Muscular Development №2 2009

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2009 HI-TECH








Vo l u m e 4 6 , N u m b e r 2 , F e b r u a r y 2 0 0 9




378 Extreme Muscle Enhancement By Carlon M. Colker, MD, FACN

Research: Training By Steve Blechman & Thomas Fahey, EdD

128 Research: Supplements By Steve Blechman & Thomas Fahey, EdD 140 Research: Nutrition By Steve Blechman & Thomas Fahey, EdD

386 The Predator By Kai Greene

188 Supplement Performance Supplements Are Another

394 The True Victor By Victor Martinez

Excellent Training Tool! By Jose Antonio, PhD, FACSM, FISSN

402 Mass With Class By Branch Warren 406 Lee Priest Confirmed! By Lee Priest NEW!

192 Sports Supplement Review Mitotropin: Fat Burners Are Dead! By Robbie Durand, MA

412 Telling It Like It Is By Shawn Ray NEW!

200 Nutrition Performance Whey Protein Is More Anabolic Than

418 Branden Ray: Road To The USAs By Branden Ray NEW!

372 MuscleTech Research Report

422 The Big Bad Wolf: The People’s Choice By Dennis Wolf

Essential Amino Acids! By Robbie Durand, MA


426 Erik “The House” Fankhouser By Erik Fankhouser

108 Research: Fat Loss By Steve Blechman & Thomas Fahey, EdD

430 National Hero By Evan Centopani

174 Fat Attack Ephedrine/Caffeine Combo: New Study Says “Not Guilty”

438 The Pro Creator By Hany Rambod

By Dan Gwartney, MD

442 Contest Guru By Chad Nicholls 446 Trainer of Champions By Charles Glass


DRUGS 150 Research: Drugs By Steve Blechman & Thomas Fahey, EdD 184 Future Pharmacy By Douglas S. Kalman, PhD, RD, FACN 328 Testosterone ANABOLICS IX: An Interview With Author William Llewellyn By Dan Gwartney, MD

348 The “Clear” Chemist By Patrick Arnold NEW! 356 Anabolic Research Update By William Llewellyn 360 The Anabolic Freak By David Palumbo 366 Anabolic Edge By Jose Antonio, PhD 384 Busted! Legal Q&A By Rick Collins, JD


HEALTH & PERFORMANCE 120 Research: Health & Performance By Steve Blechman & Thomas Fahey, EdD

162 Research: Sex By Steve Blechman & Thomas Fahey, EdD 202 Muscle Growth Update By Robbie Durand, MA NEW! 318 Bodybuilding Science Once Or Twice A Week Body Part Training For Optimal Growth? By Robbie Durand, MA

352 No Juice Bodybuilding By Eric Broser NEW! 374 Ask The Doc By Victor Prisk, MD NEW! February 2009




Editor’s Letter By Steve Blechman


Mail Room Where Our Readers Rave & Rant


Who’s Hot! By Mike Yurkovic


MD People


The Romano Factor By John Romano

310 Major Distraction By John Romano




340 Ramblin’ Freak By Gregg Valentino 436 No Bull Radio By John Romano 452 Hot Shoppe By Angela T. Frizalone 456 Web Directory 458 MD Marketplace By Angela T. Frizalone & Manda Machado 486 The Last Word By John Romano










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editor’s letter By Steve Blechman Publisher & Editor-in-Chief


hat’s it like to train in the most hardcore bodybuilding dungeon in the world? The gym that eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman and ‘People’s Champion’ Branch Warren call home? The place that has set the standard for the anti-establishment “fitness club” counterculture, and preserved the very essence of what it means to be “hardcore”? The place I’m talking about is, of course, Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas. Its owner and creator Brian Dobson has been gracious enough to allow MD– the one and only true hardcore bodybuilding magazine left in the world– to call Metroflex home. I’m so awestruck at the amazing photo shoots we created in that old-school hardcore muscle dungeon, that I wanted to find a way to thank Brian for allowing us so much access. How could I show my gratitude to Brian and give him the props

he deserves? Publicity! And that’s how I came up with the theme of this issue. Every feature in this ultra-hardcore issue is shot by MD ace photographer Per Bernal at Metroflex Gym. On page 430, Evan Centopani throws down intense blue-collar style with his off-season workout. On page 426, Erik Fankhouser burns up his huge wheels; on page 386, ‘The Predator’, Kai Green, torches bi’s and tri’s; and on page 256, Tarek Elsetouhi massacres chest, old-school style– all on the battered and souped-up hardcore equipment you will only find at Metroflex. Then on page 402, people’s champion Branch Warren reflects on his years at Metroflex and how he became a bodybuilder there. On page 300, Flex Wheeler is granted an exclusive interview with his old friend, eight-time Mr. Olympia and Metroflex fixture Ronnie Coleman, to talk about not only throwing down at the world’s

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Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Steve Blechman Senior Editor John Romano Managing Editor Angela T. Frizalone Creative Director Alan Dittrich, Jr.

most hardcore muscle dungeon, but also of the possibility of the legend returning! Finally, on page 210 Senior Editor John Romano sits down with Brian Dobson and talks about what it took to build what would be known the world over as the most hardcore gym in the world. To further the love, I want to call your attention to the official website:, which sells the world-famous Metroflex Gym hardcore clothing line you have seen both Ronnie and Branch wearing. Brian also has online training/nutrition programs available for bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, MMA, football and general fitness. He says he has been very blessed in this area, with great results from a wide variety of folks worldwide. Brian takes each individual into account, for a truly unique, custom-tailored program. He also offers personal training onsite, specializing in hardcore bodybuilding and strength programs that hundreds of bodybuilders and other athletes have benefited from. There is even an InTown suite within walking distance to the gym that has a fridge, microwave and stove for reasonable weekly rates. Athletes from all over the world have come and trained hands-on Metroflex style for a few weeks at a time. Brian says he’s not a “guru” or a chemist, but believes that God has anointed him to build champions— a fact that can’t be ignored as long as someone wants to train hardcore! You can open your own can of Metroflex Whoop-Ass by calling Brian at 817-465-9331 or e-mailing him at [email protected]. The rest of this super hardcore issue is jam-packed to the binder with tons of useful news and cutting-edge information from the industry’s top sources and seasoned pros, to help you build the body of your dreams. It just doesn’t get any more hardcore than here at MD! See you next month!

Cover photos of Branch Warren and Ziville Raudoniene are by Per Bernal

February 2009

Associate Editor Lana Russo Associate Art Director Stephen Kolbasuk Assistant Editor Alan Golnick Contributing Editors Carlon Colker, M.D.,Thomas Fahey Ph.D. Dan Gwartney, M.D. Executive Assistant Michele Gampel Photographers Chief Photographer: Per Bernal Mike Yurkovic, Dan Ray, Bill Comstock Illustrators Bill Hamilton, Fred Harper, Jerry Beck Advertising Advertising Director—Angela T. Frizalone (239) 495-6899 Corporate Office 800-653-1151, 631-751-9696 Circulation Consultants Irwin Billman & Ralph Pericelli

To Order a Subscription: (888) 841-8007 Customer Service & Subscription Inquiries: (631) 751-9696; 1-800-653-1151 Advanced Research Press, Inc. reserves the right to reject any advertising at its discretion. MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT (ISSN 0047-8415) is published monthly by Advanced Research Press, 690 Route 25A, Setauket, New York, 11733. Copyright ©2008 by Advanced Research Press. All rights reserved. Copyright under the Universal Copyright Convention and the International Copyright Convention. Copyright reserved under the Pan Am Copyright. Rate: $49.97 per year (USA); $79.97 per two years (USA); foreign: $79.97 per year. Nothing appearing in MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT may be reprinted, either wholly or in part, without the written consent of the publisher. Send editorial submissions to: MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT, 690 Route 25A, Setauket, New York, 11733. Stamped, self-addressed envelope must accompany all submissions, and no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited submissions. All letters, photos, manuscripts, etc. sent to MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT will be considered as intended for publication, and MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT reserves the right to edit and/or comment. Periodical postage paid at Setauket, N.Y. 11733, and at Glasgow, KY 42141. Postmaster: Send address changes to MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT, Box 834, East Setauket, NY 11733-9704. Advertising Office Phone: (239) 495-6899. PRINTED IN USA

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mailroom Erik Fans Erik “The House” Fankhouser has the most amazing wheels in bodybuilding today. He has the greatest column in MD. The pictures alone are worth a thousand words. His legs are sick…out of sight, like tree trunks. He must have a problem finding pants that fit. More important, Erik is a good guy, a family man who appreciates his wife and knows what’s really important. Keep going strong, Erik! Joe Scharler and Mark Verone, e-mail

Ben Weider Nice tributes to Ben Weider in January MD. From Steve Blechman’s letter to The Romano Factor and even a picture of Joe and Ben Weider in MD People in the same issue. This is very respectable and classy of MD, to showcase icons in the bodybuilding world who don’t work for your magazine. That’s more than those “other guys” do— I certainly have never seen a really nice article about Steve Blechman in Flex or Muscle and Fitness. Maybe somebody over there is asleep at the switch? Jerry Fishkin, e-mail

Romano Factor

Gregg, You Rock! Gregg Valentino has the best column in MD. It’s never boring, always crude and rude. In fact it’s the first thing I turn to when I open my copy of MD. Gregg tells it like it is and doesn’t pull any punches. And if you don’t like it, you can fuck off! (as Gregg would put it). Bobby Wenschel, e-mail

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As a longtime reader of MD, I applaud the depths of John Romano’s investigations into bodybuildingrelated issues each month in The Romano Factor. Once John gets going, he really digs deep, and he’s quite a funny guy. John has a wonderfully pissy delivery but his train of thought sometimes takes a detour. Eventually, though, he finds his way. He’s like the Rex Reed of bodybuilding journalism, after a slight lobotomy. Martin Fein, e-mail

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Esmeralda Saxenian: NPC figure athlete, Texas

Photographed by Mike Yurkovic

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February 2009

February 2009

JulieAnn Kulla: IFBB figure pro, Minnesota

Darice Castro: NPC figure athlete, Arizona

Leigh Hickombottom: Fitness model, Florida

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Yenny Polanco: NPC fitness athlete, Massachusetts

Nikki Warner: NPC figure athlete, Hawaii

Monica Mark: NPC figure athlete, California

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February 2009

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Nikki Key: NPC figure athlete, California

April Moore: Fitness model, California





Team MD presents 2008 NATIONALS Coverage!

Ed Nunn Super Heavyweight and Overall Winner

Mike Liberatore Heavyweight Winner

Guy Cisternino Middleweight Winner

Grigori Atoyan 2nd place Super Heavyweights Sheila Bleck Womens Bodybuilding Overall Winner

Peter Putnam Light Heavyweight Winner

Scott Foster Earned Pro Card

Erin Stern Figure Overall Winner Marvin Ward Lightweight Champ

Jennifer Migliacci Earned Pro Card

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Jocelyn Jean Welterweight Champ February 2009

February 2009

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Great show, Steve!

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February 2009

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February 2009

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TheRomano Factor By John Romano

500-WORD SUBMISSION FROM THE MD ONLINE CREW… Another month, another winner! This was a particularly well-submitted month, with plenty of diverse topics from which to choose. In the end, Chrisco915 won this month’s contest with his article “To Schmoe Or Not To Schmoe...That Is The Question.“ This was his second contest win, having previously won in June ‘08. Congrats, bro!

To Schmoe Or Not To Schmoe…That Is The Question By Chrisco915 If you are anything like me, you spent your formative years in the gym learning (amongst other things) that prolonged chit-chatting and meandering socialite groups yucking it up in front of frequently used equipment is blasphemous. Those lessons kept me withdrawn during my workouts and rather unapproachable (as I have been recently informed) to those who crossed my path. Perhaps, like me, you have seen the same people day after day…week after week for years and have never even spoken to them. You have checked out the attractive woman in the tight black shorts or the handsome, muscle-clad man and not said hello out of embarrassment or not wanting to bother them. Many times, you have passed one another and looked past each other or made eye contact and quickly looked away or got caught checking each other out in the mirrors (don’t deny it…you have been caught at least once). But what if you actually said hello? Would you appear creepy and seem like you are hitting on the person? What if you overcame the embarrassing longevity of not expressing the common decency of saying “Hello” during all that time? Would the person just scowl and walk away? What if you actually just said, “I apologize, but I feel rather rude for not introducing myself after all the times we have passed each other here….I’m .” Would they destroy your preconceived fantasy of them and ruin it? It was time to find out. Obviously, I do not recommend this course of action while someone is mid-set or cruising a hellacious cardio session, but between sets or resting, one might be able to learn a few things about the people they are surround by who share the same passion for the gym. So, I took this mindset to the gym. Instead of pacing instinctually between sets, I remained relatively stationary and said hello to people who acknowledged my presence. To my surprise, quite a few of my pre-determined write-offs had quite a few interesting tidbits of wisdom about nutrition, training and other fascinating subjects. Yes, a few fantasies were destroyed by self-centeredness, rudeness, social grace, gym etiquette— and yes, some people just suck. But the positive far outweighed the negative. I am not saying I am evolving into the ever-irritating social butterfly of the place; but I must admit that I feel rather liberated by breaking the irrational unspoken bond in today’s societal lack of interest in anything that does not relate directly to them. I walked away from this with a few things I didn’t start out with. More smiles and hellos entering the gym after a hard day’s work, a new workout partner and more people who understand my perchance to appear unfriendly (which is far from the truth). For all this…I feel more connected to my gym and its people. It has become a more comfortable “home away from home.” I really do suggest it, even if only for one day. THE WAY I SEE IT, wow! That was good! But why the term schmoe? I always thought that meant a fanatical fan of female bodybuilding. Whatever the case, I am indeed enlightened and I’m marching straight into the gym tomorrow morning and introducing myself to at least two people to whom I must appear rude. Good job, Chrisco915.You got me thinking!

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February 2009

MY SIT-DOWN WITH AUTHOR L. REA King.” In addition to his auspicious post at ALR Industries, he has also authored several books, as well as hundreds of articles. Of course, many may know him from his columns in both Muscular Development and Iron Man magazines. I don’t know if I’m really the one who started calling him King, but others do now, too. Some call him Coach, and some call him Author. For the record, I know you and I’ll bet there are a few other names that’ll get your attention.


his month’s MD is a particularly hardcore issue. With all the insane training features shot in Metroflex Gym, and the interview with its owner Brian Dobson, I felt compelled to introduce all of you to another old school, hardcore player in this thing of ours. He is an old friend of mine with whom I’ve shared some, shall we say enlightening experiences. I’ve seen him start from almost nothing and grow to the point where he has revolutionized the industry with his amazing and incredibly effective supplement line. While I was interviewing Brian Dobson, he made the statement, in regard to his gym: “Break from conformity.” I thought that went rather well with my good friend who always says, “Never accept mediocrity.” So, I figured this would be a great issue to introduce you to him. So, this month, in the space I usually reserve for current controversy, I’m going to do something a little different and use it to explore someone controversially current. I’d like you to meet this friend of mine, Author L. Rea. Many of you know him as the mad scientist behind ALR Industries, but he’s actually the company’s CEO and head researcher. In Spanish, El Rey means “the king.” Close enough for me. So, a long time ago, I affectionately started calling ALR “The February 2009

ALR: I don’t know, “a**hole” seems to be used a lot! Our marketing director, Troy Johnson, calls me Mohammad Steel after our recent product shoot for our new sexual stimulant Porn Star. But I’m really just another guy working for a living. JR: Come on, bro!You’re obviously more than just a guy working for a living.That’s why I translated your name and call you The King! ALR:Yes, you did point that out years ago. So I guess I am King Author. OK, but no lance or sword jokes. I know all the one-liners! JR:Your success has been pretty amazing. ALR Industries is just rocketing skyward. Unfortunately, in this biz, the better you do, the more haters you attract, and you sure seem to have your share. ALR: So true! But you really can’t take haters seriously. I can always tell how well we are going to do each year by the number of “dumb ***” lawsuits we get, the number of people who want to be me, and the number of people who trash on me or the company. Naturally, this is in comparison to the increased turnouts at shows we do and obviously, yearly sales. So far, I can already tell this is going to be a very good year! JR: Anything in particular come to mind? ALR: Hmmm...oh, yeah; there’s this one little gym rat dying to get noticed. He’s got a blog at He provides such comic relief around the office.

Every now and then we do a reading from the blog and it gets the whole crew rolling on the floor laughing their asses off! In reality, this guy wants to be me more than any guy in the country, but like most wannabes, he puts others on blast about things he knows little about, probably to make himself feel better for his complete lack of success. Maybe it’s just a small man’s complex; I don’t know. It’s just hilariously pathetic. It’s unfortunate because he’s actually a pretty well-written lad. But, like most haters, he needs to learn more and talk less. He will get much farther than if he just sits in a gym the rest of his life hoping to be noted as someone. Damn, dude, everybody is someone already; just learn to be you! JR: What’s his problem? ALR: Weird. First off, he seems offended that my name is Author rather than Arthur and goes on and on about it, relentlessly crashing on our magazine and me. He even goes so far as to Photoshop some of my photos to try and make me look fat! Oh, my god, they are hilarious! I mean come on, dude, who has time for such kid stuff? JR: Sounds jealous to me. ALR:Yeah. But he does like Krissy Chin, so he can’t be totally lost. You know she’s a cutie! Maybe that is his problem? JR: He can’t get laid? ALR: Ha!! I wouldn’t doubt it! I guess it is like most critics: Those who can’t do, criticize those who can and do. “Zero risk and guts needed” is the motto of a critic, funny s**t really. JR: Does that shit get to you? ALR: I personally think it is awesome that I piss him off so much. We must be doing something right to get that kind of jealousy. I hope to meet the kid someday and thank him for the free laughs and suggest he actually do some research and then write some articles. Like I said, he does have real talent for writing that I hope he doesn’t let go to waste. JR: Sometimes growth breeds change and certain people seem to want to reel you in if you get a little too out there. Do you feel there are MD 71

The Way I See It—Romano Factor people trying to change you or your image more as your company and success grow? For example, PR people, lawyers, reps or women maybe? ALR: Geez, one or two. Some, including our lawyer, feel that me “telling it like it is” in an interview, or “coming of age” as it were, is the wrong thing to do. He feels it is supplemental suicide in marketing. I strongly disagreed with him. I really don’t know how to be anyone else but me. And I certainly am not ashamed of anything I have done. Rather proud at times, actually. But he is an awesome attorney and we are lucky to have him on staff. He is just trying to protect us of course, and he does a great job, and of course with me he stays pretty busy! OK, maybe “too” busy. JR: Wouldn’t it be easier— and cheaper— to take his advice and pull in the reins a little? ALR: And stop having so much fun? Ha ha! No way! One of many things life has taught me is that the truth will always be the truth and it will set you free. Some people may not always like the truth, but they hate lies so much more. In other words, why lie or bulls**t someone? Being politically correct is an easy way to cop out or to say you are too scared to be real. Comfort zones are so easily violated for that type. The bottom line is simply this, and I really want everyone to pay attention here: the “million-dollar secret” to my success is my commitment to the truth. I didn’t work long, tedious hours dealing with a magnitude of production problems, compliance issues and research setbacks all these years to design and sell Joe-Average supplements. I figured that out some time ago when the three-letter gang (FDA, DEA, and any I missed) made it well known that writing books and making prohormones that worked was not going to be a good idea in the near future. As a bodybuilder and a lifetime multifaceted athlete, I was left to my own devices to do better if I wanted to be better at what I do. So I went back to the chalkboard. JR: Is that what was the driving force behind building your company? ALR: I initially built ALR Industries

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for one reason and one reason only— for ME! I needed to make products for myself and my clients, many of whom are pro athletes, and any other athlete who wants to push the performance envelope. Obviously, I couldn’t afford to break the law anymore, and I didn’t want to. So keeping it real was paramount. Making products like Hyperdrive 3.0+ and Jungle Warfare was vital for me. I have always been a performance freak. Karate, kendo, cage fighting and powerlifting have all been part of my life. Obviously, I am a hardcore bodybuilder and will always be. I suppose I will be buried with a set of weights and shaker cup! JR: So in essence, you became your own lab rat? ALR: Correct; after a lot of research and testing of course. How else would I be able to be honest when I say I know my products work? I know they work! S**t, my entire staff knows they work; just look at them. Hell, look at me! How many supplement CEOs and day-to-day working staff actually looks the part? We love what we do and love living the fitness lifestyle. JR: I would rather look at Krissy

ALR: Maybe, but here’s what separates us from the others.The biggest challenge lies in looking for new ways to develop the body via nonhormonal products. This is where product development gets tricky. I simply cannot accept mediocrity, and of course have no interest in breaking the law anymore. So making legal and trustworthy supplements that far exceed the norm is a must. JR: Yeah, I can appreciate true innovation, but the laws are kind of limiting these days. ALR: That’s the challenge! My goal is making products that work and still follow all the rules. I must work within those confines by thinking outside the box. Product development stems from the way I look at chemical structures and physiological action/reaction factors in my mind. Action/reaction is not a linear event; it is a matrix. By taking a different approach, we have been able to set new standards in nonhormonal supplements that work well. I mean, really well! Just wait for Chain’d Out, Porn Star and the new WTF Pump’d coming out in the future. These new products will blow you away!

The bottom line is simply this, and I really want everyone to pay attention here: the “million-dollar secret” to my success is my commitment to the truth. than you or Troy any day, but hey, that’s just me. Are these people walking testimonials for your products? ALR:The amazing truth is simple and it is the key to our success. Without much advertising money spent, largely from word-of-mouth spread from my clients and staff, Joe Average began seeking out my products! In an amazing turn of events, this word-of-mouth has spread like wildfire. One can now find ALR Industries products in Vitamin Shoppe. Distributors like BOSS and Lone Star are selling millions yearly. JR: There are a few little stories like that. Our industry is unique isn’t it?

JR: So, is it that thinking-outsidethe-box attitude part of what creates not only the company image, but yours as well? And the catchy names such as “Porn Star?” Is that what continues the need to keep an attorney on staff? ALR:Yeah, I guess you could look at it that way. I just don’t think that I should change my image and be something or someone I am not. That’s kind of funny by, the way. I never really thought of myself as having an “image.” I am Author L. Rea, a bodybuilder, researcher, writer, CEO, daddy and one of the few company owners always at his booth shaking hands with consumers. Basically hav-

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The Way I See It—Romano Factor ing way too much fun being me, and enjoying the life I have carved for myself. What else is there?You see everybody wants to be somebody, but some do not want to be themselves so they choose to look upon others and be judgmental. I guess for them it’s just easier to put others down than it is to pick themselves up. I have been judged and here I am, still being me and making money and still selling products everyone knows and trusts. To me, what really matters is that the product works. When a consumer is willing to drop hard-earned cash for a bottle with my name on it, it better work. It is more than business at that point. It’s personal. JR: During my research, I have heard repeatedly that you are an exceptional CEO. Your story is fascinating, basically a rags-to-riches story. Would you agree? ALR: I wouldn’t say I’m exceptional. I simply did what anyone can do with $100. It takes $100, years of hard work and never letting up. If you do let up, someone will replace you. For me, mediocrity sucks and whining is not an option. Just to note, I have been in the industry a few years, bro. But yes. All is going well as of late. JR: So any newly released products you want to talk about? ALR: Sure, gratuitous plugs are always fun! We released our Hypershots™ at the Europa afterhours party as well as at the show, of course. “Get Intensely Hyped” is more than just a slogan. Hypershots™ are two, 2-ounce serving shots that trigger some interesting, tingling-like sensitivity and more than enough energy to make the fun last. They come in three flavors and seriously taste great as is, mixed in a 16-ounce bottle of water. Better still, mixed in drinks like Grey Goose. Hey, we needed to be thorough in our testing! Someone had to get toasted. We will be serving them at the ALR Industries after-hours party during the Olympia weekend this September. One can bet that since the after-party is held in Vegas that someone in my crew will get arrested for having too much fun. Then again, that’s how we roll! JR:Yes! I actually have Dave Palumbo holding the bail money! So

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do these shots make you horny or moody? ALR: No, they won’t make you feel like crying at daytime soaps or wanting to watch sappy movies. Hypershots™ make you physically sensitive all over. You may need a date to handle the “inspiration” part. JR: I’m sure you’ll have plenty of “talent” around just in case I don’t show up with a date. Speaking of which, as you know, most of us have gotten in trouble a time or two in the past. You said “arrested.” I’ve heard you have been arrested a few times. Is that true? ALR: Yup! JR: For what? ALR: Which time? JR: The time when you did time. I mean you did do time, didn’t you? ALR: Hasn’t most of our industry? For the record, I have, let’s just blame it on my young ego at the time. I’m not ashamed of it. JR: I don’t want to overstep any bounds, but are you willing to talk about it? If so, was it your fault? ALR: Of course it was my fault. I am not some victim. A long time ago I ran a performance-enhancement business. Far from legal, obviously: designer androgens, unknown peptides, stims and the rest of the creative chemistry stuff I have written about. Naturally there was the usual violent stuff that goes with it and in various countries of origin, but that’s just part of how the business was back then. I am certainly not claiming to be some kind of bad-a** then or now. I just did what it took. Blame it on youthful hubris. JR: So you were like an American gangster for chemical enhancement! ALR: Gangster? No, I was just doing what it took for me to find what was not available anywhere else. I paid dearly for that education, I lost everything I had, but looking back I have no regrets. I have to admit I was too cocky at the time, but I guess we all have to come of age eventually. Back then, I thought I couldn’t be caught. I was wrong. But all in all, it’s just life and part of the learning process. JR: I know from experience that education comes at a hefty price.

ALR: Yeah, that’s for sure! Those three-letter alphabet lads and ladies don’t play! They hunted me and eventually they caught me. The Feds did their job quite well. I took responsibility and pled guilty. I didn’t rat nor did I do country club time in exchange for other people’s lives. I honestly paid my debts to society. JR: Didn’t they offer you “the deal?” ALR: Of course they did! I could have played rat and avoided living in a 4 x 8, but doing so would have cost me something I simply cannot sell: my honor. Just my opinion, I guess. I refused to be a rat. It’s funny though, all the bad-a**es I know are now dead or never getting out of prison, as the rest of us are just keeping it real. Some of us are fortunate enough to have the option to drive all of our passions into what we love most. For me, that passion is this industry; it always has been. If you can’t be a breathing example of what you offer the consumers, you should simply shut up and find something that you can be real and honest at. JR: I assume you’re referring to your “image” today in the industry? ALR: Look bro, I just can’t bring myself to be someone who pretends to be some kind of big-mouth bad a**, nor am I one of those BS supplement company CEOs who needs Photoshopped arms to sell trustworthy products. I am always in shape and my arms are always very close to 20 inches, plus or minus a quarterinch. I do business straight up and do all I can to give consumers reason to always trust in my company’s products. JR: Interesting, so I assume you learned your lesson? ALR: Oh, hell yeah! I learned a lot from it and actually think I am better for the experience. You may be shocked to learn how sharp the law enforcement people are. I know you know, I mean “you” as in others. You just don’t realize it until you are sitting in an interrogation room hand-cuffed to a table for a day or two while various organizations wheel in their boxes of files on you to “ask a few questions.” It only gets worse from there. But, if you pay close attention you can

February 2009

The Way I See It—Romano Factor learn a lot. JR: What was the most important thing you learned? ALR: Do not piss off the lads and ladies of multiple law-enforcement agencies! More importantly, I learned that business is business. Just keep it legal and be real. Ironically, I now call them to ask for advice on how to keep it legal. Now I can comfortably sleep in the same house two nights in a row without worrying who will be an uninvited guest! JR: I’ve known you for a long time and you always keep it real. I love how you’re always saying, “Never accept mediocrity.” ALR: You should never accept mediocrity! Learning to decipher someone who just talks a good talk, but doesn’t walk the walk, probably is not a good choice. In our industry there just is no excuse for being out of shape or a fake; I wouldn’t want my family spending money from the advice of someone less than exemplary. For example, at an expo when you approach a booth you are already sizing up the attendees. That’s where the line is decidedly drawn between those who live the life or those who just act the part. In other words, to get anywhere in life or business, one must gain potential for survival by being adaptable. Take that as you like. It applies in more ways than most who sit on the fence would understand. If you say something then mean it. If you do something, then do it the best way you know how. And of course, don’t betray or lie to people. JR:You have written a few books that have really set you apart from the other “gurus” in this biz. How did you arrive at your philosophy? ALR: Guru? Geez, I thought that word was banned when I was a kid. Obviously, I didn’t just pull the information in Chemical Muscle Enhancement, Building the Perfect Beast and the rest of the books and articles out of thin air.Though I spent way too many years in academia, there is obviously no degree in “androgenology” or human performance chemistry as applied to physiology. You learn this by being in the trenches. Tying real-world experiences together with research and theory is

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where applicable knowledge comes from in our business. In all reality, this applies to all forms of business. JR: You said something about lawsuits? ALR: A good marker of success is when other people who are too lazy to accomplish what you have, sue you for any dumb-a** thing they can come up with. In general, people are hardworking and seek their own dreams. Some try to take advantage of the realized dreams of others. I am not speaking of anyone specifically here. I don’t want to be sued for the truth! A good example is evidenced in the unique embossing ink and labeling techniques we had to create so that they could not be easily or cheaply counterfeited. We had issues a while back with someone trying to knock off Hyperdrive, which is one of our top products. I couldn’t believe it! I can understand copying drugs, but sport supplements? It’s amazing. JR: Any lawsuits going this year? ALR: Any successful company gets them, of course. One stupid, the other was worth paying attention to. JR: Come on, bro; aren’t you being sued by a football player who tested positive for banned substances while using one of your old prohormones? ALR: Our lawyer would crap Twinkies if I said too much about that right now but, yes, that’s pretty much correct. Imagine that, testing positive for a sports organization-banned prohormone while using a sports organization-banned prohormone! Who would have thought that was possible? Obviously, I should note that we are speaking of banned by a sports organization, not controlled or illegal; there is a huge difference. Personally, I couldn’t care less as to whether or not someone opts to utilize performance-enhancing compounds or products any more than I would say someone has no right to a superior coach, trainer, or even Cialis. In both cases, we are talking performance enhancing. I believe strongly in freedom of individual choice, regardless of whose opinion it conflicts with. But, if you agree to play by a set of rules, and testing for performance-enhancing products or drugs is part of it,

then playing by the rules is a matter of integrity. I find it odd that we so often want to see superstar performances week after week, but we support rules that make it impossible to recover between games and practices. We discontinued production of all of our prohormones I believe by the end of 2005 and, I would assume, most were gone by early 2006. We did so for just this reason: to avoid all of the negative hysteria the media promotes over something so relatively benign. If the media wanted to expose something truly relevant regarding health risks, they would be marching in force to fast-food establishments everywhere for exposé pieces. How many die yearly from cardiovascular damage and diabetes attributed to the foods these places sell? If we truly are trying to save ourselves and our children, then start by putting an age limit on fast food. JR: What are you doing about it? ALR:The legal stuff is in the lawyer’s hands. Personally I am amazed that, as of yet, there are not dozens of class-action suits against players, teams and sports organizations. We can strip guys from the Hall of Fame, take back gold and silver medals from amazing male and female athletes, and recent placing. So why can’t we sue for trophies, awards, and income that someone got from admittedly cheating? If someone opts to sue a company for their own choice to use a banned compound then they are admitting they cheated. Why should a cheater be rewarded with a marker of fair play and money deceptively earned? I am surprised more of the public is not outraged by this. JR: Do you think a lot of NFL players are cheating? ALR: NFL players, overall, are awesome athletes and it takes some serious heart to do what they do. I used to love football and I didn’t care who was playing. But when the team owners and players associations make claims that their intent is to clean up the sport and remove performance-enhancing substances, then they should do it. Don’t just talk about it; be about it. We are talking multibillion-dollar organizations here, which

February 2009

The Way I See It—Romano Factor are still using urine testing as its standard. There are simply too many possible errors or false positives that can happen with the current system. Simply translated: cheaters can stop using most oral steroids five to 10 days before a piss test, or use masking agents to skirt the system. Hair samples are the best evidence, as you can test for pretty much anything done during the period of that hair’s life. JR: What if the guy or lady is bald?

