, you can't use it as determining factor of whether you are growing or not. Even I like to feel a little sore the next day, but again, you cannot use that as your guide.

Why don't you try pre-exhausting your shoulders? Start with your lateral movements first, then your upright rows, then finish off with presses. This will fatigue and isolate the deltoid muscles in the beginning of your shoulder routine. Then when you hit your presses, you will also use the assisting muscles to help bring on a greater amount of fatigue to the delt. Give these a try, and give them a good 6-8 weeks to determine if they will work for you or not.

Take care. God Bless,
CHRIS ZAINO

Will I Gain Fat If I Take 3-4 Protein Shakes Per Day?

Hello Chris,
My name is Kenneth Daniels. I remember you from Riverview high school. I remember you walking around with those big arms and big chest. I just wanted to say hello and congratulate you on your very successful career.

Chris I have to tell you, I remember something you did on the news channel at school one morning. I recall you saying that everybody's body reacts different to training. Even then you had good knowledge of nutrition and fitness.

To make this short, I have been working out the past 5 weeks. I have been trying to educate myself as much as possible as far as nutrition goes, I am supplementing with Creatine, ZMA and supplementing with the whey proteins.

Here's the question... I want the best possible gains, but not the fat gains. I find it hard to get 2g X my bodyweight for protein without going very excessive on calories, carbs, sodium or fat. Is it safe to down 3-4 protein shakes a day?

Once again congrats on your success Chris!

Hello fellow Ram! Thanks for the question. If you feel you are gaining some fat, then reduce your calories from CARBS only. Also start eating fresh chicken and meats without all the added sodium. ON another note, pay attention to the hidden sodium in foods. At the same time though, I would not recommend zero sodium either, due to the vital role it plays in the body in the Na/K pump (*note: this is an active transport system), Creatine transport, etc.

If you are holding a bit of excess water, it could be due to the Creatine as well. DO not mistake this with fat, because it is mainly excess water due to the Creatine supplementation. I would increase your water intake even more to keep your body flushing fluids.

So to recap, do not cut your protein one ounce! IF you feel you are getting puffy and bloated from too many calories, then reduce your complex carbs and replace them with green fibrous vegetables like broccoli, green beans, etc.

It also would not hurt to throw in a few 20 minute sessions of cardio 3 times per week and/or on your off days. I am not sure of your training schedule, so make sure you do most of the sessions on your off days, then fit the rest in when you can. This will keep the metabolism going so you can assimilate more food, keep some water weight off, and most of all keep your heart strong.

Try those things out first and see how you respond. They should do the trick. Most of all stay very consistent. This is a process that takes years and years to accomplish. Enjoy the journey.

Take care! God Bless.

Well, there you go, just some of the variety of questions that some of our readers have. If you have any questions or topics that interest you, and you would like to see discussed please E-mail Chris Zaino at cz2000@aol.com.

Note: This is part eleven, click here for part one!
  click here for part two!
click here for part three!
click here for part four!
click here for part five!
click here for part six!
click here for part seven!
click here for part eight!
click here for part nine!
click here for part ten!

Thanks,

Chris Zaino's Q & A - Part 11.
CZ2000@aol.com

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