Nutrition & Health OnLine Magazine: Questions & Answers
 
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
By Davey Dunn
Q.  I am a junior in high school and I play Football. I want gain at least 20 pounds of muscle fast. What is the best supplement that I can take?
A.  Most people do not classify protein as a supplement but actually it is. In fact anything you take above and beyond what you get from food would qualify as a supplement. The reason I put protein at the top of the list is because it is virtually impossible for a young man engaged in a strenuous activity like football to get enough from a regular diet to build any muscle. Without the fundamental building blocks available it will not matter what else you take. My advice is to make sure you are getting at least 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you weigh 200 pounds then you should get 200 to 300 grams of protein each day. You can generally count on getting about 100 grams from your meals so you will need to supplement the rest. A good protein powder like Universal's Super Whey Pro will do the trick. Once you have increased your protein intake then you can worry about taking other supplements like Creatine and Glutamine.
Q.  This is a great site. I am 21 years old, weigh 192 lbs. and am 6' 2'. I have a hard time gaining weight and I would like to gain about 15-20 lbs as fast as possible before baseball season. I don't know if supplements are the answer, and if so, which combinations are the best for my goals? What about HGH, 19-Noradiol, what is best? Please help. Thank you.
A.  Probably the biggest key that will help you to gain muscle weight is to make sure you eat 5-6 meals a day. Each meal should consist of 800-1000 calories with about 30 grams of protein. Try to eat good food that contains a lot of complex carbohydrates and little fat. Whole-wheat pasta works great as a meal along with a protein shake. It is tough to actually eat 5-6 times so you can consume a liquid meal twice a day if necessary. A product like Universal's Gain Fast works well here.
For your workouts you need to perform exercises that utilize large muscle groups. Make sure you squat twice a week and try to also do either some power cleans or deadlifts. Most people neglect their back, which is a much larger muscle group than the chest. Try doing some pull-ups a couple times a week on the same day you do your chest. By working the major muscle groups it will make it a lot easier to gain weight and also give you a better foundation to play baseball.
As far as supplements go I would encourage you to try Creatine. It will usually help you to gain muscle weight and also help your performance in Baseball. Regular Androstenedione will help you more than the 19 Nors and the Diols. A lot of the supplement companies are pushing the more exotic forms of Andro because they cost more but most of them don't work as well as regular Androstenedione. Actually I prefer a stack which contains Andro, Tribulus and DHEA. The ultimate Andro Stack is the Animal Stak which contains 3 types of andro and 20 other ingredients designed to build muscle.
As far as the HGH products go I would save your money. Synthetic HGH is one thing but it can only be legally obtained in Nevada and can cause serious health problems. The products that are currently being marketed as HGH are actually only HGH boosters if you read the fine print. They are overpriced and will do very little to help you gain muscle.
If you train hard, eat 5-6 good meals a day and utilize some Creatine and Andro then it is certainly possible for you to gain 15- 20 pounds by next spring. The most important ingredient is going to be your commitment to achieving this goal. It takes discipline to eat 5-6 times every day and to perform hard exercises like squats and deadlifts. Supplements certainly make it a lot easier but they are not magic and you are still going to have to do the work. If you can accomplish this goal, however, it will be well worth it. An extra 15-20 pounds is the difference between a long fly ball and a homerun or an extra 5 miles an hour on a fastball.
Q.  I use Creatine, Glutamine, Andro and Whey Protein. The place where I bought them really didn't help much as far as telling me how to take each one. Can you help?
A.  Those four products are a pretty good stack to use together so at least they did not sell you a bunch of garbage. If you have not previously used Creatine then you should try going through a loading phase which will mean taking a serving 4-5 times a day for the first 5 days. After the first 5 days take a single serving on your days off and two servings on the days you train. If your Creatine is straight powder then use a beverage with a high amount of sugar in it to increase your insulin levels which will help transport the Creatine into the muscle. Most people like to take their Creatine right before they workout but unless you have a strenuous job it probably won't matter as long as you have used enough before your workout to boost your stored ATP levels. A lot of people also like to take Creatine right after a workout which makes a certain amount of sense since your body will start to recover as soon as you finish and replacing stored energy is part of the recovery process.
The time to use Andro is right before your workout. A big part of the effectiveness of Andro seems to come from the aggression it produces which helps you to have a more intense workout. Andro is supposed to boost your testosterone for about 3-4 hours so taking it about 30 minutes before you start working out is about right. I have known guys who used Andro every 3-4 hours figuring that by doing so they could keep their testosterone levels boosted around the clock. I personally recommend using Andro only 2 or 3 days a week right before intense workouts like squatting or deadlifting. When you use Andro more frequently than this your body will get use to the foreign substance and it will lose its effectiveness.
The best time to utilize protein powder is right after a workout. Your body will begin to try to recover as soon as you finish your workout so you want to provide it with everything it will need and protein is at the top of the list. I generally try to drink a shake containing about 50 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing my workout. This is the only time I use this much protein in a single meal. Since the body is limited in its ability to assimilate protein I usually will not take over 20 to 30 grams at any one time except right after finishing a workout. Post workout protein intake is far from being the only time to utilize a protein powder but it is definitely the most important.
Right after you finish your workout is also a good time to take your Glutamine. The easiest thing to do is mix it with your protein or take a product that already contains both like Lava. The reason I recommend taking Glutamine post workout is because your body is much more able to assimilate most nutrients right after you finish working out. Since there is no direct performance boosting effect similar to what you see with a product like Andro, I see no benefit in taking Glutamine before you workout. Another time when you might derive some benefit from taking Glutamine is right before bedtime. When you sleep you go through cycles that are both anabolic and catabolic. The theory is that by taking Glutamine before bedtime you can reduce the amount of time your body spends in a catabolic state, however this is far from proven.
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