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'Ask the Guru' Excerpts
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'Ask the Guru' Excerpts - 11-01-2012, 08:49 PM

GURU: My gym buddies have convinced me to enter a novice bodybuilding contest. How many weeks should I diet before the contest?

Answer: Competition is a good thing. Even bowlers and golfers "compete." I have often mentioned that most weightlifters who call themselves "bodybuilders" will never compete in a contest, but I think more should. A local bodybuilding show is an excellent opportunity to learn quite a bit about both your mind and body. Most of us will never have the genetics to become an international champion, but bodybuilding competitions allow you to feel like you're actually in a sport, as opposed to just participating in a hobby.

I'd like to see a polygraph-tested amateur contest at next year's Muscle Media 2000 "No Holds Barred" Seminar. The first day would be the contest; the next day, there could be an informal seminar with the winners.

I encounter many recreational bodybuilders who start training for a contest, usually a novice one, only to "bail out" and quit the contest preparation because of discouraging results. I've done it myself--after encountering a combination of too much muscle loss and sticking points in fat loss. The novice bodybuilder usually expects some very unrealistic goals from the contest preparation. The recreational (non-competing) bodybuilder rarely achieves low single-digit bodyfat percentages, so he or she won't encounter metabolic problems generated from prolonged dieting and overtraining. It would be great if we could all only diet for four weeks (or less) to get into contest-ready shape. But most of us can't. Let me show you how to rectify some of the mistakes I made during my pathetic and short-lived competition years.

The worst mistake is to assume you're going to ipso-facto increase muscle mass and lose bodyfat at the same time, like Franco Columbu used to do. Granted, some individuals can pull this stunt off, especially with the assistance of some of the various anabolic compounds available, but unless you've executed this trick before, don't assume you can pull this off. Be conservative, and accept the possibility that after the contest preparation, you'll end up with less muscle mass than you started with.

I recommend a ten-week contest preparation, broken down into dieting for four weeks, eating normally for two weeks, and resuming dieting for four more weeks. Through trial and error, I've found that after four weeks of reducing calories, the body will lower your body temperature by impairing the T4 to T3 thyroid conversion. (Your diet is stuck!) If you continue dieting past this point, you'll have to drop calories even lower than before. And less calories will accelerate muscle loss. Of course, there are tricks to extend the dieting phase without the body temperature drop, but these involve adding prescription thyroid medication. And whenever you decide to stop using the medication, there will be an eight-week lag time when the body tries to adjust natural thyroid output back to normal. And even nominal amounts of calories during this time will be deposited as bodyfat.

I've also learned the hard way that novice bodybuilders have a very difficult time achieving contest-ready bodyfat percentage of five percent or less if they start this ten-week dieting cycle with more than ten percent bodyfat. This isn't to say that some very gifted individuals can't whip themselves into great shape within 8 weeks from 15% bodyfat (or more). But most of us will not be able to duplicate such dazzling results. I'm a believer of tracking bodyfat during the year with skin-fold calipers, so it doesn't creep past the 10% to 12% range. Whatever contest you decide to enter, plan it so at the ten-week out point, your bodyfat is right at ten percent. Maybe I should call it the "Guru 10/10 rule."

GURU: I read the published research on using creatine monohydrate and followed the recommendations of 20 grams over 5 days and then a maintenance dosage of 6 grams a day. I felt pretty good after the first five days, but after a week of using six grams a day, my strength and size gains diminished. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: You're probably not using enough creatine after the first five days. Try doubling the dosage to 12 grams a day. And if that doesn't work, raise the daily dosage to 20 grams. As much as it seems logical to follow the recommendations from published research, many of the human research subjects may not have the same high-activity levels (or body weights) as bodybuilders. In the case of creatine, the six-grams-a-day maintenance dosage was determined through muscle biopsies. Anecdotal evidence from bodybuilders shows that six grams a day isn't enough to sustain initial size and strength gains. It might be that bodybuilders need more creatine for exercise, or some individuals may not be using proper amounts of high-glycemic carbs to transport the creatine with insulin.

Personally, I would have the patience to load creatine at the initial recommended 20-30 grams-a-day dosage for a week or so and would have no problem in maintaining a once-a-day 6 gram dosage. But if I had to continue using high amounts of creatine in divided daily dosages, I doubt I would be able to keep the routine up. As to following the creatine dosages suggested by research, I would always trust workout poundages and a tape measure over any of the research formulas.

GURU: I want to gain weight. How do I know when I should stop?

Answer: It all depends on what sport you're in. Whether we like it or not, any weight-gain program that includes eating more than your maintenance calories will cause some deposition of bodyfat. So the real question is: how fat can you get? I've seen many individuals start a very cautious mass program with the intention of not adding any bodyfat--even counting nutrients to the gram. And it seemed that very stringent eating didn't generate much muscle gain when contrasted with other "diets" that were a bit more flexible. It would help if you could actually see the various bodies in the locker rooms and assign bodyfat percentages. For example, at 15%, the sedentary man doesn't look fat in street clothes. But a weightlifter at 15% bodyfat, which is an average fat percentage with the heavier powerlifters and football players, looks very out of shape. Most of the fat accumulates on the stomach and trunk area, but in these two sports, there's no great motivatio! n among peers and players to diet down to a lower bodyfat percentage. So the "you're too fat to even think of gaining weight" advice would probably be ignored.

However, let me assume you're in a bodybuilding mode. It wouldn't be wise for you to start a weight-gain program, which includes eating more and lessening your aerobics (as being aerobically fit interferes with acquiring muscle), if you're already fat. Unless an individual is unusually gifted and using an array of drugs, it's rare to see someone gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Yes, I've seen it done on the old Rebound Training System by Michael Zumpano and the current knock-off, Anabolic Diet. But both systems need an amount of discipline greater than anticipated, and most weight trainers won't stay on such a program.

The problem with getting temporarily fatter than usual (and we haven't decided the exact figure) is that most individuals lose too much muscle when dieting off a lot of fat. Granted, just when I say 15% is too high a bodyfat percentage to allow a successful plummet to a single-digit fat percentage, there will be someone who pulls this off. But typically, at 15%, a bodybuilder looks FAT, and when dieting down, much of the newly acquired muscle is lost.

Let me further assume your metabolism isn't astounding (if it were, you wouldn't be writing me for advice). For gaining weight, I use a very narrow fat window. I suggest that you start your weight-gain program when your bodyfat is 9% or lower. Needless to say, many individuals who'd like to gain weight will be disappointed to learn that they should actually go on a weight-loss diet before embarking on a bulking phase. The fat window slams shut (in my opinion) at 12% bodyfat. At this point, you should either hold your bodyfat at the 12% mark for a while or diet back down to 9% for another bulking phase. Many of you might have another question after reading this advice: is it better to stay at the 12% for a while, or should I immediately diet down? I think the term is "solidifying" the mass--somewhat like curing concrete--rather than "dieting down." And I have no answer on this. Personally, I think you'll find that your metabolism will be at its highest, in terms of! body temperature, during a bulking phase (unless you're eating high amounts of saturated fats), and this is a very nice time to start a weight-loss regimen, when your metabolism is optimum.

I'm afraid there's no textbook in which to look up magic answers on how many weeks you should be bulking up. Some individuals with enormous appetites and very poor eating habits could go from 9% to 12% within a few weeks. But everybody would like some hard numbers. The average 200-pound bodybuilder would have a fat window of 3% about 6 pounds. If you plan your bulk program over 8 weeks, this would allow a weekly fat accumulation of 3/4 of a pound. This seems workable to me. And most weight-loss diets stop working after about 5 or so weeks, so a bodybuilder at 12% should be able to diet down to a 9% bulk phase again after about 6 weeks of dieting.

As you can imagine, I recommend skin-fold caliper readings every week. I've found that during a bulking program, many individuals deny that fat is accumulating. This is probably because workout poundages go up, and you're able to get a better pump. This exuberance puts the "fat blinders" on.

I do think my Isocaloric diet isan ideal diet for gaining weight. If you're considering counting calories, I suggest you increase calories over maintenance by only 10%, and the extra calories should be equally divided among the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat).

GURU: I've always used a high-carb, low-calorie diet to prepare for my contests, and I've always gotten shredded. Why should I change to one of those higher-fat diets?

Answer: There's no reason to automatically change what's worked for you in the past. You might be one of the people with great glucose metabolism and insulin control. If you have very little bodyfat and only have to diet for four weeks or less, you'll probably never generate the problems that other people who have higher bodyfat percentages and need to diet for a longer period of time encounter. I would point out that if you do any aerobic activity, you won't be able to function well for long periods of time without eating some carbs every hour or so. When I was eating a high-carb diet and went on long bike rides, I would bonk out at the 25-mile mark and had to eat carbs, so I didn't get into the limp-and-crawl-home mode.

(This is very true for me! S.P.)

I've found that women, having more bodyfat in their lower bodies, seem to experience better results when eating less dietary carbs. I've included three separate diets in BODYOPUS: the modern high-carb diet for those addicted to carbs; the Isocaloric Diet, which has a daily 1/3 fat ratio; and the radical BODYOPUS Diet, which eliminates virtually all carbohydrates over 5 days. The BODYOPUS Diet is not needed by everybody, and I always suggest that people follow the easiest diet first and only change if they encounter a problem the diet can't resolve.

GURU: I want to carb up for about the usual three days for an upcoming contest. Shuld I eat at night? I heard I shouldn't eat carbs after six pm.

Answer: When you carb deplete, your insulin sensitivity is greater. And you're probably going to use chromium, vanadyl sulfate, and magnesium to improve insulin sensitivity. But it's true that insulin sensitivity is lowest at night. Let's discuss what is happening in your body that makes it dislike carbs at night. Cortisol, a catabolic hormone, is highest at night. When cortisol is elevated, your muscle cell insulin sensitivity is lowered. And I have no idea if using all these various insulin agonists will guard against the bad effects of the cortisol. Probably not. The other avenue would be to reduce the cortisol at night, so you could eat the carbs without worrying about the blood glucose going into fat cells instead of muscle cells. I wondered about this same area in the Recomposition (carbing-up) phase of the BODYOPUS diet, when after the 5 no-carb days, you only have 48 hours to carb up before resuming another 5 days of no carbs. In Recomposition, I! do recommend eating carbs throughout the night, waking up every two hours or so, to take in a specific carb meal. For most people, the best they can do is use chromium, magnesium, and vanadyl with each meal. A final note: if you can't eat throughout the night, the last carb meal before bed should have some kind of delayed absorption. You should include some vegetable oil (about 1 tablespoon) and guar gum (about 10 grams) with the carb meal. Glucophage (metformin), is ideal for slowing carb absorption, as the chief mechanism of metformin is to slow glucose uptake from the small intestine.

GURU: Do I really need whey protein over other protein sources? Wouldn't it be true that if I eat enough extra protein, I'd be getting enough amino acids? Soy protein is way cheaper than whey protein. Even if I need more grams of soy protein to get the same nitrogen, it's cheaper than most other proteins, even with the extra amount needed.

Answer: In one way, you're right. All amino acids are the same (assuming they're not heat damaged, which makes them not totally digestible). The BCAAs in whey protein are just as good as the BCAAs in soy protein. There are more BCAAs in whey than soy, but if you consume enough soy protein (or another protein), you can achieve the same nitrogen level in the body. Of course, you may have to consume an extra 25% (or more) protein to achieve the same nitrogen. But it might be more economical to buy 125 grams of soy protein than buying 100 grams of whey protein.

However, these excessive aminos, because of the various limiting nondispensable aminos, will be eliminated from the body. Remember, you can't store excess amino acids as you do fat. Extra aminos will be dealt with in three ways: the liver will cleave part of the structure into urea, which is fine, as urea is excreted in the urine. And some of the aminos can be converted into other amino acids, notably glutamine. The rest of the partial aminos are converted into triglycerides (fat), specifically saturated fats. And we now know that saturated fat lowers insulin sensitivity. The real interesting question is this: does excessive protein consumption lower insulin sensitivity from the increased saturated fats in the body? This is an avenue I intend to explore in the future, charting the various pathways of each of the 21 dietary amino acids. I've wondered about the threshold amount of saturated fat needed to lower insulin sensitivity. Once I find this out, I could g! ive a definitive answer about soy protein. Well-made soy protein can adequately supply your amino acid needs. However, it's not an efficient protein, nor does it have any of the health benefits of whey.

I've noticed that in endurance sports nutrition, a protein ratio of 40% has become increasingly common. Should bodybuilders follow suit? Bodybuilders are much pickier with their protein choices. The higher the quality of protein, the less needed. In the Isometric Diet, I've recommended a one third protein calorie ratio, assuming that bodybuilders will eat higher quality protein sources. I doubt, though, that a runner would consider getting most of his protein from eggs and whey protein powder, so 40% might be needed. Of that 40%, some of the amount will be turned into saturated fats. If a bodybuilder is using high-quality proteins, a protein ratio of 40% is excessive.

GURU: I'm following that new anabolic diet by mauro dipasquale. I check for ketones in my urine with ketosticks. It shows a slight purple color when I get up in the morning. But I check later on, and I show no ketones. What gives? What am I doing wrong? Should I use a glucometer instead?

