Ask The Trainer #59 – Cycling Supplements & Gaining Weight

Ask The Trainer #59 - Cycling Supps & Gaining Weight

QUESTION:

Chad,

I have learned a lot since you have started contributing with Ask The Trainer. I especially got educated on overtraining, THANK YOU.

The first question involves cycling supplements. Dr. Jeff answered a question for me 6 months ago about the continuous use of Test Charge. He recommended: “that you should go off any supplement program about every two months for about 3-5 days just to clean out your receptors.” Does this hold true to all supplements? (Kre-Alkalyn, GlutaZorb)

The second question involves weight gain. I am 43, 5’ 8” weighing 153#. I’m trying to reach a target weight of 160-165, but honestly, I am unable to *gain* weight. Also, I do not diet. However, I consider my diet as healthy avoiding junk foods, processed foods, and soda. My workouts consist of lifting weights Mon, Wed, and Fri with 25 minutes of cardio on Tues and Thurs; with the following as my routine:

Day 1: Chest, Biceps
Day 2: Back, Triceps
Day 3: Shoulders, Calves
Day 4: Legs

Hence I am hitting the various muscle groups once every 9 days. I have seen great muscle definition, just not substantial gains. What would be your opinion on a realistic goal for weight gain on a monthly/yearly basis?

Again, thank you for all of your insights, and Prove ‘Em Wrong!

Michael


ANSWER:

Hi, Michael. Thanks very much for the positive feedback! I’m extremely pleased to know my posts have been valuable to you. I consider it an honor to be blessed with the platform that has been provided for by EFX Sports—to share my knowledge and experience with others.

Dr. Jeff is exactly right. Our bodies are extremely efficient at adapting to stimulatory compounds. Herbal ingredients in particular. This is why many people report how the positive effects of fat burners and testosterone boosters all but disappear after a couple months of continuous use.

When receptors in our cells are stimulated for too long, they tend to burn out to the point where the supplementary compounds no longer trigger the desired response. Furthermore, just as nature has equipped animals with their own protective, defense mechanism, plants have been designed with their own defense capabilities as well. Research has shown that plants can literally sense being touched.

Cycling In Nature

Plants use chemical defense mechanisms to protect themselves from damage caused by predators that consume them. It doesn’t matter if these predators are humans, animals, or insects. Secondary metabolites known as asheterotelergones are among the chemical defense mechanisms in plants. The metabolites can accumulate in living tissue and reduce plant digestibility, which can initiate a resistance that reduces the metabolism and assimilation of various compounds within herbal substances. In other words, cycling these types of ingredients is a good idea if you’re looking to bypass this type of resistance.

On the other hand, there are other types of compounds your body requires and uses every single day. This is especially true for serious athletes who exercise on a regular basis.

For example, your body will utilize protein, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids such as glutamine and creatine on a daily basis to support numerous metabolic processes. Because there is a daily need for these nutrients, they do not need to be cycled.

Supplement Cycling

Some athletes swear that cycling off creatine for 1-2 weeks, then going back on will enhance the effects. I haven’t seen any evidence to support this claim, nor does it make sense to me.

Chad ShawCreatine is a natural compound synthesized by our bodies from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine which are all found in high protein foods like meats and dairy products. Our bodies require creatine to support ATP production to produce energy. This is an ongoing process that never stops, so there is a constant requirement for creatine. In other words, it is not necessary to cycle Kre-Alkalyn or GlutaZorb.

The same holds true for nitric oxide boosting supplements. Your body will use arginine and citrulline (found in Training Ground PRE) to produce nitric oxide. Interestingly, citrulline increases serum arginine levels to produce higher levels of nitric oxide more than arginine alone does. Your body relies on nitric oxide production on a daily basis. It’s an important signaling component that allows cells in the body to communicate with one another.

Additionally, nitric oxide plays a role in immunity and regulating blood pressure by relaxing and expanding blood vessels, which makes it essential for maintaining cardiovascular health. That being said, nitric oxide is an essential part of our biochemistry.

Strength Increases

It sounds like you’re adhering to an ideal training split. Before I can accurately ascertain whether or not your training regimen leaves room for improvement, there is one crucial detail that I would need to know…

Are you getting stronger from workout to workout?

In other words, when you repeat the exercises within your training cycles, are you seeing increases in the weights you’re using, the repetitions you’re performing, or both? I’m asking this because for any muscle building routine to be productive, it MUST be progressive. Throughout the entirety of my 30 years in bodybuilding, strength increases would ALWAYS precede size increases. Anytime I’d find myself in the midst of a plateau, unable to gain size, my strength would always simultaneously be stagnant as well.

People will often question the issue of how you sometimes see a thin, wiry-looking individual who is stronger than a bulky, more heavily muscled individual. Although genetically mediated differences are the primary reasons for this, the fact still remains that the thinner individual will only get bigger as he becomes stronger. The same goes for the more bulky individual…he will only get bigger as he gets stronger as well.

Solid Nutrition

It sounds like you’re definitely eating healthy, but the other question I have is: Are you eating enough nutrition to support additional growth?

Of course, you don’t want to begin indiscriminately gulping down exorbitant amounts of calories because that will only lead to fat gain and destroy your conditioning. However, I think it would be reasonable to increase your daily caloric intake by 200-300 more per day, mostly in the form of whole foods.

I would try to obtain these extra calories at about a 40/40/20 ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Try that for about 2 weeks, and if you still aren’t noticing any positive changes, increase your daily calorie intake by yet another 200-300 calories. Continue to methodically increase your calories this way every 2 weeks until you begin to add some quality weight. If you begin to notice your definition dissipating, it means you’re taking in more calories than you need, and it’s time to cut back.

A realistic goal for a natural bodybuilder will depend upon individual circumstances. For example, someone who has been training 1 year or less will experience much more dramatic progress than someone who has been at it for a decade or more. When I began bodybuilding, my first 25 lbs came very quickly, in just a couple of years. After that, I was lucky to pack on 5 pounds of muscle per year.

There were times I put on significantly more weight by overeating. But, it was not quality weight though, so in my book, it didn’t count.


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Gains Come Slower As You Advance

You will find the longer you’re bodybuilding, the more slowly the gains will come. One of the primary reasons for this is the fact your body adapts to various forms of stress. Thus, it ceases to respond as well. It becomes more challenging to figure out ways to increase the stress on the muscles without overtraining.

The other major factor you have working against you is declining hormone levels as you age. This is the reason why Test Charge is among my main bodybuilding essentials.

At the end of the day, I would urge you not to predict your bodybuilding potential based on mine. I’ve met some natural bodybuilders who’ve built amazingly muscular physiques that would rival those of other respected bodybuilders using a laundry list of chemical enhancements.

I feel that regardless of your genetic potential, anyone can build an amazing physique if their training, nutrition, and supplementation are on point over the long haul.

The key is consistently doing things right. This level of commitment extends well beyond genetic potential. You need the proper mindset, specific goals, and, most importantly, tight focus to stay on course.

In my opinion, the most exciting aspect of this journey is this fact. You can only realize your maximum potential in retrospect. You only know what you’re capable of AFTER you’ve done it.

The big question is: How far can you go? There isn’t any! Use your passion, discipline, and creativity to search for new and better ways to actualize further progress.

I wish you the greatest level of success with your bodybuilding and future endeavors!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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