[ Q ] Hi Clayton. This is a supplement stack that I want to try this summer. We met at the Olympia and I know that you work with companies in the industry - so I would like your opinion on the products that I'm thinking about using in my supplement stack.
- Gaspari Nutrition SizeOn
- Dymatize Elite Whey
- BSN No-Xplode
- ZMA (best recommended?)
- Eclipse Complex 24 Multivitamin
- Testosterone production
- DNA synthesis
- Prostate gland function
- Cellular replication
A: Thanks for your question.
Your stack looks good for the most part. I'll say a bit about each of the supplements that you're planning on using.
People using SizeOn by Gaspari report that the product works really well for lean mass gains. In fact, a study partially funded by Gaspari was published at the ISSN conference and showed that:
"...CEE may have modest effects on body weight and lean mass, while SO significantly increases body weight, lean mass, and RTF during resistance training."1
Do a search on the internet message boards - you will see that people like this product and that it works well for adding lean muscle mass.
2. Dymatize Elite Whey:
Dymatize makes good solid products and, with the pricing and flavor selections, you can't go wrong. While most companies today have a protein powder of some kind or another, it's the flavoring that really sets proteins apart (assuming that they all meet label claim).
Dymatize outshines other whey protein powder products in the flavoring department, and are popular for this reason.
BCAA's - Branched Chain Amino Acids - used to be popular, but have since fallen in and out of vogue numerous times. The fact is: you need BCAA's because they are limiting factors in the utilization of proteins. If you have a shortage, you won't use be able to utilize all of the protein that you take.
That being said, BCAA's also have a long and proven history - countless studies show they are effective under varying conditions, and real-world bodybuilders report not only their anti-catabolic effects, but also their anabolic and lipolytic effects.
View Top Selling BCAA Products Here.
Like BCAA's, glutamine was once popular, but has since fallen in and out of favor with the bodybuilding crowd many times. Glutamine, a conditionally-essential amino acid, is used by your body as a source of glucose, and it also stimulates your pituitary gland, increasing growth hormone secretion.
For athletes, glutamine is a must-have supplement. It's not only anti-catabolic, but new research has proven that it has anabolic effects. Use it.
I like the Pure Glutamine by Optimum Nutrition.
5. BSN No-Xplode:
BSN has really stepped it up in the past couple of years. I remember when BSN was a small upstart company, trying to make it in a huge market. Not anymore. They've since considerably ramped up their marketing campaigns, improved their product packaging and ads, and signed the likes of Hunter Hurst Helmsly - Triple H / The Game / Whatever-Vince-Is-Calling-Him-Today, and Ronnie Coleman - the current Mr. Olympia.
When I used it for the first time, I was blown away. I had unending energy and focus - but after several uses it didn't perform well.
While I do like it, I find that it sometimes upsets my stomach, giving me gas and other toilet-related side-effects.
One Word Of Caution: because NO products increase Nitric Oxide, they may also hypothetically increase oxidant levels - because NO is an oxidant. While NO is a stable oxidant, it can become an unstable oxidant - a free radical - in high amounts.
If you follow the magazine advertisements, you'll probably find that they cite a study on ZMA showing a 200% increase in testosterone levels after administration. These advertisements fail to mention that this study was done on college-level football players, many of whom were deficient in zinc - a key nutrient that's involved in:
While zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 (the combination of which constitutes the ZMA formula) are critical minerals and vitamins for basic health, there's no scientific evidence to date that shows the ZMA formulation elevates anabolic hormone levels or muscle building beyond normal ranges in athletes that already intake sufficient amounts of these vitamins and minerals.
View Top Selling ZMA Products Here.
7. Universal Animal Pak Multivitamin:
The eclipse 24 is a good and economically priced vitamin. I've used it in the past and I've liked it. However, it does lack some vitamins and minerals in the concentrations you'll need for best performance. I use Universal Animal Pak and I love it.
Overall your plan looks good - so train hard and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
[ Q ] I'm thinking about trying 1-Testosterone. I've heard that it's seven times stronger than regular Testosterone. Is this true? And, what kind of gains can I expect when taking it?
A: Prohormones and pro steroid dietary supplements sought to push the envelope on legal supplementation and sought to blur the line between dietary supplements and illegal anabolic steroids. For this reason, they were banned.
1-testosterone, a testosterone analogue, was one of the last prohormone/pro steroid dietary supplements released onto the market prior to the prohormone and pro steroid ban. And, like products before it, companies made wild claims about the products effectiveness, citing animal studies as proof of the products effectiveness in human subjects. Some companies even invented facts about the products effectiveness, safety and effectiveness to support their wild claims.
It's obvious, however, that animal studies do not apply human subjects and cannot be cited to indicate how a product or chemical will work in human subjects.
Unfortunately, many of the claims made about 1-testosterone are not substantiated by research. Although 1-testosterone has a chemical structure similar to the anabolic steroid Primobolan, it is unclear how 1-testosterone is metabolized.
For example, the half-life of 1-testosterone is unknown, its relative potency is unknown, and its affinity for binding to its receptors has not been studied sufficiently. And, although it is claimed that 1-testosterone is seven times more anabolic than regular testosterone, this is does not mean that it will be seven times more effective at building muscle in human subjects. The tests to used to bolster this "7 times more anabolic" claim were performed on mouse tissues - not human beings.
In terms of expected muscle gains, don't get your hopes up. People who have used 1-testosterone experience rapid weight gain during the first week of use - but this is mostly due to water retention. And, maintaining any gains achieved on the supplement will be difficult after dosing.
Overall, 1-testosterone is not as effective as companies of claimed it to be. Furthermore, the lack of research on its safety is quite concerning.