ALR: There is always a hair somewhere. For example, I was in the shower at the gym the other day and saw this guy walk to the shower shaved head-to-toe. He drops the towel and bends over to pick it up and let’s just say that testing wouldn’t be a problem. JR: Yuk! Personally, I wouldn’t have looked…too much info. On a serious note, Author, who do you make products for? ALR: Simple, anyone who refuses to accept mediocrity and wants to

exceed excellence. In general, bodybuilders, fitness and figure athletes, MMA fighters, X-Game athletes— any hardcore athletes will benefit. Geez, have you ever watched some of these fighters or X-Games athletes? These are some amazing athletes who are way outside of mediocrity! Basically, anyone seeking performance enhancement in any area or realm of the imagination. ANYONE who will not settle for mediocrity…who would more than likely be the person reading this! ■



ollowing on the success of the first MD improvement contest, another one was recently held for everyone who missed out on the first one. The contest was open to all MD forum members, both male and female. The judges looked for the mostimproved person and chose one male and one female winner. The contestants did not need to come in water-depleted and ripped at 3 percent body fat. This was for people to improve in a healthy reasonable manner. The winner could very well be a guy or girl who loses 30 pounds and comes in at 8 percent to 10 percent, or it could be somebody who drops down to 6 percent and is ripped, with a great shape. It could be a guy or girl who is already lean, but adds noticeable muscle. It is a bodybuilding and improvement contest. But it wasn’t a “Jared” Subway contest. You gotta flex! Because of the amazing improvement and dedication that the top two guys from the last contest

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showed, we brought them in as judges for this contest. And to add some beauty and balance to the judging table, as well as some serious muscle! Girlymuscle joined the judging team. The contest ran from July st st 1 -November 1 . When all was said and done, Ms. Muscle won the women’s contest and Newbreed won the men’s contest. Check out the before and after pics! Congratulations to both of them!

February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Training Muscle Protein Signalers Don’t Work As Well In Older Men Curly of “The Three Stooges” once said, “I’m trying to think, but nothin’ happens.” Old muscle works the same way. British researchers, led by Michael Rennie, found that proteinsignaling systems were less responsive in older than younger men to amino acids and weight training. Muscle tension and amino acids such as leucine stimulate protein-signaling systems in muscles that trigger formation of muscle proteins and increase muscle size. The study showed that high muscle tension (60 percent to 90 percent of maximum effort) worked best for stimulating protein synthesis, but the system works better in younger than older men. Build muscle by training hard and taking amino acids and protein supplements close to workout times. (Physiology, in press; published online November 10, 2008)

Stem Cells Promote Muscle Growth Stem cells exist throughout the body and can form many types of cells. This makes them particularly valuable in exercising muscle cells, which turn over rapidly because of damage and repair. Thomas Hawke from York University in Canada described the importance of stem cells in promoting muscle hypertrophy following weight training. High levels of muscle tension during resistance exercise damaged critical cell structures. Muscles contain satellite cells that migrate to damaged tissues, repair them, and increase muscle size. Satellite cells maintain a balance between cell nuclei and muscle size, which is critical for cell health. Stem cells from other tissues stimulate muscle satellite cell activity and promote muscle growth. Cell maintenance and health in any tissue is extremely com-

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plicated and is influenced by chemicals and growth factors produced throughout the body. Bodybuilders must be concerned with the health of all tissues and not just the size of their muscles. Metabolic health and a good physique go hand in hand. (Exercise Sports Science Reviews, 33: 63-68, 2005)

Beginners Respond To Low-Intensity, Slow-Repetition Training Experienced bodybuilders know that increasing muscle size and strength requires PTA— pain, torture and agony. As Governor Arnold said in “Stay Hungry,” his first mainstream movie, “You must burn to grow.” Japanese researchers showed that beginners benefited from low-intensity, slow-movement weight training. Two groups of untrained young men lifted weights for 12 weeks, training either at a normal cadence using higher resistance (80 percent max effort) or a slow cadence (3 seconds up, 3 seconds down) and low intensity (50 percent max effort). The men in both groups gained equal amounts of strength and muscle mass compared to control subjects who didn’t exercise. This study showed that beginners respond to low-tension, slow movement weight-training programs, but the results do not apply to trained bodybuilders. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 22: 1926-1938, 2008)

High-Volume Workouts Increase Testosterone Best Testosterone makes muscles grow, while cortisol breaks down muscles and helps remodel them after intense exercise. The volume and intensity of a weighttraining workout influences blood testosterone and cortisol levels. Australian researchers found that a bodybuilding-type workout (10 sets of 10 reps, controlled movements, weight 75 percent of max, 2 minutes rest) increased testosterone and cortisol, while a speed workout (8 sets of 6 repetitions, explosive training, weight 45 percent of max, 2 minutes rest) or strength workout (8 sets of 4 repetitions, explosive lifting, weight 88 percent of max) had no effect. It makes sense that increased testosterone levels following training increase strength and muscle mass, but a cause-and-effect relationship has never been proven. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 22: 250-255, 2008)

Ab-Slider Beats Out Other Ab Exercises Cut, fit-looking abs serve as the foundation of a championship physique. While classic exercises such as bent-knee sit-ups are terrific for maximizing ab activation, February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Training they put tremendous pressure on the spine that can cause lifelong back pain. Bodybuilders need effective abdominal exercises that minimize the stress on sensitive spinal disks. Mayo Clinic researchers, led by James Youdas, found that the Ab-Slider activated the abdominal muscles better than the abdominal crunch, supine double-leg thrust, or side-bridge exercises. They cautioned that the double-leg thrust overworked the large thigh muscles, which could place excess stress on the low back. Extensive research by Dr. Stuart McGill from Canada showed that a variety of exercises strengthen the core muscles best. He concluded that the three best core muscle exercises for the average person were curl-ups, birddogs and side-bridges. The Ab-Slider is an effective device for strengthening the abdominal muscles, provided that people maintain a neutral spine while using it. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 22: 1939-1946, 2008)

Weight Training Does Not Increase Muscle Testosterone Production Blood testosterone levels influence muscle size and strength. The body produces testosterone mainly in the testes and to a lesser extent in the adrenal glands, which partly explains the larger muscle mass in men than women. Other tissues, such as skeletal muscle, can also produce small amounts of testosterone through reactions involving chemicals related to cholesterol, such as DHEA. A very sophisticated study from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, led by Dr. Bill Kraemer and Jakob Vingren, showed little change in the muscle production of testosterone during weight training in humans. The study involved taking muscle biopsies and analyzing them for steroid hormones and enzymes involved in the intramuscular production of testosterone. (Journal of Applied Physiology, in press; published online October 2, 2008)

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Rhabdomyolysis Can Kill You The popularity of “boot camp” training and exercise programs such as the 300 Workout have led to an increase incidence of a formerly rare condition called rhabdomyolysis. Intense exercise can destroy muscle cells, resulting in leakage of their contents into the bloodstream, which has toxic effects on other tissues and organs. Rhabdomyolysis causes muscle pain and weakness and can cause kidney failure. It is particularly dangerous when it occurs in people who are also using drugs such as statins, amphetamines or anabolic steroids. Francis O’Connor and colleagues from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland reported case studies of two young men suffering from rhabdomyolysis. They had symptoms similar to those of millions of people who overexercise. Rhabdomyolysis is potentially deadly and should be considered as a possible diagnosis in anyone who participated in extreme exercise and shows signs of excess of muscle soreness or fatigue. Bodybuilders who train to failure are particularly at risk. (Current Sports Medicine Reports, 7: 328-331, 2008)

lowing an intense weight-training workout. Aging men with low levels of testosterone and growth hormone can’t count on exercise to boost hormone levels and might require hormone replacement therapy to maintain optimal health. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 22: 1617–1624, 2008)

Hormonal Responses To Exercise Reduced In Longtime Weight Trainers Weight training increases anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, which can have positive health effects in aging men. Low levels of these hormones increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, decreased muscle and bone mass, prostate cancer and depression. Brazilian researchers, led by Eduardo Cadore, found that total testosterone, free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, cortisol and sex hormone-binding globulin increased more in untrained men than in trained men fol- February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Fat Loss Large Waist Size Doubles Risk Of Premature Death Sixty-six percent of Americans are obese or overweight. Excess fat increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke and sudden death. A large European population study that tracked nearly 400,000 people for nearly 10 years showed that fat distribution was more important than total fat for predicting the risk of death. Researchers measured body mass index (BMI; a measure of the proportion of height to weight), waist circumference, and waist to hip ratio. They also gathered data on education level, smoking, alcohol consumption, and exercise. People with the highest waist circumference (top 25 percent) increased the risk of death during this period by 105 percent, while those with the highest waist to hip ratio increase their risk by 78 percent. BMI, a rough measure of obesity, was also related to an increased risk of death but it was not nearly as significant as markers of high abdominal fat. The lowest risk of death linked to BMI was 25.3 for men and 24.3 for women. Waist size is a simple and accurate measure for determining general health status and the relative risk of death. (New England Journal of Medicine, 359: 2105-2120, 2008)

Orlistat (Xenical, alli) and sibutramine (Meridia) are the only weight-loss drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These drugs cause an average weight loss of 15 pounds in 12 months. A Danish study led by Arne Astrup from the University of

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much weight on a low dose (0.5mg) as they did on a higher dose (1mg). The final clinical trials are under way. If successful, the drug could be approved within two years. Side effects included increased heart rate and blood pressure, dry mouth, insomnia, and gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, diarrhea and nausea. Another weight-loss drug called rimonabant was approved briefly in Europe but not approved by the FDA because of severe psychiatric side effects. The FDA will closely monitor these effects in tesofensine before granting their approval. (The Lancet, in press; published online October 23, 2008)

Abdominal Obesity Linked To Reduced Growth Hormone Release Growth hormone is a potent fat burner. Some bodybuilders and older adults use supplemental growth hormone to reduce body fat, particularly in the abdomen. While largely ignored by many physicians, medical guidelines require that patients demonstrate growth hormone deficiency before they can be given supplements. A Harvard University study showed that growth hormone release was less in overweight and obese people in response to a chemical stimulator (growth hormonereleasing hormone and arginine) and was most severe in people with abdominal obesity and increased fat stores in the abdominal cavity. Other markers of increased body fat such as body mass index (a measure of the proportion of height to weight) were not related to growth hormone release. The researchers concluded that increased abdominal fat was a good indirect marker of abnormal growth hormone metabolism. (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 93:4254-4260, 2008; 93: 4221-4223, 2008)

GlaxoSmithKline Developing Powerful Fat-Burning Drug Red wine contains a powerful chemical called resveratrol that promotes insulin and blood sugar metabolism and increases fat burning. A German study on mice found that resveratrol helped shrink fat cells and prevented obesity in animals fed a high-fat diet. Resveratrol works by preventing the growth of new fat cells by suppressing the development of “pre-fat cells.” Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has developed a drug similar to resveratrol called SRT1720 that is 1,000 times more powerful. Mice fed the drug experi-

February 2009

Illustrated by Jerry Beck/

‘Super’ Weight Loss Drug, Tesofensine, Getting Closer To FDA Approval

Copenhagen showed that a drug called tesofensine nearly doubled the weight loss (28 pounds in six months) of current FDA approved weight-control drugs. Tesofensine works by interfering with the metabolism of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain, which decreases appetite. People lost as

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Fat Loss enced large increases in fat burning. Early trials in diabetic mice found that the drug was well tolerated, had few side effects, promoted weightloss, lowered cholesterol and increased exercise capacity. The drug must go through years of clinical trials before the Food and Drug Administration will consider releasing it for sale. (Reuters, November 4, 2008; Cell Metabolism 8: 347-358, 2008)

Greater Weight Loss With High-Protein Meal Replacements Meal-replacement beverages are effective for weight loss. High-protein diets promote rapid weight loss during the early phases of dieting. Leo Treyzon and colleagues from the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition found that increasing the protein content of replacement meals caused greater fat loss than similar meals with less protein. The study involved 100 obese men and women who were divided into two groups that consumed two liquid meals and one solid food meal per day (calorically equal) for 12 weeks. One group consumed 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight per day while the other consumed 1.1 gram per kilogram per day. Weight loss was similar (about 9 pounds) for the two groups, but the high-protein group lost twice as much fat (3.6 pounds vs. 1.4 pounds). Increasing the protein content of weight-loss diets promotes fat loss. (Nutrition Journal, published online August 27, 2008)

Bromocriptine Increases Growth Hormone Secretion In Obese People Growth hormone (GH) is vitally important for controlling body fat.

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Obese people have a reduced capacity to release growth hormone, which makes weight control extremely difficult. A brain chemical called dopamine increases GH release. Dutch researchers from Leiden University Medical Center found that boosting dopamine metabolism with a drug called bromocriptine enhanced 24-hour growth hormone release by 22 percent in obese women. Bromocriptine increases the activity of the brain’s dopamine receptors. The receptors send signals to parts of the brain that control growth hormone. Bodybuilders should not take bromocriptine to boost growth hormone because it can cause psychotic symptoms. This study was interesting because it showed the link between growth hormone release, obesity, and the brain chemical dopamine. (Journal Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 93: 3455-3461, 2008)

New Weight-Loss Drug Lorcaserin May Be Released In 2010 Arena pharmaceuticals Inc. is arranging financing to help release and market its new weight-loss drug lorcaserin. The drug is similar to fenfluramine that was part of the fen-phen weight-loss drug combination. The Food and Drug Administration ordered fenfluramine off the market in 1997 because it was linked to heart valve problems and increased lung blood pressure. Like fenfluramine, lorcaserin works by promoting the release of serotonin in the brain, which suppresses appetite. Extensive research on the new drug shows that it does not cause heart valve disease and is safe and effective for weight control. The drug is currently undergoing Phase 3 trials, which is the final step before FDA approval. More than 66 percent of Americans are obese or overweight, so there is a potentially gigantic market for this new drug. (The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2008)

Weight Loss Improves Sexual Self-Esteem In Women More Than Men Excess body fat hurts sexual selfconfidence in both genders but much more so in women than men. A Duke University study showed that overweight women were more likely than men to say that they did not feel sexually attractive (68 percent vs. 58 percent), didn’t want to be seen undressed (63 percent vs. 31 percent), had little sexual desire (39 percent vs. 23 percent), avoided sexual encounters (29 percent vs. 19 percent), had difficulty with sexual performance (27 percent vs. 19 percent), and did not enjoy sexual activity (21 percent vs. 4 percent). In women, weight loss resulted in more positive answers to each questions. Weight loss made men feel more sexually attractive, but they did not respond differently to any of the other questions. Body fat and sexuality are more closely linked in women than men. Overweight men may feel less sexually attractive but they still want sex, feel less selfconscious in the nude, and actively seek sexual encounters. (International Journal of Impotence Research 20: 487-492, 2008)

MD HAS THE WINNING FORMULA! The most cutting-edge, scientifically-based, no-bullshit information on building muscle and burning fat—from drugs and supplements to training, nutrition and diet—from the top medical experts and bodybuilding champions and insiders!

February 2009


By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD

Health Melanotan: The Underground Tanning Drug Health experts in the United States and Great Britain are concerned about the unapproved use of the tanning drugs Melanotan I and Melanotan II. Melanotan I contains an enzyme called alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) that promotes the release of the skin’s tanning pigment, melanin. Melanotan II contains alpha-MSH and a hormone called malanocortin, which also affects sexual performance (promotes erections and sex drive) and bodyweight control. While these drugs have undergone clinical trials, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them. Typically, it takes about 10 injections of the drug to cause a deep, rich tan that can then be maintained with weekly injections. Apparently, the drug is widely available on the black market in the United States, as suggested by the existence of discussion websites such as (BBC News, November 17, 2008)

Balding Linked To Paternal And Maternal Genes

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Arthritis Drugs Increase Heart Attack Risk Many bodybuilders with sore joints and aging adults with arthritis take COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx and nonselective, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to decrease pain. Several recent studies showed that these drugs increase the risk of

heart attack and stroke. Daniel Solomon and colleagues from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that the drugs increase cardiovascular risks more in some people than others. They examined more than 100,000 people who used the drugs and compared them with nearly 50,000 nonusers. Vioxx increased the risk of heart related deaths by 22 percent, while NSAIDs decreased the risk by 21 percent. Risk factors linked to COX-2 inhibitor-related deaths included age, high blood pressure, prior heart disease or heart attack, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease and chronic lung disease. (Arthritis Care and Research, 59: 1097-1104, 2008)

Do High Testosterone Levels Increase The Risk Of Prostate Cancer? Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer–related deaths in men. Last year, 250,000 men were diagnosed with the disease and 30,000 died. Testosterone (T) has been linked with an increased risk of the disease, but the relationship is circumstantial. Drugs such as Eulexin (flutamin), Casodex (bicalutamide) and Procur (cyproterone acetate) block the action of testosterone and dehydrotestosterone and shrink enlarged prostate glands. Many physicians won’t prescribe T to aging men because they fear it might promote prostate cancer. Studies from Harvard University, led by Abraham Morgentaler, showed that low testosterone levels actually increased the risk of prostate cancer. In his new book Testosterone for Life (McGraw Hill, 2009), Dr. Morgentaler noted, “There is not a single study that found any difference whatsoever in cancer outcomes for men with T concentrations of 200, 500, or 800 ng/dL.” Medical experts are questioning the long-standing belief of a relationship between high testosterone levels and an increased risk of prostate cancer. (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers and Prevention, 17: 2525-2530, 2008)

High Blood Calcium Increases The Risk Of Deadliest Form Of Prostate Cancer If a man lives long enough, he will probably get prostate cancer but die from something else. The exception is rapidly progressing prostate cancer that is quick and deadly. The cause of the disease is unknown, but risk factors include age, family history, race, poor diet and lack of exercise. Researchers

February 2009

Illustrated by Jerry Beck/

Urban legend has it that men inherit the baldness gene from their mothers. A study from McGill University in Canada showed that the gene can come from the mother or father and that the chances of going bald are much greater if both sides of the family have the gene. While scientists are beginning to understand the genetic basis for balding, they are a long way from doing anything about it. Drugs such as minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia) will slow the rate of balding if started early but will not prevent it completely. Scientists are

actively studying the genetics of hair loss and may someday have a cure. Until then, you are stuck with wigs, hair plugs or the bald look. (The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2008)


By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD

Health from the Wake Forest University Medical School showed that high blood calcium increases the risk of the most deadly form of the disease by 300 percent. It is not clear whether the culprit is calcium or parathyroid hormone, which controls calcium levels. Blood calcium or parathyroid levels cannot be controlled by reducing calcium intake in the diet but can be reduced with drugs. Measurements of blood calcium and parathyroid hormone levels might be important tools in predicting the risk of the most deadly form of prostate cancer. (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 17: 2302-2305, 2008)

Statins Interfere With Muscle Growth Statins such as Lipitor have been heralded as wonder drugs that lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. These drugs have a dark side for bodybuilders. Statins, particularly in high doses, are linked to muscle soreness and fatigue. The side effects are particularly evident during periods of intense training. A study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that statins interfered with the development of satellite cells in muscle. Satellite cell formation occurs in response to muscle stress and injury. The cells combine with injured muscle tissue to promote repair and trigger muscle hypertrophy (growth). Statins might interfere with the training response to exercise and counteract the desired effect of a bodybuilding program. Athletes must weigh the potential cardiovascular benefits of these drugs against the possible adverse muscular effects. (American Physiological Society Meeting: The Integrative Biology of Exercise V, September 2008)

Weight Training Reduces Knee Arthritis Symptoms Popular wisdom suggests that people with knee arthritis should

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avoid weightlifting like the plague. The thinking is that high forces developed in the knee joint when doing squats or other leg exercises will make the problem worse. Australian researchers, in a review of literature, found just the opposite. Weak muscles around the knee joint cause instability and stress, which deteriorate cartilage cells lining the joint. Cartilage damage triggers joint surface irregularities and promotes poor joint lubrication, which causes pain and disability. Strengthening the muscles around the joint provides stability and a healthier environment for the cartilage cells and the membranes secreting joint fluid. Researchers reviewed 18 studies that included nearly 3,000 patients and found that resistance exercise reduced pain and improved physical function, walking speed, and balance. Weight training works best when people use good lower body exercise techniques that minimize abnormal stresses on the knee joints. (Arthritis and Rheumatism, 59: 1488-1494, 2008)

Aspirin Might Mask Prostate Cancer Physicians often advise middleaged and older adults to take an aspirin every day to prevent heart attack and stroke. Aspirin, however, might artificially lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a screening test for prostate cancer. The reduced PSA levels might cause physicians to miss the early stages of the disease. Researchers from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, in a study of 1,200 men biopsied for possible prostate cancer, found that those who regularly took aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen) had lower PSA levels. Several studies reported a link between aspirin use and reduced prostate cancer risk. In fact, aspirin might conceal the early symptoms of the disease. (International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, November 17, 2008)

February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Supplements Creatine + Arginine AlphaKetoglutarate Increases Muscle Endurance and Power

Ephedra + Caffeine Does Not Increase the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke During the 1990s, nearly 33 percent of overweight and obese people in the United States took

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prescribed EC by physicians. This well-controlled study examined EC use in more than 2,300 people living in Denmark who took the supplements between 1995 and 2002. Before the FDA’s ban, EC was the most popular food supplement in the world. In 1999 alone, more than 12 million people in the United States took more than 3 billion doses of the supplement. Most studies showed that EC helped people lose as much weight as FDA-approved weight-loss drugs (orlistat and sibutramine) that cost more than five times as much per month. It’s time for the FDA to reevaluate their stand on ephedra/caffeine supplements. (American Journal of Epidemiology, 166: 966-973, 2008)

Phosphatidylserine Reduces Stress Hormone Cortisol Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a fatty chemical (phospholipid) found in cell membranes and is made mainly from soybeans. The supplement reduces the cortisol response to exercise. Cortisol is a stress hormone that reduces protein synthesis and might slow recovery following intense training. PS supplements might assist in the adaptation to exercise training, prevent overtraining, and influence other hormones such as testosterone that increase muscle mass and fitness. Michael Starks led a group of researchers from the University of Mississippi who found that men who took PS supplements for 10 days (600mg per day) showed decreases in blood cortisol levels and improvements in the testosterone/cortisol ratio following moderate-intensity exercise. PS may be a beneficial supplement for athletes by decreasing the stress of exercise and promoting recovery, but the cost of taking the dosage used in this study might be excessive for many athletes. (Journal International Society of Sports Nutrition, published online July 28, 2008)

Green Tea Decreases Fat Cell Size and Number Green tea is a popular weight-loss supplement that also improves blood sugar regulation. While it is not a magic bullet that instantly improves metabolic health, it helps. Scientists from the University of Porto in Portugal found that green tea prevented fat cell development and promoted fat cell death in rats. Green tea was their only beverage during the

February 2009

Illustrated by Jerry Beck/

Muscle contractions, nerve impulses, protein synthesis and fluid balance require energy that comes from highenergy compounds, such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and creatine phosphate (CP) produced during energy metabolism. This process involves breaking down food in a series of small steps that releases energy, which is captured in other reactions that produce ATP and CP. Many athletes take creatine monohydrate to increase muscle CP levels, which boosts muscle strength and power. The TCA cycle (Krebs cycle) is an important part of this process. Many athletes take supplements containing critical elements of the TCA cycle, such as alpha-ketoglutarate, to improve exercise performance. Jonathan Little and colleagues from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada found that creatine monohydrate or creatine monohydrate + arginine alpha-ketoglutarate increased peak power output during repeated sprint tests on a stationary bicycle. Supplementing key high-energy fuels can increase high-intensity exercise capacity and promote recovery. (International Journal Sports Nutrition Exercise Metabolism, 18:493-508, 2008)

ephedra/caffeine (EC) supplements to promote weight loss. Many bodybuilders and other athletes took EC to increase energy levels during training and competition. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of EC based on uncontrolled observations and anecdotal reports of cardiovascular side effects. A Danish study led by Dr. Jesper Hallas found no increase in heart attacks, heart-related sudden deaths or strokes in patients

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Supplements six-month experiment. They speculated that chemicals in green tea such as caffeine and catechins— particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate— speed metabolism and fight fat. Green tea, however, also increased the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in fat cells, which might have negative effects in bodybuilders. Green tea is an effective fat fighter that decreases fat cell size and number. However, bodybuilders should use it with caution. (Journal of Nutrition, 138: 2156-2163- 2163, 2008)

Are Your Supplements Contaminated? More sports than ever are subject to anti-doping regulations. Sports are so competitive that athletes will do whatever is necessary to succeed. While most athletes obey the antidoping regulations, almost all use “legal” performance-enhancing supplements. These include creatine, branched-chain amino acids, HMB, caffeine, “mental enhancers” and pseudoephedrine— alone or in combination. Many of the supplements are contaminated with substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Swiss researchers analyzed 103 dietary supplements purchased on the Internet. Three of the products contained anabolic steroids and 14 contained prohormones banned by WADA. Two of the creatine products contained nandrolone metabolites. The doping regulations for amateur and professional sports state that athletes are responsible for what they put in their bodies. Unwittingly taking a contaminated supplement is no excuse for a positive test. If you are subject to drug testing, choose supplements guaranteed free of banned substances. (Scandinavian Journal Medicine Science Sports,16: 41-48, 2006)

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Creatine/ Pyruvate and Creatine/Citrate Improve Muscle Endurance Creatine monohydrate improves performance in repeated high-intensity exercise (i.e., interval training) and increases muscle size, strength and power when combined with weight training. It works by increasing muscle creatine phosphate levels (a highenergy muscle chemical) and triggers signaling pathways that increase muscle strength and growth. Most studies found that creatine has little or no effect on aerobic capacity or muscle endurance. German researchers led by Rolf Jäger found that combining creatine with either pyruvate or citrate increased muscle endurance during repeated bouts of high-intensity handgrip exercise. Pyruvate is a breakdown product of glucose (blood sugar) and citrate is an important chemical in the TCA cycle (Krebs cycle). Pyruvate and citrate participate in reactions that generate energy and prevent fatigue during endurance exercise. Handgrip exercise is not the same as running, cycling or playing soccer, so we need more research to determine the effects of these supplements on performance and endurance sports. (Journal International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5: published online February 15, 2008)

Caffeine Increases Weightlifting Performance Caffeine increases endurance capacity by sparing muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrate). It also increases highintensity, short-term performance by increasing adrenaline levels and activating the central nervous system. Some scientists think that caffeine

improves performance by reducing pain and speculate that aspirin might be an effective supplement for athletes. A Baylor University study, led by Geoffrey Hudson, showed that caffeine was more effective than aspirin in promoting muscle endurance during a highrep bench press test. Aspirin had no effect on weightlifting performance or the perception of effort or pain during exercise. Caffeine is an excellent pretraining supplement for bodybuilders. It helps provide motivation to train and provides a small boost in performance. (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22: 1950-1957, 2008)

Branched-Chain Amino Acids Promote Recovery and Boost Immunity The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine are used extensively during exercise. They are essential amino acids, which means they must be consumed in the diet. Depletion of these vital amino acids could cause fatigue; therefore, supplemental BCAAs might be beneficial for athletes. A review of literature by scientists from the University of Pavia in Italy concluded that BCAAs did not improve performance during exercise but promoted recovery and boosted the immune system. These supplements, particularly leucine, are active signaling chemicals that promote protein synthesis, slow protein breakdown, and can possibly reduce postexercise muscle soreness. BCAAs are also critical for manufacturing key cells and chemicals involved in the immune system. The capacity to train hard, recover, and train hard again is critical for successful athletes. BCAAs might help athletes train harder more consistently and recover faster. (Journal Sports Medicine Physical Fitness, 48:347-351, 2008)

February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Nutrition Should Burgers Be On the Doping Banned List? Athletes are responsible for any banned substances found in their urine or blood during doping tests. Studies of athletic food supplements purchased on the Internet showed that more than 25 percent contained banned substances. Athletes must also be careful about the foods they eat. During the Beijing Olympics, chicken purchased at a local market contained enough anabolic steroids to trigger a positive test. Ranchers and poultry farmers often use hormones to boost yields, particularly in some foreign countries. Detectable amounts of nandrolone have been measured in boar meat and pig offal (pig guts), which could find their way into stews and meat pies sold in some countries. Eating steroid-containing meats could cause athletes to fail drug tests and severely damage their careers and reputations. Hans Braun and colleagues from the German Sport University in Cologne recommended that athletes competing in international competitions should eat at the athletic venues, avoid minced meats and pastries made from low-quality meats, and stay away from boar meat and pork offal. (International Journal Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 18: 539-542, 2008)

