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Q & A With Chris Zaino - Part 10.

In this issue of Chris Zaino's Q & A, you will learn what is better, high intensity training or volume, what anabolic and catabolic means, how to trim down your waist and much more...

Thank you for all your articles. I have read them all. Mister Zaino, I have 2 questions.

Question 1 : I have a book (written by Frank Zane) and in his book he use only volume training (2 hours) but a lot of people say that short intense training (45min - 1 hour) is better. Now I'm confused which style of training have I to use.

Question 2 : I'm 19, my height is 5'7 and my weight is 170 pounds. I do bodybuilding for 4 years. My arms now are out of proportion. They are too small. I would like to have much bigger arms. What have I to do?

Mister Zaino, help me please. I don't know what I have to do.

Thanks for the question! Over the years, science and technology has increased, and more and more information about training is learned. In reference to Frank Zane, back in those days the typical workout was based on high volume, long workouts. Did it work for them? Yes! Over the years though, we have learned of more efficient ways to build muscle. Recovery has become a front runner in gaining the muscle and size you want. If you compare bodybuilders of 20 years ago to the ones' today, you can see how bodybuilding has evolved.

Then & Now!

Many factors are the reasons for the dramatic improvements of today's athletes. Some of the major developments for these great changes are the ones that have been made in nutrition, training, and supplementation.

We need to keep an open mind. I am sure 10 years from now there will be different trends and opinions on what are the more efficient way to increase ones' development. I personally would advise you to do the higher intensity training: in and out of the gym in 45 min to one hour. This will really help the body avoid overtraining and allow your central nervous system to recuperate from workout to workout. Of course, your nutrition has to be top notch and on the money to make the process of recuperation happen.

On to your next question. If you feel your arms are a weak point, then you need to make them a priority in your training schedule. I would train them in the beginning of your training cycle, in the beginning of the week. . Try different intensity principles. Try heavy weights, try drop sets, try super sets. Find out what type of training style works well for your body. Personally, my arms seem to have responded well to heavy supersets.

Most of all be consistent, and stick with it. Give a routine 6 weeks to see if it is right for you. Then give another training routine a go for another 6-8 weeks. You are young, and at your age, it is better to experiment to find out what your body likes to respond to. Take care. Best of luck!

Check out the full listing of arm articles, click here!

I keep on reading about supplements being anabolic. Then I also read about things being catabolic. What does it mean to be anabolic or catabolic? I am new to this stuff, and I have seen it quite often in magazine articles. If you can help me out, I would be grateful!

Anabolism produces complex compounds by combining simpler molecules. During anabolism, cells combine amino acids to form structural proteins and functional proteins. The body repairs and replaces tissues with structural proteins. Functional proteins perform specific jobs. Functional proteins include enzymes, which speed up chemical reactions; antibodies, which help fight disease; and many hormones, which regulate various body processes.

Cells convert glucose and fatty acids to energy storage compounds during anabolism. Cells in the liver and the muscles combine molecules of glucose to form a storage compound called glycogen. Cells in the body's adipose (fatty) tissues combine fatty acids with glycerol to form body fat. By a complex series of reactions, excess glucose and amino acids also can be converted into body fat.

Catabolism is the breaking down of glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids to obtain energy and produce heat. Compounds involved in catabolism come either from newly digested food, the breakdown of storage glycogen or fat, or the breakdown of body protein.

Krebs Cycle

Click To Enlarge

Glucose catabolism has two steps. The first step, glycolysis, works without oxygen. Glycolysis breaks down glucose into pyruvic acid and releases a small amount of energy. If oxygen is present, the pyruvic acid is converted to a compound called acetyl-coenzyme A (abbreviated acetyl-CoA). The second step of glucose catabolism, the Krebs cycle, then takes place. In the Krebs cycle, a series of chemical reactions combines acetyl-CoA with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water, and to obtain energy.

The catabolism of fatty acids also has two steps. First, enzymes convert fatty acids to acetyl-CoA. Acetyl-CoA then enters the Krebs cycle. Although amino acids generally serve as building blocks for new proteins, the body may use excess amino acids as an energy source. Before they can be catabolized, amino acids must be chemically altered in the liver or other tissues. They can then enter the Krebs cycle.

About 60 percent of the energy released during catabolism takes the form of heat. The rest of the energy is stored in the chemical bonds that link atoms in a compound called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. When the body needs this energy, enzymes break the bonds and release it.

So in corresponding to Bodybuilding, to be in an anabolic state means your body is in a perfect environment to build muscle proteins.

I was looking for some help online and ran across your articles on I've had this question for quite awhile and no one can give me a good answer so I would like to ask you. I'm 23 years old and have been training for 4 years. At the beginning I weighed around 140 pds. I got tired of my brother beating me up so I started weight training and now I'm 194.

I've put on a lot of good mass but my waist seems to be a trouble area. I've done a lot of heavy squatting over the years and I was wondering if this would contribute to having a big waist? My problem areas are mostly the lower ab region and the sides of my waist. My physique would be near perfect if I could just get my waist in shape. It's to the point that it takes away from my overall development and is very frustrating.

It's not like I'm unhappy at all it's just that I desire that perfection that so many of us want when we get into this bodybuilding lifestyle. I follow ab training pretty regular, would it be best to add resistance to my ab exercises? I've heard that this will make the ab muscles big, contributing to larger area and I definitely don't want that. But yet I know it's not possible to spot reduce. Please help! What should I do?

I've tried to do lots of cardio but I seem to lose size all over when that happens. I don't want to lose the size that I've worked hard to build. Is it at all possible to just step up the ab exercises in any way to trim down the waist??

Thanks for the question. Well, as you know there is no such thing as spot reduction. Your ab routine seems to be sound. I would back off on the resistance when training with your abdominal muscles. Instead of adding weight and resistance, slow down your reps and squeeze harder at the contraction portion of the exercise. Make sure you breathe all you air out to full contract the abdominal muscles.

There is a debate on whether squatting will increase the thickness of your waist or not. I have seen people who squat a ton of weight with a waist under 30 inches and 200 pounds. So the thickness of your waist can be genetic as well. I do believe there are some things you can do to keep that midsection down. These things are brining down the resistance on ab exercises, not doing side bends for the oblique, and cardio.

I see you seem to get the same phobia a lot of people get about cardio. You are afraid you are going to shrink away to nothing. People like to gain as much mass as possible, but then they still want to stay the exact same size, except no body fat, and ripped abs. Well, I am sorry to say, after you are bulked up, you need to get your diet and cardio in order and forget about the scale, and only go by the mirror. You need to get used to feeling a little "flat" and understand that you are trying to get the body fat off that is covering that hard earned muscle. If you do things correctly and slowly, you will risk minimal amounts of muscle, and take the majority of weight off from body fat. Trust me, you will look bigger the leaner you are.

Once you have reached the level of leanness you are content with, you can either reduce your cardio; eat more food, or both. You need to play that by ear and see how your body is responding. There are really no secrets. The only thing I can offer you is a guided path to follow. Best of luck. Take care!

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

Note: This is part ten, 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 eleven!