Answer: It would be safe to say that most readers have no idea what you're talking about. Let me do a fill-in before I delve into your questions. The Anabolic Diet is a so-called new way of eating with a recommendation of eating mostly fats and protein with little dietary carbohydrate. Claimed benefits are fat loss and muscle growth at the same time. The Anabolic Diet package costs $50 and gives you a 120-page booklet, a video, and plastic skin-fold calipers. The Anabolic Diet is very, very similar to my own BODYOPUS Diet. Both are seven-day cycles, with five days of eating virtually no carbs and then two days of carbing up.

Both systems are based on a much earlier system called the Rebound Training System, created by Michael Zumpano (owner of Champion Nutrition) in 1980. Michael and I modified this basic system into the Ultimate Dieting Handbook in 1982. In BODYOPUS, I go into great detail on how the system works, but I will highlight some key points now. The five (or more) no-carb eating days force the usual dietary and stored fats into something else called ketones. Ketones are fractured fats that can be used in the place of glucose. Ketones are a faster energy source than regular fats. They don't yield the expected nine calories a gram; instead, they yield somewhat less, around seven calories a gram. Ketosis doesn't normally happen--only when insulin is low and the other hormone in the pancreas, glucagon, is high. Your blood glucose level has to be around 50 mg/dl for ketone production to happen in significant amounts. To drop your blood sugar so low (regular blood glu! cose is between 80-120), you can't eat carbs for a few days.

Getting into a short-term ketogenic state does a number of positive things. You train your metabolism to enhance its fat-burning ability, which gets lazy with a high-carb diet. Also, as previously mentioned, ketone burning is inefficient, so more grams are burned as compared to non-ketogenic fat burning. The really interesting thing about short-term ketogenic diets is the set up for an anabolic rebound growth spurt after the two-day carb-up. We don't know all the mechanisms for this growth spurt. However, starving the body of carbs instills a temporary rise in muscle insulin acceptance. The extra glycogen, fluids, and electrolytes will make the muscle cell bigger, and the increased mechanical leverage will make you stronger. When you ramjet the muscle cells with more volume, you get an anabolic stimulus from the stretching of the cell.

About your particular problems: once fats are converted into ketones, they have to be used as fuel or eliminated. You can't store ketones. Your body can't reconvert ketones back into fats. The route for elimination is through the kidneys and into the urine. Remember, ketones in the urine are whole, unburned ketones. Ketosticks are small plastic and paper testing strips, about the length of a Q-tip. You allow your urine stream to wash over the paper end of the strip, and if there are ketones in the urine, the paper will turn from the normal tan color into a purplish color. The deeper the purple color, the more ketones in the urine. Your problem is that during the day, you don't get a purple reading on the ketosticks. Does this mean you're eating too many carbs and not getting into ketosis?

During the time you're sleeping, the liver is still converting fats into ketones. But since you have little energy requirements during sleep, these ketones are not needed for fuel. They have to be eliminated. When you wake up in the morning, your first urination will have unused ketones, and you will get a light purple color, assuming you haven't been eating any carbs for about 48 hours. When you become active, the ketones will be used as fuel. Between usual activities and exercise, most people in a ketogenic state won't show purple on the ketosticks, especially when on a low-calorie diet. Most of the ketones will be used as fuel, with hardly any unused ketones left for excretion. If you're eating a lot of calories, above maintenance, then you might get a purple reading during the day. But BODYOPUS is a weight-loss diet, so calories are at maintenance or below. If you're trying the Anabolic Diet or BODYOPUS for fat loss and get a purple reading during the! day, you should either reduce calories or increase activity, so you won't have extra unused ketones. Final advice on ketosticks: after 48 hours (in BODYOPUS, I give you tricks to lessen the time needed to start ketosis), you should be getting a light purple color on the ketosticks on the first morning urination only. During the day, the ketosticks will show tan because most of the ketones are being used as fuel.

You want to buy a glucometer to check for your blood sugar levels? Normal blood glucose is between 80 milligrams and 120 milligrams per deciliter of blood. Glucagon secretion happens in significant amounts when your blood glucose falls to 50 mg/dl. At first glance, it seems a glucometer could be a good idea. Glucometers use small testing strips like ketosticks, but you have to prick your finger and put a drop of blood on one end of the strip; blot the excess blood off; stick the testing strip into the hand-hold glucometer; and the device will read the color of the strip and display the blood glucose level.

Glucometers are used by diabetics to gauge how much insulin is needed to regulate blood glucose. Usually, diabetics run blood glucose too high, sometimes above 300 mg/dl. The problem with glucometers is all of them have an inaccuracy of up to 30 milligrams. If you're a diabetic and you're estimating how much insulin to inject to lower blood glucose from 280 down to 150, then 30 points off is not that big of a deal. However, if a non-diabetic individual is trying to plummet to 50 to establish ketosis, then 30 points is significant. Time and time again, BODYOPUS dieters tell me their blood glucose is "stuck" at 60ish, and they can't make it any lower. The actuality is that many times the blood glucose is below 60, only the glucometer reading is off. It doesn't mean the glucometer is broken. If you read the instruction manuals, all glucometers state that accuracy can be off by 30 points.

You'll never get a dead-on accurate reading of blood glucose with the hand-held glucometers. If you take a glucose reading early in the morning at the same time as the ketostick reading, many times you'll find a purple color on the ketosticks and a glucose level in the 60's. Obviously, you're manufacturing ketones, and your glucometer reading is off.

GURU: A few months back, I read that I should eat protein with each carb meal when I carb up for my contest. Why is this? Is there a particular protein that would be better to use than others?

Answer: Between the small intestine and the liver, all proteins are reduced to individual amino acids. And each amino has the ability to cause both insulin and glucagon secretion from the pancreas. Glucagon is insulin's evil twin: it's considered a catabolic hormone. However, glucagon secretion doesn't happen in large amounts until blood glucose falls to about 50 mg per decaliter (one tenth of a liter). Unlike insulin, which circulates in the blood, the small amount of glucagon secreted from amino acids stays mostly in the liver. Glucagon's job in the liver is to speed the release of glycogen. Glycogen is a complex starch. The same type of glycogen stored in the liver is also stored in skeletal muscle. Glucagon sends the message to the liver to reconvert glycogen back to glucose, which is then released into the bloodstream.

The reason why eating protein along with carbohydrates causes more muscle glycogen deposition is because the extra insulin (although insulin secretion from amino acids is small compared to a glucose response) is available in the bloodstream, and the glucagon pushes glucose out of the liver into the bloodstream.

It might be more efficient to use an isolated amino acid with a carbohydrate meal to "push" blood glucose into muscle cells. Not all amino acids have the same ability to generate insulin and glucagon. In looking over the scientific research, you'll find that the amino acid glycine elicits the highest secretion of both insulin and glucagon. The branched-chain amino acids elicit very little glucagon secretion, although the BCAA's (especially leucine) are good for boosting insulin.

Now that we know about the nice glucagon pulse caused by glycine, you might see some nutrition company make an alpha-ketoglutarate variant with glycine (rather than ornithine).

Guru: I tried your Body-Contact Workout. I've been doing Heavy-Duty Workouts up till now. I remembered reading in the article that the workout was supposed to keep muscle trauma to a minimum and muscle soreness would be less (than with the Heavy-Duty Workouts). But all my body parts are toasted! So what's the deal?

Answer: The damnedest things make you sore. If you simply did 12 concentric reps without the eccentrics, you probably would have been sore, too. You haven't specified how many sets for each exercise you were doing with your Heavy-Duty routine. Most Heavy-Duty advocates don't actually do just "one set to failure": they do numerous warm-up sets beforehand. Although it appears the new extra sets and reps were overly traumatic for you, you'll find that your body will quickly acclimate to the extra work and stop perceiving it as trauma. But some individuals are not suited for full-blown Body-Contact Workouts from the get-go, and I recommend easing into the system slowly. The first week, do only 12 concentric reps. The second week, add the negatives at the same weight you used for the concentrics. During the third week, on one set, use the 85% 1RM negatives. And after a week off, starting the next month, your body will be ready for the productive benefits ! of dir ected intensity. Give this a try!

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Ask the Guru - August 1997
Blue-Eyed Devil...
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Ask the Guru - August 1997 - 11-01-2012, 09:12 PM

Low-Volume vs. High-Volume Training

Q: I've been following the "one-set" workout for a year now. But, I've stopped growing, and my strength isn't increasing. What should I do? Should I just take more time off between workouts?

Answer: Most of the research on training with only one intense set to failure (low volume) has been done with beginning weight-lifters for short amounts of time—only a matter of weeks. There's more research on the anabolic effects of high-volume training. Charles Poliquin could better elaborate on what type of training to do for specific muscle groups, but I can at least give you a general answer as to why the one-set program may work for only a limited amount of time.

There are different types of muscle fibers, with different neuron-firing thresholds and different energy systems. One-set training stimulates the fast-twitch, Type IIb fibers, which need high tension (heavy weight—over 80% 1-rep max—and low repetitions) to grow. However, after the first intense set, it is possible to stimulate the other Type II muscle fibers, the "a" type, but these respond better to a repetition range of between six and eight. A trained weightlifter can also cause an anabolic training response in the slow-twitch (Type I) fibers, but these fibers are best stimulated by higher volume, lower weight training. This is not to say every muscle group responds best to higher volume training. For example, in a recent study, researchers examined the effects of around 12 sets for the biceps muscles. They found the Type II fibers increased in size by 17%, and the Type I fibers increased by 10%. However, the hamstrings have less Type I fibers than the arm biceps, so 12 sets for hamstrings might be excessive. As mentioned, a great strength coach, like Poliquin, can tell you which muscle groups have high enough amounts of Type I fibers and therefore respond better to higher training volume.

Some experts accurately point out that a beginning weightlifter doesn't respond as well to high-volume training as low-volume training. And there is the isolated bodybuilder who responds tremendously well to reduced training volume. I should point out, though, that one of the mechanisms of the anabolic training response is a certain amount of trauma inflicted on the muscle, often measured in studies by creatine phosphokinase (CK) levels in the blood.

Although bodybuilders are not research scientists, most will, through trial and error, arrive at successful training programs. A few months ago, I asked Chris Aceto, who works with many bodybuilders, how he had improved his biceps and triceps, which had been lagging body parts. He said he had noticed that the bodybuilders with the biggest arms trained them by using many sets and reps. As much as we are increasingly looking into the laboratory and to university studies for answers in the bodybuilding world, in many instances, athletes do stumble onto a workable solution, which is usually validated, at a later date, by scientists.

As for your problem of no gains, even though you have been doing one-set-to-failure training, you might still be overtrained (although you might be undertrained). This overtrained state usually happens when you stick to the same exercises week after week. It can be a combination of minor joint and connective-tissue trauma and injury or not enough nerve recuperation, as continually stimulating the Type IIb fibers can cause nervous system exhaustion. It might be that your actual muscle fibers are not overtrained, but everything surrounding them is. If you take a break for two weeks and come back to the gym doing the same exercises at higher poundages, obviously you were overtrained. To avoid this type of overtraining, it's best to change exercises frequently (which changes motor-unit recruitment), and avoid locked-in planes of movement that cause repetitive damage (meaning: stick with free weights). Most importantly, though, up the training volume.

Pyruvate on the Dieting Phase Of ABCDE?

Q: Will pyruvate be an effective supplement to take during the dieting phase of the ABCDE Program?

Answer: I believe the chief benefit of using pyruvate during dieting may be as an energy substrate in the liver cells, which need energy to convert inactive thyroid (T4) to the active thyroid (T3). Because of the reduction in calories, when you diet you eventually experience a lowered body temperature, which indicates diminished T3 output from the liver. When this happens depends on the amount of carbohydrates in your diet as well as your activity level. Because the dieting phase on the ABCDE Program lasts only two weeks, even in a worst-case scenario (i.e., a no-carb diet and daily aerobics), you would maintain most of your regular T3 output because of existing liver glycogen and gluconeogenesis from glycerol and ala-nine. And the subsequent two weeks of overfeeding (especially with carbs) after the dieting phase is more than enough time to replenish depleted ATP (if it has diminished enough to affect T3 levels).

I should remind you that the human trials studying pyruvate for fat loss used a wide range of dosages—from 16 to 75 grams a day. Most of these subjects did mention some kind of gastric upset from the increased mineral load, as the researchers relied on only two mineral variants (calcium and sodium) of pyruvate. At the present time, most of the retail sources of pyruvate charge around 75€ a gram. And although the recommended dosage on the labels is five grams a day, the human fat-loss effects were not produced at this low dosage. Other researchers have done human studies showing that dietary phosphate may restore T3 levels in the liver. And the various phosphate supplements may do this at a lower dosage and a cheaper price than the presently available dietary pyruvates.

As an alternative to supplementing pyruvate, you could just maintain your natural pyruvate levels (it is a product of glucose and glycogen breakdown), since a large amount of liver pyruvate is converted to lactate, which cannot readily be used as an energy substrate in the Krebs Cycle. The one compound I know of that may forestall the conversion of pyruvate into lactate is dichloroacetate (DCA). DCA given intravenously to animals was shown to decrease lactic-acid accumulation and significantly increase exercise endurance. Unfortunately, this substance is quite toxic and not available in oral form. Since I have an ongoing interest in this subject, I'm looking at nutritional alternatives with similar effects. I'll keep you informed on new developments in future issues of Muscle Media.