Nutrient Timing for Maximal Performance The body uses fuels for energy, storage and synthesis when they are available. Nutrient timing can help maximize recovery from exercise and promote post-exercise adaptations in muscles and general fitness. The International Society of Sports

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Weight Training and Protein Supplements Prevent Muscle Loss During Aging

Nutrition issued recommendations for using nutrient timing to maximize physical performance and recovery: 1) Consume meals high in simple carbohydrates shortly after intense or prolonged exercise to restore muscle and liver glycoge; 2) consume free amino acids and protein with or without carbohydrates before weight training to stimulate muscle protein synthesis; 3) consume a beverage containing 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour (6 percent to 8 percent carbohydrate solution) during prolonged exercise; 4) consume carbohydrates and proteins during weight training to spare muscle glycogen, prevent muscle damage and promote muscle adaptations; 5) consume essential amino acids (with or without carbohydrates) before or after weighttraining to promote protein synthesis; and 6) take creatine monohydrate (with or without carbohydrates and protein) to promote adaptations to weight training. The effects of these practices are small, but can be very powerful when combined and incorporated into a well-planned conditioning and sports nutrition program. (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5:17, 2008; online publication)

People lose muscle mass as they age, a condition called sarcopenia. Muscle mass decreases by 20 percent in most people between the ages of 40 and 60. By age 70, most people can’t lift 10 pounds overhead. Sarcopenia impairs quality of life and can result in lifethreatening accidents and falls. Weight training and protein supplements can prevent loss of muscle mass. Weight training, particularly when practiced at a high velocity, preserves or even increases muscle mass. Amino acids and proteins provide building blocks for muscle repair and hypertrophy. Amino acids, such as leucine, act as chemical signals that turn on key pathways involved in protein synthesis. Also, supplements augment calorie intake, which prevents muscle atrophy (shrinkage) that occurs with advancing age. Resistive exercise and protein supplements are effective ways of slowing the disability that accompanies aging. (Current Opinions Clinical Nutrition Metabolic Care, 11: 40-44, 2008)

Glutamine Supplements: More Hype Than Substance The immune system is the ultimate limiting factor of performance. Most bodybuilders and other athletes invariably get sick when they overtrain. Many take immune-boosting supplements such as glutamine to prevent upper respiratory infections and flu. Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid important in

February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Nutrition protein and DNA synthesis, preservation of the immune system, acidbased balance, and fuel for the central nervous system. Glutamine levels decrease during intense training or serious illness. Some studies found that glutamine supplements promote wound healing and benefit people suffering from serious illnesses, injury, trauma and burns. Several studies found a relationship between depressed immune function and low levels of glutamine. A review of literature by Michael Gleeson from Loughborough University in the UK concluded that glutamine supplements do not promote immune function. Also, glutamine does not improve physical performance, enhance acid-base balance, or promote glycogen resynthesis after exercise. Well-nourished, healthy athletes do not benefit from glutamine supplements or extra dietary intake of glutamine. (Journal Nutrition, 138: 2445S2049 2008)

MCTs Speed Fat Loss Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been called nutritional optimizers and “fatless fat.” They provide a lot of energy in a small volume, just like fat, yet are absorbed and used rapidly, just like carbohydrates. They may also reduce body fat, improve carbohydrate and protein metabolism, enhance absorption of essential minerals and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing blood fats. Some researchers voiced concern that MCTs could have a negative effect on blood fat levels, possibly increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Marie-Pierre St-Onge and colleagues from Columbia University in New York City studied the effects of MCT or olive oil supplements on cardiovascular disease risk factors in people on a weight-loss diet. People on both diets who lost weight showed substantial improvements in metabol-

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ic health. The effects of the MCT or olive oil supplemented diets were equal. Medium-chain triglyceride supplements promote weight loss and help reduce other risk factors of heart disease and stroke. (Journal of the American College of Nutrition 27: 547-552, 2008)

Chicken Soup Reduces Blood Pressure Chicken soup is Grandma’s secret weapon against colds, flu, sore muscles and anxiety. Most people dismiss it as worthless folk medicine, but scientists are taking a new look at this age-old remedy. Japanese researchers from Hiroshima University found that chicken soup inhibited the angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE). Physicians use ACE inhibitors in clinical medicine to lower blood pressure. Ingredients found naturally in chicken soup have similar effects. However, this study was done in Japan, where chicken soup is often made from chicken legs and feet— not common ingredients in American chicken soup. In rats, Japanese chicken soup reduced blood pressure substantially. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56: 9586-9591, 2008)

ProSafeBeef Makes Eating Steaks Healthy Most health organizations recommend minimizing red meat intake because of its high saturated fat content. Also, bad publicity about contaminated beef has made consumers gun-shy about these products. Consequently, meat sales have leveled off and impacted the economic well-being of ranchers and meatpackers. A European agricultural commission funded a five-year plan to introduce ProSafeBeef to ranchers and farmers in the European Union. ProSafeBeef is a scientifically

designed agricultural product that is free from contamination and chemically enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated-linoleic acid (CLA). Omega-3 fatty acids improve cardiovascular health, cell maintenance and repair, and promote fetal development during pregnancy. CLA is a popular supplement that decreases abdominal fat and reduces inflammation, both of which are linked to insulin resistance, diabetes and poor sexual desire. The goal of the ProSafeBeef project is to produce healthier, contaminant-free beef that has a pleasing taste and texture. (Nutrition Bulletin, 33: 374-381, 2008)

Milk: High-Quality, Inexpensive Sports Drink Athletes spend a fortune on protein supplements and fluid-replacement beverages to enhance recovery and build muscle. Why spend so much money on sports supplements when you can get the same effect from milk? Brian Row from Brock University in Canada, in a review of literature, concluded that low-fat milk promotes recovery from weight training and endurance exercise, stimulates protein synthesis and enhances post-exercise tissue repair. Thirty years ago, scientists thought water was the best fluid replacement. While that’s still largely correct, sports beverages are sometimes superior because they provide water, energy and electrolytes. Milk might be even better, because it sustains water balance longer and provides a protein source that can promote tissue adaptation and repair after exercise. Low-fat milk is an excellent sports drink for power and endurance sports, except in people who are lactose intolerant. (Journal International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5:15, online journal, 2008)

February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Drugs Web Pharmacies Riding Into The Sunset? Bodybuilders interested in purchasing anabolic steroids or growth hormone had to look no further than their home computer to buy the drugs. That could soon come to an end because of a bill signed by President Bush. The legislation requires that patients see a doctor and obtain a prescription for controlled substances before they are allowed to purchase drugs online. Also, online pharmacies must register with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The law doesn’t take effect until April 2009, but many web-hosting companies have already eliminated maverick pharmacies from their servers. Companies such as and have denied service to pharmacies that do not follow the requirements of the new law. Illegally selling controlled substances over the Internet is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The law won’t affect offshore Internet pharmacies that are not subject to U.S. law. (USA Today, October 24, 2008)

Steroids Provide LongTerm Muscular Advantage

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677) for 12 months showed increases in growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). They also experienced increases in lean mass and body water, but decreased LDL (the bad cholesterol). Ghrelin-like drugs might prevent decreases in growth hormone and IGF-1 and preserve muscle mass in older adults. (Annals of Internal Medicine, 149:601-611, 2008)

Psychological Effects Of Anabolic Drugs

Ghrelin-Like Drug Increases Growth Hormone And IGF-1 Ghrelin is a hormone produced mainly in the stomach and the hypothalamus of the brain that stimulates growth hormone release and increases appetite. It also plays a vital role in learning and producing nitric oxide, a chemical that helps regulate blood flow. Growth hormone levels decrease in middle-aged and older adults, which contribute to a gradual loss of muscle mass. A study by Rolf Nass from the University of Virginia and colleagues found that older adults (60-81 years old) who took a ghrelin-like drug (MK-

Drugs such as anabolic steroids, growth hormone and insulin used by some athletes have relatively minor side effects compared to more recreationally popular drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. While the physical effects of anabolic drugs are well known, the psychological effects are shrouded in mystery and urban legend. Researchers from the United Kingdom led by Peter Evans, in a review of literature, concluded that many of the psychological behaviors of anabolic drug users are pre-existing. Female steroid users, for example, often take the drugs in response to previous sexual assault or to increase self-esteem. Psychological side effects are most common among anabolic steroid users and are more severe in athletes who take higher doses. A slight majority of steroid users (56 percent) become more psychologically active and irritable when taking the drug and about 40 percent are somewhat depressed when going off the drug. However, growth hormone supplements improve cognitive ability in younger adults and improve mood, energy levels and quality of life in older adults. Most people use these drugs for cosmetic reasons rather than to improve athletic performance, so the psychological effects are more typically linked to pre-existing problems with self-esteem and vanity. (Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 4: 587-597, 2008)

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Illustrated by Jerry Beck/

Athletes who use anabolic steroids gain more strength, power and muscle size than they can from weight training alone. A Swedish study showed that in powerlifters, former steroid users retained an advantage over nonsteroid users. Muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis and trapezius muscles in former steroid users showed increased cell nuclei compared to athletes who never used steroids. The cell nucleus is the nerve center of the muscle cell that holds the genetic code for protein synthesis. Muscle cells with more nuclei have a greater capacity for protein synthesis, which might explain why

former weightlifters regain their strength relatively quickly. Researchers concluded that anabolic steroids provide an advantage in strength and power sports even years after athletes stop taking the drug. (Paper presented at The Integrative Biology Of Exercise V Conference, September 2008)

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Drugs Growth Hormone Supplements Increase Strength, Power And Endurance Growth hormone levels decline gradually in middle-aged and older adults, which cause decreases in muscle and bone mass, strength, physical vitality and psychological health. Growth hormone supplements are increasingly popular for preventing some of these age-linked problems. Yet, physicians disagree on their benefits and risks. Irish researchers Matthew Widdowson and James Gibney, using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, combined the data from 11 large studies on growth hormone supplementation involving 268 people. The analysis showed strong evidence that growth hormone supplements improved strength, power and maximal oxygen consumption (aerobic capacity). The degree of improvement was not affected by age or growth hormone dosage. Combining the results of well-controlled studies clearly showed that growth hormone supplements improve physical capacity in older adults. (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism, 93:44134417, 2008)

Steroid Users Prone To Violence The average person perceives young anabolic steroid users as violent and consumed by “roid rage.” While most studies show that this psychological profile is largely a myth, some people exhibit disturbing and dangerous behavior when taking these drugs. Researchers from the University of Florida Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice found that steroid users were twice as likely as nonusers to engage in violent behavior. They studied nearly

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7,000 young men and tracked them for eight years between middle school and high school. Do anabolic steroids promote violence? While the conclusions of the authors might be true, people who choose to use steroids might have been more violent in the first place. Other psychological studies of anabolic steroid users found that most had emotional problems before they used the drugs. (American Journal of Public Health, 98: 2185-2187, 2008)

Higher Testosterone Doses Increase Muscle Size And Strength In Older Men Men lose muscle strength and size as they age. One reason is a decrease in testosterone levels and increases in serum hormone binding globulin, which determine the amount of biologically effective testosterone. Tom Storer and colleagues from the Boston University School of Medicine found that muscle mass and strength increased in proportion to dose in older men taking supplemental testosterone. Men given 300mg per week of testosterone for 20 weeks showed greater changes in muscle mass, leg press strength, power, and endurance; stair-climbing power, and speed covering 400 meters than men taking lower doses of the drug (25, 50 and 125mg per week). Subjects were given a drug to suppress natural testosterone secretion before beginning the experiment, so that the relationship between blood testosterone levels and changes in strength and muscle mass could be determined accurately. The authors concluded that testosterone supplementation increased muscle mass, strength and power but had little effect on physical function. The changes were proportional to dosage. (Journal American Geriatrics Society, 56: 1991-1999, 2008)

Long-Term Effects Of Anabolic Steroids Since the 1980s, most anabolic steroid users have been nonathletes in their late 20s and early 30s who take the drugs for cosmetic reasons. It is now possible to assess the longterm physical and psychiatric effects of steroids in some of the older users. A Harvard University study concluded that some of these former users show an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease (hardening of the arteries and heart muscle damage). Some also exhibit nerve cell damage that suggests irreversible psychiatric disease. Early steroid use does not appear to increase the risk of prostate cancer. Some of the possible longterm emotional effects include substance abuse and personality disorders. Millions of people have used anabolic steroids since the early 1960s. Yet, there are no large population studies demonstrating definite long-term physical or psychiatric side effects. Conversely, hundreds of studies have explored the long-term consequences of alcohol and tobacco abuse. (Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 98:1-12, 2008)

MD HAS THE WINNING FORMULA! The most cutting-edge, scientifically-based, no-bullshit information on building muscle and burning fat— from drugs and supplements to training, nutrition and diet—from the top medical experts and bodybuilding champions and insiders!

February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Sex Prostate Medication Linked to Erection Problems

the virus. Fortunately, people can get an HPV vaccination, which might prevent oral cancers in both genders and cervical cancer in women. (ABC News October 15, 2008)

Propecia (finasteride) is a drug used to treat enlarged prostate glands and prostate cancer, which are common problems in middle-aged and older men. The drug works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dehydrotestosterone (DHT). Tulane University Medical School researchers found that finasteride caused erection and ejaculation problems and decreased sex drive in up to 38 percent of men taking the drug. Sexual problems tend to occur early during drug treatment but are less severe over time. The drug appears to interfere with nitric oxide production— an important chemical that regulates blood flow to the penis and blood vessels throughout the body. Because finasteride interferes with testosterone metabolism, it might have negative effects in bodybuilders trying to build muscle mass. (Journal Sexual Medicine, in press; published online November 2008)

Supermodels Make Men Feel Self-Conscious

Deep Throat Cancer Typical throat cancer patients are not 70-year-old guys who chew tobacco and drink whiskey. Rather, they are more likely 30-something young men and women who enjoy oral sex. The human papillomavirus (HPV), the number one cause of oral throat cancer, is usually transmitted sexually. The virus attaches to cells to which it comes in contact and is nearly impossible to destroy by mouthwashes or oral rinses. Johns Hopkins researchers reported that HPV-linked throat cancers increased by 100 percent in the last 30 years. They speculated that while sexual transmission was the most common method of HPV transmission, it is also possible to get the virus from infected saliva transmitted through kissing or sharing drinks or eating utensils. Also, it only takes exposure to one infected person to get

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Guys love to gawk at magazine supermodels such as Elle Macpherson, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, and Christie Brinkley. A University of Missouri study showed that while these women make our blood boil on they outside, they create insecurity and apprehension on the inside. Department of Communications professor Jennifer Aubrey found that while most men found photos of magazine models sexy and desirable, the sexy images made them feel inadequate because they didn’t think they were good enough to attract one. The anxiety was greatest after looking at photos of extremely attractive male and female couples. Men were less anxious after looking at photos showing an extremely attractive woman with an averagelooking guy. Surprisingly, photos of unusually attractive and fit men had little effect on male self-esteem. If the results of this study are valid, men should look at magazines featuring ugly women or develop enough fitness and savoir-faire and earn enough money to attract supermodels. (Human Communication Research, in press; 2008)

drugs added transient global amnesia (brief bouts of amnesia) to the list of side effects. The drug companies said there was no proven relationship between amnesia and these products, but the problem occurred often enough to include it on the warning label. More than 50 million men worldwide have used these drugs, which have a proven record of safety and effectiveness. Nevertheless, the amnesia warning gives men an excuse not to call her the next day. (WebMD Health News August 22, 2008)

Women and Casual Sex Most men put a notch on their pistol after a one-night stand, but how do women feel? Ann Campbell, from

We Did What Last Night? What’s Your Name Again? How many times have you wished you could forget the woman you bedded the night before? If you took Viagra, Cialis or Levitra before sex, your wish may have come true. The Food and Drug Administration announced that the makers of these erection-promoting

February 2009

By Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey, EdD


Sex the Psychology Department at Durham University in England, studied the morning-after feelings in 1,743 men and women the day after a onenight stand. Eighty percent of men but only 54 percent of women felt good about the experience. Also, men were much more likely to kiss and tell. One-night stands increased male selfesteem and confidence but made women feel bad about themselves. The women were particularly concerned about the effect of a one-night stand on their reputations. The experience was amplified if the couple had sex more than one time during the evening: men felt better and women felt even worse. Women enjoyed the experience more when they were ovulating. On a positive note, women did not necessarily view one-night stands as preludes to long-term relationships. (Human Nature, 19: published online April 2008)

Your Genes May Make You Come Prematurely In Your Jeans Almost every guy has problems with premature ejaculation at least once in his life. For some men, however, premature ejaculation is a serious problem that destroys relationships, causes severe embarrassment and decreases self-esteem. A Dutch study from the University of Utrecht showed that the speed of ejaculation is genetically determined. Premature ejaculators showed low activity levels of a brain chemical called serotonin, which is also linked to sex drive and appetite. Scientists identified three variations of a gene that controls ejaculation speed and found a 300 percent difference in men with the fastest and slowest genes. Sex therapists blame premature ejaculation on suppressed sexuality, inexperience, age, and insufficient sexual activity. While these factors might contribute to the problem, genetics largely determine if you are too quick on the draw. (Journal of Sexual Medicine, published online October 7, 2008)

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Epimedium Brevicornum Extract Promotes Erections Viagra, Cialis and Levitra improve erection quality in most men. Unfortunately, some experience side effects such as decreased blood pressure, dizziness, visual disturbances, and priapism (erections that last too long). Also, the drugs are expensive. Men are anxious to find herbal substitutes that have fewer side effects and costs less. Epimedium Brevicornum is a Chinese herb used for centuries to promote erections and increase sex drive. Italian researchers studied seven different herbal products purported to improve sexual performance. Epimedium Brevicornum was moderately useful, but its effectiveness increased 80 times after its chemical structure was modified slightly. Supplement makers sell a variety of “sex boosters” that promise to increase sex drive and the quality of erections. Some of these can have cardiovascular side effects and should be used with caution. (Journal Natural Products, 71:1513-1517, 2008)

Does Sex Promote Weight Gain or Weight Loss? Ejaculation during sex causes the release of a hormone called prolactin, which increases sexual satisfaction and decreases sex drive. High prolactin levels cause weight gain, so some researchers speculate that sexual intercourse makes people fat. Dr. Stuart Brody from Scotland countered that the energy cost of sex exceeds the fat-promoting effects of increased prolactin. Frequent sexual intercourse is linked to fewer heart attacks and less body fat. Masturbation does not reduce the risk of heart disease or obesity; so get as much real sex as you can. (Medical Hypotheses Journal, 71:812813, 2008)

February 2009


By Dan Gwartney, MD

Ephedrine/Caffeine Combo: New Study Says I


n this fast-paced world, where printed news media is losing audience because it is too slow in reporting when compared to television outlets, and absolutely stagnant in comparison to instantaneous release on the Web, headline-grabbing controversies appear and disappear in days, even hours. The urgency of more current problems tends to displace yesterday’s crises in the minds of the public (and programming of the media). Thus, it is of little surprise that people have forgotten the prominence of ephedrine/caffeine-based weight-loss products and the hotly debated allegations of harm that preceded the ban on ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and ephedra (ma huang) from the market. The following is a somewhat brief and superficial review of the events that defined that time, acknowledging that a few sentences do not adequately convey the entirety of related issues. Ephedrine-based, over-the-counter (OTC) products including herbal ephedra-based products were being purchased in record amounts, as weight-conscious consumers found the products to be effective in curbing appetite, boosting energy and burning 1 calories. Numerous peer-reviewed studies and reviews confirmed the efficacy of the ephedrine/caffeine combination in causing weight loss, increasing resting energy expenditure (metabolism) and 2-8 reducing appetite. The beta-adrenergic-stimulating nature of the products also provided a performance boost to athletes, increasing its appeal and expanding its market to nor9 mal-weight, active individuals. Unfortunately, the stimulating effect also appealed to young adults and adolescents 10 for fighting fatigue and as a party drug. Sales of ephedrine-containing products established the ingredient as the keystone of the top-selling products in the highly lucrative weight-loss category. Estimates of use are inherently inaccurate, but it is not unreasonable to accept that 33 percent of young adults had some exposure to such products, given that overweight and obesity was affecting more


than 50 percent of the nation at that time. However, obesity was just being identified as a significant condition poised to dramatically affect public health and the financial welfare of the nation; certain companies were violating the spirit of DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) by adulterating supplements with pharmaceutical drugs; unscrupulous advertising was tainting the industry’s reputation; and certain companies were marketing ephedra-based products as a party drug to high-risk youth and young adults. Ephedrine was already a regulated drug within sports organizations, being placed on the banned substance list by the NCAA in 1997 and prior to that by the IOC/ WADA (1994) for its stimulant-based ergogenic properties. Though relatively few well-known athletes were sanctioned, a small number were banned from competition. It was during this time that the topic of adulteration (intentional or unintentional) in OTC and supplement production was raised as an element in the athletes’ (largely unsuc12 cessful) appeals of the bans. As ephedrine and ephedra use became increasingly prevalent, and its use/abuse was associated with mood, behavior and health problems, watch groups became rightfully anxious about its presence as an unregulated stimulant accessible to minors. Further, the potential threat of cardiovascular harm or death was raised by concerned indi11 viduals and health professionals. Beta-adrenergic stimulants are capable of inducing dangerous elevations in blood pressure or irregular heart rhythms in sensitive individuals or when dosed/consumed in excess of the therapeutic range. As often happens, once public awareness was raised, numerous reports were registered in the media and public forums. Public health watch agencies released statements calling for a ban of ephedrine-containing products in 13 the interest of the public’s welfare. The well-publicized deaths of users of ephedra-containing products, fortified public support for withdrawing the products from retail

Numerous peer-reviewed studies and reviews confirmed the efficacy of the ephedrine/caffeine combination in causing weight loss, increasing resting energy expenditure (metabolism) and reducing appetite.

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shelves. The level of attention and implied risk in ephedracontaining products, along with the punitive damages awarded in civil litigation, caused insurers to raise premiums such that scrupulous manufacturers withdrew ephedra-containing products from their product line prior to the formal ban handed down from the U.S. Food & Drug 15 Administration (FDA) in 2004. In close up statement, available on their website, are two quotes that would be contested by many who followed the research and reports of ephedrine-related weight-loss products. “There is strong scientific evidence of harm associated with the use of ephedra products” and, “The agency found that supplements containing ephedra show little evi15 dence of effectiveness, except for short-term weight loss.” A following comment, “These reactions have been linked to serious health problems, including heart ailments and strokes,” serves as the primary reason for the passage of the 2004 rule that removed ephedra-containing products from the retail market. Finally, “This final rule will protect consumers by ensuring that these dangerous products are removed from the market and never sold,” says FDA Commissioner Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD. Clearly, the FDA is certain that ephedrine and ephedra-alkaloids are inherently dangerous chemicals that should not be placed within reach of consumers. Of course, this does not take into account ephedrine and pseudoephedrine contained within over-the-counter medicines that treat asthma, nasal congestion and minor eye irritation. However, as those products are regulated in most states to be dispensed only from “behind the pharmacy counter” and only in amounts less than a defined threshold, the risk of adulteration or abuse are lessened considerably. Thus, the existence of ephedrine-containing and pseudoephedrine-containing weight-loss products were relegated to history. Previously (2001), phenylpropanolamine (PPA) experienced a similarly rapid and controversial withdrawal from the market, despite the long-standing success of 16 Dexatrim® and like products. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that PPA was associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in women, causing the FDA to recommend the withdrawal of 17 all PPA-containing products from the retail market. This move was vigorously debated, as many scientific experts contested the conclusion and study design of this and a 18 related PPA review. Interestingly, the same issue of the NEJM contained a preliminary report of 140 cases of 11 adverse events related to ephedrine.

Witch-Hunt Mentality? The door closed on PPA, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine during that brief period. Yet, in the rush to defend the safety of the public (a noble and justified cause), were these drugs being subjected to a “witch-hunt” mentality? Were they deemed to be dangerous without conclusive evidence? The counter-argument can also be made that they were proclaimed safe without conclusive evidence. Is it possible that in the interest of securing the nation against all harm that the FDA erred on the side of caution? Is it possible there were other influences beyond the pharmaceuti-

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cal effects of these drugs that increased the urgency of federal agencies to act? A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology provided what is perhaps the most extensive examination of any association between the use of Letigen (a prescribed weight-loss drug containing 20mg of ephedrine and 200mg of caffeine) and adverse cardiovascu19 lar events. This review is literally awe-inspiring in the completeness of its data, reaching a degree that would be literally unobtainable in the U.S. A brief description of the study design will reveal why it is appropriate to state that its findings are conclusive. Denmark is a relatively small country located in the Scandinavian region of Europe, with a population of less than 6 million (in comparison, New York City has over 8 million residents). In addition to its acclaim as the happiest country in the world and least corrupt, Denmark has a wellorganized health care system and governmental records that allowed researchers to track the use, users and health 19 care system utilization relating to Letigen. The tracking and release of such data in the U.S. is inconceivable due to the privacy protection regulations, potential civil rights issues, and liability. Statistics Denmark provided access to records from the Danish National Registry of Patients, the Prescription Database of the Danish Medicines Agency, the Danish Registry of Death, and the Danish Person Registry. With the collective information, researchers were able to fully account for all prescriptions for Letigen during the study period (1995-2001), medical diagnoses and surgical procedures for all Danish citizens, death reports and migrating 19 habits. Of the 5.4 million Danes residing in Denmark during that period, nearly 300,000 filled prescriptions for Letigen (298,848). The records for those people were extracted, and additional prescription information was obtained, seeking evidence of drugs or other appetite suppressants that might interact with Letigen, including those used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, clotting disorders, diabetes, arthritis or asthma. Two different comparisons were made— the first being the familiar use of matched controls (people of the same age and general health). In addition to directly comparing the subjects to controls, the researchers compared the subjects’ health prior to being prescribed Letigen to the period of exposure to the drug (case-crossover design). Subjects had to be at least 18, filled his/her first Letigen prescription during the study period and remained in Denmark for at least 18 months after being dispensed Letigen. Endpoints included any case-defining event (heart attack, stroke), death, emigration, age of 70, cancer, or the end of the study period. After excluding people who did not meet their criteria, there still remained 257,364 subjects contributing over 1,000,000 person years of observational data. In that large cohort, 2,316 “case-defining events” occurred during the seven-year study period, meaning a subject had a heart attack (839), stroke (946) or died of natu19 ral causes outside of a hospital (531). This is obviously the group of interest, representing the dangers so passionately February 2009

fatattack spoken of in the FDA’s statement. Though the numbers seem alarming on first glance, this actually represents a low incidence rate. By comparison, the U.S. has an annual 20 incidence rate of heart attack of 0.46 percent. Subjects who experienced an adverse event were more likely to be older and have pre-existing cardiovascular risks, as determined by prescriptions for cardiovascular, anti-clotting and diabetes drugs. When the relationship between Letigen use and the adverse event was analyzed, it was discovered that there was no greater risk during current Letigen use (within the previous 90 days) as compared to being “off” the drug. In fact, Letigen use actually had a lower risk of adverse event in a) deaths outside the hospital, b) women, and c) 19 statin users (a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs). Interestingly, the greatest risk with Letigen use appeared to arise within the first 10 days of use (days zero to 10 fol19 lowing first prescription). With longer use, the prevalence of adverse events decreased steadily. This suggests that during the study period, one or more contraindications (medical reasons not to prescribe a drug) to Letigen use were not detected during the physician’s exam prior to prescribing the drug. This does not imply incompetence on the part of the Danish physicians, as many conditions are not evident during screening exams, such as aneurysms (weak, bulged areas in blood vessels that predispose a person to hemorrhagic stroke); thrombotic disorders (abnormal clotting); and conduction abnormalities (irregular heartbeats). Even during the introductory phase of Letigen use, there was no significant increase in risk relating to any of the study’s endpoints.

