click here for part two, 'Nutrition'!
click here for part four, 'Cardio'!
click here for part five, 'Pre-Contest Preparation'!
In this installment of the MAXIMIZE YOUR RESULTS series, we are going to cover what supplements to take and how to take them. And for those who are following the routine posted in the first part of the series, we are going to change our workout this week.
Now, before I get into the nitty-gritty of supplementation, let's make one thing very clear - - If your training and nutrition are not in order, supplements are virtually worthless. There is no such thing as a magic bullet in the supplement industry that will make up for sub-par workouts and poor eating habits. Train right! Eat right! Then supplement right! Supplements should be considered the last leg of our bodybuilding tripod.
Now that this is fully understood, let us build a hierarchy of supplements based on importance and effectiveness. To start, let's envision a three level pyramid with the base being our "foundation" supplements, the middle level representing our "performance enhancement" level, and the top level being the "fine tuning" level.
Your foundation level represents supplements that will not only help in accelerating muscle growth and fat loss, but they optimize personal health and well being. Weight trainer or not, these supplements are beneficial to (and in my opinion - needed by) everyone. This level is your meal replacement powders, whey protein isolate, l-Glutamine, and your multivitamin and minerals.
There is nothing magical here. Use of these supplements alone form the basis of a highly effective nutritional program. In fact, I don't view meal replacements or whey protein isolate as supplements at all. I view them as food. You will recall in my last article that I am adamant about the importance of protein in your diet to augment your muscle building efforts. Well, just like fats and carbohydrates, not all proteins are created equally. The proteins found in these two products are the highest quality available on earth. It is virtually impossible to match the low calorie/nutrient denseness of MRPs and you won't find a better protein for accelerating muscle growth the whey protein isolate. I find myself taking about 60% of my total protein intake in the form of these two, shall I say it, supplements.
WORD OF CAUTION:
Not all supplements are created equally, either. Don't get ripped off! Do your research and go with a credible company. If you are at all unsure of whom they are, email me and I will help you to pick out a quality product and wean out the junk.
Our "performance" level of supplements will be our thermogens and micronized creatine. These are the supplements that you can feel working. These are the supplements that help you maximize every minute you are in the gym. These are for those who have the desire to be bigger, stronger, faster, and leaner - - not just bodybuilders, but any athlete. I have to put one more category of supplements in this level and that is antioxidants, specifically vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and NAC. You will not necessarily feel these working, but research has shown that these little free radical fighters and cystiene enhancers can make or break your recovery process, a.k.a. GROWTH!
Our last level in our pyramid, the "fine tuning" level, are supplements that may provide some benefit, but are not obtainable from a regular diet. Included here would be alpha lipoic acid, CLA, Glucosamine formulas, and andro products - just to name a few. Are they needed? No. Will they be beneficial? To some.
There are so many other supplements I could go into, but I recommend everyone start with the first to levels of our pyramid and work from there. I find myself at times only using these supplements. Make that most of the time. Instead of going nuts and purchasing every product out there, determine your goals and supplement needs and the devise your plan.
Timing Your Supplements To Build Muscle
There is a crucial time period shortly after your workouts that is a make-or-break period for muscle. The timing of the insulin spike is important for needed amino acid transport. This is mandatory for prevention of protein degradation and stimulating synthesis. In the past couple of years, science has opened our eyes to important supplementation tactics that stimulate this powerful muscle building mechanism that will, in turn, lead to overall gains in muscle growth.
First we were enlightened to the fact that a pre-workout protein/carb supplement BEFORE your workout increases the flow of amino acids to working muscles during training. So you would be wise to consume a pre-workout shake consisting of protein and simple carbohydrates. This will flood your muscles with valuable building materials they need while working.
Next, researchers showed us that ingestion of a supplement consisting of amino acids and simple carbohydrates directly AFTER training is the most potent stimulator of muscle growth. It would then make sense to consume the same type of shake post-workout as you did pre-workout. But, you can't stop there. Research has also shown us that amino acid transport and uptake into muscle is 300% greater during the three hours post workout than any other time of the day.
What does that mean to you? You need to feed and supplement yourself properly and frequently throughout these three hours to maximize your growth.
You may be asking yourself, "How do I incorporate all of this information into my training and nutrition to its fullest benefits?" Well, luckily for us, Paul Cribb (B.H. Sci. HMS. Exercise physiologist, Director of research for AST Sports Science) has laid it all out in what is called THE ANABOLIC BRACKETING AND NUTRIENT TIMING FACTOR. Here is what it looks like:
Step 1. Use a
protein/carb liquid 30-45 minutes preworkout, preferably whey protein isolate and a glucose mixture. Now is also a good time to use
thermogens as well.