Soy vs. Whey: Which Is the Better Bodybuilding Protein?

Q: In the past, you've written that soy is a low-quality protein, but lately I'm hearing about soy's many positive attributes. Is it true soy promotes estrogen synthesis, or is this true for only larger doses of soy protein? What is your opinion of soy protein?

Answer: Modern soy proteins have very good solubility, as good as a whey protein. Whey protein has a better amino acid spectrum, as unenhanced soy lacks methionine, which is why its biological value (BV) and protein efficiency ratio (PER) scores are not so hot. By including a moderate amount of rice protein (which has high methionine amounts) with the soy, this deficit can be rectified. In their natural states, soy has more glutamine than whey, but most whey proteins have been fortified with some glutamine. However, a quality soy-protein isolate retails for around $10 a pound, and whey is about twice that.

If a healthy athlete is choosing a protein simply for amino acid content, a properly fortified soy is a very good, cost-effective choice. Certainly, if you are on a tight budget and the choice is either buying two pounds of whey protein a month or four pounds of soy, soy protein is the cost-effective winner. However, unenhanced soy protein will generate more urea in the body, and this is a concern to diabetics, post-menopausal women, and people with kidney impairment.

Nonetheless, many athletes choose a protein for its benefits beyond simply fulfilling macro-nutrient needs. In whey's case, its peptide-bound cysteine allows amounts of the powerful antioxidant glutathione to be produced in the body from the whey aminos. Soy does not have this benefit. Since many endurance athletes are prone to upper respiratory infections, the immune-boosting effects of glutathione are a very real benefit of whey.

Soy, though, seems to impart some kind of thyroid-boosting activity (yet to be explained). So a dieting bodybuilder might choose soy protein for this immediate benefit. As for the issue of estrogen: soy has some trace compounds (phy-toestrogens) that exhibit weak estrogen characteristics. Even though these compounds are not the classic four-ring steroid structure, they can bind at the estrogen receptor, depending on the estrogenic environment of the individual. Women, who have more potent estrogens like estriol, estrone, and estradiol, do not feel the effects of the soy compounds. This might be different with a male, but i've yet to see this effect in the real world.

I don't think there should be an "opposing-camp" mentality with soy and whey proteins. Both can be well-made products, and you should pick the benefit that best suits you. Because whey seems to increase the levels of the powerful antioxidant glutathione in the body, during the flu season, consuming whey protein may be beneficial. Consuming soy protein while dieting might help burn more bodyfat. Of course, you could compromise and simply mix the two together.

Can Pseudoephedrine Replace Ephedrine?

Q: I can only find pseudoephedrine where I live. I was wondering if I could take this in place of ephedrine in the ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin stack. What dosage should I use?

Answer: Been there, done that. When I was in federal prison, we couldn't get ephedrine in the commissary, but pseudoephedrine and aspirin were available in the clinic. And we'd make our mock espresso by dissolving instant coffee until it was almost a syrup. We all got a slight buzz with the pseudoephedrine, aspirin, and instant coffee stack. And we tried a lot of Sudafed tabs, sometimes ten at a time. None of us felt any temperature elevation. After a few times, we all stopped everything except the coffee. Pseudoephedrine doesn't have similar effects to ephedrine. So if all you have is pseudoephedrine, don't bother.

Training Partners?

Q: I've been training alone, so I can't do forced reps or negatives. Do I need a training partner?

Answer: Most training partners I see in the gyms do more harm than good. Either they help too much, rep after rep, repeating, "It's all YOU!" or they make the person under the weight struggle so mightily that it instills nervous exhaustion, which ruins the rest of the workout and slows recuperation. Many bodybuilders don't train to failure. And with enough experience, you know very well which rep you will fail on. It's very rare that you misjudge the weight and give out mid-rep. My idea of failure is that you cannot do one more full rep. I have yet to see the benefit of needing to complete a half-rep. Training partners are great motivators in some cases and can help you overcome the fear factor in a couple lifts. But they aren't a "must."

"Uncoupling" Proteins... Is It the Next Trend in Fat Loss?

Q: On the NBC Today show last week, a doctor talked about something called UPC-2 and how it may help burn fat in muscle. Fill me in here. Where can I buy it?

Answer: The correct term is actually UCP-2, which is short for "uncoupling protein-2," but you were close. To help you understand the significance of UCP-2, I must first explain UCP-1, which is also called "thermogenin." Thermogenin controls body temperature in many animals (and newborn babies) by heating the blood as it passes through brown adipose tissue (a.k.a. BAT or "brown fat"). Thermogenin is found only in BAT, but adult humans have very little brown fat.

These BAT uncoupling proteins are hidden in the mitochondria, which are tiny structures in every cell in the body but densely packed in BAT. The mitochondria take the fatty acids in the blood and transform them into ATP, which is the primary energy molecule used in all cells. To simplify the physics, UCP-1 uncouples (throws off) protons from the fatty acids, and heat is generated instead of ATP. This thermo-genic effect is triggered in brown fat by 1) sympathetic nervous stimulation which releases noradrenaline, 2) chilling the body (Eskimos have more BAT than you or I), or 3) consuming polyunsaturated fats. But very little heat is produced this way in humans.

Until very recently, scientists thought such thermogenic uncoupling proteins were unique to brown fat. But in the March 1997 issue of Nature Genetics, a research journal, a group of researchers reported that they had found a similar uncoupling protein in cells other than BAT: notably, in skeletal muscle, white adipose tissue, and most immune system cells. Because this uncoupling protein is not identical to the one in BAT, the scientists have named it UCP-2.

This is a very important discovery. Previously, scientists had estimated that up to 40% of body-heat regulation in an adult human was caused by thermogenic uncoupling, although they couldn't find similar uncoupling proteins outside of BAT.

So far, the scientists have determined that fatty acids and thyroid hormone both stimulate the uncoupling thermogenic effects of UCP-2. And the presence of UCP-2 in the immune system seems to indicate that the fever response to infection and disease is because of UCP-2's heating effects. But they haven't identified all the hormones and chemicals that "rev up" UCP-2. From this point forward, scientists will be looking for genetic factors that either increase or diminish a person's UCP-2 levels. So when you see the type of person who seems to be able to eat enormous amounts of any kind of food yet never get fat, it may be because his or her cells have more UCP-2's.

As to your question—no, you can't buy UCP-2. Your natural levels are set by your genetics. You can, however, stimulate the thermogenic effect by consuming moderate to high amounts of fats, although we don't know which specific fats yet. Nicholas Bachynsky, the world authority on DNP (the mother of all uncouplers), has postulated that certain short-chain fatty acids, which exhibit unstable proton bondings, might be candidates. And there are many uncoupling agents that will cause this thermogenic effect. I have made you aware of dinitrophenol (DNP), but there are a number of other uncoupling agents that are less toxic and, interestingly, naturally occurring in plants. As much as others in the bodybuilding media are trying to vilify me for my discussion of DNP, the main direction of obesity drug research in the future could be to find drugs that can stimulate the UCP-2 to greater heat production.

The average person has a body temperature of 98.6°, and scientists think that up to 40% of this temperature is generated by these unique UCP-2 proteins, which divert fatty acids into heat rather than ATP. And some obese people have a genetic defect that doesn't allow many UCP-2's in the body. These people have lower body temperatures and don't need as many calories as expected, even though many of their other heat regulators (thyroid, adrenaline) look normal.

I haven't completed my research yet, but in a future article, I'll discuss the various uncoupling agents found in the plant world. Yes, there may be a safe, natural protein uncoupler, and I'm surprised no one has marketed it yet.

Pyruvate in the "Real World"

Q: I've read a lot about pyruvate, including everything you've written. I'm confused. Should I use pyruvate or not - yes or no?

Answer: Let's review one of the human studies on pyruvate. Obese women, weighing between 225-245 lbs went on a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet for 3 weeks. The women without the pyruvate lost an average of 3.15 lbs a week. The women using 36 grams of pyruvate every day (20 grams of sodium pyruvate and 16 grams of calcium pyruvate) lost 4.3 lbs a week. So it appears that supplying the diet with 36 grams of pyruvate every day allowed an extra 1.2 lbs of weight loss each week (.95 lbs of fat loss each week).

Regardless of the brand, most companies buy their pyruvate from a company called Med-Pro Industries, which is authorized to market the use-patent claims. Med-Pro pyruvate is expensive because distributors want to use the dieting claims from the research studies in their advertisements, so they pay top price. The average retail price of Med-Pro pyruvate is about 750 a gram.

The cheapest pyruvate i've seen is the Health Dynamics Research (1-800-660-4448) brand, as they make no weight-loss claims, so they don't have to pay use-patent fees. You can easily become a wholesale dealer, so you can buy calcium pyruvate for $19.95 for one hundred and twenty 500-mg capsules (making it 330 a gram). Even at this price, you'd need $12 a day, 72 capsules, to duplicate the research results. And this much calcium would be dangerous.

So, however good pyruvate looks on paper, spending $12 a day for an extra .95 Ibs of fat loss a week is not cost effective and probably dangerous (because of the huge amount of calcium). I realize that many of the pyruvate companies have been recommending about five grams a day (or less), but there are no human weight-loss studies which used this low dosage. I know that several brands have been tested and the purity isn't that great, so you may not be getting the amount of pyruvate you thought you were getting anyway. Would you like to speculate what 5 grams would do if 36 grams daily caused only .95 Ibs of additional fat loss each week?

Bottom line: until research shows it works at a reasonable dose, why bother?

AAS and Mood

Q: I sometimes experience depression. Would using steroids help or hurt this?

Answer: Most of the potent anabolic steroids are mood elevators. And as the East Germans found out, androgens influence the central nervous system. But, when you stop using steroids, those same mood elevators, once withdrawn, cause mental depression. Both these effects are significant and should be of concern to steroid users, especially those with mental-health problems. I strongly advise you to talk to your doctor about your intended course of action. That being said, I'm assuming you'll probably try some kind of steroid anyway, so my instinct is to warn you to stay away from the overt "mood changers," specifically all the androgens (like testosterone, Dianabol, and Anadrol). Although I will not make any recommendations, I can say that of all the steroids, the two that seem to cause the least amount of mood alteration are the injectable Primobolan Depot and the tablet Primobolan S (the acetate form). Since this issue intrigues me, i'll assign one of my newsletter writers to research and report on this area in an upcoming issue.

Injectable Lasix

Q: I have access to two diuretics - Dyazide, which you don't care for, and injectable Lasix. In Bodyopus, you recommend intravenous Lasix, but this scares the shit out of me. Will using it intramuscularly work just as well?

Answer: I use intravenous Lasix mostly for practical reasons. In working with a variety of bodybuilders, I've found using Lasix intravenously imparts more predictable results. It starts working within five minutes with everybody. But there is no particular magic in doing this instead of going the intramuscular route. An intramuscular injection simply takes somewhat longer (around a half hour) to start working. So if you are going to use Lasix, you don't have to inject it intravenously. And if you are not holding a lot of water and you think you don't need to drop much water, you could get by with an oral diuretic.

Professional bodybuilders, because of the staggeringly high amounts of anabolics and growth hormone used, require a more potent diuretic than the mild Dyazide. Also, you might not know that at IFBB shows, they test for diuretics immediately after the afternoon prejudging. The majority of competitors will use a diuretic before the night show, and the de facto choice, because of its speed, is intravenous Lasix. Supposedly, the contest is already placed and won after the prejudging, but a tiebreaker could be won at the night show by a sharper competitor. I have noticed a remarkable difference in competitors between their afternoon and night appearances. Audience members who were not privy to the prejudging sometimes cannot understand some of the night placings. For example, at the most recent Olympia, Paul Dillett was much tighter at the night show, and the audience couldn't understand his low placing. It was simply because he wasn't as tight in the afternoon. As long as the IFBB diuretic testing is done in the afternoon, it will make the diuretic problem worse. Before diuretic testing was instituted, most pro bodybuilders didn't use intravenous Lasix. Now they do.

All this could be avoided by simply testing after the night show.
Caribbean Steroids?

Q: I'm going island hopping in the Caribbean. Where are the steroids? And how do I get them back?

Answer: Forget the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. They're dry. The ***inican Republic reportedly has a few anabolics available, including a Dianabol variant. Some guys go to a pharmacy in each country and ask the pharmacist what's available. If they find a pharmacy with a selection of anabolics, they sometimes ask for a recommendation for a doctor who will write a prescription.

As far as getting the stuff back to the U.S. it’s risky. If caught, the usual fine is $5,000. Sometimes you can try poor and reduce the fine to $500, but this reduction is rare. Customs, agents are not honoring steroid prescriptions from Mexican doctors, but I believe this is because of NAFTA. I have yet to learn if customs agents are questioning steroid prescriptions from other countries.

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Ask the Guru - December 1997
Blue-Eyed Devil...
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Ask the Guru - December 1997 - 11-01-2012, 09:13 PM

QUESTION: What is your current "receptor theory"? And what implications does this have for cycling and tapering?