No “Substantially Increased Risk” The conclusion of the study, following approximately a quarter-million people for greater than 1,000,000 person-years, was that the use of Letigen (20mg ephedrine + 200mg caffeine) as prescribed (one to four times daily), “was not associated with a substantially increased risk of 19 adverse cardiovascular outcomes in this study.” It is interesting that the conclusion was stated in that manner, by stating that there was no “substantially increased risk.” This suggests there may be a hidden risk, but in fact, if any effect was suggested by the data in the study, it was that Letigen may actually have provided a statistically protective effect. Of course, the authors rightly noted that the findings are not evidence that Letigen was protective. As Letigen patients were being treated for weight-management issues and screened for pre-existing health conditions, they may have been healthier as a group than the controls. This is called “confounding by contraindication.” Obviously, those with evident heart disease, cancer or other conditions would not be prescribed a stimulant-based weight-loss drug. This study is impressive due to the comprehensive recording of details, immense number of subjects, followup and completeness. Its findings can be considered conclusive within the limitations of the study. As noted earlier, Denmark is a small country in terms of population and geography. The findings may not apply to other races or

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cultures. The ephedrine and caffeine combination was prescribed by a physician, dispensed from a pharmacy, manufactured using the Danish equivalent of good manufacturing practices and administered to a population that was screened for health problems prior to exposure. In contrast, the U.S. experience involved herbal products sold in an unsupervised fashion in the retail market. Why then is there such a discrepancy between the findings in the Danish study and the furor raised about ephedra products in the U.S.? As mentioned above, ephedrine exposure in the U.S. was very undisciplined and often occurred in herbal products standardized for ephedrine content. Though many companies were scrupulous in verifying the raw material and manufacturing process to guarantee the amount of ephedrine present per serving, others took the low road, concerned only about cost/profit and marketed a loosely controlled product. Herbal ephedra was often considered to be equivalent to ephedrine, but in fact it is much different. Ma huang, the herbal source, contains a variety of alkaloids (a chemical class that includes ephedrine as well as pseudoephedrine, synephrine and other bioactives). It is entirely possible that failing to account for the additional stimulant effect of the chaperone alkaloids could have exposed consumers to a greater amount of beta-adrenergic 21 stimulation than was anticipated. Obviously, if a different herb adulterated the product or the capsules were “spiked” with ephedrine, then the situation becomes even more complex. Another factor is the American lifestyle…the use of numerous drugs and supplements makes the possibility of a drug interaction likely, and the general health of Americans is poor in comparison to the Danes, as exemplified by the American obesity epidemic. Recall as well, that nearly every product on the market included caffeine and other ingredients in addition to the ephedrine content. This introduced the possibility of an adverse interaction or misdosing each ingredient. Further, as caffeine is a cheap additive, it was simple to “spike” products with caffeine to give the consumer a jittery feeling. Sadly, consumers sought these products out, as they mistakenly believed they were more effective than appropriately dosed products. The inclusion of less well-studied additives, and their effect on ephedrine/caffeine action or clearance, increased the potential for an adverse effect. Yet, despite the extremely liberal use of these products, reports of adverse effects were relatively rare. Health centers stated that ephedrine-related complaints were more common than other OTC products, but recall that these products were much more popular than other OTC prod11,15 ucts. Further, the toxicity of ephedrine/caffeine is immediate and easily sensed (nervousness, rapid heart rate, tremor, sleep or mood disturbance). Obviously, a properly dosed pharmaceutical alternative, similar to Letigen, would alleviate many of these problems. It is interesting that ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and PPA have been labeled as being high-risk drugs due to their cardiovascular effects, and the chronic (long-term) use forms have been pulled from the shelves. However, the greatest risk reported in the Danish study occurs during acute use, in naïve subjects. This is the scenario that would February 2009

fatattack be faced in the cough and cold products that are still available on the market. Add on the sudden increase in blood pressure that occurs during coughing or sneezing, and it makes it more alarming to see those products remain, as opposed to chronic-use products. Science does not appear to agree with the political pundits who have judged ephedrine/caffeine and found it to be guilty of causing public harm. It is the nature of American politics to react rather than respond, and when public concern was adequately raised, the verdict was decided. Is it possible, though, that ephedrine/caffeine was a “fall guy?” Many people have pointed fingers at conspiratorial theories— some with merit, others being more dubious. A maxim used in criminal investigation is cui bono (who benefits). Who would benefit from removing a safe and effective weight-loss product from the market? It is certainly not the overweight individual seeking to lose weight without the expense, inconvenience and risk (as has been shown with fen-phen, rimonabant and other pharmaceutical drugs) of needing to visit a physician’s clinic and obtain a prescription. It is certainly not the athlete (not competing in an organization that bans ephedrine) looking for a (assumably) safe and effective ergogenic. It is certainly not society who bears the financial burden of treating obesity and obesity-related conditions. Who then? Accusing fingers point at big pharma. The pharmaceutical industry takes the brunt of much of America’s ire…necessary drug therapy is often prohibitively expensive, especially for noninsured people; quality-of-life drugs are not developed or are restricted either by legislation or physician resistance; allegations of bribes, inappropriate influence with the FDA, and numerous FDA-approved drugs causing harm or death have eroded public confidence in the pharmaceutical industry. Yet, it is clear that any pharmaceutical company that could produce a cost-effective weight-management drug or drug combination would make billions of dollars. The only barrier to herding the American obese to questionably effective and marginally tolerated drugs such as alli® was the presence of the blockbuster brand Dexatrim® (PPA) and the many ephedrine/caffeine products which were providing consumers with subjective benefit and measurable weight loss. When ephedrine and PPA were removed from the market, the marketing potential for any effective OTC weight-loss product or prescription product escalated dramatically. Sadly, such a product has not been introduced since that time. Another possibility spoken of more quietly in nonscien tific circles is a serious social issue. Methamphetamine is a stimulant-class drug. Historically, it was trafficked by biker gangs and other elements that operate on the fringe of society. Though similar in effect to cocaine, it was much cheaper and referred to as “trailer park coke,” in addition to other slang terms (meth, crystal, crank, etc.), as most users were white and lower income. However, as enforcement against cocaine gained some degree of success, drug-seeking individuals discovered methamphetamine whose supplies were initially unhampered. As the numbers of methamphetamine users rose and its effects touched “middle-class America,”

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enforcement turned its eye on that problem. It was quickly discovered that methamphetamine distribution was going to be more difficult to control, as it could be synthesized in crude “bathtub” labs and the intermediate used in production was easily obtained at the local health store, truck stop, pharmacy or over the Internet. That intermediate is ephedrine (pseudoephedrine can also be 22 used). It is suggested that the real danger involving OTC ephedrine had little to do with ephedrine-based drug reactions, but rather with its use in the cottage-industry meth labs hidden in garages, sheds, trailers and basements throughout America. Unfortunately, the easy answer for enforcement agencies appears to have been to close access 23,24 (legitimate and illegitimate) to ephedrine. However, as people living in rural areas know, methamphetamine use continues to be a problem; much of the ephedrine used by larger, better organized gangs in production crosses the 25 border illegally from Mexico. The Danish study uncovers new evidence that demands an appeal of the status of ephedrine/caffeine for weight loss. The need for an affordable, convenient, safe and effective weight-loss product remains as the current options are all lacking. Perhaps the Danish model would be best, to make a Letigen-like drug, available only by prescription to minimize the risks of diversion to methamphetamine production, abuse and use by people with clinically evident contraindications. Further, educating the consumer to be aware of signs of toxicity or adverse effects, particularly during the first month of use, is critical to minimize the potential for harm. Ephedrine/caffeine has been tried and found guilty of harm by a zealous FDA in the court of public opinion. One very important comment from the Danish study deserves to be boldly acknowledged. As suggested by the Danish authors in their published study, most “evidence” of adverse effects associated with ephedrine/caffeine use appears to be based on spontaneous reports, and does not withstand scientific scrutiny. Much like eyewitness testimony that condemns an innocent man, whose innocence is later proven through DNA analysis of the evidence, this study calls for a re-assessment of ephedrine/caffeine for weight management. Case reports involving hundreds, even thousands of ephedrine users are statistically (not emotionally) meaningless due to the huge number of users in the U.S. and abroad. The new evidence uncovered by a “Dream Team” of scientists, and data in the country of Denmark, suggests that an innocent sits on death row. Hopefully, some avenue of appeal will be made available to reevaluate this case.  References: 1. Blanck HM, Khan LK, et al. Use of nonprescription weight loss products: results from a multistate survey. JAMA, 2001 Aug 22-29;286(8):930-5. 2. Malchow-Moller A, Larsen S, et al. Ephedrine as an anorectic: the story of the ‘Elsinore pill’. Int J Obes, 1981;5(2):183-7. 3. Dulloo AG, Miller DS. Ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin: “over-thecounter” drugs that interact to stimulate thermogenesis in the obese. Nutrition, 1989 Jan-Feb;5(1):7-9. 4. Krieger DR, Daly PA, et al. Ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin promote weight loss in obese subjects. Trans Assoc Am Physicians, 1990;103:30712. February 2009

fatattack 5. Astrup A, Breum L, et al. The effect and safety of an ephedrine/caffeine compound compared to ephedrine, caffeine and placebo in obese subjects on an energy-restricted diet. A double blind trial. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 1992 Apr;16(4):269-77. 6. Toubro S, Astrup AV, et al. Safety and efficacy of long-term treatment with ephedrine, caffeine and an ephedrine/caffeine mixture. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 1993 Feb;17 Suppl 1:S69-72. 7. Daly PA, Krieger DR, et al. Ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin: safety and efficacy for treatment of human obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 1993 Feb;17 Suppl 1:S73-8. 8. Breum L, Pedersen JK, et al. Comparison of an ephedrine/caffeine combination and dexfenfluramine in the treatment of obesity. A doubleblind multi-centre trial in general practice. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 1994 Feb;18(2):99-103. 9. Magkos F, Kavouras SA. Caffeine and ephedrine: physiological, metabolic and performance-enhancing effects. Sports Med, 2004;34(13):871-89. 10. Dennehey CE, Tsourounis C, et al. Evaluation of herbal dietary supplements marketed on the internet for recreational use. Ann Pharmacother, 2005 Oct;39(10):1634-9. 11. Haller CA, Benowitz NL. Adverse cardiovascular and central nervous system events associated with dietary supplements containing ephedra alkaloids. N Engl J Med, 2000;343(25):1833-8. 12. Baylis A, Cameron-Smith D, et al. Inadvertent doping through supplement use by athletes: assessment and management of the risk in Australia. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2001 Sep;11(3):365-83. 13. Andraws R, Chawla P, et al. Cardiovascular effects of ephedra alkaloids: a comprehensive review. Prog Cardiovasc Dis, 2005 JanFeb;47(4):217-25. 14. Chass M. BASEBALL; Pitcher’s Autopsy Lists Ephedra as One Factor. The New York Times, March 14, 2003. 15. Rados C. Ephedra Ban: No Shortage of Reasons. FDA Consumer Magazine 2004 March-April. Available at, accessed

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November 13, 2008. 16. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. FDA Letter to Manufacturers of Drug Products Containing Phenylpropanolamine (PPA). U.S. Food and Drug Administration • Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Available at, accessed November 13, 2008. 17. Kernan WM, Viscoli CM, et al. Phenylpropanolamine and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. N Engl J Med, 2000 Dec 21;343(25):1826-32. 18. Stier BG, Hennekens CH. Phenylpropanolamine and hemorrhagic stroke in the Hemorrhagic Stroke Project: a reappraisal in the context of science, the Food and Drug Administration, and the law. Ann Epidemiol, 2006 Jan;16(1):49-52. 19. Hallas J, Bjerrum L, et al. Use of a prescribed ephedrine/caffeine combination and the risk of serious cardiovascular events: a registrybased case-crossover study. Am J Epidemiol, 2008 Oct 15;168(8):966-73. 20. American Heart Association. Heart Attack and Angina Statistics. Available at, accessed November 13, 2008. 21. Haller CA, Duan M, et al. Concentrations of ephedra alkaloids and caffeine in commercial dietary supplements. J Anal Toxicol, 2004 Apr;28(3):145-51. 22. Cunningham JK, Liu LM. Impacts of federal precursor chemical regulations on methamphetamine arrests. Addiction, 2005 Apr;100(4):479-88. 23. Eccles R. Substitution of phenylephrine for pseudoephedrine as a nasal decongestant. An illogical way to control methamphetamine abuse. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 2007 Jan;63(1):10-4. 24. Cunningham JK, Liu LM. Impact of methamphetamine precursor chemical legislation, a suppression policy, on the demand for drug treatment. Soc Sci Med, 2008 Apr;66(7):1463-73. 25. Topolski JM. Epidemiology of methamphetamine abuse in Missouri. Mo Med, 2007 Jan-Feb;104(1):82-8. February 2009

Future Pharmacy By Douglas S. Kalman, PhD, RD, FACN

Herbs: They Do A Body Good


there a month or an issue of this magazine that goes by in which you don’t learn something new or applicable to your goals? Often, the “bodybuilding” industry is ahead of science in terms of lifting strategies, nutrition plans and the like. However, the growth of strength science and sports has led to what may just be the greatest explosion of knowledge in training, and in particular, with applied training. More and more, regular folk understand the importance of balance training, gait analysis, core training and weightlifting in general. Bodybuilders, while they may work on the aesthetic aspects of their physique, also utilize advanced training techniques that can be useful for personal gains as well. Thus, developing the body not only encompasses the physical, but also the mind via education and your mental/psychological outlook on life. Part of the goal of this monthly column is to provide you with nutritional ideas, leads, product reviews or other useful information for all matters of self-improvement.

Exercise In A Pill?

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Other Herbs Of Interest Many supplement users utilize botanicals to bolster their daily nutrition, however there are still many yet to be explored, exploited or plain ole just used here on this side of the pond. Since heavy lifting and many other parts of the bodybuilding lifestyle affect “inflammatory” markers, we also need to consider nutritional strategies for long-term health. Shamans in Australia are actively researching the following botanicals for their vast anti-inflammatory effects: German chamomile (Matricaria recutita); purple coneflower; small Galanga (Alpinia officinarum); ginko; cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa); witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana); Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbes); Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) and Lapacho (Tecoma curialis). Other botanicals of interest include Calamus (Acorus calamus); Passiflora (Passiflora incarnate); and Skullcap (Scutellaria). All of these are used for such things as joint pains, general anti-inflammarory and immuno-support. Watch for some of these ingredients to find their way into natural products stateside (i.e., joint products). As you can tell by visiting any health food store or by driving a car, superfruits are popular. These come as fruits, juice blends (i.e., Purple™, MonaVie™, etc.) and in supplements, as well as “extras” that you can add to smoothies. These fruits are rich in antioxidants and appear to have 2 anti-inflammatory properties. Some newer ones to watch for include Gomphrena (Gomphrena globosa), Ureun (Bixa orellana) and Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).

February 2009


Right now, scientists with Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (recently acquired by GlaxoSmithKline) are excited about their compound only now known as “SRT-1720.” You see, SRT-1720 is a pharmaceutical, powered-up version of the 1 natural-occurring molecule known as resveratrol. Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound that occurs in grapes (red wine is a source) and in other foods (though in a smaller amount than found in grapes, grape seeds and the skins). Resveratrol itself affects the SIRT gene (protein). Enhancing SIRT1 activity has been found at least so far in animals to increase exercise performance and to also increase fat burning at rest. In the most recent study, the higher doses of SRT-1720 tested were found to increase exercise endurance (of the animals) by twofold. This exercise-enhancing effect is coupled with the positive effects SRT-1720 (and perhaps a high dose-purified resveratrol product; however, no natural products were evaluated in this current study). The

researchers also noted that high doses of SRT-1720 seemed to impact or activate a cellular marker (enzyme) known as AMPK. AMPK regulates the utilization of sugar (glucose oxidation) as well as the metabolism of fatty acids. It is further believed that derivatives of this compound may work just as well or better at lower doses. As an aside, there is published data regarding resveratrol that when combined with another nutritional agent (one that is common as a spice), it has fat-burning/weight-loss effects. Sirtris Pharmaceuticals is a company to follow, as they may develop both products.

Future Pharmacy Additional herbals of interest in this area of “detoxification, anti-stress” include Carqueja (Baccharis trimera), grapevine (Vitis vinifera) and the West Indian cherry (Malpighia). I would expect that these natural food products will also be of consumer interest before long for their broad health-supportive effects. Expect to see at least some of these in products that are commonly used before long. As an aside, for those of you wondering what herbs may be coming into the weight-loss arena next, there is scant research and a buzz on Ortosifone, also known as Orthosiphon aristata. This botanical is commonly found mainly throughout South East Asia and tropical Australia. It is known as pokok misai kucing in Malay. It is believed to have antiallergic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. More recently, this product has been 3 found to have anti-diabetes properties. Other ingredients to watch include “Cogent db” (a finished product with decent data for its effects on blood sugar regulation, made by Cybele Herbal Laboratories, Kerala, India). The product is a specific blend of nine herbals with a consistent effect, one that is useful to anyone fighting with weight or blood sugar4,5 control issues. An additional “eastern” treatment for fertility issues in women is also having some effect on the weight-loss market. This herbal product is known as Tian Gui and is popular traditional Chinese medicine. A recent study detailed that in addition to its “fertility” effects in women, it also had a concomitant effect in reducing (significantly reducing) bodyweight. Thus, there is a growing buzz in examining Tian Gui 6 as a weight-loss aid. For those of you who live near an active Asian community or marketplace, this is a TCM product that may be worth looking into. For those of you who do not have the ability to go to an international food market or travel to the far east, a new study has demonstrated that the Juniper chinensis extract is associated with an anti-obesity (fat loss or prevention) effect when ingested (so far, just in animals). Juniper chinensis is rich in flavones, lignans and essential oils, with di and norditerpenes along with having anti-carcinogenic 7 effects and other health-promoting effects. The type of extract used is known as a “hot water extract” and this method left what the researchers believe to be the strongest Juniper chinensis product. The concentration of pure extract to total product appears to be about a 4 percent bulk product. This means that mass production should not be an issue if the studies continue to confirm a weightmanagement effect. Therefore, if the animal studies are borne out, this too will become a popular weight-management product.

Anabolics? I do not think that there is a soul who would not want to maximize his anabolic state or effect of exercise. Unfortunately, sometimes life makes it so that you do not always have the choices to make. If you happen to be a man and at least 18 years of age, the pharmaceutical industry may just have the “T” that you are looking for. It is typically believed that low libido, lack of energy and loss of motivation may all be signs or symptoms of low testos-

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terone. A simple blood or saliva test can determine if you have low testosterone (not compared to your own physiology but to lab normals), if your number is in a certain sector of lab values; then you can get treatment with replacement or supplemental testosterone. An easier and still legal method of obtaining supervised testosterone is by entering a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a study to evaluate if a product or method has utility. In other words: does the intervention work? If you believe that you have low or sub par testosterone, AdvanceMed Research in the Northern New Jersey (Lawrenceville) area is seeking men to evaluate a new anabolic. Some overweight men (and especially those who are overweight, obese and diabetic) suffer from reduced growth hormone and/or testosterone levels. It is estimated that 50 percent of men with type 2 diabetes have low testosterone levels and do not even know it. Thus, their quality of life suffers for no reason whatsoever. Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have joined up to examine the phenomena of “belly fat” and low GH levels. If you believe or think that your extra weight is due to a hormonal issue, you may want to contact David Mun at MIT for a free evaluation ([email protected]). Off topic, but for those of you with an interest in the long-acting injectable testosterone branded as Nebido…it seems that it is very easy to get or obtain in Moscow, Russia. Lastly, as sort of related to testosterone, some men have a problem with…how do you say it? Finishing faster than what they would like. Yes, some men suffer from premature ejaculation (PE). Typically, a physician can prescribe a low® level, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor such as Paxil to increase pleasure time. Some physicians send the patient to a psychologist or tell the person to use numbing creams to deaden the pleasure sensation and delay gratification. Now Radiant Research of St. Louis is investigating a new intervention for “PE” and this drug appears only to be 8 known as oral UK-390,957 and it is made by Pfizer. Yes, another company is evaluating if giving testosterone cream plus Viagra (or generic) would have a synergistic effect better than either alone for men with PE. I believe that Indevus Pharmaceuticals is sponsoring the trial. The study is under the general direction of Dr. Bhasin at Boston University Medical Center (call 617-638-8616 if interested).  References: 1. November 5, 2008. Cell Press ( “Drug mimics low-cal diet to ward off weight gain, boost running endurance.” 2. Shaman Australia Communications (accessed 11-7-08) 4. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology Volume 131, Issue 1, January 2002, Pages 19-25. 5. Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, 5(3):156-162, May 2003. 6. Advances in Gynecological Endocrinology: The Proceedings of the Plenary Sessions of the 8th World Congress of Gynecological Endocrinology, Florence, Italy, December 2000. By Italy World Congress of Gynecological Endocrinology 2000 Florence, Andrea R. Genazzani, F. Petraglia, P. G. Artini. Published by Taylor & Francis, 2002; Page 67-78. 7. Biol Pharm Bull, 2008;31(7):1415-1421. 8.

February 2009

Supplement Performance By Jose Antonio, PhD

Supplements Are Another Excellent Training Tool! Training Tools One of the common criticisms against dietary supplement use for sports is that it may confer an advantage over the competition. Well, oh geez; isn’t that the point? To get a competitive advantage? Organizations like the NCAA and IOC try to “legislate” this idea of promoting a “level playing field” when in fact athletes are ALWAYS seeking advantages over their competitors. Whether it is getting the best coaches, trainers, strength coaches, sports nutritionists, etc.— the goal is to win! Not wallow in mediocrity with all the middle-of-pack losers. Sports supplements are just one of many tools athletes should use to optimize their performance. My column will always give you the latest, the best, and the most practical advice on supplements.

CHO Plus Protein Hydrolysate Protein hydrolysates is made from whole protein (e.g., whey, casein) and basically consist of smaller peptides (di-, tri-peptides, etc.) and amino acids after hydrolysis of the whole protein. Hydrolysate forms seem to work quite well and perhaps better than whole proteins.This study examined the effect of carbohydrate and protein hydrolysate ingestion on whole-body and muscle protein synthesis during a combined endurance and resistance exercise session and subsequent overnight recovery. Twenty healthy men were studied in the evening after consuming a standardized diet throughout the day. Subjects participated in a 2-hour exercise session, during which beverages containing

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both carbohydrate (0.15g per kg bodyweight per hour) and a protein hydrolysate (same dose as carbs) (C+P) or water only were ingested. If you’re doing the math, that’s about 13.6 grams of carbs and 13.6 grams of protein hydrolysate for a 200-pound individual consumed each hour. Participants then consumed two additional beverages during early recovery and remained overnight at the hospital for observation and testing. During exercise, wholebody and muscle protein synthesis rates increased by 29 percent and 48 percent, with protein and carbohydrate co-ingestion. During subsequent overnight recovery, whole-body protein synthesis was 19 percent greater in the C+P group than in the W group. However, mean muscle protein synthesis rates during 9 hours of overnight recovery did not differ between groups. We conclude that even in a fed state, protein and carbohydrate supplementation stimulates muscle protein synthesis during exercise. Ingestion of protein with carbohydrate during and immediately after exercise improves wholebody protein synthesis, but does not further augment muscle protein synthesis rates during 9 hours of subsequent 1 overnight recovery. There are some important lessons here. For one, consuming carbs plus a protein hydrolysate has anabolic effects, even in the fed state. Secondly, a 50/50 ratio of carbs-to-protein seems to work quite well. But thirdly, the anabolic effect does NOT persist for 9 hours. Perhaps a slower protein might have done the trick if it were the last protein meal of the day…

Carbs Alone Won’t Cut It! Another study investigated the effect of protein co-ingestion with carbohydrate on muscle protein synthesis during weight training. Ten healthy males participated in two experiments in which they ingested either carbohydrate or carbohydrate with protein during a 2-hour resistance exercise session. Subjects received a bolus of test drink before and every 15 minutes during exercise, providing ~13.5g carbohydrate (for a 200-pound person) alone or with protein (same dose). Protein co-ingestion lowered whole-body protein breakdown rates by 8.4 percent compared with the ingestion of carbohydrate alone, and augmented protein oxidation and synthesis rates by 77 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Thus, even in a fed state, protein coingestion stimulates whole body and muscle protein synthesis rates during 2 resistance-type exercise. And consuming just carbs alone won’t cut it!

Lessen Muscle Damage Heavy weight training, especially if you emphasize the eccentric or negative contraction, leads to exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD); this in turn leads to the degradation of protein structures within the muscle. This may subsequently lead to decrements in muscle performance and increases in intramuscular enzymes and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). But if you can recover quicker, then you’ll get back to the gym feeling better and ready to pack on slabs of meat after performaning a ball-busting workout! Milk, which provides protein February 2009

supplementperformance and carbohydrate (CHO), may lead to a drop in protein breakdown and (or) an increase in protein synthesis that would limit the consequential effects of EIMD. In this study, four independent groups of six healthy males consumed water (CON), CHO sports drink, milk-based CHO-P or milk (M), post EIMD. What did they find? Peak torque (dominant) was significantly higher 48 hours after CHO-P, compared with CHO and CON, and M compared with CHO. Total work of the set (dominant) was significantly higher 48 hours after CHO-P and M, compared with CHO and CON. CK, an indicator of muscle damage, was significantly lower 48 hours after CHO-P and M compared with CHO. Thus, two days post-exercise, milk and milk-based protein-CHO supplementation resulted in less muscle damage 3 and better recovery of muscle function. The next step is to see if certain proteins do this job better than others.

Prunus Mume Yeah, I can’t pronounce it either. It sounds an awful lot like prunes. Needless to say, this stuff is interesting. Prunus mume is also known as Chinese plum or Japanese apricot. In this study, scientists looked at the effects of Prunus mume extract on exercise-induced fatigue recovery in a trained rat model. Male rats were raised either on a control diet (EC) or on diets supplemented with 0.15 percent (0.15EP), 0.3 percent (0.3EP), or 0.9 percent (0.9EP) Prunus mume extract for four weeks.They then did some exercise testing of these little rodents. Compared to that in EC (control) rats, serum lactate levels were significantly lower in rats fed 0.15 percent or higher levels of Prunus mume extract. Dietary supplementation with the Prunus mume extract significantly elevated hepatic and muscle glycogen concentrations of the rats after the exercise. Prunus mume extract significantly reduced lactate dehydrogenase activity and increased citrate synthase activity in the skeletal muscles of the rats immediately after the exercise loading. What does all this metabolic mishmash mean? Well, taken together, these results indicate that the Prunus mume extract administered during endurance exercise training may enhance the oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle and may

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help promote the use of fat as a fuel dur4 ing exercise. So, there you have it: Chinese plum helps you burn fat.The extract does, anyhow.

Artichoke Leaf Extract And Coccinia Indica And Position Stand By ISSN What happens when you give artichoke leaf extract to competitive rowers? This study involved 22 members of the Polish rowing team, who were randomly assigned to a supplemented group receiving one gelatin capsule containing 400mg of artichoke leaf extract three times a day for five weeks, or a placebo group. At the beginning and end of the study, participants performed a 2,000meter maximal test on a rowing ergometer. They also measured the antioxidant ability of artichoke leaf extract.They discovered that consuming artichoke leaf extract, a natural vegetable preparation of high antioxidant potential, resulted in higher plasma TAC (total antioxidant capacity) than placebo in competitive 5 rowers subjected to strenuous training. Another plant, Coccinia indica (synonym Coccinia cordifolia), is an herb found in India and has been used in traditional treatment of diabetes. However, carefully controlled studies of its efficacy are lacking. Recently, it was found that that Coccinia cordifolia extract has a potential hypoglycemic action in patients 6 with mild diabetes. What might occur if you combine Coccinia with carbs and amino acids? Would it possibly enhance the uptake of these nutrients? And in late-breaking news, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) has released the latest scientific position stand on nutrient timing. Suffice it to say that nutrient timing is probably the single nutrition strategy that pretty much EVERY athlete should implement. To not implement nutrient timing would be sheer folly! Basically, some of the highlights of the position stand include: 1) Ingesting CHO alone or in combination with PRO during resistance exercise increases muscle glycogen, offsets muscle damage and facilitates greater training adaptations after either acute or prolonged periods of supplementation with resistance training. 2)The post-exercise

ingestion (immediately to 3 hours post) of amino acids, primarily essential amino acids, has been shown to stimulate robust increases in muscle protein synthesis, while the addition of CHO may stimulate even greater levels of protein synthesis. Additionally, pre-exercise consumption of a CHO + PRO supplement may result in peak levels of protein synthesis. 3) During consistent, prolonged resistance training, post-exercise consumption of varying doses of CHO + PRO supplements in varying dosages have been shown to stimulate improvements in strength and body composition when compared to control or placebo conditions. And 4) the addition of creatine (Cr) (0.1 g Cr/kg/day) to a CHO + PRO supplement may facilitate even greater adaptations to resistance training. n Jose Antonio, PhD, is vice president of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has a PhD in muscle physiology and is chief executive of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

References: 1. Beelen M, Tieland M, Gijsen AP, et al. Coingestion of carbohydrate and protein hydrolysate stimulates muscle protein synthesis during exercise in young men, with no further increase during subsequent overnight recovery. J Nutr, Nov 2008;138(11):2198-2204. 2. Beelen M, Koopman R, Gijsen AP, et al. Protein coingestion stimulates muscle protein synthesis during resistance-type exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, Jul 2008;295(1):E70-77. 3. Cockburn E, Hayes PR, French DN, Stevenson E, St Clair Gibson A. Acute milkbased protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, Aug 2008;33(4):775-783. 4. Kim S, Park SH, Lee HN, Park T. Prunus mume extract ameliorates exercise-induced fatigue in trained rats. J Med Food, Sep 2008;11(3):460-468. 5. Skarpanska-Stejnborn A, PilaczynskaSzczesniak L, Basta P, Deskur-Smielcka E, Horoszkiewicz-Hassan M. The influence of supplementation with artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) extract on selected redox parameters in rowers. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, Jun 2008;18(3):313-327. 6. Kuriyan R, Rajendran R, Bantwal G, Kurpad AV. Effect of supplementation of Coccinia cordifolia extract on newly detected diabetic patients. Diabetes Care, Feb 2008;31(2):216-220. 7. Kerksick C, Harvey T, Stout J, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2008;5:17. February 2009

Sports Supplement Product Review

MITOTROPIN: et’s face it, fat burners are dead! Different labels… same ingredients! Caffeine, synephrine, green tea and yohimbie are really nothing new. It’s time for a new class of compounds with unrivaled power that can deliver a total reconfiguration of your body’s composition in just a single box. MITOTROPIN™ from Gaspari Nutrition is not another “HARDCORE” or “EXTREME” fat burner that is loaded with stimulants. MITOTROPIN™ is the first fat burner that stimulates fat burning via two mechanisms: direct and indirect

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By Robbie Durand, MA

fat burning. The indirect mechanisms of fat loss of MITOTROPIN™ cause you to consume fewer calories by reducing appetite, cravings for carbohydrates and elevating mood. Direct mechanisms would be methods that increase thermogenesis (calorie burning) and cause your body to burn more calories by increasing uncoupling proteins. If you are not familiar with uncoupling agents, in sum, they increase metabolic rate and increase thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a term that February 2009

Sports Supplement Product Review describes generation, or production of heat. Hibernating mammals stay warm during the winter months despite inactivity by increasing thermogenesis and utilizing stored fat. Hibernating animals enhance fat utilization by 1 increasing mitochondrial uncoupling proteins (UCP). Infants have abundant supplies of uncoupling proteins, which is why they feel “warm” most of the time, but mysteriously as we age, uncoupling proteins are diminished. Researchers are currently working on new and novel methods to “turn on” uncoupling proteins. Previous research has found that obese people express 2 low levels of uncoupling proteins in their muscles. Research has also shown that low levels of uncoupling proteins expressed in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue 3, 4 is directly linked to Metabolic Syndrome and diabetes. MITOTROPIN™ is the first supplement to turn on uncoupling proteins! MITOTROPIN™ allows you to burn calories, even when you’re not exercising, by enhancing uncoupling proteins. Pharmaceutical companies have been searching for years for a safe, designer uncoupling protein; they can’t patent natural ingredients that have been shown to increase uncoupling proteins, so they are searching for designer uncoupling proteins. MITOTROPIN™ is protected by a United State pending patent (Pub. App. No. 20070190187) and is the only natural uncoupling agent that is both safe to use in humans and available to use in a sports nutrition product.

