August is upon us, and with it come the dog days of summer! This months column is about getting back to basics. It is about returning to original spirit of this column. This month you'll find nothing but the hardcore truth - raw and uncensored answers that leave nothing to the imagination. Get ready for some surprises! This month comes out swinging and takes no prisoners! Welcome back.
I have always had the problem of my left pectoral being a lot bigger than my right pectoral. This has been like this for almost two years and it has never been fixed. I have tried so many things. I have even used dumbbells for the past 8 months. I really need to fix this problem. What should I do? Please help.
At the end of this column there is a disclaimer. I am going to include part of that disclaimer in this answer. Specifically, I want you to read the following, and consider it when I give you an answer:
The information provided in this publication is for educational and informational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement to care provided by your own personal health care team or physician. The author does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here.
To protect my freedom I must make it clear that whatever I say next, I do not "recommend" or "endorse." If I were, for example, to recommend that you take steroids [without disavowing such recommendations] I would be counseling you to commit an illegal act [which is also illegal]. The law is a strange thing, and even when you DO endorse something, you have to say you don't, just to remain free. So much for freedom of speech and constitutional rights. But that is another article all together. Lets get to your answer.
Basically, you have four options and I'll list them in order of effectiveness.
The first option, and the most effective, would be cosmetic surgery. Because your condition is not considered "life threatening", it is classified as elective cosmetic surgery. The best known surgeon in the bodybuilding field is Dr. Bruce Nadler. He has a website at 'http://www.bruce-nadler.com'. You can go there for more information on this option, should you wish to pursue it.
The second option is what is known as "site injection." I'm sure that you have heard of this before, but in case you have not, and for those readers who have not, I will explain a bit about it.
The procedure is quite simple, really. All you need is a hypodermic needle, some steroids and some knowledge on biology. Suppose for a moment that you had a bicep that was larger than the other bicep. You would take the needle filled with the steroid and you would inject the needle deep into the muscle belly. The risk that you run with this option is hitting a nerve or a vein.
So while this may be incredibly effective, if you do not know what you're doing, you're going to end up in a world of hurt. Another thing you might wish to try, and the legality of this will depend upon where you live, are the new topical androstendiol and 1-testosterone creams and gels out on the market. If you live in a country that has illegalized these products and you do not have an underground hookup, you might as well forget this option. If, however, you reside in the United States it is open season, for now at least (even that is another story!). All you do is purchase one of these products (ErgoPharm makes a great AndroSpray for this purpose) and before you work out spray or rub on the desired body part some of this product.
Although I should not have to say this, I will anyway: spray on and rub on androgen creams will not work to enlarge the male sex organ. I say this only because I have received a number of e-mails asking about this in regards to penile enhancement.
The fourth option is weak point training using the priority principle. Whenever you work out, schedule it so that you are able to hit the one side of your body twice a week to encourage growth. It may be that you need to strengthen the neural muscular connection on the side of your body that is smaller. This can be achieved by increasing work volume and focusing on flexing and squeezing the muscle groups. This will also contribute to increased strength and size. You can also use this last option with option No. 3.
I read all of your articles religiously because its hard to find good advice these days. I love them. You've hinted pretty strongly that "one particular company" does things you don't like. Is this company MuscleTech? If so, what do you think of them and why?
I knew, eventually, I would get a question about this. Your guess is correct. I want to say very clearly that I don't dislike MuscleTech. In fact, they used to be better than they are now, in my opinion.
The biggest thing that has bothered me about them, as of late, is the tone of their advertising in various magazines. For example, in the June 2003 edition of Muscular Development magazine there are number of ads that are completely over the top. To illustrate the point, here are some excerpts from the advertisements (all excerpts are copyrighted to MuscleTech):
"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, walk over to her with confidence, and simply be yourself." Not likely!... It's time you learned the facts on what will not only help you capture the interest of a beautiful woman, but can also help you get her phone number. 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….
You do it [lifting "bone crushing weight"] to capture the interest of scantily clad beauties, like the ones you see gracing the pages of your favorite bodybuilding... magazines... 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!)
"Let's keep it real: the number one reason bodybuilders want a massive, ripped set of arms is to get noticed by the ladies. After all, why else would you spend hours in the gym training like an animal?... Try Cell-Tech` and Nitro-Tech for yourself and get ready to stretch the tape measure. Your impressive gains might just "peak" the ladies interest!" (2 Beautiful Reasons To Build Big Arms)
"We all know that women love muscular bodies, so why not give them what they want? Build your most muscular physique ever with the help of Nitro-Tech in your diet and weight-training program!" (4 Tips For A Bigger Bench)
It is advertising exactly like this that I detest. I am of the opinion that advertising like this represents the lowest mentality that the industry has to offer. I mean, what kind of moron is writing this stuff? I can't believe that this garbage passes muster in their advertising department. 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.
