Supplement Savvy: More Questions, MOHR Answers

Get the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. Today we have some answers about MRP's and dinner, calorie intake, building strength and more. Check it out and get the facts here.

[ Q ] I'm a Master's level competitive bodybuilder; I just got into this about a year ago and have loved the changes my body has undergone, all the while improving each contest. As I'm learning more and more, I'm trying to tweak things to improve the final outcome. So what do you think of replacing my normal dinner with a meal replacement powder? Would that benefit me?

A: Congratulations on your new endeavors and successes! The beautiful thing about meal replacement powders (MRP's) is that they are quick, convenient, can be healthy, and can also taste great.

Replacing your normal dinner with a MRP won't do anything special to your physique; however, what it can do is provide a specific number of calories and macronutrients that would make things easy for you when figuring out your intake for the day.

Macronutrients Vs. Micronutrients
The four macronutrients are protein (source of amino acids), carbohydrates, lipids (fats), and water—all of which you need in plentiful (hence the term 'macro') amounts each day.

Micronutrients—mainly vitamins and minerals—are needed in relatively small amounts (hence "micro"), and have been shown to be essential to growth and development, and for good health and winning athletic performance.

Of course, you can also measure all your foods, but again, this comes back to the convenience factor. I always tell people to also use these as supplements and not to replace their intake of real foods all the time. They're great on occasion, but when you start living off them, it can become a problem.

I received an email the other day from a guy who wanted to gain weight and said he was taking 10 MRP's each day for the protein—and concentrating on those versus eating any real food. Well, the problem is that real food can provide a heck of a lot of other things that supplements can't.

Yes, you get protein and some added vitamins and minerals in MRP's, but you don't get all the other nutrients that you get from real foods. So, use them, but don't live off of them.

Next important consideration: make sure your MRP of choice is not full of hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and other crap ingredients.

There are definitely high quality ones out there, but on the same note, there are some that are not the best. Pick and choose wisely and always read labels before choosing. Good luck with your upcoming contests and, remember, never try anything new immediately before a contest without trying it out long beforehand first.

[ Q ] Hi Chris! A guy that works with my husband and I read the article about in the May issue of Men's Fitness magazine. He started that plan using the formula that was given to calculate what his calorie intake needs to be in order to lose weight. He has lost 20-30 pounds since then and is doing well on it (and he looks so much sexier!)

You should see his six-pack... so Thank You!

My husband calculated the formula for him that you outlined just fine, but when we tried to figure it out based on my height, weight, etc., it came out to be that I needed only 64 calories per meal, which obviously can't be right! So it seems that this formula is for men only.

Do you have a formula for women? I hope that you do, as I think this plan would work great for me. Please send me any info you may have about this.

A: That's great! And there are different formulas for men and women. Here's the one for women, followed by a handy calculator:

For more information on both women and men and a detailed 99-day nutrition and exercise regimen, check out Folks who bought this are now coming back with some very positive testimonials; check out the website for the info!

In fact, if you jump into the forums, you'll see that I partnered up with for a free giveaway of both of my manuals just recently!

The first 10 folks who contacted me received these manuals; they will be sending in pictures and testimonials within 30 days, which I will compile into an article for the readers. These programs aren't just good; the results you will get from following the plans laid out are amazing!

[ Q ] Hi. I want to attain strong muscles, not size. My current biceps size is 17 inches. My body has too much fat and my current weight is 96 kg. My height is 6 feet, 1 inch, and I have been working out for 1 year. My muscles are not hard, my chest in not in proper shape, and my entire body is not in shape and my shoulders are weak as compared to other body parts.

Please recommend me the supplements that will build my muscles strongly and yet keep my size remaining the same. I want to build hard muscles but not gain further size. I want my bodyweight to remain at 96-100 kg but my muscles should be strong. Is this possible?

A: Thanks for the email. So it sounds as if you're trying to gain strength, lose fat, but not gain size. Hmmm, seems like a lot of different goals at once. Let's pick them apart one at a time.

Typically folks who are trying to gain strength, but not size (most often competitive lifters who may be trying to remain in the same weight class) lift using lower reps, but heavy weights, within your limits (of course). I know nothing about your nutrition and training regimens, so it's impossible for me to determine if you're on the right track.

I like full body workouts vs. individual body part training; the exercises are more effective and use more muscle mass than training just small body parts, using a split body part training routine. Of course, there is a time for that as well—but as a general rule I prefer full body workouts.

You said your shoulders are weak compared to other body parts. Again, it is impossible for me to determine what you are or are not doing because you didn't spell out your routine. You don't need to do a ton of exercises for your shoulders; if you're training using multi-joint exercises, they will include shoulders, too.

Remember the deltoids are a pretty small muscle group, compared to others like the chest, back, etc. Make sure your routine includes things like bench press, push-ups, pull-ups, etc., which will all indirectly include your shoulders. Similarly, I think something like the clean and press and standing military press are very effective for development and should help.

Supplements that can help with strength are things like creatine—but more importantly, what are you eating on a regular basis? Are you consuming adequate calories, protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and water frequently throughout the day? These are most important and much more important than a simple supplement. Keep on training and working hard, and you will be successful if you just keep plugging away!

[ Q ] I came to know about you from the website and from there happened to go to your site. You have really provided a lot of guidance to people like us and we are thankful to you! Now let me get to my question.

I would request you to please guide me on choosing the right diet and nutrition plan which will help me in reaching my fat loss and strength-gaining goals. How should I plan my meals?

My stats:

  • Name: S.M.
  • Age: 35
  • Gender: Male
  • Weight: 203 Pounds
  • Height: 5'8"
  • Body Fat Percentage: 27% approx.
  • Profession: IT Professional (low physical activity).
  • Current Workouts: 1 hour at a local gym: 30 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of weight training.
  • Diet: Low-carb, low-fat diet.
  • My goal: To get rid of the fat and make my body healthy and strong.

A: I'm not sure there are any (or few) folks who don't have those same goals; get leaner and stronger! And it also seems that you have a similar job to most folks - one where you sit on your butt most of the day, meaning the only real activity or movement you get is when you're at the gym.

I would make sure that the 30 minutes of weight training you're doing is very intense; cut down on the rest periods between your sets (no more than 30-60 seconds between sets) and make sure you include multi-joint exercises, meaning things like squats, deadlifts, chin-ups and pull-ups, push-ups, lunges, standing military press, etc.

I know, I know, I sound like a broken record; folks need to understand this, though. I'd also like to see you trade in your 30 minutes of steady-state cardio for high intensity intervals (HIIT).

These can be done on a treadmill, bike, outside, etc. Basically ramp up the intensity super high for 30 seconds and then "cool down" for 60-90 seconds, but going at a much slower intensity (e.g., if you're sprinting, walk or jog very slowly during the lower intensity part. Or, if you're on a bike, peddle as hard as you can, then slow down the speed for 60-90 seconds.

As for the diet, I don't know how many calories you're eating, so that's tough for me to talk about. Don't forget that carbs are important too, so don't only focus on the low-fat, low-carb plans. Good luck!