MITOTROPIN™ allows you to burn calories, even when you’re not exercising, by enhancing uncoupling proteins. Mitotropin™ Uncoupling Complex: (FUCOXANTHIN, 3,3’-DIIODOTHYRONINE and 3,5DIIODOTHYRONINE, KAEMPHEROL and CAPSIATE) Fucoxanthin is a brown seaweed extract that has been shown to increase UCP-1, which is an uncoupling protein found in white adipose tissue. UCP-1, which regulates the activity of a key gene responsible for maintaining the body’s temperature, is found in white adipose tissue, or visceral fat. When UCPs are increased, you may feel a warm sensation all over, indicative of increased thermogenesis. In 2006, Japanese researchers studied the effects of fucoxanthin on more than 200 laboratory animals. The Japanese study found fucoxanthin effective in reducing body fat by stimulating the UCP-1 protein, which caused stored fat to break down. In tests on

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Sports Supplement Product Review the laboratory animals, fucoxanthin resulted in a 5 per5 cent to 10 percent reduction in weight. In addition to its potent fat-burning properties, fucoxanthin is also a 6, 7 potent antioxidant. 3,3’-DIIODOTHYRONINE and 3,5-DIIODOTHYRONINE are T3 metabolites, which have clinically been shown to 8 raise resting metabolic rate. By manipulating the influx of nutrients into the “cellular powerhouse,” you then turn the mitochondria into a fat-burning furnace. Mitotropin™ truly shines by increasing the activity of UCP and causes your body to burn more fatty acids as an energy source. Mitotropin™ exerts a direct enhancement of metabolic rate via an increase in oxygen consumption, body temperature, and resting metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories at rest). Mitotropin™ exerts small increases in T3 which increas11, 12 es uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) found in muscle. Mitotropin™ causes nutrient-partitioning effects; it causes small increases in T3, resulting in increased protein synthesis for increases in lean muscle mass. KAEMPHEROL is polyphenolic ingredient found in numerous edible plant species. It has the ability to increase energy expenditure and oxygen consumption via multiple pathways. Treatment with kaempherol led to an approximately 30 percent increase in skeletal muscle 11 cell oxygen consumption. Capsiate is the major pungent ingredient in red-hot cayenne peppers. In humans, a large increase in energy expenditure is seen immediately after a meal containing 12 red pepper vs. control. Capsiate has been reported to increase thermogenesis by dose dependently enhancing 13 catecholamine secretion. This year, exciting new research reported that it can create “heat” in a more direct manner by altering the activity of a muscle protein 14 and enhancing uncoupling proteins in muscle.

Thermophoric Lypolytic Acceleration Blend (PHENYLETHYLAMINE & HORDENINE) You can have the best fat-burning product on the market, but if you are moody and fatigued and don’t have the energy to exercise, then what’s the point? Gaspari’s Mitotropin™ has you covered by adding a Thermophoric Lypolytic Acceleration Blend along with green coffee bean extract and tyrosine. The reason being, 14 while some are functional appetite-suppressing aides , they all help put you in a great mood while increasing your energy levels. Gaspari’s MITOTROPIN™ has also added a Free Radical Attenuation Matrix to reduce inflammation. Cellular inflammation is a natural byproduct of aging and is associated with wide array of healthrelated side effects such as heart disease, obesity and shortened life span. So you may be asking what kind of effects can I expect from MITOTROPIN™? Here you have it:

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• Dramatically Increases Resting Metabolic Rate • Amplifies Catecholamine Levels To Induce Fat Metabolism • Reduced Appetite • Increases Uncoupling Proteins in both Muscle and Adipose Tissue • Increases Acute Sense of Well-Being -At Times Euphoric In Nature! • Enhances Mental Focus, Clarity, And Cognition • Rapidly Increases Thermogenesis From the FIRST DOSE • Effectively Scavenges Free Radicals MITOTROPIN™ is the ULTIMATE 30-Day Precontest Physique Repartitioning Compound. Gaspari Nutrition is so confident as to the effectiveness of MITOTROPIN™ that they guarantee YOU WILL NOT LOOK THE SAME after just one box of MITOTROPIN™! For more information about MITOTROPIN™ or other Gaspari products, please visit  References: 1. Ledesma A, de Lacoba MG, Rial E. The mitochondrial uncoupling proteins. Genome Biol, 2002;3(12). 2. van Abeelen AF, de Krom M, Hendriks J, Grobbee DE, Adan RA, van der Schouw YT. Variations in the uncoupling protein-3 gene are associated with specific obesity phenotypes. Eur J Endocrinol, 2008 May;158(5):66976. Erratum in: Eur J Endocrinol, 2008 Jul;159(1):159. 3. Neschen S, Katterle Y, Richter J, Augustin R, Scherneck S, Mirhashemi F, Schürmann A, Joost HG, Klaus S. Uncoupling protein 1 expression in murine skeletal muscle increases AMPK activation, glucose turnover, and insulin sensitivity in vivo. Physiol Genomics, 2008 May 13;33(3):333-40. 4. Chan CB, Harper ME. Uncoupling proteins: role in insulin resistance and insulin insufficiency. Curr Diabetes Rev, 2006 Aug;2(3):271-83. Review. 5. Maeda H, Hosokawa M, Sashima T, Funayama K, Miyashita K. Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows anti-obesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 2005 Jul 1;332(2):392-7. 6. Nomura T, Kikuchi M, Kubodera A, Kawakami Y. (1997 June) Protondonative antioxidant activity of fucoxanthin with 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH). Biochem Mol Biol Int, 42(2):361-70. 7. Yan X, Chuda Y, Suzuki M, Nagata T. (1999 March) Fucoxanthin as the major antioxidant in Hijikia fusiformis, a common edible seaweed. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem, 63(3):605-7. 8. Moreno M, de Lange P, Lombardi A, Silvestri E, Lanni A, Goglia F. Metabolic effects of thyroid hormone derivatives. Thyroid, 2008 Feb;18(2):239-53. Review. 9. Silvestri E, Moreno M, Lombardi A, Ragni M, de Lange P, Alexson SE, Lanni A, Goglia F. Thyroid-hormone effects on putative biochemical pathways involved in UCP3 activation in rat skeletal muscle mitochondria. FEBS Lett, 2005 Mar 14;579(7):1639-45. 10. Silvestri E, Schiavo L, Lombardi A, Goglia F. Thyroid hormones as molecular determinants of thermogenesis. Acta Physiol Scand, 2005 Aug;184(4):265-83. Review. 11. da-Silva WS, Harney JW, Kim BW, Li J, Bianco SD, Crescenzi A, Christoffolete MA, Huang SA, Bianco AC. The small polyphenolic molecule kaempferol increases cellular energy expenditure and thyroid hormone activation. Diabetes, 2007 Mar;56(3):767-76. 12. Kawada T, Watanabe T, Takaishi T, Tanaka T, and Iwai K. Capsaicininduced beta-adrenergic action on energy metabolism in rats: influence of capsaicin on oxygen consumption, the respiratory quotient, and substrate utilization. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med, 183: 250–256, 1986. 13. Yoshioka M, Lim K, Kikuzato S, Kiyonaga A, Tanaka H, Shindo M, and Suzuki M. Effects of red-pepper diet on the energy metabolism in men. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol, (Tokyo) 41: 647–656, 1995. 14. Yasser A. Mahmmoud. Capsaicin Stimulates Uncoupled ATP Hydrolysis by the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium Pump. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2008; 283 (31): 21418. 15. Dourish CT, Boulton AA. The effects of acute and chronic administration of beta-phenylethylamine on food intake and body weight in rats.

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol, 1981;5(4):411-4. February 2009

nutrition performance By Robbie Durand, MA

Whey Protein Is More Anabolic Than Essential Amino Acids! F

or the past year, researchers have been going back and forth debating which was more anabolic…whey protein or essential amino acids (EAAs). A few months ago, it seemed that EAA was the winner; in a previous study, researchers administered either 15 grams of whey protein or 15 grams of EAA to elderly participants. They found that ingestion of 15 grams of EAA more than doubles muscle protein balance in elderly persons when compared to that of the ingestion of 15 grams of whey, which would support a greater importance of the EAA (as opposed to whey) in improving muscle protein synthesis in elderly persons. EAA seemed like the more anabolic supplement, but the researchers went back and examined the data and found that 15 grams of whey protein contained only 7 grams of EAA! So, the study did not have the exact same EAA mix for whey protein compared to the EAA mix (7 grams of EAA found in whey compared to 15 grams of EAA). The same research group went back and administered a dose-to-dose comparison and administered 15 grams of whey, which contains roughly 7 grams of EAA and compared it to an equivalent EAA dose (~6.72 grams of EAA).To the researchers’ surprise, whey protein resulted in greater anabolic effects than EAA when compared dose per dose. The study reported that EAAs are not solely responsible for the anabolic properties of whey protein. The researchers concluded that whey protein (whole consumption) is greater than the sum of its parts (EAA), or effects beyond that of just the amino acid content. So what ingredient in whey protein could be enhancing anabolic actions? It is interesting that the two dosages each had the exact same dosage of leucine, so there was something else in whey protein causing the greater anabolic effect.The researchers hypothesized that the increase in the plasma concentration of the amino acid cysteine from whey protein, which has previously been found to augment muscle protein anabolism, may have enhanced muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein resulted in a greater insulin response than EAA, which also could have augmented the anabolic actions of whey protein.The researchers explained that whey protein is a potent stimulator of Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide (GIP), also known as the glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide. It is now believed that the function of GIP is to induce insulin secretion. Relative to that, it is known that whey protein is a strong stimulator of GIP secretagogue,

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possibly through bioactive peptides present in whey or formed during its digestion, and that the plasma GIP concentration is greater after ingestion of intact protein than a similar amount of protein in the form of free amino acids. The researchers also commented that whey protein is inexpensive and also has additional health benefits that can’t be found in EAA. For example, cysteine-supported glutathione synthesis is implicated in protection against oxidative stress, whereas beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactalbumin are major whey proteins modulating immune function. The researchers concluded that the anabolic actions of whey go beyond just EAAs and the whole (whey protein) are greater than the sum of parts (EAA).

Key Points: • On a dose-per-dose base, whey protein was more anabolic than EAA. • Whey protein resulted in a greater insulin response than EAA, possibly through increases in GIP. • Cysteine found in whey has anabolic actions not found in EAA. • Whey has potent immune-stimulating properties not found in EAA.  Christos S. Katsanos, David L. Chinkes, Douglas Paddon-Jones, Xiao-jun Zhang, Asle Aarsland, Robert R. Wolfe. Whey protein ingestion in elderly persons results in greater muscle protein accrual than ingestion of its constituent essential amino acid content. Volume 28, 2008. Pages 651-65.

February 2009

MuscleGrowth Update

By Robbie Durand, MA

Anabolic Steroids Provide A In Powerlifting Years After Doping Has Ended t is well known that the use “It is possible that the high number of nuclei we found in muscle ing. They also discovered that after steroid use might be beneficial for an athlete who continues the shoulder-neck fiber areas of anabolic steroids has or resumes strength training, because increased myonuclei opens powerful anabolic effects up the possibility of increasing protein synthesis, which can lead were comparable to highon skeletal muscles; however, to muscle mass. Based on the characteristics between doped and intensity trained athletes and non-doped powerlifters, we conclude that a period of anabolic the number of nuclei per fiber the molecular mechanisms steroid usage is an advantage for a powerlifter in competition, was even higher than found in after steroid use are even several years after they stop taking a doping drug.” the current steroid-using unknown. Many drug-free — Dr. Anders Eriksson group. Interestingly, the group powerlifting meets allow forof powerlifters who had abused mer steroid users to compete as long clean at the time of the study, and lifesteroids but were clean at the time of as they are “clean” at the meet. Former time drug-free lifters. One thing that the study had a greater number of anabolic steroid users who are “clean” should be mentioned is that the androgen receptors in the thigh, commay have enhanced performance bengroups of former steroid users were pared to that of the natural powerlifters efits years after using steroids, accordeither training at a low intensity, or had and powerlifting group currently using ing to a new study presented at the quit lifting and become sedentary.The steroids. American Physiological Society. Dr. former steroid users had used testosIn conclusion, several years after Anders Eriksson presented research an terone in combination with other anaanabolic steroid withdrawal and with astounding abstract titled, “Anabolic bolic steroids (nandrolone, stanozolol, no or low-intensity strength-training, Steroids Withdrawal in Strength Primobolan, oxymetholone, Masteron, the muscle fiber area and the number Trained Athletes: How Does It Affect Proviron and durobolan). A mean of nuclei per fiber in the thigh is still Skeletal Muscles?” A team of dosage of 938mg of testosterone per comparable to that of athletes who are researchers examined the impact of week was used during the anabolic 2, 4 performing high-intensity strength anabolic steroid use on powerlifters steroid usage. Muscle fiber distributraining. In trapezius, fiber areas are years after the athletes had ceased to tion, fiber area, androgen receptors, comparable to high-intensity trained take the drugs. The researchers and satellite cell number per muscle athletes. The number of nuclei per fiber found that while physical traces of fiber were analyzed in two skeletal is even higher than in the steroid-using the drug no longer remained, muscles: the thigh and the trapezius. group. The high number of nuclei changes in the shoulder and might be beneficial for an athlete who quadriceps still gave lifters an The researchers found that several 1 advantage, years later. years after anabolic steroid withdrawal, continues or resumes strength training, because a high number of myonuclei and with no or low current strength gives the possibility to an increased training, the muscle fiber area and the Study Breakdown protein synthesis and increased musnumber of nuclei per fiber in the Muscle characteristics were comcle mass. These results can be quadriceps was still comparable to that pared for groups of powerlifters who interpreted to indicate that a periof athletes who were currently perwere currently using steroids, had hisod of anabolic steroid usage is an forming high-intensity strength traintory of past steroid abuse but were


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February 2009

MuscleGrowthUpdate advantage for a powerlifter in competition several years after secession of drug intake.

Detraining: Comparing Natural Lifters and Former Steroid Abusers Detraining is associated with a gradual decrease in muscle size and satellite cell activation. A previous study examined the effects of training and detraining on muscle size in young, healthy males.The young males trained intensely for 90 days, then refrained from exercise for 90 days. During training, there was a robust increase in satellite cells and muscle size. Satellite cell content increased by 19.3 percent at 30 days of training and by 31.4 percent at 90 days of training. The number of satellite cells per fiber remained significantly elevated at three, 10 and 60 days of detraining. Thus, the increase in satellite cell numbers is maintained for a long time after the cessation of training. At 90 days of detraining, the number of satellite cells per fiber had 3 returned to pre-training values. Detraining was associated with a gradual decrease in the area of muscle fibers. The size of the myonuclear domain returned to pre-training values. What

was shocking was that although the former steroid group was either training with low intensity or not training at all, the muscle fiber area and the number of nuclei per fiber in the thigh is still comparable to that of athletes performing high-intensity strength training. In trapezius, fiber areas are comparable to high-intensity-trained athletes and the number of nuclei per fiber is even higher than in the steroid-using group.This study suggests that testosterone administration has long-term effects on skeletal muscle that scientists still know very little about. Based on this study, there may be no such meaning to the term “clean now” and based on this, anabolic steroids can have positive effects in muscle years later.  References: 1. American Physiological Society (2008, October 3). Anabolic Steroids Provide A Competitive Edge In Powerlifting Years After Doping Has Ended. 2. Eriksson A, Kadi F, Malm C, Thornell LE. Skeletal muscle morphology in power-lifters with and without anabolic steroids. Histochem Cell Biol, 2005 Aug;124(2):167-75. 3. Kadi F, Schjerling P, Andersen LL, Charifi N, Madsen JL, Christensen LR, Andersen JL. The effects of heavy resistance training and detraining on satellite cells in human skeletal muscles. J Physiol, 2004 Aug 1;558(Pt 3):100512. 4. Kadi F, Eriksson A, Holmner S, Thornell LE. Effects of anabolic steroids on the muscle cells of strength-trained athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1999 Nov;31(11):1528-34.

20-Hydroxyecdysone (20E) Increases Muscle Mass 20-Hydroxyecdysone (20E) is an ecdysteroid hormone that is found abundantly in plant species and has anabolic effects in vertebrates (i.e., increasing muscle size without androgen influence). A new study reports that 20E increased muscle size in rats and enhanced muscle regenrration.The rats received 5mg/kg bodyweight of 20E daily as an subcutaneous injection in the left thigh.The rats also were injected a toxin into their muscle to cause muscle damage and to see if 20E enhanced muscle regeneration. 20E increased muscle size in the regenerating muscle, suggesting that the 20E exerted a beneficial effect on muscle regeneration by enhancing satellite cells. 20E modified muscle fiber size in normal and regenerating muscles, even after seven days administration in a slightly higher dose than the anabolic steroids. This effect is dose-dependent and similarly to that of anabolic steroids, it influences the size of fiber types in a muscle-specific fashion. This study suggests that 20E may provide an opportunity for substitution of anabolic-androgenic steroids in therapeutic treatments against muscle atrophy. Tóth N, Szabó A, Kacsala P, Héger J, Zádor E. 20-Hydroxyecdysone increases fiber size in a muscle-specific fashion in rat. Phytomedicine, 2008 Sep;15(9):691-8.

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February 2009

METROFLEX THE ULTIMATE HARDCORE DUNGEON BY JOHN ROMANO, PHOTOGRAPHY BY PER BERNAL I was sitting with IFBB pro bodybuilder Branch Warren one day talking about a Planet Fitness gym he trained at once while on the road. Apparently, as the story goes, he was using too much weight and making too much noise while he trained and they asked him to leave. Now, when you think about that scenario, you just have to scratch your head. How can a bodybuilder— a topranked IFBB pro bodybuilder— be asked to leave a gym for training like a bodybuilder? The oversimplified answer is that corporate America is

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now running the gym business and they don’t know what they’re doing. In their zeal to make money, they have turned what were great bastions of muscle building into “fitness clubs” to attract mainstream clients. World Gym, founded by Joe Gold, the originator of the true hardcore gym, was bought by Planet Fitness, where they cut the ears off the leg presses so you can’t put more than four plates on each side; sound a “Lunk alarm” if you grunt; outlawed lifting belts, deadlifts and tank tops…I don’t think you’re allowed to sweat…and they have “pizza night” February 2009

Metroflex Owner Brian Dobson and Kai Greene

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every Friday. If there was ever a greater affront to bodybuilding, bodybuilders and other strength athletes, it could only possibly be eclipsed by Gold’s Gym’s switch away from hardcore bodybuilding to attract the same sector of mainstream America.Two of the greatest names in hardcore training have caved in and have relegated the guys who started this whole thing to persona non grata in favor of minivan-driving soccer moms. The take-home message for the corporate gym world is that hardcore is bad for business; bodybuilders don’t have any money to blow in their pricehiked pro shops and overblown juice bars where a 20ounce water sells for $3.50 and sculpted physiques sticking out of tank tops scare away the uninitiated. Since soccer moms outnumber bodybuilders a few thousand to one, their basic tenet of nouveau gym business is shit-can the bodybuilders. Thankfully, there are some lone holdouts and all is not lost for those of us who care to associate with our own kind. If you check out the Hardcore Gym Registry search engine on the MD message boards ( hp?t=46091), you can type in your zip code and up will pop a hardcore gym near you, if there is one. (NOTE: if you do live near one that is not listed, please use the “add a gym” feature and list it!). If you are lucky enough to live near the 76015 area, you will be directed to the greatest hardcore gym in the world. Metroflex Gym.

The Most Hardcore Gym. Ever. Oh….And Hogs Metroflex is not only the official hardcore gym location you see in most of MD’s training features, but it is also home to eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, IFBB people’s champ Branch Warren and 100 other champion bodybuilders, powerlifters, martial artists, football players, fitness athletes and UFC fighters. More importantly, it is also the home of its owner, Brian Dobson. Brian is not only the last of a dying breed of true hardcore gym owners who knows you can still build an empire upon mountains of muscle, but he is also the last of a dying breed of gym owners who truly cares about his members and his community. I don’t think there is a greater benefactor to this thing of ours than Brian, because he does something near and dear to my heart: breaks from conformity, and he does it as a gentleman. Perhaps one of the most defining and unique aspects of Brian’s departure from the conformity are the deer and wild hogs he frequently butchers right in front of the gym. Members are often given little fresh-killed protein care packages to take home, but the majority of the game goes to the local mission. As I was talking to Brian this morning, he was just finishing up processing six deer that he and Branch Warren had shot, and was packing up the deer meat to send over to the homeless shel-

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Metroflex is not only the official hardcore gym location you see in most of MD’s training features, but it is also home to eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, IFBB people’s champ Branch Warren and 100 other champion bodybuilders, powerlifters, martial artists, football players, fitness athletes and UFC fighters. More importantly, it is also the home of its owner, Brian Dobson. ter for part of the Thanksgiving meal he was setting up for the local homeless population. “If you take a deer in to get it processed, it costs about $100,” Brian said. “At least when I do it, I know it’s being done right, and I’m getting all my meat back.” “Processors will steal your meat?” I asked, a bit surprised. “Hell yeah, they will! Or do a crappy job processing it. I’ve been hunting and processing game my whole life. It’s just better I do it myself.” “So, if I come and start training at Metroflex, I’ll be getting some good old Texas venison from time to time?” Brian laughed in a kind way that would never make you believe he could be responsible for murdering Bambi’s mother. “Oh, yeah! We give away deer and hog all the time to members, but mostly we feed the homeless. We feed three to 400 homeless people here in Fort Worth with the game we catch. We send them hogs in summer, deer in fall, catfish and wild turkeys. We just sent them all a big Thanksgiving feast this week: sweet potatoes, pies and all the deer meat that I cooked.” “You cooked the deer?” “Oh yeah,” Brian said proudly. “I do it all.” “What about Branch?” I asked. “That video we shot of you guys hog hunting was classic.” “Branch loves to hunt! He is so addicted; he goes every time with me. It’s not a good thing, though. He goes too much! It’s so dangerous; Ronnie would never go. He’d say, “oh man, you all crazy!” You’d think an ex-cop wouldn’t mind going out and shooting stuff, but the Big Nasty would have no part of it. “Nah, Ronnie just isn’t into hunting,” Brian said. “But Branch? He’s all about it. He just bought about 120 acres last month. He hasn’t gotten a deer yet. I’m going to be the first to get a deer out there!” “Why do you guys have it out for these hogs?” I asked. “Why not just leave them alone?” Brian cracked up at my city sense. “You can’t do that! Hogs cause problems; 30-40 hogs will eat 20 acres of corn overnight! If you have a good reputation for hog hunting, you can get a pretty good clientele.Those hogs will get out in a field and start rooting up the land for I don’t know what and it looks like a mortar strike. That messes with

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the hay-bailing equipment, because the land needs to be flat. Then, if a hog can get his nose under a fence, he’ll get in. If the hog can get in, then the cows can get out— the hogs are nuisance animals. Once they get passed a certain size, nothing can kill them. So, the local ranchers call us.” “OK, well, since you mentioned it, just how does one kill a hog? You guys don’t shoot them, right?” “Not usually, no,” Brian said. “But it all depends on if you want them

alive or not.” “All right, I admit I don’t know a whole lot about wild hogs, but I do watch the Discovery Channel. Isn’t a 200pound-plus LIVE wild hog kinda dangerous?” Brian cracked up. “Yeah, they can get you.” He chuckled some more over my empirical Discovery Channel hog knowledge. “Sometimes we keep them alive to sell them. Texas recently outlawed slaughtering horses.They used to slaughter horses after they lived out their usefulness and send the meat to Europe. Serge Nubret told me he used to eat about 7 pounds of it a day when he lived in France. It must be good protein. Now they use hogs to send overseas. We can get 60 cents a pound for a hog over 200 pounds if it’s brought in alive.” “You’ll have to excuse my amazement in all of this. I’m a city boy. I was 16 before I ever saw a cow and that was at a fair. Just how does one capture a hog?” Brian was clearly amused by my wonderment. “Well, first we use the hounds to find them. Once they get the scent and locate the hog, we turn the dogs loose on them. Usually pits or English bulldogs.They grab a hold of the hog and hang on no matter what.” “Isn’t that kind of dangerous for the dog?” I asked. “Oh yeah. Dogs get mauled all the time. Them hogs are salty!” “OK, so the dog is chewing on the hog, then what?” “Well, you get up behind him and grab him by the back legs and just kinda deadlift him up.You just pull them to you real fast so their front legs go out from under you.You kind of pop them out like a sheet. Then flip him over, drop your knee on his shoulder/neck and the other knee on his stomach. Then you can either stab it in the heart with a seven-inch hunting knife, or then pull their legs together and tie them up.” “I imagine that’s where the term ‘hog tied’ comes from?” “That’s right! Some guys use handcuffs or hobbles— a kind of wrist strap with loops on both ends. The hobbles work real good, because they get tighter the more the hog pulls on them.” “So, I imagine once you get in with Brain Dobson, you’re going hunting!” “Yup. We had Dave (Palumbo) come down and go out MD 213

with us. He said you’d love it.” “Pfffff…Dave is always trying to get me killed!” But, I don’t know if I could actually stab a hog in the heart! Either way, clearly Brian and I were bonding. Then I made the statement that really endeared me to him. “It sounds like Ted Nugent would love your gym.” You could feel Brian light up on the phone. “Oh he’d love Metroflex. We even play his music all the time! I love Ted Nugent.”

Likeable Guy It’s hard not to like Brian Dobson. Most Texans I’ve met are the nicest people, but there is a spirit Brian embodies that’s hard to deny. He is truly one of us. He opened Metroflex in 1987 (during the growth of corporate gyms) to fill the niche he felt existed for a true “hardcore” gym. “I always wanted a gym,” he said. “I was born in Detroit and grew up around Tom Platz and Don Ross. We used to train at this little gym called Armento’s Gym. It was real small…no bigger than the dumbbell area here at Metroflex. Tom gave me a workout plan and I lived by it for a year.That

gym was in a real bad part of town. There were lot of characters and mafia hit men in there. Don Ross was always crazy. He had a big influence on me. But it was Tom who was goaloriented. He was still going to college at the time and his parents really catered to him. I went to his house one time and there were about 800 cans of tuna in the cupboard! It was those guys, and the gym there, that really had an affect on me. The gym had a great spirit. A great sense of competition and it was that spirit that always stayed with me.” “When did you move to Texas?” I asked. “Around 1977,” he replied. “It was different in Texas. There were not too many bodybuilders, but lots of powerlifters. So I had the best of both worlds influencing me. I started powerlifting and set a lot of records. I was great at deadlifting. Then I started working in nightclubs. That was a bad influence. But I still did it for 11 years. All the while, I was looking for a gym like this.” “Then, the Gold’s Gym franchise came. We drove about 50 miles to train there. There were lots of girls so we started showing off. They had a

low cable row that wasn’t assembled together. I was doing a ton of weight one day, really pulling hard, and the whole damn thing started coming down on me! I put my arm up to try and hold it, but it still whacked me pretty good. There was blood all over the place. I need about 30 stitches in my head. The manager flipped out and started calling an ambulance. I said, ‘No way! We just drove 50 miles; we’re not going to stop training.’ I wrapped my shirt around my head and told him to just pay my hospital bill. I wasn’t going to sue him or anything.” “That’s about as hardcore as it gets, bro!” “Yeah, but it was really kinda lame compared to our gym; no loud music or anything. Lots of Gold’s opened up, took everyone’s money and went out of business.They even passed a new law called the Texas Health Spa Act. If you’re going to do any long-term contracts, you have to put up a bond.” “Does that affect you?” I asked. “Not really. We don’t have many long-term contracts. About 10 years ago they made us put up some money, but gave it all back a few

[Brian] opened Metroflex in 1987 (during the growth of corporate gyms) to fill the niche he felt existed for a true “hardcore” gym. “I always wanted a gym,” he said. “I was born in Detroit and grew up around Tom Platz and Don Ross. ”

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years later because we never had a complaint.” “That doesn’t surprise me. So, after you cracked your head open, then what?” “Even back then, the hardcore places were starting to vanish. The one place that was cool got sold just as soon as steroids became illegal. That’s probably how he was making his money. I just wanted a place where you could bang your head on the wall if you needed to. Or use chalk, scream, yell, blast the music and drop the weights if you needed to.” “A lot of gym owners don’t like people dropping the weights,” I said. “I know. But it’s kinda stupid. It’s going to be hard to put down anything over 100 pounds gently. There is a right way to do it. And I kinda like that sound it makes.” I cracked up. “You sound more like you cut your teeth in Gold’s Gym, Venice.”

Filling The Niche “Oh, man.That place was it! But, you know, just like it was there, I saw a niche and I wanted to fill it. I couldn’t stand training at those other places. I had no money at all. I had a $4,000 loan and that was it.” “You bought Metroflex for $4,000?” “It’s kind of a funny story,” Brian began. “I knew I wanted to open a gym so I had started looking for equipment. I was talking to a guy who had some equipment for sale and he asked why I wanted it. I told him I wanted to open a gym. So, he said, ‘Why not buy this one?’ I asked how much he wanted and he said $20,000. I told him I only had $4,000 and he took it! There wasn’t too much equipment. We still have the old upside down leg press…you gotta be careful on that thing. But now we have Texas Power bars, dumbbells up to 250 pounds, a Hatfield squat bar, hex deadlift bars, logs and stones for strongmen, lifting platforms, leg presses that hold up to 2,500 lbs. This place isn’t big, but it’s got all of what you need.” “Yeah, apparently it does. I guess the big question is how did Ronnie Coleman come to call Metroflex home?” “I was open about four years and one of the cops who trained here told me about Ronnie. I said, ‘Send him down here; I need a training partner!’ This was bout 1990. I took one look at him and said, ‘Damn, this guy has potential!’ He was completely drug-free back then. He was so naïve; he didn’t know anything about drugs. He just had a tremendous genetic gift. He couldn’t stand for anyone to beat him at anything. We were pretty even back then and I was on shit. It wasn’t long before he beat me at everything.” “When was it that Ronnie became so associated with Metroflex?” “Right from the beginning,” Brian said. “Ronnie called me at 3 a.m. after he won the World Championships in Poland and said he won the whole damn thing! It was a big thing for us. CNN came here and did a story on him.