Dan Duchaine: As much as I find Bill Roberts entertaining and, in my newsletter, I talk about how much research - mostly in vitro studies - shows an up-regulation of steroid receptors when there are high dosages of steroids around, I don't think it captures the whole picture because you can put a whole lot of steroids in a person and without training they can have very little muscle growth. You'll see a lot of muscle growth when there is training involved. As much as Bill is talking about up-regulation of steroid receptors, he has really neglected the whole up-regulation with training. So, I really don't have an answer for that. Also, we really never answered the question as to why the first time steroid user does so spectacularly well on very low dosages and that's never to be repeated. I don't know, but it will be interesting to see… I've been pretty much off steroids for many, many years because of my testing arrangements with the government. And in a few more months I will have the opportunity to use steroids again. It will be interesting if I get the kind of growth I got from the first time I used Dianabol in my twenties. Of course, I'm an older guy, so probably not.

QUESTION: What is the "Deca dilemma"?

Dan Duchaine: If Bill Roberts and others are to be believed, Deca Durabolin actually has a higher attraction to steroid receptors. I mean if you have equal amount of Deca Durabolin and testosterone, it would be easier for Deca Durabolin to latch onto the receptor. Now what actually happens we found from anecdotal and rat studies that even though there is more available to the receptors it is half as anabolic. So, that is the dilemma: Why is it only half as anabolic when there is probably more of it at the receptors? It must be that it is doing something to the receptors that testosterone is but Deca isn't or testosterone might be doing something outside the receptor. I don't know. I think there is some kind of anabolic reaction outside the receptor. What it is we don't know. I mean there is a whole bunch of new things. It might be that it influences the myostatin protein that was recently introduced, or maybe testosterone does a better job of up-regulating the receptor or something like that; it might be something completely inside where you might have more of a response of fibroblast growth factor in response to muscle cell membrane-wounding from training. It could be any of those. But because steroid subjects are not really marketable as of late, in my magazine writing I have not really pursued that avenue too much but I will get around to reading the research if there is an answer to be found. The odd thing is that as much as we look to the research, a scientist has never really made one big bodybuilder; I mean there is no doctor or scientist that has said this is how to grow a human being big, bigger than all these bodybuilders who don't know what they're doing. They've never done that, so I'm not sure we can look to answer this?

QUESTION: What advice would you give to people looking to take advantage of the greater anabolic activity of testosterone while avoiding side effects? Would you recommend the use of any accessory drugs?

Dan Duchaine: What happens is people read all these things about steroids and they are usually written by people who have never used steroids before, and they're usually anti-steroid, and they just assume… I always say never assume you have the problem until you have the problem. As much as I've encountered high amounts of testosterone causing hair loss, and acne, and mood changes… However, the average, pedestrian steroid user, who is not going to be using it months and months at a time and they are only thinking about a cycle of steroids perhaps 6-8 weeks 1 or 2 times a year and not necessarily year after year after year, maybe none of these side effects will ever happen. Obviously, if for some reason, parents - the father and grandfather - show marked hair loss at a very young age or if the individual really had some kind of gyno problem or acne in high school, that might be an indicator of potential problems. Then again, it could be that a cycle of 500-600mg of testosterone for 6-8 weeks would hardly do anything bad.

The thing is you see a lot of pro bodybuilders use a lot of testosterone and it is rare that you see them losing their hair. I mean some do but just as many don't as do. Many of the top bodybuilders rarely show any acne. So go figure.

Some people never lose their hair, but if you are concerned about it , for example, at my age, with my tenuous hair state, I really wouldn't use a lot of testosterone, I would rather use Deca Durabolin. The problem is that the accessory drugs, whether it be Cytadren or Arimidex for the estrogen or Proscar, well, I could probably find them but not everyone in the country could find these accessory drugs and it's just an added expense. Currently, on the black market, Deca Durabolin is fairly well priced. However, it's not like Deca is so expensive, you could use testosterone and the accessory drugs and come out ahead. No.

QUESTION: Is progesterone used in the competitive bodybuilders' drug arsenal? If so, under what conditions would it be beneficial?

Dan Duchaine: Years ago when they had Trophobolene, that was testosterone with progesterone… I'm not quite sure that they used it to make the testosterone more anabolic. Progesterone does have the ability to stimulate your appetite and can deposit triglycerides in the muscle and increase the amount of intramuscular fat. Both of which, I think, would be beneficial for bodybuilders provided you are not getting that pot belly look. I've known a few people using that combination and they've never had a potbelly, so I don't know.

As to whether it would be beneficial for these testosterone precursors…I mean it is true that women do a better job of converting androstenedione into testosterone because they have more of that converting enzyme. And the reason is progesterone - because it down-regulates estrogen by up-regulating that enzyme. Yes, probably if you could find a very short acting oral progesterone that would affect these liver enzymes and rapidly dissipate. But it is by its nature, through a variety of mechanisms, catabolic long term in the human body. So you would want to find… you wouldn't want to use an injectable form of progesterone, but perhaps the creams might be worthwhile.

QUESTION: You have done a lot of work with DNP. What is DNP? How does it work?

Dan Duchaine: Forty percent of your energy expenditure in your body…40% of the calories that you consume everyday is burned up as non-essential heat. Sixty percent of the energy is needed for metabolic processes, and to keep the cells alive and the processes involved. Forty percent is futile heat energy: there is no work being done, there is no ATP being used or produced for work. In humans, that is controlled by uncoupling proteins in light fat and skeletal muscle. UCPs, 2's and 3's, mediated by mostly beta-4 receptors in skeletal muscles and light fat. Dinitrophenol is an industrial chemical that has direct action on the heat production action in the mitochondria without any kind of receptor… it bypasses any kind of receptor or uncoupling protein. It pretty much throws protons off fatty acids and it turns into heat rather than ATP. It was a very popular weight loss drug in the 40s in this country but in that very unregulated time there were a lot of mis-prescribing and misuse of it and a high incidence of cataracts in women. And so it was banned from interstate transport although a doctor in almost every state could still prescribe it as long as they made the DNP within the state.

QUESTION: What causes the cataracts? What other problems occur?

Dan Duchaine: Depletion of antioxidants in the eyeball specifically glutathione and Vitamin C. I always suspected it was the Vitamin C because the early research pointed out there was a depletion of Vitamin C in the cells, especially in the eyeball. Just recently, a couple of weeks ago, most newspapers reported a study that suggested supplemental Vitamin C could help avoid most cataracts.

Not everybody stays on it forever because you feel so miserable on it. I think most of the people having trouble with DNP don't understand it. There was a misunderstanding of how DNP worked as opposed to other thermogenic agents in that we couldn't really rely on measured body temperature to adjust the dosage. The human body can withstand a moderate fever, the body temperature can go well over a hundred degrees and you are kind of uncomfortable but you live, but it is not insufferable high. Because DNP allows the dilation of skin cells so that a lot of the heat is being radiated off, your body temperature is very, very high even though the mouth thermometer is really not showing a tremendous rise in body temperature. A 30 percent rise above normal, and your body temperature is only about 99.2 degrees. The hazard is that just because you have been able to tolerate ephedrine or yohimbe or clenbuterol in the past, temperatures of like a hundred or so, you should not try to get you body temperature that high on DNP because once it is that high you are well over double the metabolic rate and many of your cells are depleted of the energy source and things can get dangerous at that point.

QUESTION: You have recommended the use of insulin to enhance the efficacy of DNP use in bodybuilders…

Dan Duchaine: It is not so much my idea but a research scientist out of the 30s that recommended it. Protein synthesis stops on DNP. Luckily for most sedentary people the research has not really shown a loss of muscle mass although it would stop testosterone production out of the gonads and might interfere with the transference of testosterone in the cells. However, they did show a study where by supplementing the DNP with growth hormone and insulin, they re-established protein synthesis. However, I must tell you about half of the heat producing ability of DNP comes from glucose being burned as heat and the other is fatty acids; so, if you put more glucose in your cells with insulin, you will become more uncomfortable because there will be more heat put off. We've done it both ways… we've done DNP with no insulin and those with it, and they were better off with it. We didn't need much, maybe once a day with short-acting stuff.

QUESTION: Any other compounds that work through a protein uncoupling mechanism?

Dan Duchaine: Some fatty acids, some of the polyunsaturated fatty acids would do it. Flax oil would do it, to a point, that's why you don't really get too fat with flax oil. Progesterone has an uncoupling effect but you have to be careful because at the same time it makes you fat. It kind of balances things out. Although your body temperature goes up, there is more fatty acids being placed in the fat cells and the muscle cells. There were a few studies where they purified some specific insect thoraxes, and they found an uncoupling effect there, although I don't think you'll see that come to the market soon. Although it would probably be legal to do that. Thermogenic bug guts!

QUESTION: What about any naturally occurring herbal compounds? I seem to recall you mentioning one in your 'Ask the Guru' column.

Dan Ducahine: I don't know what it is yet. It's a Latin herbal compound. I pursued it for a few days and couldn't get an answer so I moved on to something else. I don't know what it is yet but I imagine there is something there. Some kind of defense mechanism to keep animals away from it. One of those things in nature…some plants are attractive to be eaten to spread the seeds through transport with animals, and other things are just the opposite - to keep them away from plants. I'll keep it in mind and try to find an answer.

QUESTION: You have a lot of experience working with female bodybuilders. Do you feel anabolic steroids are necessary to develop a championship physique today in female bodybuilding and fitness competition?

Dan Duchaine: Once they have their foundation… Well, it depends, most of the female bodybuilders that win are 150lbs and under so they're not terribly big. And quite frankly, people will tell you once you have a foundation, and that's not a lot of muscle, you shouldn't need a whole bunch of muscle to keep it up, you don't even have to train that hard to keep it up. I mean muscle mass does go away with dieting, so if these females tend to get very heavy in the off season and diet for long spans of time to get in shape, yeah, they're going to sacrifice muscle to lose all that fat. Unless they get so damn fat in the off season, they shouldn't have to use much of anything to maintain muscle mass. Some female bodybuilders objectively should be female bodybuilders because they pretty much look that way before they train. I remember the first few contests, even national ones, that Carla Dunlap entered and won, all she did was swim; she rarely worked out in the gym. She had the basic muscle structure and muscle bellies and all she had to do was add some muscularity to it. Then there are other women who shouldn't be female bodybuilders because they have to try so hard at everything just to get the muscle on. Those kind of people need the drugs and more than probably should be used in female bodybuilders and they probably shouldn't be in the sport. But whom am I to say that? They need to get out of it. From a business standpoint there's not much money in the sport. I guess you have to be mentally maladjusted to pursue it. It becomes too hard after being stubborn about.

QUESTION: Do you think DNP, ipriflavone, and insulin are possible alternatives to steroids?

Dan Duchaine: A few women have used DNP. I'm afraid to say that a lot of women did suffer on DNP because they were using too much more than necessary. I say that because they get in shape in such a fast time, they're ready 3 or 4 weeks before the contest and they really suffer to get there because their body temperature is so elevated. Now looking back, we could have used ˝ maybe 1/3 the dosage and took our time so that we peaked right on time rather than way ahead of time.

Ipriflavone from Italy, the other from Hungary…As much as I begged people to get it in the country, it has never shown up. I've never seen one box of that stuff being used. I don't know why. Usually, I have a pretty good track record of recommending something and suddenly it shows up here, but that never made it over here.

QUESTION: What are your recommendations for reducing lower body fat distribution?

Dan Duchaine: You can use a number of things. Yeah, there is definitely a yohimbe injection they use as some kind of attempt to lose fat in the thighs ….of course, it is water-based so it will probably dissipate out of fat but it is probably more potent than a topical cream, but that will work too. ACE inhibitors along with the yohimbe…the thing is that whenever you have a foreign product in your body, an antagonist, whether it be an estrogen antagonist or an alpha-2 antagonist, the body likes to not accept that, and the body usually tries to up-regulate those receptors in response. So you have to fight that up-regulation; the only two ways I know of down-regulating alpha-2 receptors are to use an ACE inhibitor or you can also use a whole bunch of clenbuterol because when you down-regulate a beta-2 receptor, the alpha receptors down-regulate also.

QUESTION: What is the future of natural testosterone boosters, such as androstenedione and androstenediol?

Dan Duchaine: I'm sure that after a while the FDA will try to find a way to get it off the market. Just last week the IOC placed androstenedione on the banned list. I think it is really the future. I think it is the only thing the will really advance natural bodybuilding because otherwise the only people who will do well in natural bodybuilding are black guys who have naturally great genetics. The thing is that steroids, all things being equal, if you have the same amount of money, gives you a pretty much level playing field, because anyone can get the steroid and work on it. When you get to natural bodybuilding, your advantage is kind of set with your parents. Granted, there are a whole lot of tricks to get your testosterone elevated but even so you'll have to use every one of them.

QUESTION: How can these be utilized to their fullest potential? Can these supplements be improved on?

Dan Duchaine: Intensify the enzyme, somehow, that would be one thing. Bypass the oral route, make an injection of it or a nasal spray of it.

QUESTION: Is there a way to increase the enzymes involved in their conversion to testosterone?

Dan Duchaine: I'm looking into that right now. There are herbal compounds that increase the conversion. But the tricky thing is if you use too much of Forskolin, the herbal compound, you will actually have the opposite effect because Forskolin although it increases cyclic AMP, too much will inhibit the glucose transport system necessary to get androstenedione into testosterone and then you'll have less than before. Progesterone, short term and maybe a couple of other things. We don't really know them yet but we will.