I think my nephew in kindergarten would laugh at this editorial trash that MuscleTech is calling advertising. It makes a mockery of the REAL bodybuilding lifestyle, 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 also take issue with some of the so-called "science" that MuscleTech uses to promote and support the efficacy of its products. I will give you an example:
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. This is not a big deal. 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. While I cannot say it for certain (because the study is unpublished I was unable to obtain a copy of it) it is my opinion that this piece of research is not credible. I would be surprised if it exists. In fact, if anybody has a copy of this study, send it to me.
I am not allowed to tell you to stop buying their products. If I did this they would send their lawyers after me. I will say that creatine monohydrate works very well. I will also say that a protein powder with a bit of extra Arginine thrown in works well. In fact, Arginine powder can be purchased here on Bodybuilding.com, along with regular whey protein powder. You can also get regular creatine monohydrate for cheap. I have said before that it is my opinion that MuscleTech makes one good product, Hydroxycut. I stand by this statement.
It is up to the consumer what to purchase. I will not tell people to not buy their products. In time, the nature of the free market (and a fleeting market share) will make, or break, any company.
Companies that make quality products last and endure. Market forces weed out the others. I'm going to take a wait and see approach on this one.
I am on the Adkins diet and have been for 18 weeks. I have lost 110lbs! I went from 360 to 250 now. My goal is to get to 195 or 200. I have been weight training for the past couple of months. Here are my questions. I bought the supplements you talked about in your article. Will the creatine or glutamine, or ZMA, cause me to gain weight, or stall me in my weight loosing progress at all?
Congratulations on your success!
Creatine, glutamine, and ZMA are all excellent supplements and, as I indicated in that article, should form the basis of any bodybuilders supplement regime.
Glutamine and ZMA will not prevent you from losing any more weight. In fact, ZMA is incredibly effective at maintaining high natural anabolic hormone levels when the body is subject to a caloric deficit. Glutamine, an amino acid, functions to ensure that the body is an anabolic state, and that the pituitary gland is stimulated, thereby resulting in elevated levels of hGH. HGH will ensure increased fat loss.
Creatine monohydrate will not cause you to gain bodyfat, but depending upon how take it, it can cause you to hold excess water under your skin, thereby giving the illusion that you have gain bodyfat. This will make you look smooth, washed out, and out of shape. Remember that I said it depends how you take it. The traditional method of supplementing with creatine monohydrate involves a loading phase. For five days you would consume, in four 5g doses, 20 grams of creatine per day. After the loading phase was complete you would consume 5g every day thereafter. It has also been traditional to consume creatine with a simple carbohydrate drink, like grape juice.
As more research becomes available it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a better way. My advice is to follow that better way and avoid the loading phase altogether.
I still recommend consuming creatine monohydrate with a simple carbohydrate drink like grape juice, but also recommend consuming it with protein. By avoiding the loading phase you will be reaping the benefits of creatine, while avoiding becoming bloated as a result of taking it improperly.
I'm 46 years old working out 25 years. I've done every type of workout. I'm 213 pounds 22 percent body fat. I'm running stale and need a boost; do you have any suggestions. By the way I am all natural; no steroids.
My suggestion is that you bring your body fat levels down to single digits (9%). Having a bodyfat level of 22 percent is very unhealthy and is stopping you from making bodybuilding gains. Let me explain to you the rationale behind this advice.
There are many reasons why people fail to see continual gains when they body build. One of the reasons, and perhaps the one that people think about the least, is what I have termed "the anabolic window." Let me explain this to you. Your endocrine system is responsible for muscle gain, muscle loss, bodyfat storage or bodyfat loss, and a host of other activities. Understanding the nature of your hormones will ensure that you make the greatest gains possible.
Testosterone is a hormone that is very anabolic. Estrogen (testosterones opposite), the female hormone, signals your body to store bodyfat and retain water. Your hormones operate on the principal of equilibrium. Put another way, your body always strives for homeostasis (a balance). As a bodybuilder your goal is to tip the scale in favor of testosterone. However, your body does not play fair.
The more lean you are, the more testosterone you produce (assuming that you have muscle mass of any significant quantity). As you become fatter, you produce more estrogen. This is why, for individuals who are already muscular, adding muscle is easier. This is also why individuals who are fat add fat easier than nonfat individuals.
