Q: I just had my cholesterol checked, and it’s very high, more than 230. My doctor says he wants to see it under 200. He suggests I give up red meat (my main source of protein from food), whole eggs (I always eat whole eggs, never just the whites) and whole milk (I hate skim, as it is so watery), while greatly increasing my intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and grains to get more fiber. He says if a dietary approach to lowering my cholesterol doesn’t work, he’ll have to put me on medication. He also knows about my use of steroids and suggests that I go off all steroids immediately. It seems to me that he’s saying, ‘Stop doing everything that helps you to build a bigger, more muscular body.’ I feel healthy. I like how big and strong I am. Is there any way to lower my cholesterol without having to give up the foods I need to grow and stop using anabolic steroids altogether?
A: Obviously, your doctor is only looking out for your interests. He wants you healthy, not sick or having a stroke or heart attack.
On the other hand, there are things you can do to bring your cholesterol level down. First of all, you can eat beef’but only the cuts lowest in fat. I suggest flank steak. Try to limit your flank steak to no more than three servings a week. You can eat more chicken and turkey breast and the odd can of tuna. I suggest you cut the number of whole eggs you eat by at least half. If you make a six-egg omelet, use three whole eggs and three egg whites. If you really want to get your fat intake down, use five egg whites and one whole egg. Cook the eggs in Pam, not butter or oil.
Instead of butter or margarine, use Parrillo’s CAPTri on your baked potato and rice. It tastes great and stimulates the metabolism. CAPTri is not stored as excess bodyfat, only burned as an energy source. Therefore it spares branched-chain amino acids and skeletal muscle tissue. It also reduces the amount of saturated fat in your diet.
Another great way of lowering the amount of saturated fat in your diet’the fat that’s instrumental in elevating low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs (also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol)’is to get much of your daily protein requirement from meal replacements. That alone should bring your cholesterol levels down, especially the LDL. You should actually be trying to increase your high-density lipoproteins, or HDLs, as the HDL cholesterol keeps your arteries clean and the LDL clogs them.
As for steroids, cut out all high androgen steroids such as Anadrol 50, D-bol and the testosterones, and use only high anabolic steroids such as Winstrol, Winstrol V, Equipoise, nandrolone decanoate, Anavar (oxandrolone) and Primabolan. Your overall size gains won’t be as great as what you were getting with those steroids, but what gains you do make will be more solid muscle and less water and bloat. Those steroids are far easier on the liver and kidneys and easier on the body in other ways.
There are supplements that have been shown to be effective at reducing cholesterol levels, such as the B-vitamin choline, evening primrose oil, chromium picolinate and HMB, as well as essential fatty acids such as flaxseed oil and the omega-3 and omega-6 fats. I also suggest you take a mega-potency multiple vitamin-and-chelated mineral tablet every day. On top of that, take extra antioxidants, especially vitamins C, E and B-complex.
Finally, if you haven’t been getting enough roughage and fiber in your diet, take Metamucil. Drink plenty of water, and the Metamucil will help flush toxins and globs of undigested fat and food through the intestines and sweep it out of the body.
There’s also a safe, effective medication that you can take with your Metamucil that will add fiber to your diet while lowering overall cholesterol, especially that nasty LDL. It’s called Questran, and you can obtain it at any pharmacy. It comes in powder form in small packets. Simply pour the contents of one packet into a large glass of water, add one tablespoon of Metamucil, stir rapidly with a spoon and drink. Don’t let the mix sit too long, as it will get very thick and be difficult to drink. The faster you drink it, the better. Follow up with another glass of water to ensure that you have plenty of fluid in your stomach.
The Questran will actually remove excess fat from your system and lower both overall cholesterol and LDL while raising HDL. Questran can remove oil-soluble vitamins such as E, A and D from the body, as well as essential fatty acids, so make sure you take extra vitamins A, D and E, along with extra flaxseed oil and fish oil.
You cannot drink enough water when on Questran. You should be drinking an eight-ounce glass of water almost hourly. The water alone helps to flush toxins, impurities and fat out of the system. When you combine large amounts of water with Metamucil and Questran, the effect is many times greater.
Q: I have a problem when I do preacher curls. When my friends do them, they get massive biceps pumps, especially the lower sections, near the elbows. When I do preacher curls, I get very little biceps pump. It seems my forearms and wrists do all the work. Do you have any tips for making my preacher curls more effective?
A: First of all, make sure you do your preacher curls with a regular barbell, not an EZ-curl bar. Next, place your elbows right at the top of the slanted pad. Don’t hold the bar so that your armpits come in contact with the top of the pad. You want to put most of the stress and overload on the lower biceps’the part near the elbow.
I suggest you do your barbell preacher curls the way Larry Scott does them. Scott was the master of preacher curls, so much so that many people refer to the exercise as Scott curls, in his honor.
Larry uses a wide grip and keeps his elbows close together. You have to sort of jostle the bar to get into that position. Have a partner hand you the bar in the top position and then roll your elbows in until they’re almost touching. At the same time the hands are very wide, with the palms and undersides of the forearms facing upward. Your little fingers should be just slightly higher than your thumbs. Your elbows should be no more than six inches apart, while your hands should be several inches outside the shoulders. The wrists turn out at the top, not in.
Curling in this fashion works more of the belly of the biceps, especially the insertions down by the elbow. Lower the bar slowly to take advantage of negative resistance’never drop the bar at the bottom and try to bounce it to gain leverage on the weight’until your arms are almost straight. I say almost because there should always be a slight bend in the elbows, and with your elbows in and your hands wide, it should be impossible to straighten your arms completely.
Here’s a tip suggested by John Parrillo. As you curl the bar upward, feel as though you’re trying to pull your elbows together at the top. That can’t actually happen because of the way the body is built, but by pulling your elbows in and trying to make them touch in the top position, you place greater stress on the biceps. You’re better able to isolate your biceps and will experience all the sensations that go with proper innervation in the targeted muscle group’the biceps and lower biceps’including biceps pain, biceps fatigue, biceps stimulation and, of course, biceps pump. If you cheat, you bring secondary muscle groups into play, especially the delts and traps.
Be careful not to cheat by leaning forward and bringing your front delts into play. Keep your wrists straight throughout the movement, and squeeze your biceps hard at the top to get a good contraction on each rep. While the negative is done very slowly, the positive can be done with a bit of explosive power, but don’t lose tension on your biceps.
When the reps get really hard, you can drop your shoulders below the top edge of the slanted pad to gain leverage on the weight and to lean back. Just save that cheating action until you’ve performed every strict rep you can on your own.
Do four sets of six to eight reps. If you find it hard to ‘feel’ and innervate your biceps, do drop-set preacher curls. Have two barbells ready, one that allows you to barely get six all-out reps and a second that weighs about 50 percent less. When you hit failure with the first bar, drop it to the floor and pick up the lighter barbell. Continue till failure again, using the same elbows-in, hands-wide position. Training preacher curls in a heavy-light drop-set fashion will surely give your biceps a wicked pump and truly innervate the muscle for good biceps stimulation and growth.
Editor’s note: The statements, opinions and ideas in this column are Greg Zulak’s and not necessarily those of IRONMAN magazine. IM