QUESTION: Do you think the FDA is going to regulate any of these testosterone precursors any time soon?

Dan Duchaine: Well somebody has already. Schwartz Labs mentioned that their norandrostenedione is being held in customs. The thing is the nor- version is probably grandfathered in because all you have to do is pull some of these orchic extracts, you know like bull and horse testicles, off the shelves, which have been around for decades, and you would have an analysis of the androgens and you would find norandrostenedione in there, which there are actually. And they would be allowed from the grandfather clause. For example, melatonin, which is a hormone and technically shouldn't be on the market, was grandfathered in because it was a powerful hormone, a drug, that was on the shelves before the dietary supplement act but they are not going to pull it now. And we could use that same argument…it's just a matter of using a FDA private attorney but none of the big companies are really selling that product so no one is going to do it.

QUESTION: There is considerable debate as to whether androstenedione and related compounds are really 'natural'. What is your feeling on this issue?

Dan Duchaine: Yes, but the thing is that's a moral judgment. You have to decide what is going to be allowed as natural because many natural supplements right now are drugs. Yohimbe, ephedrine are not necessary for life. They're not nutrients. They're not even micronutrients. They're drugs! Let's say for example, yohimbe under 5mg is legal over 5mg it's prescription. So is it allowed or not? Let's say for example, the FDA somehow got their way and made ephedrine a controlled substance, a prescription drug. Suddenly that would be on the banned list. For example, ephedrine is on the [IOC] banned list, yohimbe is on the banned list. Why would they allow it in natural bodybuilding contests? I mean if you really want to go after everything, use the whole banned list. But if that happens, you'll have some piss poor looking bodybuilders, fat and small, unless you have a few, 2 or 3 guys in the country that look good without anything. So, my feeling is… plus the fact that many things that are allowed in this country, for example, creatine is allowed in this country and it's not on the banned list and it's considered part of the natural bodybuilder's armada, but that's an unfair advantage because in Canada, creatine is a prescription drug and they don't allow it in the country. That's not really fair. So, actually if you have a Canadian natural bodybuilder using creatine, he would be breaking federal laws in Canada using creatine. You just have to figure out what's legal. I think you should do the broadest possible interpreting and that would be what's legal in America because if we just allowed what's legal in Germany, there would be hardly anything we could use.

QUESTION: Synthol. Bodybuilders have been injecting oil-based steroids into their bodies for years. Why are the fatty acids in Synthol encapsulated but not other types of fatty acids? What makes Synthol special?

Dan Duchaine: The interesting thing is that MCTs have been around a long time. Why is it nobody figured out how to do that years ago? It's so simple inject Parillo's CapTri, stick it in your arm, and your arm is bigger. Who would have thought? It's so bizarre, you know, plenty of us inject oily steroids into muscles and they don't swell up forever. I don't know what it is - I guess I haven't asked the right person as to why it is staying around. It's kind of interesting - most of the Synthol being sold in this country are counterfeits made in this country. And even the counterfeits work exactly the same.

QUESTION: Any negative long-term consequences?

Dan Duchaine: We'll find out - who knows? Luckily it only seems to last about 6 months. I guess there's enough people out there that have been using it because it's been around on the continent for a long time now. No one's complained about it or had problems. So far, so good.

QUESTION: A lot of bodybuilders have been using Reforvit but many are still dubious of the claim that it is more effective orally than intramuscularly. How can a different route of administration make such a difference in its efficacy?

Dan Duchaine: It was pretty much anecdotal at first. Back in the early 80s, we had the first versions of injectable Dianabol. In the veterinarian market of Mexico, we found these little yellow boxes of injectable Dianabol. We went to the market with International Pharmaceuticals; it was the first big product for that company to make it in America. We just assumed since it was injected it would bypass the liver and be much more potent but people were disappointed that a cc a day wasn't any better and perhaps worse than 5 tablets a day. Anecdotally, everyone has always wanted to stack an oral with an injectable. We always knew they had more growth on it. So, if you want to accept that anecdotal story as true, now you have to figure out why that might be. The only thing we can think of is that a lot of oral steroids passing through the liver the first time through might be causing some kind of IGF-1 or growth hormone or fibroblast growth factor being released out of the liver into the blood stream. That's the only the thing I can think of.

QUESTION: Are any medical researchers (or renegade researchers) working on administering testosterone via a cyclodextrin-based nasal spray?

Dan Duchaine: We know how to do it. Researchers have done it already. I read that in some research that Michael Dulnig, that AIDS activist that died a few years ago, showed me. Cyclodextrin, the one that we need for steroid use, costs about $400 per kilo, and you need about 10x the amount of cyclodextrin as the steroid. So, if you want to do a kilo of androstenedione or androstenediol you need 10 kilos of cyclodextrin. That's an expense, so you're talking about $4500. I had to do a couple of other supplement projects suddenly so my money went there. Otherwise I probably would have had it done by now.

QUESTION: What advantages would this have over weekly injections of a testosterone ester?

Dan Duchaine: A lot of the strength gains from androstene is from the receptors in the nervous system and the nasal spray will really hit those nerves in the whole brain area pronto! The other thing is most receptors in the body under the influence of steady state amounts of hormones usually down-regulate at some point. The beta-3 and beta-4 receptors probably up-regulate under additional steady state of hormones. But many others, like insulin receptors, and perhaps at some point, steroid receptors down-regulate. Testosterone in the body and growth hormone… all the endocrine hormones, are pulsed into the bloodstream. In studies of growth hormone, they have shown that with 6-8 pulses IV a day, so that you have sudden surges, sudden peaks, you have the greatest growth response. So perhaps, doing this with nasal spray steroids might be a great way of extending the anabolic effect of the steroid. I have a feeling that will turn out to be true.

QUESTION: Are "growth hormone releasing peptides" the next big thing in sports nutrition?

Dan Duchaine: Well, the only one I know of is going to be a prescription drug. They found that the very short peptide, di- and tri-, I think the growth hormone releasing peptides of about 6-8 amino acids long, not all of it makes it through digestion, but a high percentage does so that you could do it orally. As to whether you would see a natural supplement, I don't think so. It would be a drug and it would be regulated.

QUESTION: What supplement projects are you currently working on?

Dan Duchaine: There's an Indian herbal supplement called Forskolin that increases cyclic AMP in many organs that might be beneficial for athletic performance. Of course, not everything is good about it; there's bad things. Right now I am just working out the kind of dosages needed to get the best response. So, I guess, that is what I am working on this year.

QUESTION: What recent research do you find particularly interesting?

Dan Duchaine: There's a whole bunch of new research. Just this month they're predicting a beta-4 receptor which has never been thought of before. It certainly explains why these synthetic beta-3 agonists are not working on humans for fat loss. So, maybe we don't have beta-3 receptors but there's a chance we have beta-4 receptors.

QUESTION: Before we wind up this interview, can you give us your brief comments on several popular drugs in the bodybuilding milieu?


Dan Duchaine: I think maybe only Michael Mooney used it. It's six bucks a pill. I don't know anyone…it doesn't seem to be very readily available yet or in Mexico because I haven't seen it.

QUESTION: Piracetam?

Dan Duchaine: Now Charles Poliquin works with a lot of speed athletes where their performance depends a lot on reaction time. Now he believes that past a certain age, and he thinks that's 26 years old, reaction time declines. He believes some of these smart drugs help at improving reaction time. Of course in bodybuilding and powerlifting, this is not really necessary. I've never really looked at any other smart drugs to see if there is some really odd one that may raise testosterone or growth hormone or lower estrogen.

QUESTION: Cytadren?

Dan Duchaine: Cytadren, of all the anti-estrogens, is the one that people should be using because it really stops a lot of the conversion to estrogen at low dosages. In recent research where they were doing a conversion of androstenedione to testosterone, the addition of Cytadren completely block the conversion to estrone. As long as you can get it, it's reasonably priced, but it's hard to come by. You know, if it's not in Mexico, you don't see it on the black market here very often.


Dan Duchaine: There is a lot of IGF-1 anabolic action specifically in the muscle cells in response to exercise. I wouldn't be surprised if people wised up and put injections of IGF-1 directly in the body part they are training. They would have more growth out of it rather than trying to do it systemically.

QUESTION: Growth hormone?

Dan Duchaine: Buy it cheap. It's no bargain at 20 bucks an I.U. It's a great buy at 10 bucks an I.U. or less.

QUESTION: Clenbuterol?

Dan Duchaine: There is a new one out of Mexico that is kind of cheap…cheaper than the rest. You know, that's another one we never figured out, why is it the first time we ever used it, it worked fabulously, but it never works that good again, even if you go off it for years and then come back to it, it doesn't work as well. I've never figured that out.

QUESTION: Thank you for the valuable information you shared with us today. But we know it is just the tip of iceberg of your knowledge. What is the status of your very informative Dirty Dieting Newsletter?

Dan Duchaine: I am continuing it next year but shifting it over to another company, Essentials, Inc. I'm renaming the title and lowering the price; I will have fewer writers and less columns, and concentrate on one topic per issue, and go more in depth. Dirty Dieting will probably be renamed, 'Living Lean and Large'.

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Ask the Guru - 11-01-2012, 09:27 PM

Question : I'm a fighter as well as a bodybuilder. I gained 15 pounds using primobolan tabs, and I'm happy. However, next year I'll be competing in kickboxing. Can I pop one or two aggression pills before a fight? I'm normally laid back, and it's affecting my fighting instinct.

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : Before I answer your question, I'd like to tell you that this is the kind of question I really dislike. The bodybuilding subculture doesn't need any more Type A individuals acting like assholes. Anyway, most of the benign, non-androgenic steroids have been quietly removed from the commercial market . The most plentiful steroids on the black market are the various testosterones, which are not considered anabolics but rather classic androgens.

There have always been some individuals who actually crave increased aggressiveness, and such behavior has been condoned within their peer group. The obvious examples are the overt contact sports like boxing. But football players (when they were not being tested), law enforcement personnel, and military recruits all requested androgenic steroids when I was a steroid dealer ten years ago.

As to this specific question: yes, there is such a thing as an "aggression pill." But I wonder if much of the "effects" are due to placebo. There has been a recent scientific study which validates this possibility. The obvious choice for Kickassabol is sublingual methyltestosterone, since it's an androgen and has an activity level of only about 20 minutes. Some powerlifters I know would pop them like PEZ just before each lift.

The next choice is the trade-named Halotestin. The generic name is fluoxymesterone. In its favor (or maybe not), it's more androgenic than methyltestosterone. But it's not in sublingual form, so absorption is slow. This is avail able in Mexico as Stenox in two-milligram tabs. I could cautiously recommend 10 milligrams of this drug, but it really doesn't get into the circulation swiftly like sublingual methyltestosterone does.

The current state of the art for commercial androgens is a liquid veterinary or al preparation called Checque Drops (mibolerone). An eyedropper is included in the packaging. Checque Drops is the most androgenic substance currently being sold. It's so powerful that it's taken in micrograms, rather than the usual milligrams. It's used in animal medicine to prevent female dogs from going into heat, and it's usually added to the dog's food.

The powerlifters who use Checque Drops use two full droppers, taken orally. Although some pain-tolerant individuals do inject the liquid, which is mostly propylene glycol, a solvent, it causes tremendous burning at the injection site. It also doesn't do wonders for your stomach lining, either, which is why we have seen a limit of two droppers full. I can't quite say if Checque Drops is terribly anabolic, because I have yet to see any powerlifter or bodybuilder use large amounts of it. However, we do know that Checque Drops will latch onto the steroid receptor tighter than even testosterone. Usually, the high-affinity androgens like dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or Proviron don't have any anabolic activity. In the mid-'80's, the black market DDR designer steroids relabeled Checque Drops as dihydrolone and sold it as a so-called East German injectable. The chief side effect was gynecomastia.

Although Checque Drops doesn't convert to estrogen, it's one of the very few steroids that cross reacts with progesterone (the other "female" hormone) receptors. It does not block the actions of progesterone but actually imparts progesterone-like activity at the receptor. So continual use of Checque Drops may cause swelling of the (male) breast tissue, just as estrogen does.

Even now, Checque Drops are used for powerlifting out-of-competition training. Within 20 minutes or so, 2 droppers of Checque Drops instill a noticeable psychological effect. So Checque Drops is my candidate for Kickassabol. But beside s the fact that its use and possession is illegal (even if you're a horny dog), I don't recommend it because the androgens are what usually generate the side effects that lead to all the horror stories that average people associate wi th steroid use.

I want to use 3 sustanon 250's a week. Should I space the shots out, or can I inject all of it at once? The sustanons are in preloaded syringes, and the needles are pretty big. How do I transfer t he contents into another syringe?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : There is no benefit to spacing out the injections. A total oil volume of three cubic centimeters is not an especially large injection. And Sustanon, which is a blend of various durations of testosterone, is so long acting that there is no "magic" in spacing the injections throughout the week. The standard Mexican Sustanon preload uses a 20-gauge needle. (For readers who are unfamiliar with needle sizes, the smaller the number, the bigger the needle diameter.) Most oil-based drugs are injected with a 21-gauge needle. The smaller the gauge (the higher the number), the more finger pressure needed to force the oil through the needle.