Because no long-term data is available on 1-testosterone and because post cycle recovery from this substance is complicated and involved, I recommend against using this substance. Instead, I recommend focusing on using supplements like creatine, multivitamins, protein powders and other metabolites that are safe, proven, and inexpensive.
[ Q ] I've searched the internet because trying to measure my body fat. What are the ways to measure body fat, and what is the most effective method?
A: You can measure body fat using several different methods, and each method has its pros and cons. Understanding each method will allow you to determine the most effective one for you.
1. Fat Calipers - Pinch An Inch!
Using fat calipers to measure body fat percentages is the fastest, most convenient and most economical way to measure body fat levels. For this reason this is the most commonly employed methods in health clubs. A set of fat calipers costs only about $15, and using the device to calculate your body fat percentage involves a procedure that last no more than five minutes at most.
Unfortunately, using body fat calipers is not the most accurate of the tests available-but it is a relatively reliable indicator of your true body composition if you know how to properly conduct the test.
2. Bioelectrical Impedance - Get Zapped!
Bioelectrical impedance is a procedure that involves attaching electrodes to various spots on your body and then running an electrical radio signal through your body to measure the water content in your body. Using mathematical calculations, you're able to determine your body composition, with an error of about 2 percent.
Bioelectrical impedance is also very economical and fast. It's my view that because the results obtained with bioelectrical impedance are almost identical to those of using fat calipers; you should simply stick with fat calipers to determine your body composition.
3. Immersion Test - Get In The Pool!
The final method that I will discuss is the immersion method. This procedure involves immersing your body and a swimming pool and measuring the displacement of the water. This method is extremely accurate and is in fact the most accurate of the three options presented here.
Unfortunately, the procedure takes a longtime-up to an hour or more-and can be costly, sometimes costing about $50 a test. Many people prefer this method, but if you're testing your body composition what a weekly basis, this method can become extremely expensive and economically unrealistic.
My recommendation to you is to test your body composition on a weekly basis using fat calipers, and let the mirror be your guide. Use the data you obtain to calculate your nutrition intake so that you can plan the direction that you want to go in your fitness program.
[ Q ] I've read a lot of magazines and I am fairly knowledgeable in the area of supplements. Now, I want to start using supplements so that I can take my results to the next level. What supplements should I take to get the best results possible?
A: There is no doubt that dietary supplements can make a world of difference when added to a healthy lifestyle that's built on proper nutrition and proper training. Dietary supplements can often mean the difference between success and failure and health or illness.
Listed in order of importance I recommend:
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's)
- Meal Replacement Packages (MRP's)
- Whey Protein Powder
- Creatine Monohydrate
Multivitamins form the foundation of good nutrition and proper health. Without them, your body cannot function correctly or optimally.
View Top Selling Multivitamins Here.
2. Essential Fatty Acids:
Essential Fatty Acids are essential for proper hormone manufacture and function, proper moods, high-energy levels, rapid fat loss, cell integrity and overall immune system function.
View Top Selling EFA Products Here.
3. Meal Replacement Packages:
Meal Replacement Packages are a quick, convenient and economical way of making sure that you meet your nutritional requirements. Studies show that people who use meal replacement packages are leaner and more muscular than people who do not. Meal replacement packages are your insurance policy against nutritional deficiencies that stop your gains cold.
View Top Selling MRP Products Here.
4. Whey Protein Powder:
Whey Protein Powder is an essential supplement if you train hard and want to make muscle gains. Whey protein powder provides your body with the amino acids that it needs to maintain muscle tissue, to increase muscle tissue mass, and to repair damaged muscle tissue. Whey protein also has a host of other health benefits. Use it.
View Top Selling Whey Products Here.
5. Creatine Monohydrate:
Creatine Monohydrate is an amazing supplement. In fact, there is more research backing creatine monohydrate than most pharmaceutical drugs.
Creatine monohydrate is an important metabolite that increases your stores of adenosine triphosphate, thereby allowing our muscles to do more work. Creatine also acts to increase your energy levels, increase protein synthesis, and accelerate your post exercise recovery so that you can get back into the gym faster than ever before.
View Top Selling Creatine Products Here.
These dietary supplements form the foundation of a supplement plan that is geared for results. But, make no mistake: your nutrition plan must be suitable for your body type and for the kind of results that you want to accomplish. Dietary supplements serve only as adjuncts to sound eating habits and proper exercise.
[ Q ] I'm a 42-year-old woman and I want to start bodybuilding. But, I worry that my husband will no longer be attracted to me because of my added bulk. How can I bodybuild and not get massive?
Your concern is a common one for women who begin resistance training. Let me assure you that you will not turn into a man, nor will you gain so much muscle that your husband will lose his attraction to you. In fact, you may find that resistance training will not only help you achieve a slimmer, more contoured body then you have now, it may also increase his desire for you.
Your adaptive response to exercise is influenced by many factors including sex, age, disease history, genetics, hormone profile, eating habits and your current physical fitness level.
As a woman, it's impossible for you to become overly muscular without the use of anabolic steroids. Your hormone profile favors the production and activity of estrogen - a hormone that encourages body fat storage instead of muscle gain. The male hormone testosterone, by contrast, is responsible for building muscle tissue and making men masculine.
While exercising may slightly increase the amount of testosterone in your body, this will result only in speeding fat loss and enhancing your overall muscle tone - it will not cause you to become masculine or appear less feminine.
So long as you feed your body good food and exercise sensibly, you have nothing to worry about.
Good luck and happy lifting!
- Ziegenfuss TN, Mendel RW, and Hofheins JE. Comparison of purported anabolic supplements on body composition and muscular performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2 (1):1-30, 2005.
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