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“I knew I wanted to open a gym so I had started looking for equipment. I was talking to a guy who had some equipment for sale and he asked why I wanted it. I told him I wanted to open a gym. So, he said, ‘Why not buy this one?” It was funny seeing everyone trying to get in the shot. Now there are so many photo shoots here people don’t even take notice.” “Did you always train with Ronnie?” “For a long time I did,” Brian replied. “But after about ‘03 or ’04, I couldn’t train with him anymore because he was just too strong. We just helped him move dumbbells around and load up the plates.” “So, what’s the real deal, Brian? You know Ronnie…you trained with him; if anyone would know whether or not the guy hurt himself and threw his back out of balance it would be you. Why did Ronnie’s left lat and triceps disappear?” “Ronnie had some kind of nerve damage,” he said. February 2009

“I was here the day it happened. I can’t blame the guy for not saying anything, because Ronnie never whined or complained about anything. He was lean eating bologna and pizza and when I put him on a diet he just buckled down and did it. Never complained once. That’s just the way he is.” “What happened?” “Ronnie loves T-bar rows— the old-school way, with the Olympic bar wedged in the corner. One day, he was back there doing rows. Someone had put baby powder on his legs back there and some of it was on the floor around where Ronnie was rowing. He had about eight plates on the bar and his foot slipped on the powder. I think that’s when it happened. His foot slipped out from under him and jolted him pretty violently. I fixed it since then. Now the end of the bar slips into a cup that’s on an axis…but I think that’s what caused the initial damage.” “I hear rumors that he had it fixed and that he’s planning on making a comeback. Is any of that true?” “That’s a good question,” Brian said. “Ronnie supposedly had surgery to fix it; he won’t admit it, though. But he sure looks different. His left triceps isn’t what it was but it’s up there. His back looked full to me. I think he’s afraid to compete in America because he doesn’t think the judges like him anymore. He got mad and said some things he shouldn’t have. But, you know, I’d be mad, too, if I lost $1 million.” “Yeah, me too. Ronnie’s form was always pretty bad

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I’m sure anyone who gets lucky enough to meet Brian Dobson and train at Metroflex amid the deer carcasses hanging outside, the Ten Commandments on the wall and the most hardcore environment known to man will remember that experience as well for the rest of their lives. That’s the true defining aspect of what hardcore is. from what I’ve seen. I can’t believe he never got hurt.” “Yeah. I’d have to agree. Ronnie is very, very simple in his training. He had never gotten hurt. When I hit 40, a lot of little stuff started bothering me and he could never understand that. He’d say, “what’s wrong?” And I’d say I think I snapped my rotator cuff. And he’d just look at me like I was crazy.” “Do you just think he thought he was invincible?” I asked. “Yeah, probably. But he couldn’t help it. I think there is a spirit here for training hard. It’s different. If you train here for a year and go someplace else, you either come back or stop training. We have everything for powerlifters, strongmen and bodybuilders. But it’s not pretty. Even the worst LA Fitness will kick our ass as far as equipment goes, but this stuff is solid steel, hardcore old-school shit. No hollow tubing.” “But there is no doubt Ronnie put you on the map; his training videos are insane! Like the one where you guys are doing leg presses and you needed a calculator to add up all the weight. It was like 2,700 pounds!” Brian chuckled. “That was crazy. But you know, people come from all over the world just to see this place. It really honors me. I hope one day there will be Metroflex Gyms all over the world. We sold our first three licensing agreements. Plano, Texas; Boston, Mass; and Fort Worth. When I was younger, I focused on training. I should have done this a long time ago. We’re just now just starting to sell clothes. I’m really hoping that will take off.” “Ronnie may have put you on the map, but who was the first big pro to train at Metroflex?” “Ron Love came down here one year; he was the first pro ever in our gym. He was promoting some supplement line I never heard of. He was getting ready for the O the year they drug tested it. I said, ‘Are you going to work out?’ He said they were going to take him over to Bally’s because it was the only gym that would still be open by the time he finished what he was doing. I said, ‘I’m open.’ So, he came over and trained back with us that night. We almost killed him. I had to apologize to all the young guns who showed up gunning for him. I was so psyched, I headbutted the fuse box in the back and busted it open getting February 2009

ready for a set of rows. Ron loved that! He said, ‘Damn, if I trained here I’d be huge!’” “You know, Brian, you are a big deal in this thing of ours. How did your life change as this gym became more and more important in our industry?” “That’s a really good question, John. I was born in a hardcore Christian family, but over the years, I had drifted really far from it. I was living a pretty dirty life and I don’t know how I got a way with all of it. I was doing drugs, partying, womanizing, slowly going downhill. At one point, I was having a problem— a weird pain in my quad— from working out with Ronnie. I had actually partially torn my quad tendon, but didn’t know it. I was out hunting one day and had to jump across a creek. Well, jumping over that creek, the tendon snapped. I don’t know, but my whole life changed that day. My wife found out about all my infidelities. It was a mess. Then I started counting my blessings. We went to a marriage counselor and all the guy wanted to do was talk about weightlifting! I told my wife we just need to go to church. I was deeply involved in that when I was younger, and it all came back. I lost some members over that…like, I won’t play Marilyn Manson anymore. I have the Ten Commandments hanging right in front of the door when you walk in. People said I’d lose all my members, but I really felt like I’d get blessed with more. And I have been! I feel like you calling me for this interview was a special blessing. It would never have happened before. Even Ronnie was a divine appointment. Branch, too.” “You and Branch have a really good relationship.”

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“Yes, sir, we do. He had a tough upbringing. But I told him he had to stop being a dick. Over the years, he’s learned. He’s still super, super hardcore in the gym. But I told him you can be hardcore, but you have to be a nice guy, too.That’s how it is here. I took him out to a school last week to speak to the kids about the bad choices in his life. He didn’t know what to say to them and he had to be careful because kids can spot a phony a mile away. So, he told them the thing that got him here is hard work. No matter what, if you work hard, you’ll get what you want. The kids loved him and it was great for Branch. He hit a few shots for them and the kids nearly fell over. He gave every one of them an autographed picture. I can promise you those kids are going to remember Branch for the rest of their lives. He’s going to remember them, too.” And I’m sure anyone who gets lucky enough to meet Brian Dobson and train at Metroflex amid the deer carcasses hanging outside, the Ten Commandments on the wall and the most hardcore environment known to man will remember that experience as well for the rest of their lives. That’s the true defining aspect of what hardcore is: it’s that attitude that leaves an indelible impression. So few guys have it anymore, or know where to look for it. One thing for sure, when you see it, it sticks with you. When I cut my teeth in Venice back in the day, hardcore was all around me. I just wished I had known how much I’d miss it after it was gone.Thankfully, there are still places where those of us who understand can go and be understood.That’s a tall order these days and if it weren’t for places such as Metroflex, we’d be shit out of luck. ■ February 2009

The Predator Torches Bi’s And Tri’s At Metroflex

KAI KILLS GUNS! By Ron Harris, Photography by Per Bernal

The New-And-Improved Greene Machine Is Coming!

If you lined up photos of Kai Greene in the same poses from each of the past three years, it would be apparent that this young man is growing and improving at an almost frightening rate as he vaults into the elite upper tiers of the pro ranks. Many have speculated that this rapid progress in lean muscle mass accumulation was somehow at least partly responsible for the hernia that he bravely

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Less than three months after Kai’s surgery, he’s huge, hungry and ready to take a carnivore-size bite out of the 2009 pro season. struggled with through the Arnold Classic and New York Pro earlier this year, but which ultimately knocked him out of what would have been his Mr. Olympia debut. And even Kai himself wouldn’t argue that point. To become something amazing, that no human being was ever meant to be…a muscular phenomenon, if you will— certain boundaries and limits need to be pushed up against and shattered. And in the process, a process inherently rife with risk, you can and often will suffer both mentally and physically for your gains. But all things considered, Kai regrets not a minute of the brutal workouts that catapulted him from “stage ornament” to superstar in just a couple brief years. Nothing has ever been handed to the man we

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call The Predator, and working twice as hard as the next guy to get half the reward is nothing new to him. And if anyone thought something like a hernia would take him out of the game, they don’t know Kai at all. Less than three months after the surgery, he’s huge, hungry and ready to take a carnivore-size bite out of the 2009 pro season.

Armed For The Next Stage Of Battle Arms have never been a weak point for Greene. He began building his peashooters into cannons way back before he was even a teenager. “I’d see pictures of Arnold, Robby Robinson, Bertil Fox and other greats of that era and February 2009

know that someday I would have arms like that,” he says. “A lot of kids have big dreams, but I believed I could make it happen.” For a few years, his biceps and triceps were stimulated only by whatever exercises he could dream up using available items around the house. But shortly into his teens, Kai started hefting genuine barbells and dumbbells, and it was on. “I had 21-inch arms before I was 18 years old,” he relates. Since there are many thousands of guys out there who are more than twice that age and have been training for over 20 years, yet still haven’t hit that number (don’t cry for me; unless you really want to), that’s an exceptional achievement. Also keep in mind that Kai is about 5’8” on a good day. When Kai had his “breakout” year in 2006, his guns were so formidable that they shot down heavy hitters like Branch Warren and Dennis James at the New York Pro to earn the show’s “Best Arms” award. But this

is a man who refuses to rest on his laurels. He wasn’t satisfied that his arms were big enough, or had good enough shape for his own very demanding standards. “From some angles and in some poses they looked really good, but from others I saw there was room for improvement.” Kai has been back in the gym blasting away at his arms with no mercy, under the watchful eye and encouraging words of his trainer, Oscar Ardon. Here are some of The Predator’s favorite exercises he’s using to become battle-ready for 2009.

Alternate Dumbbell Curls A longtime staple in Kai’s biceps routine is some type of alternate dumbbell curl. He may do them seated or standing, and also may even lift with both arms simultaneously (which would no longer be an “alternate” dumbbell curl). “Doing both arms at the same time is a good option for anyone who has a tendency to lean into the working arm and cut their range of motion short.” Whichever way he does his dumbbell curls, Greene takes advantage of the supination action, starting the rep with his palms facing in toward his torso, and finishing with palms rotated and facing the ceiling. “The biceps have two main functions, which are flexion and supination,” Kai explains. “If you never incorporate that twisting motion, you miss out on the full benefits of the dumbbell curl and what it has to offer.” For arms in general, Kai likes to work in the 12-15 rep range. “That’s where I feel you are able to tap into the deep muscle fibers and get the stimulation it takes to make the arms grow,” he adds. “That’s not to say that occasionally going heavier doesn’t have its benefits, either. Rules are made to be broken, and there really are no rules when it comes to training anyway.”

Preacher Curls Though Kai often does barbell curls, another favorite barbell move on biceps day is preacher curls. “I

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find that I’m able to spark deeper, more meaningful contractions when the arms are supported and immobile,” Kai comments. “You defeat the purpose of the strict preacher curl if you let your whole body swing like a pendulum from rep one to heave up the weight, though.” Still, Greene concedes that there is definitely a time and place for “cheating” type of form. “Cheating to extend the set and work the muscle deeper into the ground can be very useful, but all too often, what we see is guys cheating the whole time because they have too much weight on the bar to handle properly.”

Dumbbell Preacher Curls When he wants to isolate one biceps at a time and really focus on a tight squeeze, Kai will opt for either concentration curls or dumbbell preacher curls. “I really like the preacher bench because it stabilizes the

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shoulder and forces you to use stricter form,” he says. “It’s a totally different feeling from preachers with a barbell, much more targeted and intense in the belly of the biceps muscle.”

Sample Training Split* Day one: Back and biceps, calves Day two: Quads Day three: Chest and triceps Day four: Hamstrings and calves Day five: OFF Day six: Shoulders *Kai rotates the order he trains body parts on a fairly regular basis. February 2009

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squeeze the weight up. “You won’t be using 90-pound dumbbells this way, so don’t even try,” he advises.

Concentration Curls Every great champion of the last few decades has incorporated concentration curls at one time or another in his biceps training, and Kai is no exception. For variety’s sake, he will occasionally do them seated, as is the most common style, while other times he goes “old school” and does them standing and bent over like Robby and Arnold did back in the day. “Whether or not concentration curls can actually bring out more of a peak or not is debatable,” he says, “but regardless, the movement lets you focus on that midpoint of the rep where you work the belly of the muscle.”

Cable Pushdowns For triceps, Kai usually starts off with some type of cable pushdown to warm up the elbows and get the whole area ready for the free weights to follow. He employs a variety of grip attachments at different times. He may begin with rope pushdowns to grease the joints and get a light pump

Hammer Curls Hammer curls can do a perfect job of beefing up the brachialis as well as the short head of the biceps, but only if you do them right. “A lot of guys swing and throw the weights around and wind up hitting mostly front delts,” Kai says. The variation you see him doing here may look more like a concentration curl, but it’s how Greene found puts the muscle in a position where it’s forced to do the work. He braces the nonworking arm on a bench, leans over slightly and strictly

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going, then clip on a short straight bar for heavy pushdowns of even “power pushdowns.” “On those, I lean forward with a close grip on the bar, and let my elbows flare out,” he tells us. “You could almost think of this exercise as a close-grip bench press motion, but done with a cable and upside down because you’re pushing down rather than up.”

Skull-Crushers (not shown) I have yet to talk to any pro with monster triceps who hasn’t done his share of skull-crushers. “It’s just a very basic movement, like the barbell curl.” Kai says. He does caution against both starting with this exercise, and going too heavy. “It’s a killer exercise, but it can also be rough on the elbows and shoulders if you get careless or sloppy.”

Are You Ready For Kai, v. 4.0? We have now seen several distinct iterations of Kai Greene’s physique. Back when he was winning the Team Universe, he was around 215 pounds, which wasn’t much lighter than his first couple forgettable outings as a pro. In 2006, when he was rediscovered at the New York Pro, Kai was up to 235 and dramatically thicker. But the real transformation occurred a year ago, as Greene somehow managed to put enough mass on over the past off-season to roar into the last Arnold Classic at almost 260 pounds, yet still seemingly chiseled out of obsidian and with his flowing lines intact. Soon, we’ll see what he and his team have in store for us next. “It’s not about bodyweight at all, even though that’s what a lot of people seem to fixate on,” he says. “Just putting on weight haphazardly would be counterproductive, especially if it was distributed mainly in areas like my legs and midsection. But my training has been geared toward making improvements in critical areas like my chest, shoulders, and arms, and that’s what will help take me to that next level I need to reach.” If just about anybody else made these kind of promises about his physique, I would maintain a strong air of skepticism. But Kai Greene is a man of his word. So get ready, boys and girls. The new Kai Greene show starts soon!

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Dips Kai has been doing dips since his days as a foster kid, when he would rig up any two objects suitable to get between and push himself up from. Over the years he has done them both weighted and with bodyweight alone, and doesn’t really have a preference. “Weighted dips are definitely more of a power movement and can build good thickness in the whole triceps,” he concedes. “But you can’t write off bodyweight dips, either. You can get higher reps and have much better control over the contractions. It’s a lot easier to hold and squeeze at the top with your own weight as opposed to if you had 100 or more pounds strapped to your waist.” Then again, if you weigh over 300 pounds as Kai does these days in the off-season, I doubt you would need to bother with any extra weight.

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One-Arm Reverse Cable Pushdown No area can be neglected if your goal is to own the best physique in the world, so Kai often includes single-arm pushdowns using a reverse grip to target the long head of the triceps. “This is the region of the triceps that you see when viewing a physique from the rear in your quarter turns,” he informs us. “That area can never be too thick or too full and round.” As it’s a finesse movement, lighter weights and a slower controlled rep speed are what you’re looking for on these.

Brian Dobson: A Man’s Man Like most of us who have had the privilege to meet Metroflex Gym owner Brian Dobson, Kai had nothing but good things to say about the Texan. “This is a man’s man,” he says. “Besides running the most hardcore gym on the planet, the guy goes out in the hills and hunts down wild boar with a knife. Now, I grew up in the ghetto around thugs and I know what tough is, but that’s really tough. That’s like something you’d see out of the pioneer days, like Davy Crockett. If he ever went on ‘Survivor,’ I bet he would win.”

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The Metroflex Mantra One thing Kai picked up on during his three days of shooting at Metroflex was a unique call and response that members there engaged in before every heavy set. “Someone would yell out, ‘light weight!’ Then there would immediately be this primal grunt,” he explains. If you think that it sounds like something out of the National Geographic Channel, you’re not so far off base. “It’s a mantra they use to get psyched for feats of strength, or to assert their dominance over seemingly insurmountable obstacles they were about to tackle headon.” Kai also couldn’t help but feel that it represented a sharing of a mass consciousness, a unity of common goals, and a spiritual energy that the members all put out and tap into at the same time. “You sense that everybody supports everyone else there, like they all have each other’s back. That’s so different from most gyms, where everyone is into themselves and could care less about the guy or girl next to him.” I can add my own experience from early 2005 to Kai’s testimony. In that one-of-a-kind gym, with Ronnie Coleman spotting me, I did a set of 10 reps with 315 on the front squat. Not that this is some amazing accomplishment (Ronnie himself has done 585 many times), but consider that I had never been able to do it before, and haven’t been able to do it ever since. Is there something “magical” about the atmosphere at Metroflex? You can laugh if you like, but I believe there is.

A Unique Training Space At first glance, and especially if you didn’t know any better, you could easily write Metroflex off as a dump. But for those of us who live the iron life, it’s so much more than meets the eye. Kai speaks reverently about the gym that spawned great champions like Ronnie Coleman and Branch Warren. “Yeah, it’s dirty and dingy, and you definitely want to wash your hands after a workout there,” Greene chuckles. “But the intensity of the place and the people who have trained there literally resides in the building like a ghost. It’s actually more tangible than that— I bet the DNA from everybody is still on the upholstery of the benches and machines. I don’t think the place gets cleaned too often. But that’s OK…it puts you in touch with the people who have called Metroflex home.”

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What Do Those Guns Measure, Kai? Having seen recent photos and video clips of Kai guest posing at over 300 pounds, I speculated that his arms must be up around 23 inches now. They certainly look it. Kai himself has no idea. “Honestly, I don’t want to measure them because I don’t want to be disappointed,” he confides. “I know they have grown, and that’s all that counts. It’s a visual sport and if I have created the illusion of much bigger arms than I had before, I have succeeded.”

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Kai’s Pro Record 2005 New York Pro 2006 Iron Man Pro 2006 New York Pro 2006 Colorado Pro 2007 New York Pro 2007 Keystone Classic 2007 Colorado Pro 2008 Arnold Classic 2008 New York Pro

14th place Did not place Did not place 14th place Sixth place Third place Winner Third place Winner

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By Ron Harris, Photography by Per Bernal

You’ve All Been Waiting. . . Erik Fankhouser has had a popular column here in MD for over a year. “The House” has also graced our cover. But until now, he has never had a training feature— not even for his amazing lower body. With some of the sickest quads and hams in the sport and without question the absolute freakiest calves of any bodybuilder alive (possibly ever… only Mike Matarazzo in his prime could have given him a good run)— many of you probably wondered why this article hasn’t been done until now. Though I don’t have a real answer for you, I can placate your grumbling with the adage “good things come to those who wait.” The story of how rookie pro Erik Fankhouser became The House and joined an elite group of men with legendary lower bodies that includes Tom Platz, the late Paul “Quadzilla” DeMayo and Branch Warren is definitely one that was worth the wait. But first, a bit of background on Erik.

Construction Begins The House has been an athlete since kindergarten. That’s when he started wrestling, and he continued grappling all the way through high school in Wheeling, West Virginia right on the Ohio border. Track and football came along in middle school, and he stuck with those until he graduated West Liberty State. Middle school was also when his stepfather, the only dad he’s ever known, introduced him to weights. For almost a decade, Erik’s sole use for the iron was to improve his game on the gridiron. “All through high school, I went to a key club gym that my coach owned,” he says. “I could get in there any time of day or night, and it was within walking distance of my house, so I was there all the time. Late nights, holidays—

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whenever.” Ironically, his monstrous calves had already reached their current size by the time he was in high school, where he graduated at about 5’8” and 215. “They were actually probably a little bigger then, but not defined at all,” he notes, “mainly from the football drills.” Training mainly on Olympic lifts in the weight room, Erik played fullback at West Liberty at 260 very solid pounds. But as he neared completion of his physical therapy degree, Fankhouser knew his beloved days of playing football were coming to an end. As any true competitor, he started thinking about what to pursue next. “People had been saying for years that I would make a good bodybuilder, but I never really thought much about it,” he tells us. Now it seemed like the next logical progression.

Showtime! Erik targeted a local show to test the waters, and proceeded to diet down from 255 all the way to 181. Three hours of cardio a day explains the dramatic weight loss, but Erik still drops an unusual amount of bodyweight for contests. “When I turned pro at the North American last year, I came down from 275 to 202. I hold a lot of water in the off-season, and I just drop weight very fast once I start eating really clean. I probably over-diet a bit.” Regardless, Erik won the junior division, placed second in the novice, and took fourth in the open light-heavies at his debut just four years ago. That was enough to let him know that bodybuilding was indeed a sport he could do well in if he kept at it.

The Best Wheels Award A lot of pros have pretty unremarkable debut outings, but Erik’s trip to the Europa show was a rewarding one. Eleventh place in a field of over 40 guys was respectable

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enough, but he also walked away with the event’s “Best Wheels” award and the “People’s Choice” Award from the fans watching the webcast at home on “I would love to get that Best Wheels award every time,” he enthuses. “Bodybuilders are built from the ground up, and to be recognized as the guy with the best legs is an honor.” Fankhouser holds equal respect for the award bestowed on him by the fans and their votes. “The fans are where it’s February 2009

really at in this game,” he explains. “Without a strong fan base, you really don’t have much of a career, but with great fans you can do pretty well.” Before getting into Erik’s leg training, I have to state what should be obvious. His legs have always been big and once he started training them bodybuilding style not so long ago, they just blew right the hell up. Being a full-time exercise physiologist, though, Fankhouser does have credentials when it comes

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to training that other pros often don’t and insights into what the rest of us mere mortals can do to get our own wheels one step closer to greatness.

Leg Extensions Erik doesn’t necessarily use leg extensions to “warm up” the quads as many other bodybuilders do. There is one of the three leg training workouts he rotates between MD 243

Three Great Leg-Training Tips From The House: It’s not about the weight. “You should always focus more on using good form and feeling the legs work than how much weight you’re using,” Erik says. “When you go too heavy, you engage momentum as well as other muscle groups to do the work. Range of motion also suffers. If you notice, it’s the guys who go all the way down on squats who have the best legs. Every gym has people who load up the bar and do those little 4-inch reps, and they typically don’t have much leg development. That should tell you something.”

Belt yes, wraps no. Erik always wears a belt when he squats, and actually wears a belt for just about everything. “It’s not for injury prevention, though, because I use good form and body mechanics and work within my limits,” he says. “I feel that a belt is more useful for keeping your waist smaller.” Huh? I’m sure that sounds questionable to a lot of you, but he backs it up with a convincing theory. “Any time you’re exerting yourself with weights, your core expands because that’s where all your power and stability stem from. If it’s constantly expanding as far as possible, the entire midsection will eventually grow as a result. Keeping it cinched in with a belt prevents that from happening. I can’t prove it, but it’s worked for me. My small waist is one of the things I’ve got going for me, and I aim to keep it that way.” As for wraps, he’s never used them and never will. “Knock on wood, I have never had any knee problems,” he says. “I don’t need them for support, and I’m not about trying to see how much weight I can lift just for the hell of it. I’m not a powerlifter, so I don’t see any reason to own a pair of knee wraps.”

Quads and hams belong together. “I have always worked the whole leg in one workout,” Erik declares. “It never made sense to split them up to me, because the hamstrings are always involved in any compound movement like a squat or a leg press anyway.” For those who need to give extra attention to the hams because they lag behind, Erik’s solution is simple. “Just work the hamstrings first when you have the most energy,” he explains. “It usually won’t take much away from the rest of the workout because hamstring work isn’t as exhausting as the stuff we do for quads.”

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where it serves to pre-exhaust the quads, but he feels that it works just fine as a stand-alone movement. “In one of my workouts, I actually go fairly heavy on extensions for sets of as few as 6 reps.”

Squats You’d be hard pressed to find many guys in this world with legs like Fankhouser’s that didn’t get them by doing plenty of good old-fashioned squats. But as often as we seem to hear about guys in the sport who can handle 600800 pounds or at least have in the past, Erik is proof that you don’t necessarily have to use record-setting poundage to build enormous quads. “The most I’ve ever squatted for reps was a little over 500, and that was back in college,” he explains. “Most times these days I don’t go over 405, but I really concentrate on using perfect form and getting a full range of motion.”

Leg Presses Rather than piling on literally a ton of iron like Ronnie did in one of his DVDs, Erik prefers a method that’s actually far more demanding. In fact, if you can complete his “Centuries Sets” routine, you would be the first to do so. How tough can it be? Start with one plate on each side and do 10 reps. Then move on to two plates for 20. The goal is to eventually do 10 plates for 100 reps. The kicker

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is, you are only supposed to rest long enough to get up and put the plates on. Even Erik has never managed to accomplish the full rep scheme. “Eight plates for 80 reps is the best I’ve been able to do,” he admits. “Usually I will work up to six plates for 60, then go back down in weight and reps until I hit one plate for 10 again…that’s pretty darn tough, too.” This grueling workout typically helps Erik reach his goal of maximum soreness the next day. “I want to be so sore that even squatting down to get on the toilet is painful.”

Vertical Leg Presses Since I so rarely see any vertical leg presses these days, I assumed Erik only did this for the photos, because it was there at Metroflex and Per Bernal thought it would look cool. But no, he actually does do these pretty regularly. “I’m actually a bit of a gym whore,” he says. “My main gym is Body Shop in Yorkville, Ohio, but at any time I will have memberships at a few other places too. I just love the variety of equipment and the different atmospheres you get when you go to other places.” Vertical leg presses offer a different angle than the standard 45-degree sled that most of us use, and Erik feels they are able to hit the hamstrings better. “I actually like the vertical leg press best for calves,” he reveals. “It puts your body in the same position as a donkey calf raise.” MD 245

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Hack Squats Erik attributes most of his amazing outer quad sweep to genetics, but also feels he has been able to bring it out thanks to plenty of work on the hack squat machine. “The way I am doing them in the photos isn’t usually how I do them,” he says. “I have always preferred turning around and facing into the machine, keeping my feet pretty close together.” This was the way he did them back in college for football, and it’s how I’ve also seen many gridiron athletes perform the exercise. “The motion is a lot like tackling somebody,” he notes.

Lying Leg Curls Huge, hanging hamstrings complete the massive thighs of Fankhouser, and he has built most of their mass with lying leg curls. “It’s the basic movement for the hams, and you have to do them if you want to maximize their development.” But don’t worry about sinking the pin all the way down and using the whole stack. “Keep your hips down, bring the roller pad all the way up until you get a full contraction of the muscle, and squeeze for everything you’re worth,” he advises.

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Current Training Rotation Chest Arms OFF Back Shoulders OFF Chest Legs OFF Chest Shoulders OFF Back Legs

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Leg Workout 1: Heavy Barbell Squats Lying Leg Curls Leg Extensions Straight-Leg Deadlifts Leg Press Calf Raises

5 x 10, 8, 8, 6, 10 5 x 10, 8, 8, 6, 10 5 x 10, 8, 8, 6, 10 5 x 10, 8, 8, 6, 10 50 toes straight, 50 toes in, 50 toes out, 50 toes straight (total 200 reps)

Leg Workout 2: Pre-Exhaust With Failure Leg Curls Leg Extensions Dumbbell Lunges Straight-Leg Deadlifts Front Squats Standing Calf Raises

Warm-Up, then 4 x 8-15 Warm-Up, then 4 x 8-15 4 x 8-15 4 x 8-15 4 x 8-15 4 x 8-15

Leg Workout 3: Faster and Higher Reps Centuries Leg Presses* Leg Extensions 4 x 12, 15, 15, 12 Step-Ups with Dumbbells 4 x 10, 12, 12, 10 Leg Curls 4 x 12, 15, 15, 12 Glute-Ham Machine 3 sets to failure Seated Calf Raises 4 x 50 *Start with one 45-pound plate on each side for 10 reps. Proceed to two plates for 20, three plates for 30 (resting only 30-60 seconds between sets). The ultimate goal is 10 plates for 100 reps, which Erik has never seen anyone do yet, including himself.

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Single Leg Curls A great complement to lying leg curls is the standing version, which allows you to focus on just one leg at a time. “It’s also a great way to make sure you don’t have a weaker side,” Erik notes.

Standing Calf Raises Erik admits that he stopped working calves for a little while because they certainly don’t need to be any bigger, but lately he’s changed his thinking on that matter. “They’re my moneymaker and what I’m known for, so it doesn’t make sense not to capitalize on that by continuing to improve them.” More size isn’t really the aim now, though, but instead better detail and

separation. “On the standing calf raise, I go pretty heavy for low reps,” he tells us. “I do want them to be a little bigger still.” On another day, he does presses on the leg press for sets of 50, which build better quality to the muscle.

Seated Calf Raises Because the soleus muscle that lies underneath the diamondshaped gastrocnemius can only be worked with the legs in a bent position, Erik also hits his cows with seated calf raises. “The soleus is a real slow-twitch muscle, so that gets sets of 50 reps every time.”

This House Is Appreciating In Value After a successful rookie season, despite it only encompassing one show, Erik Fankhouser is very optimistic about his future in pro bodybuilding. With the support of his wife, Heather (The Landlord), and his son, Xavier (The Tenant), at home; MD; Universal Nutrition; and his growing group of devoted fans, he knows the best is yet to come. “I’m in this thing for the long haul. I’m still a young guy and I’m very excited about next year.” Take some leg-training tips from The House and you may soon be getting your own Best Wheels Award…even if it is only at your local gym!