In practical terms, in a standard 3-cc syringe size, most steroid users can force oil through a 23-gauge needle by pushing with one hand. Some individuals can use a so-called vitamin needle of 25 gauge, but it entails using both hands to push the syringe plunger. Most vitamin needles do not use a screw-on connection between the needle and the syringe, and trying to force the oils through this combination generates so much fluid pressure (think of hydraulics) that usually the individual blows the syringe off the needle, and he's left with a needle sticking out of his ass, an empty syringe in his hand, and the oily steroids pewed about onto the worst of places. When I self-surrendered to prison in 1989, I was trying to do the same vitamin needle stunt outside the prison gate inside my friend's new Mercedes and sprayed 3-ccs of Sustanon all over his beautiful Palomino leather interior.

But you're right, the 20-gauge Sustanon needle is damn big. And since you're insisting on using three preloads a week, that would create three very big holes that will accrue muscle scar tissue. Here's how I used to do it, but first, I suppose I should give the standard warning of don't try this at home: my preference was a 23-gauge, 1-inch length. I would remove the plunger and hold it in my teeth. I held the empty syringe in my left hand, and I carefully plunged the Sustanon preload's contents into the open syringe top. I emptied two more Sustanons into the syringe, which filled it to the 3-cc limit. I then carefully and gently replaced the plunger right at the very edge of the syringe rim. I didn't want to push the plunger in too much at this point because I'd dribble steroid out of the needle end. Once the plunger was in position, I turned the syringe upside down (plunger pointing down). I gave the syringe a few shakes downward, and that moved the trapped air up! to the needle end. At this point I could push the plunger in more, removing the air from the syringe. And then I was ready to finalize my felony.

I've read that testosterone has great IGF-1 generating abilities, and Deca Durabolin is not nearly as good. Should I avoid Deca if I want to get maximum growth?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : Testosterone is a more potent anabolic than Deca Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate). It might be that a steroid's ability to aromatize into estrogen is tied into the IGF-1 elevation. Testosterone has more conversion to estrogen than Deca Durabolin does, even though Deca Durabolin is made from an estrogen . We know that the use of the estrogen blocker Nolvadex lowers IGF-1. And we knew years ago that something about Nolvadex was inhibiting muscle growth because I received many comments that bodybuilders grew better without Nolvadex.

So should you avoid a steroid which has less side effects than testosterone in your quest for ultimate growth? It depends on how old you are. From AIDS research, we now know that testosterone depresses the immune system. Deca Durabolin does the opposite (but not to any great degree). My recommendation is that from middle age onward (pick an age, I use age 40 as the starting point), men should use Deca Durabolin instead of testosterone, even in situations of testosterone replacement. We also should be realistic. After a certain age, both growth and IGF-1 are not secreted at their previous youthful levels. So does it matter if Deca Durabolin reduces IGF-1 production if normal levels in middle age and onward are already insignificant? No research on that question has been done. I have a feeling that IGF-1 production declines so much by middle age that its suppression from Deca Durabolin would have no effect.

Another point to make about testosterone use -- we don't have a blood test that can tell us which individuals are going to lose their hair from testosterone use. I have a close friend who is 60 years old and uses 600 mg of testosterone a week and has a full head of hair. And he has been using various steroids, including testosterone, for close to 30 years. As we can see in the professional bodybuilding ranks, some bodybuilders are losing a lot of hair to be able to compete at the over 250-pound body-weight mark. It would be interesting to interview a number of balding bodybuilders and ask them if they wished they had avoided the various baldness-causing steroids. Is the loss of hair just a small price to pay for greatness? That probably depends on if the individual has any kind of life outside of bodybuilding. If the person's whole self and peer esteem is completely centered around his body "looking awesome," then I imagine that hair loss is no big deal. But remember, when the person stops steroid use and muscle size decreases, the hair, of course, doesn't grow back.

One of the arguments against steroid use is that all the gains I would make would disappear once I stopped using steroids. Is this true?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : Yes, eventually, virtually all of the gains from steroid use would disappear. However, it would take years for that to happen. This is one of the reasons football players have not been getting smaller since drug testing began . Off-season, players don't get tested, and they can accrue enough muscle mass to "coast" though the playing season.

The same logic applies with drug-tested bodybuilding shows. A bodybuilder could swear on a polygraph that he hadn't used steroids for a year. Swell, except, during the year of being "clean," a good amount of steroid-generated muscle will still be there. Steroids are still the anabolic bargain. In the studies of geriatrics using growth hormone, all of the beneficial effects induced from the growth hormone went away within a matter of weeks. I predict that the same fleeting anabolism will happen with IGF-1. Clenbuterol's effects diminished even more rapidly. Many doctors don't want to admit it, but limited steroid use of a yearly, eight-week cycle would have virtually no adverse side effects and would probably vastly improve the health of the individual through the rest of the year. It would be interesting to put a group of bodybuilders on a mild short cycle and then track the decreases of muscle mass over the months after the end of the cycle. These results wouldn't surprise me, but I don't think the anti-steroid crowd would like to hear that steroid gains do last for a long time.

I've been using some liquid GHB from two different sources. Both taste bad, but one tastes more like paint thinner than the other. The powder never tasted this bad. What gives?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : As much as the FDA doesn't want gamma hydroxybuterate (GHB) being made, it's an absurdly simple compound to make. Just add water and lye to the lactone solvent, adjust the pH to 7, and it's done. And no, I won't give you the recipe again, and I won't tell you where to buy the lactone. The toughest part of the granular GHB refining process was turning the liquid into a solid. The drying gets rid of all the trace solvents that impart the petrochemical smell. The various new (underground) GHB producers don't have the esoteric equipment to dry the liquid. What is the difference between the different-tasting liquids you allegedly have? The fouler one of the two probably has a pH of slightly under seven.

A well-made liquid GHB is no more toxic than the dry form. And overall, GHB has virtually no toxicity. The problem is how to know if the particular GHB is a good one. The best you can do is scrutinize the packaging. One GHB on the black market has both contraindications and research listings included with the packaging. But don't get too worked up about GHB. It's not really an ergogenic aid. The corresponding rise of cortisol negates any positive effect caused by whatever slight growth hormone may have been caused by GHB use. GHB is a (mostly benign) recreational drug. Those who claim otherwise are just in denial.

I want to go to Mexico to get some Metformin which is available as Mellitron. Is this a good idea? Or can you suggest something better?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : I've mentioned recently that the FDA has approved metformin, a potent insulin agonist, for treatment of Type II Diabetes. The trade name is Glucophage. To remind you: metformin would be more potent in improving insulin sensitivity than either chromium or vanadyl sulfate. I think the problem will be that most American doctors will not prescribe Glucophage to a healthy athlete.

Should you acquire Mellitron in Mexico? No. Unfortunately, in scrutinizing th e Mellitron closely, I found that along with the metformin, there are also 125 milligrams of another drug, clorpropamide. This particular drug increases insulin secretion. This is something most people wouldn't want. We want to improve insulin sensitivity and at the same time lower insulin secretion. Mellitron won't lower insulin but increase it. However, if a bodybuilder uses injectable growth hormone, Mellitron would work well along with it. Large amounts of growth hormone make the receptors insulin resistant, and a slight insulin increase would be beneficial. Most metformins available in Europe would be the isolated compound.

I was steroid shopping in Tijuana and found some small blue bottles of methandrostenolone made by Ludwig Heun in West Germany (at least, that's what the bottle said). Is this stuff real?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : No. It's counterfeit. I happen to know the entire history of this counterfeit because I designed the bottle, label, and tablets.

Starting in 1985, I worked closely with a Tijuana pharmaceutical manufacturing company called Laboratory Milano. For many years, Laboratory Milano produced generic medications, primarily antibiotics, for Mexican drugstores. The laboratory was named Milano because the owner, Juan Machlis, purchased all of the raw materials through a procurement company based in Milano, Italy. Whenever a drug was needed, the procurement company would find a source of it and usually charge between 10% to 15% over wholesale cost.

When brand-name Dianabol and generic methandrostenolone were removed from the American market, several companies began making counterfeit versions, but all of them had problems. Some of the pills were so poorly made and so loosely held together that you could use them as blackboard writing chalk. Others were good but elusive, i.e., hard to find.

About the same time, an Indian crime family based in England began repackaging the Indian Pronabol 5 (methandrostenolone) tablets into small white bottles and labeled them as if the product were from Ludwig Heun Gmb H KG, West Germany. This was a very nice product, and I remember going to various hotel rooms near the Los Angeles airport to buy thousands of bottles from a bearded, turbaned old gentleman who looked like a diplomat. But as nice as the product was, I could never depend on consistent shipments.

So I persuaded Laboratory Milano to manufacture methandrostenolone to my specifications. I designed a tiny light blue bottle with a white metal cap. I supplied the Indian/English Ludwig Heun bottle label so Milano could copy it. I picked this label for two reasons: 1) On the black market, the brand had established itself as a good, reliable product, and 2) I wanted to avoid any ties or references to Mexican manufacture simply because, at the time, most steroid users distrusted any Mexican steroid product. The unfounded assertion was th at the Mexican drugs were not as potent as the European versions. Besides, calling it "Duchainabol" was out of the question.

Methandrostenolone was the first steroid produced by Laboratory Milano, and we made sure each tablet always contained at least six milligrams of the steroid. The cost for the raw materials and packaging was only $0.50 per unit, but we sold it for $4.50. After that, we made counterfeit versions (always with real steroids in them) of Lemmon testosterone cypionate and Lemmon nandrolone decanoate. This was a screw up on my part because testosterone cypionate and nandrolone decanoate were never made by Lemmon. I unknowingly had bought counterfeit steroids to duplicate!

The original source of our methandrostenolone was from Germany. We also purchased oxandrolone from Searle in England. This was ironic because Laboratory Milano and I duplicated the Searle Anavar exactly (the tablet mold cost us $10,000) and sold it for half the cost of what Searle sold it for wholesale to pharmacies. Searle became so frustrated over this (we sold the counterfeit Anavar to American pharmacies) that the Anavar bottle size was doubled to differentiate between ours and theirs.

All the steroid tablets were smuggled in bulk across the border and dropped off at various motel rooms around San Diego. The bottles and labels were made in Tijuana and legally exported to America. Mexican women would count tablets, load them into the bottles, and box them in packages of 100.

I stopped working with Laboratory Milano in the fall of 1986. From that point on, the company cranked up production and flooded the American black market. Just before the arrest of the major "players" (myself included), Laboratory Milano produced some unusual products which I had designed. One was a methandrostenolone with a diuretic and liver antitoxin added. Others included very powerful injectable versions of oxandrolone and oxymetholone. I can honestly say that these two exotic injectables are the most potent steroids I have ever used.

Since the breakup and prosecution of the Laboratory Milano conspiracy, the company has ceased all operations. Nevertheless, some of the former employees still have the ability to produce the various bottles, labels, and tablets of the various steroids. However, none of these current counterfeits have any steroid in them, the Ludwig Heun version included. So if you see any European steroid being sold in a Mexican pharmacy, it's a counterfeit with no active steroid ingredients.

Whenever I use clenbuterol, it works great for about two weeks. After that, I can use ten tabs a day and my temperature will hardly rise. What can I do about this?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : Clenbuterol is a beta-2 agonist. It attaches to the same receptor as your natural adrenaline and noradrenaline do. It has a very high bonding capacity to the adrenergic receptor. Whenever a drug fits well onto a cell receptor , the receptor becomes resistant to that drug. For example, the thermogenic effect of ephedrine seems to have a longer duration (though it's not as potent ) for two reasons: 1) ephedrine doesn't have a high receptor affinity, and 2) ephedrine is not beta-2 specific.

You might have heard about the newly discovered beta-3 receptors. The receptor is primarily a thermogenic messenger, and over half the thermogenic effect from ephedrine is from beta-3 stimulation. Although the thermogenic message is not as intense as the beta-2 message, beta-3 receptors are very resistant to down-regulation. Clenbuterol, however, has very little beta-3 stimulation.

Until some new synthetic beta-3 agonist is commercially available, the beta agonist of choice is still clenbuterol (although the stronger cimaterol is available as a research chemical in the U.S.). The rapid receptor sensitivity attenuation happens to all users, and the various dosage schemes (i.e., two days on, two days off) just aren't successful.

This attenuation and the lowering of above-normal body temperature are governed by two different mechanisms. I've written about one of them before: the shunting of T4 thyroid away from the active T3 form into the ineffective reverse-T3. Most of the thyroid in the body is the inactive T4 type. The active thyroid that actually fits onto thyroid receptors is a reduced T4, and reduced T4 occurs when one of the iodine atoms is cleaved off the molecule by a specific enzyme (deiodinase). Since we have no way of stopping the T4 from being transformed into ineffective reverse-T3 instead of

he active T3, and there's no such thing as injectable deiodinase (which would prevent the reduction), the best approach is to supplement the missing T3 with Cytomel, a synthetic T3.

The trouble is, it's likely a daily amount of Cytomel higher than 25 mcg would eventually stop the production of natural thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and the up-regulation will take about 8 weeks. Then, when you go off Cytomel, your body's still laggin' in production of TSH. So now you know why almost everybody who stops taking thyroid (with the exception of the drug Triacana) gets fat. For eight weeks, the body doesn't need as many calories.