The concept of an anabolic window has testosterone at the top of the window, and estrogen at the bottom. As you move the window through the frame toward one or the other, the scale tips in favor of the one you're moving toward, and against the one you're moving away from. Quite simply, the fatter you become the harder it is to build muscle because fat increases estrogen production, and estrogen production promotes fat storage (which will result in an automatic decrease in testosterone levels). At 22 percent bodyfat, it is time for you to increase your testosterone level by decreasing your levels of bodyfat.
What I just explained to you is the reason why it is not a good idea to allow your bodyfat stores to exceed 12 percent. The fatter you become, the less gains you'll see in the gym for your work. Try reducing your bodyfat level, doing compound movements, eating correctly, and doing cardiovascular work. The results may surprise you.
I've only been lifting for a few months now. I've been reading a lot in the past few weeks about the proper amount of reps and sets and I'm a little confused. What is better to do, getting your muscles to fail in one set with the heaviest weight you can or do lighten up your load a little and do more than one set for 12 reps? What is better for building mass? Is it about the same or is one better than the other? I'm just a little confused and I hope you can help me.
There's nothing I love more than the resurrection of a long debated issue.
Your confusion on this issue is not unique. For a long time people have been debating whether it is better to do multiple sets or single sets to failure. This issue came to the forefront of the bodybuilding world with the introduction of Arthur Jones and his disciple the late (but forever genius) Mike Mentzer. HIT - high-intensity training - became popularized even more so when Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates espoused its efficacy.
High-volume training, by contrast, was the brainchild of Joe Wieder. Arnold Schwarzenegger popularized this style of training. This style of training, as you may be aware, is characterized by long workout's and high work volume, with relatively light weights.
Science has attempted to come to the rescue by answering this question. Several years ago a study was released indicating that high-volume training was superior at eliciting greater muscular growth. However, subsequent research has indicated otherwise. Translation? Some of the research has been flawed and therefore no conclusive answer has yet been reached. I don't think it ever will be reached because I think people are viewing this issue incorrectly. If the lens through which you view a movie is inherently cloudy on the inside, it does not matter how much you polish the surface. The picture will still be the same so long as the nature of the object through which you view the subject remains unchanged.
I do not know who stuff you are reading but bodybuilding is a lot like politics. On one side of any issue you have individuals who religiously and fanatically espouse only one way of doing anything. They are matched in their fanatical dichotomous thinking by their opponents, who exist on the opposite side of the issue and speak with the same religious fervor. In the middle is where rationality begins.
Bodybuilding is about discovering what works for you. As a human being, you require a variety of vitamins and minerals that can only be obtained from different foods. It would be absolutely ridiculous to suggest that someone could get all of the minerals and vitamins that they required from simply eating fruit. It would be equally ridiculous to suggest the same thing about vegetables. We know that to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, a variety of proteins must be consumed from different sources. We also know that different proteins do different things. We know that no protein is "better" than any other. Have you ever seen the physique of the athlete who got all his protein from whey protein powder? Neither did I because he didn't make it past year 1 of bodybuilding school. The best bodybuilders realize that variation is the name of the game.
What I'm suggesting to you is that any time you find someone claiming that one thing works only and (by logical extension) that everything else is ineffective, it should be a warning sign to you that the person may not know as much as they think they know about the subject matter. Personally, I like to alternate between the two styles. I do this in a number of different ways. I will do it by powerlifting for eight weeks, and then by using isolation movements for eight weeks. Or, I may vary my workout style within the same workout. For power movements I may do one set of low reps. For an exercise that is more isolationary then compound I may do several sets.
The thing to avoid is dichotomous thinking. It's not always black and white. Think in an either-or mindset, and you might as well hang up your lifting straps.
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!
The information provided in this publication is for educational and informational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement to care provided by your own personal health care team or physician. The author does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. Readers and consumers should review the information in this publication carefully with their professional health care provider. The information in this or other publications authored by the writer is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Reliance on any information provided by the author is solely at your own risk. The author does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, medication, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be presented in the publication. The author does not control information, advertisements, content, and articles provided by discussed third-party information suppliers. Further, the author does not warrant or guarantee that the information contained in written publications, from him or any source is accurate or error-free. The author accepts no responsibility for materials contained in the publication that you may find offensive. You are solely responsible for viewing and/or using the material contained in the authored publications in compliance with the laws of your country of residence, and your personal conscience. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising from the use of information contained in this or other publications.
Copyright © Clayton South, 2003 All rights reserved.
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