Step 2. Ingest the same shake immediately post-workout. These first two steps are your "anabolic bracket." This is also a good time to utilize creatine and glutamine again, as well as taking your antioxidants.
Step 3. You need to consume a small meal about 20-30 minutes after your second shake to prevent anabolism from disappearing. A low fiber/high glycemic carbohydrate should be combined with a small serving of low-fat protein. This meal prevents the drastic drop in blood sugar and insulin levels that your glucose/simple carb consumption creates.
Step 4. Since net gains in muscle are a product of preventing protein breakdown and stimulating protein synthesis, this next meal selection is crucial. You will easily meet your needs by ingesting a quality meal replacement. This should be sipped on within 60-90 minutes post-workout.
Step 5. You still have time left in your three hour window to capitalize on, so we will have one more meal of low fiber/high glycemic carbohydrates and low fat protein. You can easily make one meal in advance and eat half of in for step 3 and the other half here in step 5. Now is also a great time to have one more scoop of whey protein isolate and a serving of micronized creatine.
Now that you have the guidelines for a supplementation plan, let me lay out for you what my current supplement schedule looks like and how I utilize the "bracketing" and "anabolic timing" methods:
My Current Supplement Shedule:
|5:30 a.m.||2 Dymetadrine Xtreme at wakeup|
|6 a.m.||1 Multipro 32X and 1000mg Vitamin C, and 1 scoop of VP2 Whey Isolate with Meal 1|
|9 a.m.||1 serving of Nytropro40 mixed in water|
|10 a.m.||1 Dymetadrine Xtreme|
|4 p.m.||2 Dymetadrine Xtreme, 1 scoop of VP2, 1 scoop of Creatine HSC, 10gms of GL3 l-Glutamine|
|5:15 p.m.||1 scoop of VP2, 1 scoop of Creatine HSC, 10gms of GL3, 2 caps of NAC, 1000mg Vitamin C, and 800-1000i.u. Vitamin E|
|5:45 p.m.||Half of a cup of low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese, 1 banana|
|6:15 p.m.||1 serving of Nytropro 40 in water|
|7:45 p.m.||Another half of a cup of cottage cheese, Ã‚Â½ - 1 cup of fresh pineapple, 1 scoop of VP2 mixed in water with 5gms Micronized Creatine|
|10:30 p.m.||1 serving of Nytropro, 1 Multipro 32X, and 1000mgs. Vitamin C|
You may notice that my diet sits a little different than last article. I have changed things slightly as I am starting to cut calories for the contest season and I have made a few different food choices to minimize my cooking. With the information and template provided, you should have more than enough information to start maximizing your supplementation.
The Next Four Weeks Of Our Training
For those of you who have been following the workout program, it is time to change up our body-part split and exercises. Make sure you utilize the first week as a break in week and then amp up your intensity for the last three, going all out!
= View Exercise.
Day 1 - Back and Forearms
Pull-ups - 20 reps with your bodyweight.
V-bar pulldowns - 2 x 4-6
Bentover Barbell Rows - (1 acclimation set) 2 x 4-6
Weighted Hyperextensions - 2 x 6-8
Wrist Curls (1 acclimation set) - 2 x 6-8
Standing Dumbbell Wrist Curls - 2 x 6-8 each side
Day 2 - Shoulders and Traps
Seated Front Barbell Press (4 warm-up sets) - 3 x 4-6
Seated Dumbbell Press - 1 x 4-6
Side Lateral Raises (1 acclimation set) - 2 x 4-6
Barbell Shrugs (1 acclimation set) - 3 x 4-6
Day 3 - Legs and Calves
Squats (4 warm-up sets) - 4 x 4-6
Lunges - 2 x 4-6 per leg
Stiffleg Deadlifts (1 acclimation) - 2 x 4-6
Seated Calf Raises (2-3 warm-ups) - 2 x 4-6
Calf Raises on the Leg Press (1 acclimation set) - 1 x 4-6
Day 4 - Chest and Abs
Bench Press (4 warm-up sets) - 3 x 4-6
Barbell Incline Press 2 x 4-6
Weighted Dips 2 x 4-6
Rope Crunches (1 warm-up set) 2 x 10-12
Weighted Leg Lifts 2 x 10-12
Day 5 - Biceps and Triceps
Barbell Curls (4 warm-up sets) - 3 x 4-6
Alternate Dumbbell Curls 2 x 4-6
Lying Tricep Extensions (3-4 warm-up sets) - 2 x 4-6
Dumbbell Tricep Extensions - 2 x 4-6
Tricep Pushdowns - 1 x 4-6
There you have it! For the last part in this series, we are going to uncover how to incorporate cardio into your program and how to put together a plan for fat shedding.
Until then, train hard and with passion!