Up to this point, the Cytomel trick was only a partial solution. The second and major decrease of body temperature is caused by the down-regulation of the beta-2 receptor. The receptor actually is still in the cell but not in its usual place. The receptor must be at the outside of the cell surface to be available to the beta agonist. There is research showing that the antihistamine ketotifen (trade name Zaditen by Sandoz) in large dosages will up-regulate the beta-2 receptors. This is similar to the American Periactin (cyproheptadine). This class of antihistamine will cause drowsiness, hunger, and irritability, but you may think the negative symptoms are a small price to play.

Here are the particulars. Zaditen is only available in France in 1-mg capsules , 60 capsules to a box. It sells for 65.10 francs (about $12.25). Because of its appetite-stimulating and muscle-building properties, Zaditen is sold through some of the American AIDS buying clubs. The average price for it in America is $40 a box. The dose needed for the up-regulation of the beta-2 receptors is about 10 capsules (10 mg)--assuming you've been using 3 clenbuterol tablets (60 mcg) each day. Sigma Chemicals, the company that has all the bodybuilding goodies that we like but can't buy (including steroids), does sell ketotifen (the fumarate version is water soluble) in raw bulk form. Keep in mind that even when used with clenbuterol, which both reduces appetite and is more of a stimulant than caffeine, Zaditen will still cause sleepiness and hunger. Those aren't nice effects, especially if you're dieting.

Your final solution to sustain clenbuterol's action is to use both Cytomel (25 mcg) and Zaditen (10 mg) each day after using clenbuterol by itself for 2 weeks . You'll need only 60 mcg of clenbuterol for a very pronounced thermogenic effect, hypothetically speaking, of course.

I'm 45 years old, and I'm on testosterone replacement for low natural levels of testosterone--around 300-350 ng/dl. My doctor has prescribed testosterone cypionate (100 mg per week), and this has brought my testosterone level up to around 600 ng/dl. Should I switch over to your recommendation of Deca-Durabolin? Is the use of Deca-Durabolin instead of testosterone for this purpose a documented and accepted practice? One more thing: I'm using 21-gauge needles. Should I try to go to something thinner to minimize scarring?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : First off, it's nice to see you've found a liberal doctor. Most M.D.'s won't consider prescribing testosterone until they see your blood level of testosterone drop below 300 ng/dl. You appear to have an unusual metabolism. Most males of your age would not realize such a high testosterone elevation on only 100 mg a week. Usually a weekly 100-mg injection of testosterone would raise blood levels 100 ng/dl, at the most. What usually happens is that as males age, the ability to convert testosterone to estrogen (with aromatase enzyme) increases. The extra testosterone injected will more readily convert to estrogen and, at the same time, down-regulate the small amount of natural testosterone being produced. I have a strong feeling that your particular metabolism doesn't manufacture very much aromatase, so the small amount of exogenous testosterone you're using has better potential, as much of it stays as testosterone and doesn't down-regulate your own supply.

Since your injected dose is quite small (only half of what the World Health Organization is recommending for FSH "follicle-stimulating hormone" down-regulation), I can't see any real benefit for you to switch over to Deca-Durabolin. Although the nandrolones have a higher androgen-receptor-binding ability than testosterone, the anabolic effect is not equal, so you might have to raise the weekly dosage to about 200 mg to equal all the positive effects of testosterone cypionate.

In many other males, more than just 100 mg a week of testosterone is needed to generate an optimal blood level of between 500-600 ng/dl. At these higher a mounts, more testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (which accelerates balding and swells the prostate) and estrogen, which would further down-regulate natural testosterone secretion. In these situations, when 200 mg or more of injected testosterone is needed each week, Deca-Durabolin is a nice option, as the DHN (dihydronandrolone) variant has a lesser affinity to receptors at the prostate and hair follicles. The nandrolones also don't convert as readily to estrogen (although it's not markedly different from testosterone).

Now that we know the various mechanisms of the enzyme conversions of testosterone, an enlightened M.D. could also prescribe both Proscar (using only a quarter of a tablet) and Nolvadex (10 mg) daily and would see both a higher blood level of testosterone and a significantly smaller testosterone dosage. I've reluctantly recommended Nolvadex (the most popular anti-estrogen) simply because most M.D.'s won't believe how Cytadren (at 250 mg a day) would work better for this purpose. Of course, the upcoming supplement "Flavone X" could work for the same purpose. However, if you're counting dollars, using Deca-Durabolin would be cheaper than using the combination of testosterone, Proscar, and Nolvadex. Too bad Primobolan Depot is not approved for use in the U.S. It could be a perfect testosterone replacement as it has absolutely no conversion to either estrogen or DHT. You might have heard of a new androgen replacement called MECE. It's very androgenic, so much so, only micrograms are needed each day. This steroid is simply a non-17 alkylated version of the veterinary Checque Drops (mibolerone). I find it hard to believe that researchers are taking this steroid seriously, as mibolerone is a potent progesterone agonist, binding to progesterone receptors and imparting progesterone actions (including sensitizing breast tissue).

Deca-Durabolin, as great as it is, is not mentioned in the literature as a testosterone replacement for middle-aged men. It's recommended for women with systemic lupus (and there is published research on this). The only drawback in using Deca-Durabolin for an androgen replacement is that with extremely low natural testosterone levels (less than 150 ng/dl), there might not be enough androgen action to reestablish libido. In my case, my blood testosterone level is 370 ng/dl, and I have more than adequate libido. I would choose Deca-Durabolin over a testosterone: my hairline is borderline, so why tempt fate?

As to your inquiry about needle gauges, yes, repeated weekly injections with a 21-gauge needle will eventually generate more scar tissue than a smaller needle would. Realistically (and I've tried all the gauges), the smallest gauge needle you can actually use to self-administer is a 23 gauge (I prefer the 1 inch length). But don't be surprised when your weekly shot takes 2-3 minutes to push the plunger all the way down.

Over the summer, I purchased a few hundred tablets of metformin from a European mail-order company. I started 2,000 mg/ day (one 500-mg tab with meals 4 times a day) and experienced a severe loss of appetite. After ten days, I ceased using the drug because I began to lose weight (muscle) and strength as a result of the lower calorie intake. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : I've gotten the same reports from other bodybuilders who comment on this loss of appetite. At least you got the dosage right. Most non-diabetics who use Glucophage (the American version of metformin) have been cautious with do sages and haven't felt any beneficial effects.

The conundrum is this: bringing the dosage up high enough (between 1,700 and 2,000 mg) generates better glycogen storage and a workout pump, but the loss of appetite makes it difficult to eat enough food. This food apathy is caused by metformin's slowing of gastric emptying. Such an effect would be nice to have while you're on a low-calorie diet. But on a maintenance or hyper-calorie diet, metformin would be a problem.

The simple solution is to make sure you eat calorie-dense foods. If there is a ny complaint (and it seems to be a very minor one) with the moderate to high-fa t diets (whether it be Isometric or Zone based), it usually is that the increase of dietary fat means less food to eat. This is the one instance where peanut butter is a guilt-free solution. So it seems logical that metformin and moderate-fat diets would compliment each other. Hunger from eating less carbohydrates is eliminated because of the slow release from the stomach (and from the small intestine, too), and the reduced carbohydrates will be prioritized for glycogen storage. The dietary fat is calorie dense.

If you're following a high-carb diet and won't consider switching to denser foods, the traditional approach for stimulating the appetite for athletes is the prescription antihistamine Periactin. Unfortunately, Periactin causes lethargy and irritability.

If none of the above solutions suit you, only use metformin when you're on a low-calorie diet. If you lower the dosage enough, your appetite will not be affected, but at the reduced dosage, the insulin sensitivity enhancement will be negligible.

I plan on using insulin, the Humulin R kind, and was wondering if I should take vanadyl and metformin with it ?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : Vanadyl and metformin will affect the action of insulin in both good and bad ways. The good thing is less insulin is needed for the small amount of carbohydrates consumed. Increasing the effects of insulin at its lowest possible dosage is the ideal situation. the bad thing is that if you maintain the insulin dosage and food intake levels you had prior to adding vanadyl or metformin, you'd probably get some kind of hypoglycemic reaction, perhaps even go into a coma. The over-the-counter insulin is enticing because it's cheap and its usefulness is supported by stories from top professional bodybuilders. The underfunded and uninformed recreational bodybuilder, however, may suffer many adverse side effects. Even at moderately low daily dosages of Humulin R, visceral (interorgan) fat will accumulate. At best, this is cosmetically repugnant (men looking pregnant). At worst, visceral fat is associated with heart disease. This fat, at least in male bodybuilders, appears to be the last fat deposit lost when dieting.

Metformin was heralded, a few years back, as an "alternative to insulin", but neither type II diabetics nor bodybuilders have been raving about this drug. What little positive effect metformin has on insulin resistance occurs only at high dosages. We now have hopes for the next generation diabetic drug. Rezulin (troglitazone), recently available here in states. Since Rezulin's action appears to work on the insulin receptors (increasing their number) and not at the gut level like metformin, it looks like a possible bodybuilding drug. Increasing insulin receptors is a good thing, unless it happens on fat cells, too.

We don't have a formula for the reduction of insulin when using these insulin synergists. Half the usual dose? Less/more ? From my BODYOPUS experiments. I've found a glucometer isn't accurate blood glucose indicator for readings under 120 dl/ml. I wouldn't try this stack.

You're always cutting edge. What's the next bg thing in bodybuilding drugs ? I mean, beyond DNP and insulin, what floats your boat ?

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : Injectable, once-a-year growth vaccasines-two are being worked on. One vaccine inhibits somatostatin, which is a trace hormone, mostly secreted in the hypothalamus. Somatostatin is a growth-hormone-inhibiting factor, one of the counter hormones which stops the secretion of growth hormone. The other vaccine is an antigen that causes the sama anabolic response through the same receptor stimulated by clenbuterol (and other beta-agonists). Clenbuterol is anabolic in animals in only very high dosages, and these dosages would be lethal for humans. The new antigen vaccine would stimulate the same anabolic receptor, nut it wouldn't cause any of the side effects. Both of these vaccines are being developed in the beef industry in Australia. I'll give you more information as it becomes available.

In your recent estrogen article, you mentioned Clomid (clomiphene) was safe for long-term use by bodybuilders. But in the World Anabolic Review, the authors say Clomid should be used for no more than 14 days and that it's a poor estrogen blocker. Also you gave Proviron (mesterolone) a poor mark while the World Anabolic Review claims it's one of the best estrogen blockers. What's up? I'm totally confused

Dan "Guru" Duchaine : Although Colmid isn't the best of the anti-estrogens, it also has the dual function of mimicking luteinizing hormone, which stimulates gonadal testosterone. So, if you want to lower estrogen and raise testosterone or maintain a natural testosterone level during steroid use, Clomid, if found economically, is an attractive option. I believe the World Anabolic Review writers probably misread the warnings about Clomid and printed the duration of use for women. There are no adverse reactions with long-term use in men that I know of.

If a steroid user is looking for a pracrical estrogen blocker to prevent gynecomastia, Clomid is not the besto choice. In this case, the usual choices are either Nolvadex or Proviron. After recent discussions with one of my newsletter writers/researchers, Bill Roberts, I've come to believe Proviron might not be the terrible, androgenic steroid I always assumed it was. Bill Roberts has pointed out that the liver metabolizes Proviron into something with minimal androgenic action. Although on paper Proviron appears to be a classic androgen, its ultimate fate in the body is much more benign. In a future newsletter issue, I'll have Bill Roberts expand on this subject.

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Ask the Guru - 11-01-2012, 09:32 PM

Question: Why can some bodybuilders eat so many calories each day? If I eat over 2,500 calories a day, I get fat. Do these mega-calorie eaters have super-fast metabolisms?

Dan Duchaine: Big bodybuilders have always confounded the scientists. I’ve known numerous top bodybuilders who actually eat at least 6,000 calories a day. Sure, they train hard, but the amount of energy expenditure isn’t all that enormous, not like an endurance runner or a bicycle racer. And if you bothered to find out the body temperatures of the big muscle guys, they aren’t usually over normal. So what’s happening with all the calories? There’s no magic going on here. Most scientists don’t often see human bodies over 250 lbs with less than 10% bodyfat. Fatter bodies at the same body weight don’t need as much food. Fat cells don’t use very much energy. Fat also is an excellent insulator. You should understand that body temperature is not only how much head is generated within the muscle cells. It’s also tied in to how much heat is radiated out into the air. When bodyfat is lowered into single digits and the skin is only about two to four millimeters thick, tremendous amounts of heat escape into the environment. If we could suddenly throw another 25 pounds of fat on a 250-pound lean bodybuilder, the energy requirements would lessen because more heat would be held in by the body. If you want to eat more food without getting fat, lower your bodyfat, so you become a better heat radiator. You may not be able to eat 6,000 calories, but then again, if you were 250 pounds and had 6% bodyfat, you wouldn’t be asking the question, would you?

Question: I’ve gotten those thyroid tests that you recommended in your last letter. Here are the results: T3: 0.78, T4: 1.22, TSH 3.48. Would you explain the results to me? And by way, you were right, my morning body temperature was 97.2°F. Do I need thyroid and, is so, which type?