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All By Myself. . . Who do you think Erik has for a training partner? Another pro, or at least some other huge bodybuilder? Ah, you think this is a trick question, right? Maybe his training partner is his wife, or some strong little 150pound dude. Nope! Erik doesn’t have a training partner, and he never has. “It kind of sucks, actually,” he confides. “It’s part of the reason I don’t train super heavy. I never have a spotter. I tried training with my coach, Andy, but our schedules just conflicted too much.” I don’t know about you, but I smell a reality series here. Twenty amateur bodybuilders all living together in “The House,” vying for the coveted position of being training partner to The House! OK, that’s getting ridiculous, but at the least, maybe we can get something going on the MD boards or in Erik’s very popular thread. “I am sure that if I had someone to train with, I would be bigger and stronger than I am now,” Fankhouser states. So come on guys, we can’t let this guy miss out on being all he can be now that he’s in the IFBB!

Metroflex— The Most Hardcore Gym Ever “It was weird walking into Metroflex for the first time,” Erik says of his photo shoot there this past August. “I had seen the place so many times in pictures and videos that I had a sense of déjà vu like I had already been there before.” He also experienced the sense of awe that many others have reported at being in the legendary training headquarters of men like Ronnie, Branch and Johnnie Jackson. “It was around 100 degrees out, but I got chills down my spine when I first came in and looked around,” he says. “You see all the pictures, artwork and graffiti on the walls and you know you’re in a unique place.” Clearly it’s not your average gym or fitness center with gleaming chrome and spotless carpets. The one-of-a-kind character and atmosphere of Metroflex are something that all true bodybuilders need to experience at least once. “Besides all the great equipment, including a lot of vintage pieces that Brian Dobson has maintained somehow, you see things there you wouldn’t see anything else.” Such as? “The day I was there, this old alley cat was hunting around looking for something. I don’t want to know what it was he was chasing…probably something that would have given me rabies or the plague if it bit me.”

Complete Contest History 2004 NPC Upper Ohio Valley

2004 NPC Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix & West Virginia State 2005 NPC Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix & West Virginia State 2006 IFBB North American 2007 NPC USA Championships 2007 IFBB North American 2008 IFBB Europa Super Show

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Junior winner Second, Novice Fourth, Light-Heavyweight Mid-Atlantic, Novice winner Second WV Novice Third, Heavyweight Mid-Atlantic and West Virginia HW and Overall Fourth, Heavyweight Heavyweight (did not place) Heavyweight and Overall 11th Place

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By Ron Harris, Photography by Per Bernal

From An Ancient Land Comes a New Iron Warrior The North African country of Egypt is rich in history, having been home to one of the greatest ancient civilizations in the world. We still have reminders such as the pyramids, the Sphinx, monoliths and the ruins of various grand temples as a testament to the glory of the Pharaohs and the dynasties they ruled by the river Nile for thousands of years. Their contributions to our world of bodybuilding have been fairly significant, too. In the early ‘80s, one of the most formidable “giant

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killers” was the diminutive Mohamed Makkawy, who won six pro shows and was runner-up at the Mr. Olympia two years in a row to Samir Bannout and Lee Haney. In the ‘90s, Nasser El Sonbaty, of Egyptian descent, helped redefine the standards for size and condition en route to a half-dozen pro victories and a controversial second place at the Olympia to Dorian Yates in 1997. Now, another exceptional

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physique athlete comes to us from Egypt in the form of 31-year-old Tarek Elsetouhi. Before 2008, this total unknown was quietly constructing the 5’9”, 235-pound package that went from the amateur stage of the Arnold Classic in March to the pro stage in New York City just two months later. And before this surprise rookie season was out, Tarek had placed top five at the Europa. The question is: who is

this guy and how is it possible we never heard of him until just now?

Arnold, Truly the Father of Bodybuilding the World Over There is absolutely no argument to the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger inspired more men to become bodybuilders than anybody else. Add one more to the list. When Tarek was 16, he February 2009

happened to catch “Conan the Barbarian” on TV. His life would never be the same again from that moment on. “I told my father that I had to look like that, and begged him to take me to a gym so I could get started,” he says. “After a while, he finally broke down and signed me up at a place downtown.” His dad had been athletic and was no stranger to weight training, and Tarek had excelled in track, rugby and martial arts already. The gym he joined in his hometown of El Mansura was so basic that some of you probably had more elaborate setups in your own garage or basement as teens. “It was really just a bunch of barbells and dumbbells on the ground,” he explains. “There weren’t even any benches or squat racks, nothing like that.” Knowledge was also tough to come by, as none of the other regular lifters there seemed to have a clue what they were doing either. But like I always say, great genetics will always rise to the top no matter how deep they might be buried. Only four months after he picked up his first weight, Tarek’s friends convinced him to enter a local bodybuilding contest. At 165 sinewy pounds, he placed fourth against much older competitors. Shortly after, he entered another contest and won. So elated was Tarek with his win that he rejected the $50 cash prize. “I

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told the promoter he could keep it, because I was bodybuilding for my own self-satisfaction and goals, not to make money.” Just a year later, Elsetouhi was good enough to win his national championship and also compete at the pro-qualifying IFBB World Championships in Turkey. You would think that he would have been mixing it up on an IFBB stage by time he was 20 or 21, but unfortunately it’s not that easy in some parts of the world, even if you are good enough.

Let My People Go… Go Pro, That Is There must be something about the authorities in Egypt that doesn’t like to see the nation lose any of its brightest and best. A few 1,000 years ago, it took a series of plagues for the Pharaoh Ramses II to finally let Moses lead the Jewish people out of Egypt. These days, the bodybuilding federation in this proud country hangs on to its top amateurs in much the same way. “They don’t want us to turn pro, because then they get less money from the government when we win at the international IFBB amateur events,” Tarek informed me. I never realized how widespread this practice is until I attended the Arnold Amateur contest last March, and noticed that a large amount of the “amaMD 259

teurs” competing from other countries appeared to be of pro caliber. The reality is that it makes more sense financially for most of these guys to remain top amateurs, as this affords them full sponsorship from their national federation, courtesy of the government. Once they turn pro, they are on their own. In the case of Egypt, there are examples of men who have been serving their federation as amateurs literally for decades. You may have never heard of a man named El Shahat Mabrouk, despite the fact that he has been competing since 1981 and is still doing it. Mabrouk won his class at the IFBB World Amateur Championships eight times between 1987 and 2007, including an overall win there in 2003. That’s the same contest that men like Dennis Wolf and Tom Platz earned professional status, not to mention a dude named Ronnie Coleman. But Mabrouk remains an amateur who is completely unknown to most Western bodybuilding fans. Tarek didn’t want the same fate, so in 2005, he moved to Germany.

Y’all Better Recognize! Germany turned out to be exactly what Tarek needed in just about every way. It was there that he met his wife Marle, and it was in the city of Bingen, near Stuttgart and just a halfhour drive from Munich (or 5 minutes on the Autobahn at 180 miles an hour in your Porsche 911 Turbo), that he recently opened up Sport and Active Gym. “I had visited Germany back in 1998, and even back then I was thinking I would like to come back and live here one day,” he says. The German bodybuilding federation was far more supportive of his pro aspirations, too. Immediately after his decisive win at the Arnold Amateur, they recommended him to the IFBB for pro status. Now, he joins others like Dennis Wolf, Ronny Rockel and Markus Ruhl (making a comeback at the 2009 New York Pro) as one of the Deutschland’s best. Elsetouhi wasted no time putting that pro card to use. With a combination of massive, dense muscularity, pleasing shape and proportion, and granite-hard conditioning, he proved himself more than worthy of that pro card by placing in the top 10 in three of his first four IFBB shows, including top five at the Europa in a field of 41. For a totally raw rookie to be able to beat veterans like Darrem Charles, Johnnie Jackson and almost 35 others on a pro stage is a remarkable achievement.

Old-School Training…It Still Works Tarek’s impressive physique is testimony to the fact that training doesn’t need to be overly complicated to be effective. His workouts are decidedly “old-school,” featuring mainly free weights. Paramount in his goals are to lift as heavy as possible in good form, and to forever seek a searing lactic

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Contest History 2002 IFBB World Amateur 2004 IFBB European Amateur 2008 Arnold Amateur 2008 New York Pro 2008 Tampa Pro 2008 Europa Super Show 2008 Atlantic City Pro

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11 , Heavyweight Fifth, Super-Heavyweight Super-Heavyweight and Overall 12th place Sixth place Fifth place th 10 place

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acid burn in the muscles. To that end, he demands more from himself than any trainer ever could. “I do believe in no pain, no gain,” he tells us. “There have been times when I wasn’t satisfied with how a workout went, so I start the whole thing over and repeat it to make sure I hit the muscle as hard as it needed to be hit.” The pressure he puts on himself to get a great workout every time is enormous. “I literally imagine that it’s the last workout before a big contest like the Mr. Olympia, and my success or failure in the contest all depends on how hard I train that day.” To keep his muscles guessing and also to keep the intensity high, he often varies his rep speeds. “Sometimes I will do slower reps, other times faster, slow going up and fast on the way down, whatever it takes for me to get that deep burn in the muscle.” When he trains chest, he still visualizes his first hero, Arnold. “Arnold trained heavy, and he trained hard,” Tarek declares. “So did his friend, Franco. And I defy you to show me any pros today with better chest development than those two had in their prime.” In fact, his chest workout isn’t so different at all from what you might have seen being done in the original Gold’s Gym or out in The Pit by Muscle Beach back around 1975.

Dumbbell Presses

Tarek Rates Metroflex To a hardcore old-school style trainer like Tarek, Metroflex was like a fantasy come to life. “Never have I seen such a place so perfectly suited to becoming a great bodybuilder,” he gushed. “The equipment, the atmosphere of guys training so hard…and just knowing that this is where both Ronnie Coleman and Branch Warren trained for all their wins is a humbling thing.” Did the lack of amenities, like a semblance of hygiene or the widespread rust and dust bother him? “True bodybuilders don’t need a place to be sterile and spotless. They only need a place with a lot of weights and a lot of energy, and Metroflex has all you could ever want or need of both.”

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Tarek begins every chest workout with an incline press, either with dumbbells or the barbell. “A thick upper chest gives the pecs a better look overall,” he explains. “Think back to those old photos of Arnold hitting his side-chest pose. The main reason those photos are still so amazing even to this day is because he had such incredible thickness in the upper region— you really could have put a beer stein on them.” After 2 warm-up sets of 15 reps, Elsetouhi will launch into 4 sets of 6-10 reps. “Don’t let people tell you that 6 reps is too low for chest training,” he notes. “If you never go that heavy, you miss out on a certain level of density that you can only get with lower reps.” He does concede that his own rep range is what works best for him, but may not be the best for everyone. “I know a lot of people say to do 8-12 reps and that is very good for them, so that’s fine. Others may even do more reps. I just know that I have tried higher reps and they didn’t give me the same results.”

Bench Presses Now that he is thoroughly warmed up, Tarek moves on to the one exercise that’s built more chest mass than any other, the bench press. If he did it first, he could probably use around 500 pounds when he’s at his off-season bodyweight of 275. But recognizing the potential dangers of repeatedly pressing a load like that, he wisely schedules it second so that no more than 405 is ever needed. “I also make sure to contract and stretch the pecs with every rep,” he adds. “I don’t consider MD 263

Training Split Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Weekend:

Chest Back Shoulders Legs Arms OFF

Chest Routine Incline Dumbbell or Barbell Presses 2 x 15 (warm-up) 4 x 6-10 Flat Barbell Bench Presses 4 x 6-10 Flat Dumbbell Flyes 4 x 8-10 Cable Crossovers 3 x 10-15 Dumbbell Pullovers 3 x 6-10

myself a weightlifter, but a bodybuilder. If I only wanted to push the weight up, I wouldn’t activate all the muscle fibers the same way and would not get the same results that I have.” One look at those chiseled slabs of beef he calls his pecs should tell you that he knows what he’s talking about.

Weighted Dips Occasionally Tarek will add dips into his repertoire, as

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it was a favorite finishing movement for guys like Arnold, Franco and Draper. “Depending on how heavy I am at the time and where I place them in the routine, I may or may not add any weight,” he says. “But I do think it’s a very good exercise for both the lower and outer regions of the chest when you lean forward.” Regarding the trademark Metroflex “giant chain” dips that Branch Warren made famous, Tarek comments: “I think I will stick with the regular belt and chain.”

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Machine Bench Presses It took Tarek nearly 15 years of training to deviate from an all free-weights regimen, but about three years ago he finally started using machines here and there. “I still think that you need to focus on free weights to build your mass, but machines can help you refine it and give you more detail. They are also good for when you are close to a contest and shouldn’t be using very heavy free weights for everything.” MD 265

Pec Flye Machine Dumbbell flyes are what Elsetouhi prefers, but he won’t write off the machine version completely. “Not everyone can master dumbbell flyes and get the motion right,” he says. “Some guys always do them like it’s more of a press, so the flye machine can help them to at least use the proper form.” Tarek also wanted to add that flyes shouldn’t be thought of as being strictly a “shaping” movement. “If you go heavy enough, any exercise builds mass,” he informs us. “With flyes, you just have to be very careful with your form and keep everything tight or else you can hurt yourself.” He goes slightly higher on the rep range, 8-10, but that’s still a lot heavier than most bodybuilders will on flyes.

Cable Crossovers Finally, there is one apparatus that is a constant star in Tarek’s chest workouts, and that’s the cable crossover. “Even Arnold did these in ‘Pumping Iron’,” he points out. Here, Tarek does the highest reps of the routine, way up to 10-15. “I feel that just a little higher reps on crossovers gives you that condition and helps to carve

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in striations, so it’s OK.” Don’t worry, Tarek; nobody will call you a sissy for doing 15 reps…and definitely not to your face.

Tarek Looks Forward For a man who started off 2008 competing as an amateur and proceeded to almost qualify for the Mr. Olympia, it would seem Tarek Elsetouhi has a bright future in pro bodybuilding. “I think I am coming in at the right time, because now there is more emphasis on not only mass but also good shape, and that’s the type of package I bring,” he says. The next season should see a lot more stage appearances by this eager newcomer. “I do want to be top five in the Mr. Olympia, and I don’t think it’s impossible at all to do that very soon. I believe in myself and I know that if I work hard enough, I can do it.” We will all be watching as this Egyptian monument continues his world tour, much like the treasures of King Tut were showcased in museums around the globe. Luckily for us, this great treasure from Egypt got out while he was still young, strong, and in his prime! I February 2009

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By Ron Harris, Photography By Per Bernal at Metroflex Gym

Happy Anniversary! I spoke with Evan Centopani on the one-year anniversary of his decisive super-heavyweight and overall win at the 2007 NPC Nationals. That was also the day his offseason began as he now prepares to step up to the next level: the IFBB pro stage. While some fans desperately wanted him to compete in 2008, Centopani never even considered that scenario for a minute. “I’ve always taken my time and waited until I felt I was ready,” he says. “Back when I was a teenager and starting to put some good size on, I had people telling me I should compete. But I didn’t look the way I wanted to until I was 23, and that’s when I did my first show.” Biding his time and picking the right competitions has proven to be a shrewd strategy for Evan. To date, he has only competed four times in his life, and the fifth will be at his pro debut at the New York Pro in May of 2009. By then, he will have made the overall improvements in size and particularly in his legs and chest to satisfy his own demanding criteria. He will also no doubt be much more formidable of a challenger than if he had jumped up there right away looking exactly the same as he did winning the Nationals.

The Longest And Most Productive Off-Season So Far With the exception of the off-season preceding his first contest (which I suppose you could technically consider to be about nine years long), 2008 has been both Evan’s longest and most fruitful. I had thought that his full year between the 2006 and 2007 Nationals had also yielded similar results, but that one was actually cut quite short. “For about four months after that Nationals, I stayed on my diet and held off on starting my off-season, because I was being strung along by a certain supplement company I won’t name,” he says, unable to mask a hint of bitterness. “They were talking about signing me and supposedly wanted me to stay in shape for some photo shoots, but nothing ever came of it except a lot of wasted time on my part when I could have been

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growing.” So in reality, he only was able to squeeze in five months of offseason training and eating before it was time to start dieting for his ‘07 Nationals win. By the time he starts dieting for the New York Pro around mid-January, Evan will have strung together over a year of solid and dedicated work in the gym and at the dinner table. And we will all see what that time was able to accomplish.

Legs And Chest Improved? Check! The biggest priority for Evan was to increase the size of his legs. Although he had made marked improvements in his quads from 2006 to 2007, he knew that they still weren’t ready for the big time. If strength is an indication, he has achieved that goal. “A year ago I was only getting five plates a side for 3 or 4 reps,” he says. And yes, he did use the word “only;” like 495 isn’t much weight. “I just shot an ‘In the Trenches’ video for MD TV where I think I did that for 11 reps.” More telling is his wardrobe. “I have pants now that I can’t squeeze my thighs into, so they definitely grew,” he notes. Squats were his main focus, but Centopani also used a few other valuable movements to beef up his quads. In addition to leg presses and hack squats, he incorpo-

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rated others that he had been advised against. “I had been told that walking dumbbell lunges and sissy squats were a waste of time and not to bother with them in the off-season,” he says. “But I decided to try them anyway, and I do feel they have been a nice adjunct to the heavier compound movements.” Evan’s chest has also been a work in progress; since his shoulders and arms are so dominant, they make his pecs appear shallow in comparison. “I’ve never been great at the bench press, but I have gone from 405 for 6 to the same weight for almost twice as many reps. My chest doesn’t grow easily, but it has been responding.”

“It’s Not About The Weight!” Just like Lance Armstrong’s autobiography made us all realize that winning the Tour de France a half-dozen times isn’t about the bike you ride, Evan doesn’t want aspiring champion bodybuilders to get too hung up on how much weight they use in the gym. “At the end of the day, our sport is about developing the muscle,” he explains. “We have all seen guys who are super strong, but don’t have a lot of mass, and that’s because they focus mostly on building strength.” Evan is more about using good form and forcing the target muscle to work as hard

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as possible. And although having goals of increasing strength is fine, he cautions against making it your Holy Grail. “I see some guys in the gym with their little notebooks and everything, with their whole workouts written down and planned down to the weight and reps for that day. It’s just not possible to get stronger each and every workout. If you try, you’re either going to get hurt, or you’ll inevitably sacrifice form and range of motion just to get that number you’re after so you hit your goal for that day.”

Not being on the road all day allowed him to consistently get more sleep, which translated to superior recovery and growth from his workouts. “I always got my 8 hours every night before, but for the past year I’ve bumped that up to 10,” he tells us. “Plus, not having to start work at a certain time means that if I had trouble sleeping or got to bed later than usual, I can sleep in later in the morning and still get those 10 hours.” Evan also chose not to fill his calendar with dozens of appearances, though he certainly could have. Again, the reason is that being home is a huge advantage toward putting on lean muscle mass, while being on the road works against you. “People told me I would be foolish not to take every guest posing opportunity that came along, but I felt very differently,” he begins. “Traveling screws up your routine of training, eating and sleeping. You often miss sleep, miss meals, or have to eat foods that aren’t of the highest

Tale Of The Scale While we’re on the subject of weight, it’s appropriate to note that one tangible piece of evidence that Evan’s off-season has been productive in terms of lean muscle gain is a substantial increase in bodyweight at just about the same body fat percentage. In 2007, the highest number Evan saw on the scale was 292 at 5’11”. As we spoke days before the 2008 NPC Nationals, the scale read 310. And just for the record, that’s his morning weight after using the bathroom and before eating breakfast, a much more reliable number than what a lot of us meatheads go by. “I have known knuckleheads who will wait until evening when they’ve eaten six or seven meals and had a gallon of water, then they hop on the scale with their clothes and shoes on…maybe even their keys and cell phone, too!” Ouch Evan, that one kinda hit home. It’s safe to say that by bedtime Evan is easily 315 now and possibly even close to 320 on some days, which tells him this off-season has in fact been a smashing success.

The Stay-At-Home Bodybuilder Asked what else has probably contributed to his gains in 2008, Evan immediately gave credit to his “stayat-home” lifestyle. Shortly after winning the Nationals last November, Evan left his job as a real estate title searcher (the fact that the U.S. real estate market was going down the toilet made that decision pretty easy).

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Training Split Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday:

Quads Chest and abs OFF Back Shoulders AM, Hams PM Arms and calves OFF

quality. I’d rather stay home where my training is on point, I get all the rest I need, and I prepare my own food to be 100 percent sure it’s exactly the right amount and the best quality. There are guys out there, even some pros, who think chicken is chicken, and a calorie is a calorie. It’s not. There is a big difference between a chicken breast you bought at the market and grilled yourself versus some deep-fried chicken fingers at a greasy restaurant…and that difference will show in your progress or lack thereof.” A final reason Evan hasn’t opted to be on the road every weekend guest posing is that promoters and fans alike expect the featured poser to be fairly close to contest condition. Otherwise, they get disappointed and even upset, as if the athlete has insulted them all by not

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showing up shredded even though it’s deep in his off-season. “Why would I try and stay lean and jeopardize my gains when I could be growing?” he asks. “I understand I could be making more money, but luckily I’m doing OK with my sponsors now and it’s not a desperate need.” Growing and improving is key to how well Evan will fare when he gets up there with the other pros in a few months. So, for those who think he’s crazy for not fully capitalizing on his popularity and cashing in while he can, there is a method to his madness.

Still Growing! Evan’s off-season still has a couple months left before he begins dieting for his pro debut. In light of the substantial gains he’s already made, I bet he adds even more quality February 2009

Off-Season Diet 8:30 a.m.

6 whole eggs; 4 slices Ezekiel bread; 8 oz. orange juice (maybe a piece of fruit, too; like a pear)

11:30 a.m.

Shake: 75 grams Universal Iso Whey; cup of Quaker Quick Oats; 2 tbsp. macadamia nut oil

12-1 p.m. train

Halfway through, start drinking Torrent by Universal (60g carbs plus amino acids)

1:30 p.m.

10 oz. chicken breast; 10 oz. potatoes 2 cups greens (broccoli or spinach); 1 tbsp. macadamia nut oil

4 p.m.

10 oz. chicken breast; 10 oz. potatoes 2 cups greens (broccoli or spinach) 1 tbsp macadamia nut oil

7 p.m.

16 oz. New York strip steak; large sweet potato green salad with extra-virgin olive oil

9 p.m.

Shake: 75 grams Universal Iso Whey; cup of Quaker Quick Oats; 2 tbsp. macadamia nut oil

mass before it’s all said and done and Dave Palumbo starts cracking the diet and cardio whip. He’ll be sure to keep us updated both here in his MD column and on his popular thread on the MD forums. This is one young gun who is determined to make the most out of this crucial time to transform his physique before he gets back onstage again. I know I’m inspired to pack on some mass this off-season now, how about you?

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Off-Season And Precontest Must Be Different! There are those bodybuilders out there whose offseason and precontest prep periods are remarkable similar. They eat clean, just in larger quantities, and they also do cardio just about every day. That’s not the way Evan does it; never has been. For him, it’s very important that the off-season entails a different approach, for it to be as productive as possible. “For one thing, I don’t do cardio in the offseason,” he divulges. “I probably should do a little just for general health, but I don’t. I also eat some crap here and there because I think if you eat clean and do cardio all the time, your body adjusts and gets used to that.” What’s the problem with that? “Then, when it’s time to diet down, your body won’t respond as well,” he says. “You’ll have to take your calories down to nothing and do a ton of cardio to see results.” Evan has personally seen bodybuilders who don’t get into proper contest condition, and they also happen to be guys who don’t have much distinction between off-season and precontest. “I think our bodies work best on a cyclical approach, personally,” he tells us. “You do things one way for a period, then you do the opposite extreme to see changes. You won’t see much in the way of change if you’re always doing pretty much the same thing.” If you guys want to take that as license to have some junk and skip some cardio this off-season, be our guest.

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Complete Contest History 2005 NPC Bev Francis Atlantic States 2006 NPC Junior Nationals 2006 NPC Nationals 2007 NPC Nationals

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Heavyweight and Overall Super-Heavyweight and Overall Second, Super-Heavyweights Super-Heavyweight and Overall

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Supplements For Off-Season Success Universal Iso Whey

“I don’t use a ton of different supplements, just the basics that do the job. A good whey protein is valuable for anybody trying to put on muscle.” Animal Pak

“Again, this is a really basic but important supplement to use. It covers all your bases with regard to getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.” Torrent by Universal

“I’m a firm believer that having a supply of fast-digesting carbs and amino acids during your workout helps you recover and grow at a faster rate. I start drinking this halfway through my workout and it’s done when I’m done training.” Universal Animal Nitro

“Some people say not to bother taking amino acids because we get them in foods and protein shakes. But I take them before and during my workouts and I am convinced they make a difference.” Universal Animal Omega

“It’s an EFA supplement that includes ALA, EPA, and DHA omega-3s, as well as primrose and borage oil for the omega-6 GLA. It also contains CLA. It’s a great EFA supplement and the only one out there to my knowledge, designed for bodybuilders. Plus, it has everything in one pack. Awesome product.”

What About Cheat Meals? Though the majority of Evan’s off-season diet is made up of clean foods, he will indulge in the bad stuff a couple times a week on average. “I don’t plan or schedule cheat meals,” he notes. “But last night, for example, I was out in Jersey with my buddy, P.J. Braun, and we went to this place that makes the best homemade sirloin burgers. They put them on these oversized English muffins for a bun, and they come with thick-cut waffle fries. We each had two orders of that.” That probably doesn’t even sound like a cheat meal to most of you…I know I would rather put away a pizza, some cookies and a big bowl of ice cream, personally. “I’m not really into sweets or fast food,” Evan shrugs. “Sushi or a good-quality burger does it for me. I’m always conscious of trying to get the best-quality fuel in, because being the best bodybuilder I can be is always on my mind.”

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Branch Warren Reflects On Metroflex, The Gym Where He Became A Bodybuilder By Branch Warren (as told to Ron Harris), Photography by Per Bernal There is probably no better man to tell the tales of Metroflex Gym than Branch Warren. He practically grew up within its hardcore walls among the iron, rust, blood, sweat and dust. He has literally spent over half his life training there while transforming himself from a novice teenage competitor to an IFBB pro with four wins so far. More importantly, Warren has been there to see a lot of greats and not-so-greats pass through this hardcore dungeon in an industrial section of Arlington, Texas. Here, in his own words, are some of his most notable recollections from his time at Metroflex.

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The First Time I Set Foot In Metroflex Gym The year was 1991, and I was a couple months away from turning 17. My trainer back then was a guy named Mark (more on this character later), who also had the distinction of being Ronnie Coleman’s training partner at the time. I had been lifting for a couple years and had put on some good size for a teenager. I had also won my first con-

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test. So Mark decided it was time for me to start going to a “real gym.” We drove to this sketchy part of town and turned down a street that was all warehouses and auto body shops. At the very end was Metroflex. Before I saw the inside, I could hear the music thundering from out in the parking lot. Little did I know that I was going to work chest that day with Mark, Ronnie and the gym’s owner, Brian Dobson. Ronnie and Brian were already warming up when we got there. The first thing that February 2009

went through my head was how many huge guys were in this place. Brian was probably the smallest one on the workout floor and he was around 250 pounds back then! Ronnie was a few months away from getting his pro card, and he was probably about 260-270. I had only seen one national-level bodybuilder up to this point, a guy named Ronny Schweyer, who had won the Collegiate Nationals, but this Ronnie was a whole other animal. I had also seen Lee Labrada, who didn’t really impress me at the time because he wasn’t very big. But even then, Ronnie was a freak when it came to size and shape, though nothing like what he would eventually become. The workout damn near killed me, but there was no way I was gonna punk out. I figured this was my “audition” and if I didn’t show I could hang with them, then I wouldn’t be welcomed back again. I remember that back in those early days, I hardly ever spoke a word. I just watched, listened and soaked it all in. My education in bodybuilding really began on that day.

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The Greatest Feat Of Strength I Have Ever Witnessed A lot of really good powerlifters trained at Metroflex in the ‘90s, but the most notable one was Steve Goggins. Steve was the first man to squat 1,100 pounds in competition, and he also bench pressed over 600 and could deadlift close to 900. I happened to be in the gym the first time he ever squatted 1,000 pounds, and I was one of six spotters (one guy wouldn’t be much help if he got stuck with that kind of weight). His first attempt was with 980. But for some reason, he didn’t have his belt cinched up tight and it rode up around his chest once he got down into the hold. Of course, that threw his whole lift off, and he couldn’t get up. We all helped him get the bar back on the racks, and we figured he was done for the day. I mean, if he missed 980, what would the point be of trying for 1,000? But that wasn’t how Steve operated. With his eyes all red and bloodshot from the first lift, he roared, “Fuck it! Put 1,000 pounds on!” We all kind of looked at each

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other, but we did it. This time he made sure the belt was on tight. He paced around, sniffed some ammonia capsules, and then Brian smacked him hard on the back of the head. Steve got the weight off the racks, then sunk down until his chest touched his knees— talk about a deep squat! There was a pause there, and I honestly thought he might die from all that weight crushing him like that. None of us thought he was coming back up, and we were all ready to jump in again and help. But amazingly, Goggins stood up with 1,003 pounds on the bar. That was the most inspirational feat of strength I ever saw.

Fire And Ice A lot of guys have seen Metroflex in magazines or DVDs and decide they’re gonna train here and get huge. But a lot of them simply can’t hack the temperature extremes. Summer is the worst by far. There’s a big thermometer on the wall so you can always see what you’re dealing with. I remember one summer in particular when we had a heat wave with over 65 days that it was over 100 degrees in the Dallas area. My buddy Jay Moore and I trained legs on a day when it was 113 degrees inside the gym. I had to drink well over a gallon of water just to keep from dehydrating, and I know we were resting a lot longer between sets just to keep from succumbing to heat stroke. It’s the only time I ever took off my shirt and trained just in shorts and boots. The worst part was when we went out in the parking lot for our lunges. There were waves of heat coming off the asphalt that literally made it feel like you were inside an oven baking like a turkey. The bar was so hot from the sun that we had to pour water on it before every set or we would have burned our backs. Winter is no picnic in Metroflex, either. There is a heater, but it doesn’t work very well. Sometimes it gets down to the teens outside, and inside it’s probably just above freezing. You can definitely see your breath pluming in the air. On those days, I always spend more time warming up. I hit the treadmill for a few minutes and do abs first to get some blood flowing and generate some warmth. A lot of times gripping the barbells and dumbbells hurts, because they’re so cold.

