Q: I’ve been bodybuilding for about six months, and I have not used any supplements except for a basic multivitamin. I just recently purchased creatine, whey isolate and casein protein and was hoping you could tell me how best to implement them into my overall program.
A: Glad to hear you’ve been bitten by the training bug. Also, I think it’s great that you took some time before jumping into taking any supplements. Always remember, nothing can replace a proper diet! As to your question, here is how I would go about adding in the products you have purchased:
• Creatine. For the first week take five grams with meals four times per day for a total of 20 grams each day. The loading phase will enable your muscle cells to quickly become saturated with creatine. After the first week you can reduce the amount to just five grams taken either in the morning with breakfast or at your postworkout meal. It’s best to take your creatine at meals that contain a decent serving of carbohydrates.
Note: While some choose to take creatine daily for years on end with no break, I’m an advocate of cycling creatine, as I feel it yields better results over time. My recommendation is to cycle 12 weeks on and two to four weeks off.
• Whey isolate. Because of the fast-acting nature of isolated whey protein, as well as its high branched-chain amino acid content, I feel the best times to take it are first thing in the morning and immediately postworkout. That will ensure the rapid availability of amino acids, which is vital after an overnight fast as well as right after you tear your the body down with intense weight training.
• Casein protein. This is an excellent form of protein to use before bedtime, as it breaks down over a period of several hours, resulting in a slow but steady “drip” of amino acids into the bloodstream while you sleep. That will keep you from falling into a catabolic state and allow for maximum growth and repair to take place while you are being entertained by pleasant dreams.
Q: I read that when you prepare for a competition, you will not have a single cheat meal for a full 12 to 16 weeks before the show. I want to have that discipline when I get ready for my next time onstage, but I want to know how you avoid the extreme hunger that comes with a contest diet—and if you have any tricks for avoiding giving into cravings.
A: What you read is accurate: Once I start my contest prep, I refuse to have a single meal that is not on my plan. Discipline is exactly what it takes—boatloads of it—to stay away from cheating, especially when hunger, light-headedness and/or cravings hit. Although I do have a couple tricks that help me stay on track during a diet, I firmly believe that if you want something intensely enough, you will be able to find the inner strength to do everything necessary to achieve your goal. Your mind is your greatest defense against any temptation that you know could derail you. With that in mind, here are a couple of things I do to keep hunger at bay when undergoing the Spartan-like diet necessary to be my best onstage:
1) I make sure all of my meals are prepared ahead of time so that I eat them all exactly 2.5 hours apart. I find that when I go longer between meals, I begin to feel weak and crave “naughty” foods.
2) I drink a large glass of water with five to 10 grams of BCAAs mixed in about 90 minutes after each meal. Also, if at any time I feel as if my blood sugar is getting low or intense hunger is creeping up on me, I use that strategy as well.
3) I use plenty of essential fatty acids in my diet, which helps keep me satisfied and hunger-free for longer.
4) If I feel I really need a sweet, I will make some ice cubes out of Crystal Light, and pop one in my mouth, which usually works rather well.
Editor’s note: Eric Broser’s new DVD “Power/Rep Range/Shock Max-Mass Training System” is available at Home-Gym.com. His e-books, Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout and The FD/FS Mass-Shock Workout, which include complete printable workout templates and Q&A sections, are available at X-Workouts.com.