Dan Duchaine: In my diet book, :: BODYOPUS :: I’ve written several chapters on the specifics of body temperature, thyroid hormone, and how to optimize them. Usually, I would respond to this question personally rather than answer it in this column format, but the answers will be applicable to many, many readers, as thyroid levels will affect not only the quantity of calories you can consume in a day without getting fat but, more importantly, the quality of the calories consumed.

Let me fill you in on the woman who wrote me with the question above. Valerie is a female bodybuilder living in Paris. She has had a very hard time gaining solid muscular weight without gaining bodyfat. Her caloric intake is less than 2,000 calories a day and even with the use of various thermogenic drugs like ephedrine and clenbuterol, her bodyfat hovers around 15%, which for a bodybuilder, even a female one, is too high. I suggested that she go to her doctor and order up some blood tests, including the three thyroid tests, the results of which we just saw in her question.

Of the three hormones, the thyroid hormone is the only one that regulates body temperature. The other two are the noradrenalines and the prostaglandins. We all have various thyroid hormones circulating in the blood stream, but there is only one active one that actually binds onto the cells and imparts the various instructions to the cell. The first kind is Triiodothyronine (or the synthetic Liothyronine) T3 for short. Most of the thyroid that is produced and floating through the bloodstream is the nonactive thyroxine or T3 type, is converted from T4 with the use of an enzyme called 5′deiodinase. (Hint for the future: most enzyme names end with an “ase”.)

But wait, please don’t be scared off with all these long and unpronounceble words. The worst is over. Valerie had three thyroid tests done. This first on the list is the active T3 level. This value affects body temperature. Whenever a blood test result is given, the normal range of values is also given. The normal range (yes, even in Paris) is between 8 and 2.2. Valerie’s T3 level is .78. Whoa, it looks like the .78 value is not just low but off the normal scale. Why is it so low?

This is why we want to see the other thyroid values. Next on the list is the T4 amount. Valerie’s T4 value is 1.22, and it looks pretty normal, considering the usual range of values is between .70 and 1.90. The third test is the Thryoid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test. TSH is manufactured by the pituitary, and it causes the thyroid gland to secret the other thyroid hormones. The TSH value here was 3.48, right in the middle of the .2 to 5.0 TSH normal range.

What have we learned? Valerie’s thyroid is adequately producing the nonactive T4 thyroid, but somehow, there isn’t enough of the thermogenic T3 one. Where is it going? As you learned a few lines back, the enzyme 5′deiodinase converts T4 to T3. Obviously, in Valerie, it’s not working very well. What we haven’t seen (because the test wasn’t performed) is that all the T4 was converted nto another non-active thyroid called reverse T3.

I wish we had some kind of stimulating enzyme drug or amino acid that would rev up this enzyme, but we don’t. So let’s look backwards to see how the enzyme inhibition happened.

In this particular case, the culprit was clenbuterol, the thermogenic agent Valerie was using. This is something I pointed out a few years ago. (Hold on, this whole thing still applies to you even though most of you will rarely use this non-FDA approved drug). A more common 5′deiodinase inhibition is from being on a low-calorie diet for awhile. That’s right; regular dieting, even without thermogenic agents, will eventually lower the body’s T3 levels. I think you know that evenutally just about all low-calorie diets stop working. The dieter gets stuck. To get the fat loss moving again, the individual has to once again lower calories even more. And remember, the more calories dropped, the more muscle lost. So when the dieter gets stuck, what’s happening? The T3 is lowered and the body temperature is lowered enough so that not as much food is needed to maintain body heat. The rough estimate I use is that every 1.5 degree (F) lost from the individual’s normal morning temperature indicates a 20% reduction of calories needed. The medical term of this T3 impairment is Euthyroid Sick Syndrome.

Now what? In Valerie’s case, since she wasn’t on low calories at the time, she has two choices; either eliminate the clenbuterol or supplement the deficient T3 with an oral T3 thryoid medication. Being in France, her choices are Cytomel, the synthetic T3, or Triacana, the quasi T3. Since Triacana won’t show up on a blood test and Valerie is willing to submit further thyroid tests, Cytomel is the best choice. Of course, the easiest solution is to simply stop taking the clenbuterol. But not everybody has a flexible timetable, especially if there is a competition in the immediate future.

The same logic applies to dieting. Most diets stop working somewhere after the five-week mark. After this time, the T3 and body temperature are reduced. Something else just as significant happens. Lowered T3 levels affect your muscle cells’ insulin sensitivity. Simply, the longer a person diets and requires further calorie reductions to lose bodyfat, the less the body likes carbohydrate calories. This switch over is somewhat benign as the lowered cell insulin sensitivity makes more glucose available to the brain. Remember, glucose is primarily brain food.

So what? This lowered insulin sensitivity from deficient T3 results in less muscle glycogen storage, so more glucose is transported into fat cells. Also, more insulin is secreted to compensate and hammer the glucose in. On low-calorie diets, excess insulin interferes with the stubborn fat disassemby, especially in the lower-body fat areas in women. All this, if you have been following the logic, explains why women dieters do so poorly losing lower-body fat on a low-fat, high-carb diet that lasts longer than four weeks or so.

So the advice for dieters to avoid the mess of T3 deficiences is to simply stop dieting after four to five weeks and adjust calories slightly upward to optimize the thyroid levels. You could be more precise and take morning body temperature readings daily. At some point in the dieting this morning reading will lower by at least a degree or more indicating lower T3 thryoid. The more adventurous will consider adding T3 oral daily medication, especially if some kind of time factor is involved. And then there will be those who have to plug on with the diet without a break and no extra thyroid drug intake. In this case, I recommend a significant reduction of carbohydrates, substituting them with mostly fat calories and some protein. And of course, the BODYOPUS plan with virtually no carb intake for five days is the most effective.

In closing out this question, Valeries’s morning body temperature even with clenbuterol is still too low. Most doctors would say that a morning reading of 97.2° is “normal”. Normal, yes, optimal, no. Ideal morning body temperature for a bodybuilder is in the range of 97.8° to 98.2°. If an individual is below this while on maintenance calories, then some kind of thyroid deficiency is happening. Perhaps the values are all within the normal ranges, but they are not optimal. Such people will not be able to eat much food, and carb calories will easily turn into fat. So in Valerie’s case, she must raise serum T3 levels enough to elevate body temperature to at least 97.8° in the morning. Once adjusted, she will be able to eat more than a measly 2,000 calories a day with an added bonus of better repartitioning of her dietary carbohydrates.

Question: What’s the 411 on super high-protein diets for weight loss? I’m hearing amounts like 500+ grams per day.

Dan Duchaine: Gee, it’s convenient to see these mega-gram protein diets when so many new protein supplements are hitting the market. Considering that I formulated a whey protein and make some money off it’s sales, I certainly would benefit financially in recommending more-more-more protein. But, I wouldn’t be so crass. Increasing protein on a low-calorie diet is an ass-backwards way to supply energy calories without raising insulin levels. It’s not so much the higher protein levels contributing to diet success but the reduction of dietary carbohydrates. You could replace most of the excess protein with dietary fat and achieve the same results. I’ve found that high carbohydrate diets and low calories don’t do well with dieters who are already below 15% bodyfat and traveling down to single-digit fat percentages. That doesn’t mean the carbs should be replaced with mostly protein. Fat works better because all the calories are usable energy calories. Much of the protein calories will not be converted to energy. In the past, I’ve been named the Steroid Guru, but you might find in the coming years I may become the Fat Guru. Dietary fats should be solely judged on quality, not quantity.

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Ask the Guru - 11-01-2012, 09:36 PM

Question: I must be the fattest “lean” guy in the world. I have 8% bodyfat, a 32-inch waist, but I still have love handles. What’s wrong with me?

Dan Duchaine: Your waist size is a combination of three things: the width of your hips, how thick your oblique muscles (your outer ab***inal muscles) are, and the most obvious, how much fat you have around your waist. Although many nutritionists and coaches gauge leanness with overall skin-fold measurements, I don’t rely on overall bodyfat percentages, as I know some men with 15% bodyfat look just as lean as others who have only 8% bodyfat (if the fat is uniformly distributed and not accumulated only at the waist).

It seems the majority of men don’t appear lean until the fat around their midsections is gone, and in most males, this “middle” fat is the last to thin down while dieting. So when I ask for a “leanness evaluation” during a telephone conversation, I ask for only one “reading”: the skin fold at the ab***inal area in millimeters.

Lean natural bodybuilders usually have ab***inal skin folds of between six and eight millimeters, depending on how “tight” their skin is. One of the bad things about aging is skin elasticity declines, and loose skin pulls upper ab***inal fat downward and makes you look fatter. The best way to avoid such sagging is to not get fat in this area, as that stretches the skin out. Also stay out of the sun or at least use a sunscreen. As to your “fat” 32-inch waist, let’s analyze your problem. Find some skin-fold calipers, and do the pinch reading on the fat between your belly button and hipbone. If it’s over eight millimeters, you need to lose some more fat. Another test (but you’ll need someone to help) is to pull the skin that covers your shoulder blade upward and towards your armpit. Tight, elastic skin is quite resistant to this pulling. But if your skin elasticity isn’t great, not only will you be able to pull quite a bit of skin upward, the ab***inal skin fold done during the “pulling” will be significantly less.

If your “fat” 32-inch waist is simply fat, then you have all the tools to reduce it. If your skin is overly loose, then you’re pretty much out of luck (unless you’re willing to have plastic surgery, and this particular procedure involves some more-than-usual postoperative pain).

Question: I just saw this guy in my gym named George Turner. He’s over 70 years old, and he looks better than I do, and I’m 40. What do I have to do to look that good when I’m that age?

Dan Duchaine: I have followed the career of George Turner, who, even at 70, has a full head of hair, great upright posture, an amazing amount of muscle for his age, and great skin tone.

He still competes in bodybuilding contests, in the Master’s division. He was adamant about being antidrug decades before it was an issue. So how can we duplicate his success?

There are three obvious things: keep training, don’t get fat, and maintain your natural anabolic hormone levels.

Let’s examine each one:

Keep Training – Many bodybuilders don’t stop training because they’re lazy but because the decades of poor weightlifting choices have compromised their joints. Shoulders, elbows, and knees can stand only so much punishment. Gymnasts have it happen to them in their early 20′s. Football players have the problem in their 30′s. But with proper training, bodybuilders can preserve their joints even into old age. Remember, research shows the best muscle growth happens in a rep range of 8 to 12. A powerlifting routine will sometimes make you impressively strong, but your joints may suffer in the process.

If a particular exercise causes joint pain, simply replace it with another slightly different exercise. There’s no extra benefit in doing shoulder presses or lat pulldowns behind the neck. And even if Larry Scott and Franco Columbu claim to have developed their biceps by using a close-elbowed, wide grip on the barbell preacher curl, it doesn’t mean you have to “get used to it” when your elbows feel like they’re popping out of their sockets.

Everyone has a different definition of “joint trauma” exercises. A severe injury when you’re young can follow you all your life. Even though it was exhilarating to do heavy-duty-type training, it took years for me to repair the damage. And even after all this, my shoulders make so many noises (clicks and pops), it makes me nauseous.

Not Getting Fat – When you’re young, the body is resistant to extreme changes of weight. But the repeated stretching and shrinking of the skin doesn’t last forever. Try blowing up a party balloon and deflating it a few times and see what happens to the rubber-elasticity goes away. So the less stretching and shrinking, the better.

And of course, the cardiovascular benefits of staying lean are obvious. As we age, we tend to become more comfortable and more sedentary.

You might have great gym workouts but do little else in the way of activity. Find other recreational activities that are physical. Even golf or bowling are better than television-channel cruising.

Maintaining Your Anabolic Hormones – You have the potential of being in better shape than Mr. Turner. Many doctors recognize that the decline of testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin sensitivity are not just “part of getting old” but are signs of disease-and treat them as such. And we’re blessed in America because we have a very avant-garde supplement industry that makes available a myriad of effective remedies that may boost testosterone, growth hormone, and maintain insulin sensitivity.

Question: Whenever I try to increase my calories to gain weight, my face breaks out, and I’m not a kid. I’m 30. But when I go on a low-calorie diet, my face clears right up. How do I build big muscles, not big zits?

Dan Duchaine: Some research has shown that varying the ratios of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) can affect some enzyme-driven steroid transformations. For example, the reduction of regular testosterone to the nastier dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme can be inhibited by eating at least 40% of your daily calories as protein. So analyze your macronutrient ratios; you may be eating this much or more protein while on low calories. And when you’re trying to gain weight, this protein ratio drops to less than 40%. So try eating 40% of your calories from protein during your weight-gain period and see whether or not your acne diminishes.

I should point out that the negative part of eating this much protein is more testosterone is converted to estrogen (which may be beneficial in clearing up your acne, as estrogen is a potent anti-androgen). Lucky for us, we can combat this extra estrogen with any of the naturally occurring anti-estrogens available on the supplement market (e.g., saw palmetto and chrysin). Another potential bonus of eating a higher protein diet for long periods is this very well may preserve your hairline as you age.

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11-02-2012, 09:18 AM

Thank you for the posts. Duchaine was light years a head of his time!
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11-02-2012, 10:54 AM

There was too much good info in there not to hold onto it. I copied and pasted into word!

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