Worst Beat-Down I Ever Saw I can’t really call what I’m about to tell you about a fight, because in a fight there is some type of exchange of blows. This was more like a vicious mugging. The guy Mark I told you about before had serious anger issues. One day, he also happened to be fighting with his girlfriend, who

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happened to be fighting with his girlfriend, who happened to be at the gym with him that day. So he was in a particularly foul mood. There were also a few male strippers, or exotic dancers, or whatever you want to call them, who worked out at Metroflex back then. Mark hated their guts because he thought they were all pretty-boy pussies. None of them were anywhere near as big or strong as he was (about 280). I’m sure Mark was also jealous of the guys, because they all made pretty good money working just a few hours a week dancing for lust-crazed women. Anyway, his girlfriend whistled at one of the stripper dudes, probably just to piss Mark off. Bad idea. “Fuck you, bitch!” he said, or something along those lines. “I’ll go kick that guy’s ass; what do you think about that, huh?” She ignored him and that was all it took. This poor guy with a ponytail was doing a set of lying leg curls when Mark ran over and clocked him in the face, knocking him to the ground. If you’re familiar with the phrase “ground and pound” from UFC, Most people don’t that pretty much know that Brian describes what he has helped out did next. Mark was God knows how hitting this guy so many people over hard that his head was bouncing off the years. When I the concrete floor say that I wouldn’t and he lost conbe where I am sciousness. Then he today without stood up and startBrian Dobson, it’s ed kicking the guy. a fact. He’s been We were all standing around, finding an inspiration to it hard to believe me and kept my he was actually spirits up and my doing this. Brian eyes on the prize yelled at Mark to many times when stop, that that was things were lookenough. Mark had this crazy look in ing grim. his eyes. He smiled, put his boot on the guy’s head, reached down and ripped off his ponytail. Not only the hair came off, but a bloody chunk of his scalp. He tossed it to Brian, who wasn’t about to waste a trophy like that. He nailed it to the wall right next to a boar skull. As for Mark, he passed away a few years ago of a drug overdose.

Membership Is A Privilege Sometimes people ask me how much a membership costs at Metroflex. I have no idea. When I first went there as a 16-year-old kid and didn’t have any money, Brian told me not to worry about it. He said if I won my next show, I could train there for free. I did, and I kept winning. I’ve never paid to train there. Most people don’t know that Brian has helped out God knows how many

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people over the years. When I say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without Brian Dobson, it’s a fact. He’s been an inspiration to me and kept my spirits up and my eyes on the prize many times when things were looking grim for whatever reason. Brian has been a positive role model not only for me, but for many who have trained at Metroflex over the years.

Not That You Could Eat Off The Floor. . . There is a misconception that Metroflex never gets cleaned in any way. Not true. I know for a fact that the place gets swept with a broom and dustpan on a pretty regular basis. You have to understand that when those big bay doors are rolled up, you got dust, dirt and leaves and crap blowing in from outside. It’s impossible to keep the place totally clean. Are there spray bottles and paper towels every 10 feet to sanitize the equipment? Hell no. If you want all that sterile crap, there are plenty of other gyms you can go to. And I guarantee you they will all suck compared to Metroflex. Which brings me to. . .

The Most “Anti-Metroflex” Gym I Ever Trained At A few years ago a buddy of mine was competing at the NPC Junior USA in Connecticut. I wanted to catch a workout so I wouldn’t mess up my training schedule, so we checked around to see if there was a gym nearby. The only thing fairly close was a Planet Fitness. I figured, “Oh well; weight is weight. I can get a good leg workout anywhere.” We walked in and paid our fee to train for the day, and the people at the front desk were very rude. You could feel a tension in the air like we really weren’t welcome. I brushed it off, and we started working on the leg press. I had it loaded up with 1,000 pounds and was right in the middle of a set when this alarm went off. I’m thinking, shit! What a time for the stupid fire alarm to go off. But that’s not what it was. It was the infamous Planet Fitness “Lunk Alarm.” The manager, a skinny little guy with glasses, marches right over and says, “There is no grunting allowed in here!” I’m thinking, is this guy on crack? How are you going to move that kind of weight for reps and not make a little bit of noise? I said fine, whatever. From that point on, we were dropping weights and just not giving a shit anymore. We knew they wanted us to leave, but I wanted to finish the workout. When the alarm went off again, that was it. I went up to the front desk and demanded a refund, as we were leaving. Grudgingly, they gave it. My buddy wanted to throw a brick through their window, but I talked him out of it.

Metroflex: My Home What can I say? To me, Metroflex Gym is the only place to train. There is no other gym on this earth quite like it, and I doubt there ever will be. I just thank God that Brian Dobson put the place together. ■ February 2009

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Ronnie Coleman

THE LEGEND RETURNS? Exclusive Interview By Flex Wheeler, Photography by Per Bernal

It’s not often that I get to interview a man who truly needs no introduction. We all know Ronnie Coleman as an eight-time Mr. Olympia and quite possibly the greatest bodybuilder of all time. I’ve also known him as a rival in years past, but much more importantly as a good friend and a great human being. It’s my privilege to finally bring to MD an interview with the living legend: Ronnie Coleman. FW: OK, bro. I have to start off with the burning question about a rumor going around: are you competing again next year? If so, in which show or shows will we see you? RC: I am definitely thinking about it. The shows I am considering are the Arnold Classic and the new pro show in Berlin after the Olympia. I have to make a decision real soon about the Arnold, because they like to have the lineup in place by the

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end of the year. But it’s not like I have to compete. It’s different for other guys, because they do it for money or to support a family, but I do it for fun. The whole reason I started competing was just to get a free membership to a gym. I already had a job with the police department. My hobby turned into a job, and now it’s really a hobby again. FW: Is it weird not being the reigning Mr. O anymore? Do you find that people treat you any differently? RC: Not really. A lot of people still consider me Mr. Olympia. I guess I made a lasting impact by having that title for eight years in a row. So I still get the recognition and respect from fans, and that’s a wonderful thing. FW: It also seems like you’re keeping just as busy with appearances as when you held the title.

RC: I still travel all over the world. I just got back from an appearance in Saudi Arabia, where around 6,000 people showed up to see me guest pose. I’m getting ready to go to Russia this weekend. If anything, I’m busier now because I have more time. When I was still competing, I would have to limit my traveling and appearances over the last two or three months so I could focus on my training to defend my title. FW: Emotionally, did you ever go through a rough time trying to deal with life after being Mr. Olympia? RC: No, you know, I didn’t. Even though it’s been three years since my last win, I won the thing eight times. Who could ask for more than that? I’m just happy I was able to do what I did. FW: Were you happy for Dexter when he won the Mr. MD 301

Olympia? Did you ever feel it would happen for him, or for anybody so relatively “small?” RC: I was. I would be happy for whoever wins, because I know how long and hard you have to work to get there and how you dream about that day for years and years before it comes. FW: Did you ever foresee that a 230-pound man would win the title, after 25 years of freaks like you, Dorian and Lee Haney sitting on that throne? RC: I never really thought about it. But these days, anything is possible. You know I never expected to win. My biggest goal was to someday make the top five at the Mr. Olympia. I was winning the Olympia at anywhere from 260 to 286 pounds, but that was my time. This is a new era, and Dexter brings something to the table that’s right for now and what people want to see in a champion. FW: Do you think Dexter will be able to hold on to the title for another year? How about a few years? RC: It will be very tough for him. He’s up against some stiff competition who aren’t too far behind him at all. The biggest question is what Victor will look like at the Arnold.

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If he’s back to his best, with that injured leg looking as good as before, he could beat Dexter and take the title. He’s beaten Dexter a few times already. Plus, you got these guys like Heath and Wolf, too. It will be a real struggle for Dexter to repeat with all of them chasing him. FW: Is it possible for Jay to ever win the Olympia again, or is he all done? RC: I don’t ever want to say somebody is all done, but I don’t know what else Jay can do. He was only able to hold the title two years and then he relinquished it. I was shocked to see him lose it so fast. I really thought he would hold the title for a good four or five years. So in light of that, I don’t see Jay winning again. But anything is possible in this sport, so who knows? FW: Do you want your title back? If you are able to win another Mr. Olympia, you would have the alltime record for most titles, and you would also be the only Mr. O who was able to come back after losing your title and regain it. Certainly, it would be a historic event straight out of a movie. RC: I won eight. Eight is enough for me! Yeah, it would be nice to get that all-time record and all that, but I am honestly so grateful to have won eight times that it doesn’t really matter. It’s not at the top of my to-do list. I said I would go on with my life and do other things, like the Arnold or shows in Europe. I’m not saying I will never compete in the Olympia again; it’s just not a priority. FW: Could you sympathize with Jay, knowing what it feels like to lose that title? RC: I do sympathize with him, especially because he lost the title so quickly, like I said. But if you look at what happened, his wins weren’t like most of mine, which were hands-down. FW: Most of the time, you would just come out and it would be lights out, game over for the rest of us poor fools. RC: (Laughs) Yeah, for the most part. Neither of Jay’s wins was really decisive. And the second one with Victor…people will never stop talking about that. He was off, and Victor was on. So Jay didn’t really do what he needed to do to make sure he shut the door on the other guys. He left the door open for them, and Dexter just walked on in. FW: Some bodybuilding fans were upset that you competed in 2007 and went from an unstoppable champion to fourth place, down from second in 2006. Now they worry that you might slide down the placings even more and thus tarnish your status as a living legend by hanging on too long. What do you say to that? RC: People can say or think whatever they want. That’s their opinion. But our lives are ours to live. I don’t let others decide what I do or don’t do. I’m a man and I make my own decisions. If competing is what I love and it’s in my blood, I’m going to keep doing it as long as God lets me. February 2009

FW: This is a touchy question. What exactly happened to your left lat and triceps, and can the injuries be fully healed so that they regain their former look? We’ve heard from Chad, but never directly from you. RC: I don’t have a clear answer for you, because there was never a time when I felt anything tear or anything like that. I’ve had X-rays and MRIs, and the doctors can’t find any type of injury. I really think it’s just wear-and-tear from about 30 years of heavy weights. That will do a number on any human being, and contrary to what some people say, I am a human being!

“I wouldn’t have become a bodybuilder in the first place if I hadn’t walked in there and Brian hadn’t offered me a free membership if I agreed to compete. Brian is really what makes that gym special.”

FW: Well, it is hard to believe at times, you know. You have always been known for using super heavy weights and what many would call ballistic form. Any regrets about that now, and how have you changed your training since 2006? RC: No, no regrets. I still train that way. What you have to understand is that I train so heavy because I’m strong. It’s not like I ever set out to do any certain amount of weight. I use the weights that challenge me, and they just happen to be what most people would consider very heavy. And I think my style of doing the reps is actually safer, because I never lock out the joints. If I had been doing that all these years, I would have had major injuries long, long ago. FW: Have you ever worried that some guy is going to hurt himself trying to train just like you, even trying to match the weights you use, when the average bodybuilder would never come near what you have done in the gym? RC: Never. You got to have some common sense and not be stupid. It would be like me trying to imitate some stuntman or pro athlete in another sport. I can’t do what they do, so it would be foolish to try. Why would someone up and decide they are gonna try and squat or deadlift 800 pounds? Come on, now. If you can’t press 100-pound dumbbells, don’t try using 200s.

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FW: This issue is the Hardcore Special and we have a lot about Metroflex. We interviewed Brian Dobson and all the training features were shot there, too. As its most famous member, can you tell us what is it about Metroflex Gym that makes it a special place? Would you have accomplished what you did in the sport if you had never set foot in that gym?

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RC: I wouldn’t have become a bodybuilder in the first place if I hadn’t walked in there and Brian hadn’t offered me a free membership if I agreed to compete. Brian is really what makes that gym special. He put his heart and soul into making it what it is. He cares about everybody and wants them to succeed, and he will do whatever he can to help you. How many gyms and gym owners you know like that? The equipment is great, too, but it’s the atmosphere and the people that set Metroflex apart. FW: You have the best home gym I have ever seen, with all the equipment any bodybuilder could ever need. I hate to even call it a home gym. Why do you still go to Metroflex when you could just walk from your living room into that killer gym? RC: Again, it’s the environment at Metroflex. It’s just a lot more motivating. I’ve had all the best workouts of my life there. I could never stay away from that place for long. FW: That being said, do you think someone can become a great bodybuilder at any gym if they have the genetics and the drive to be the best? RC: Oh yeah, of course. Look at some of the places champions have trained. That Temple Gym of Dorian’s is a hole in the wall, but he won six Mr. Olympias working out there. All you really need is heavy weight and a lot of heart. FW: Here’s one that’s always irritated me. Few people want to believe that when you first turned pro, you were a drug-free athlete. Would you like to go on the record now and set them straight? RC: I never touched a drug back then. All the winners at the IFBB World Amateur where I turned pro were tested, along with anybody else they thought looked suspicious. You know they targeted me the minute they saw me. I passed the test. You know I wasn’t even 220 pounds at that show. If people can’t believe someone can look a certain way without drugs, that’s on them. They should understand that some bodybuilders do have God-given genetics. FW: On a similar note, Congress has been on a witchhunt against steroid use in professional sports, mainly baseball, for several years now. With all the problems recreational drugs like cocaine and meth cause in the USA, why do you think the government has invested so much time and money into eradicating steroid use? RC: I think they are doing it because they’re afraid that kids are gonna use steroids. It’s very sad that there was that one case where the kid didn’t cycle off right and killed himself. They figure if they get drugs out of sports, kids won’t want to use them. What about all those other drugs you mentioned? Every time you turn on a TV or see a tabloid in the checkout lane, some musician or movie star is in rehab. Why February 2009

don’t they test them and keep them clean? FW: Does it bother you that there are so many wannabe bodybuilders out there who think all they need to do to become a pro is take tons and tons of drugs? RC: Kids are impressionable. If that’s what they are told, they believe it. The problem these days is you have all these anonymous guys on the Internet claiming to be experts or pro bodybuilders and giving out all kinds of crazy, and even dangerous, advice. I’ve had a few people online claiming they were me and saying stuff! It’s ridiculous. But when it comes to kids today, a lot of ‘em don’t want to hear that you got to work long and hard to be a good bodybuilder. They want it now, and they want it easy. So they believe you can do it that way, even if it’s a bunch of bull. FW: Early in your pro career, few people would have ever guessed you would eventually be the greatest bodybuilder in the world for nearly a full decade. Are there any guys out there right now who you see that type of potential in? RC: I don’t, but that doesn’t really mean anything. Nobody saw the potential in me, either. There could be some guy training out there right now who could win six, eight, who knows? Maybe 10 Mr. Olympias. FW: Which of your many victories are you the most proud of? I already know what you’re gonna say. . . RC: Yup, the first Olympia in 1998. Hands-down, that was the one. Everybody expected you to win, including me. I always thought of you as a future Mr. Olympia, and I never thought it would be in the cards for me. FW: No comment, no comment. Everybody knows how I feel about that contest. Which show do you feel you looked your absolute best at, or is it impossible to pick one? RC: It’s between two shows, with two different looks. When I won the first Mr. Olympia, I still think that was my best condition. But when I won in 2003 at 287 pounds, that was the absolute best blend of size and condition I ever had. Sometimes I still look back at that video and go, wow! FW: You have said before that you believe Victor Martinez will be Mr. Olympia one day. First of all, do you feel he should have beaten Jay in 2007? And do you also think Phil Heath and Dennis Wolf have a Sandow in their futures, too? RC: Yeah, I do. But you know how it is. Guys like you, Shawn and Kevin were all supposed to win the Mr. Olympia sooner or later, but you never know what will happen. Maybe Heath and Wolf will each win a couple times or more; maybe neither one will ever win. It all depends on who else is there and how they look. It makes the sport exciting. It’s like trying to predict Super Bowl champions

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before the season even starts. A team might look unbeatable on paper and look like a sure thing, but sometimes another team sneaks up on them. FW: Time to talk about family now. First off, you surprised everyone when you got married in December of 2007. When did you make the mental switch from a lifelong bachelor to thinking you wanted to be a husband? Any why didn’t we all

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know about this fabulous woman until then? RC: I just knew it was time, just like you did when you met Madeline. She lived in France, so it wasn’t hard for me to keep her under wraps. When you meet the right one, you know it. FW: Has your life changed in any way since you have become a married man? RC: Yeah, because now I have a best friend and a perfect traveling companion. Christine speaks four languages fluently: Arabic, French, English and Italian. She actually negotiated my appearance in Saudi Arabia for me. But I still train, eat, travel, all the same things I been doing for years now. FW: There was also news late last year that you are the father of triplets. Is it strange to have infants while your oldest child is in her 20s now? I know it was kind of strange for me. RC: No, it happens all the time these days. I love kids anyway. Being a dad makes you a better person. I should say, being a good dad. FW: You have been all over the world competing and making appearances. What are some of the

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favorite countries and cities you have been to? Where have you been treated the best? RC:That’s easy. Australia. The fans are awesome. They will wait in line for 3 hours for an autograph or to take a picture with me. I love Australia so much that I did my DVD “On the Road” over there. I love all my fans in every country, but Australia has just been so supportive of me that I got to give it up for them. FW: What has it been like to be with BSN and watch it grow from an average-size supplement company to an industry powerhouse? They are affiliated with mainstream celebrities and shows like Orange County Choppers and the UFC now. RC: Man, it’s been a trip. I was the first athlete they ever signed, so I know that my being with the company had an impact on how they grew. In the four years I have been with BSN, they have come so far and it’s been an honor to be with them. They also happen to have some amazing products that I truly love. FW: What would you say are the biggest obstacles in your life you have overcome that the average fan probably doesn’t know about? RC: Most people have no idea how hard it was for me to get my accounting degree from Grambling State University in Louisiana. Schoolwork never came easy for me, and college was tougher than anything I had ever been exposed to, academically. Football season was the hardest, because literally all I did was play football and study. I didn’t have time for a girlfriend, or to go to parties, none of that typical college stuff. Many nights I would be up until dawn studying for a test and I would have to go in and take it on no sleep. But not only did I graduate, I graduated with honors. That was probably the biggest challenge I ever faced in life, but I never quit. I was determined to get that degree. FW: How has your Christian faith helped get you through various challenges you have faced? What do you think that a person misses out on when he or she has no faith in a higher power at all? RC: If I didn’t have faith, I wouldn’t have made it. Back to my college days, I got down on my hands and knees and asked God for the strength to make it through. And everything I accomplished or achieved in life was through His blessings. You have to have faith in a higher power, because we can’t do all this on our own. FW: When it’s all said and done, how do you want to be remembered? RC: As somebody who worked hard to get what he did. I’d like to be remembered as a man who was hardworking, dedicated, and had faith in God. The big titles are nice too, but those are what’s really important. ■ February 2009

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bodybuilding science

By Robbie Durand, MA

Once Or Twice A Week Body Part Training For Optimal Growth? recently received an e-mail stating that “99 percent of all bodybuilders are training wrong!” I clicked on the link and the article made some interesting points, which made me really think: “What is the optimal amount of times a week to train each body part?” The article claimed that whole-body workouts were the lost key for muscle growth. The article stated that when the Weider family introduced split-system training (i.e., upper body one day, lower body the next day), this was the birth of overtraining for bodybuilders. Weider athletes such as Schwarzenegger and Sergio Olivia were known to perform 30 to 40 sets per body part. The Weider System was the exact opposite of the Arthur Jones training system, which advocated High-Intensity Training acronym HIT. Jones believed that short, intense workouts provided a superior return to the athlete than what was then the standard weight-training workout, one that was long and involved the lifting of a high volume of weights. He specified 16 different Nautilus machine exercises, with 1 set of each exercise performed to failure (where the athlete could no longer perform the exercise), three times per week. Jones thought that bodybuilders trained with too many sets; he thought the high volume used by bodybuilders creates such a drain on the central nervous system that this inhibits them from training any sooner than a week or so later.


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Proponents of the Arthur Jones training system advocate the wholebody training routines are superior because: • A full-body workout recruits more motor units or muscle groups per workout than split training. • Full-body workouts elicit greater increase in testosterone and GH than split routines. • Each body part is trained more often and yields a greater anabolic effect. • A body part is usually recovered within 48 hours; therefore, not training that muscle again within 48 hours is wasted time off. • Protein synthesis rates for muscles can be increased for 48 hours after a muscle is trained and then starts to drop. Advocates of multiple training sessions per body part, such as twice a week compared to once per week, claim that it takes advantage of the anabolic effects of resistance exercise. The anabolic effects of resistance exercise are elevated rates of protein synthesis in the muscle, which lasts about 48 hours. Then, it stops and everything is back to normal. If you go on to wait an entire week before training again, you simply won’t grow as fast as you could. Based on this premise, it seems that once-a-week training is not optimal for muscle growth, but before a bodybuilder decides to try to train more, a bodybuilder needs to ask, “Have I recovered from my previous workout?”

Training Frequency Is Recovery Dependent Traditionally, I have trained one body part per week; however, a training partner and I decided to try the oldschool training and try the whole-body, three-day training routine. After a few weeks, the pounds started dropping while my training partner’s lifts kept going up. We were doing the exact same routine; he was getting stronger and I was overtraining. What the hell was going on? It made me realize how different our genetic recovery capacity was; additionally, he is 10 years younger than me. Another example of superb recovery capacity was an interview with “World’s Strongest Man” competitior Mariusz Pudzianowski; he does two workouts a day, one is strongman training and one is in the weight room. His workouts consist of back squats one day, deadlifts the next day, front squats the next day. He trains his shoulders by doing behind-the-neck jerks, where he works on speed and explosiveness, three times a week. He starts with push jerks, working up to 405 for a very easy and fast 2 reps. He then squats high bar, Olympic style, up to 2 easy, quick sets of 585 for 3 reps. Guys who have trained with him say that his work capacity and recovery ability are totally out of this world.They also commented that most strongmen would not be able to train in this fashion without overtraining. Each person recuperates at different rates from workouts differently. Some people are blessed with great genetic potential for recovery, while others need longer.

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bodybuildingscience Testosterone Enhances Muscle Recuperation Training frequency is recovery dependent. If you are using anabolics, then you can more than likely train with greater frequency and recuperate faster. If you are using testosterone, you may well be able to train each muscle twice a week. For an excellent review on the physiology of how anabolic agents increase muscle recuperation, read Dr. Lynch’s 7 2008 article titled, “Anabolic agents for improving muscle regeneration and function after injury.” Administration of testosterone increases muscle mass in elderly 1, 2 men or men administered catabolic 3,4 drugs such as glucocorticoids as well as preserves muscle mass in 5 burn patients. These studies have also suggested, through analyses using isotope tracers, that increases in muscle mass were attributable to 1, reduced rates of protein catabolism. 2, 5

It was just recently reported that testosterone suppressed the activation of a major catabolic protein 5 called Muscle Atrophy Factor. Many beginning bodybuilders think that there is a “secret” training routine that the pros are using. A person who is natural should not try to follow the training routine of a Team MD bodybuilder. Take a look at the study below, showing how testosterone levels dictated levels of muscle regeneration and repair. • A preliminary study examined the effect of two doses of nandrolone deconoate (2mg/kg and 6mg/kg) on regeneration and satellite cells in mouse skeletal muscles following intense muscle damage. The mice using 6mg/kg experienced enhanced muscle regeneration; however, regeneration was not improved in injured muscles of mice treated with a lower dose of 2mg/kg nandrolone deconoate. Thus, the higher dose (6mg/kg) of the anabolic steroid was required in mice in order to produce a beneficial effect on muscle regeneration after severe 8 muscle damage. The study suggests greater testosterone enhances muscle recuperation.

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The point I am trying to make is that just because Ronnie Coleman trained each body part twice a week does not mean you can train this way. Your ability to train depends on a number of factors…I often wondered why some people such as powerlifters can train one body part a week and be massive. Both Ronnie Coleman and Dorian Yates were mass monsters, but their training routines were completely different. Ronnie trained each body part twice a week, while Dorian trained each body part once a week. Each man, probably through trial and error, found a system that worked for his genetics.

ie n nnma o R le o C

MGF and IGF-1 Expression after Muscle Damage

Ronnie Coleman Monday: Back, biceps, shoulders, calves, abs Tuesday: Quads, hamstrings, abs Wednesday: Chest, triceps, calves Thursday: Back, biceps, abs Friday: Quads, hamstrings Saturday: Chest, triceps, shoulders, abs Sunday: Rest

n ia or D

s te Ya

Dorian Yates Monday: Delts, traps, triceps, abs Tuesday: Back, rear delts Wednesday: Rest Thursday: Chest, biceps, abs Friday: Rest day Saturday: Quads, hams, calves Sunday: Rest

A recent study released in the Journal of Physiology helped me understand what happens to muscle growth factors after one intense bout of exercise, and more importantly what happens to the growth factors in the recovery period. IGF-1 is a growth factor found in circulation (produced in the liver) and locally in muscle. The researchers looked at the three isoforms produced in muscle (IGF-1, IGF1Ea, IGF-1Eb and MGF) that each may contribute in some extent to muscle regeneration. IGF-1Eb may be involved in hypertrophy or muscle regeneration; however, the physiological role of IGF-1Eb in human skeletal muscle is currently unknown. MGF is a splice variant of IGF-1Ea that stimulates satellite cell activation and muscle hypertrophy following muscle stretch or 10 muscle damage. The study had young subjects (average age of 20 years old) perform 30 sets of 10 maximal eccentric contractions with 1minute rest periods. Bring the pain! Muscle biopsies were taken both immediately before and after exercise. The study found that MGF expression (a potent muscle growth stimulator) peaked at 24 hours, but then IGF-1 isoforms were still elevated after muscle damage, suggesting muscle repair was still occurring. Another interesting point was that after intense muscle damage, MGF was activated while serum IGF-1 levels showed no change! Additionally, the Journal of

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bodybuildingscience individuals. However, trained subjects using multiple- rather than single-set programs gain strength faster. Larger muscle groups also tend to recover more slowly than smaller muscle groups. For example, the smaller arm muscles (i.e., biceps and triceps) can be trained more frequently (two to three times per week), while the larger muscles in the legs take longer to recover and will respond better to one to two workouts per week.

Everyone Is Different!

Hormone and Metabolic Research reported that strength training was increased after 12 weeks, despite unchanged levels of serum IGF-1 in 13 men. It seems that peripheral changes in IGF-1 may not be as important for muscle growth as once thought...getting back to recuperation. The point to think about is that if you tried to retrain legs after an exercise protocol 48 hours after exercise, you would still be in the recuperation phase and start overtraining.Your training frequency depends on your recuperation! The more muscle damage you create during exercise, the more recovery time will be needed before you can train again. In the study mentioned above, after intense eccentric exercise, muscle recovery was still not complete after three days. It’s interesting that most of the studies suggest that with eccentric exercise and muscle damage, muscle growth factors are expressed shortly thereafter. It’s interesting that Olympic lifters can train six days a week. In training, however, Olympic lifters rarely perform more than 5 reps per set (most sets are for 1-3 reps) and the eccentric portion is all but eliminated, because the bar is dropped to the floor at the end of every lift. Low mechanical work plus no eccentric equals the capacity to train the lifts extremely often. It’s interesting that when comparing mus-

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cle recuperation times for concentric and eccentric exercise, it takes longer for muscle to recuperate from an 11 eccentric bout than a concentric bout.

Whole-Body Routines Are Great for Football Players/Athletes Not Bodybuilders! Training frequency is also dependent on the level of nervous system fatigue that is induced during each training session. If you do not tire out the nervous system, you can obviously train more often. I imagine that if you perform 1 set of exercise as Jones recommended, you could probably train again 48 hours later, but is one set capable of stimulating muscle growth? The research clearly states that satellite cells are activated in response to muscle damage and multiple sets clearly induce more muscle damage and satellite cell activation. Based on the research, multiple sets are superior to single sets for stimulating muscle growth.Yet, one of the most recent reviews (published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research) concludes that 12 multiple sets work better. The data shows that single- and multiple-set programs produce similar results during shorter studies using untrained

So, what frequency do I recommend? Well, I have no definite answer because this all depends on your training age, exercise volume, nutrition, anabolic use, supplements and sleep. It is well known that muscle with type I fibers such as calves and the abdominals can be trained nearly every day, whereas type IIb muscle fibers in the legs need longer recovery times. Older athletes do not recover as quickly from exercise as younger athletes, so they may opt for a once-a-week training system, whereas a younger 18-yearold can perform each body part twice a week. I think whole-body training sessions are great for athletes, not bodybuilders! Football players often train this way during the season with great success, but this is for athletic purposes, not bodybuilding. If whole body part sessions did work and are so great, then why aren’t professional bodybuilders using them? I think a complete body workout may be good for a beginner or competitive athletes looking to maintain strength during the season, but not for bodybuilding. Bodybuilders must perform some trial and error to determine whether once or twice a week is beneficial.

Key Points: • Training frequency is recovery dependent. • Testosterone accelerates muscle repair and turns off catabolic genes. • After intense muscle damage, MGF is activated, while serum IGF-1 levels showed no change! • Type I fibers such as calves and arms can be trained more frequently than type II explosive fibers (legs).

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Speaking of MGF….


Researchers from Italy provided more evidence that GH by itself is highly overrated as a doping agent. Previous research showed that GH could elevate MGF animals that were GH deficient. Researchers studied the effects GH, testosterone, or a combination of GH and testosterone in both GH deficient and normal rats. Take a look at the chart below.

1. Ferrando AA, Sheffield-Moore M, Yeckel CW, Gilkison C, Jiang J, Achacosa A, Lieberman SA, Tipton K, Wolfe RR, Urban RJ 2002 Testosterone administration to older men improves muscle function: molecular and physiological mechanisms. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 282:E601–E607 2. Urban RJ, Bodenburg YH, Gilkison C, Foxworth J, Coggan AR, Wolfe RR, Ferrando A 1995 Testosterone administration to elderly men increases skeletal muscle strength and protein synthesis. Am J Physiol, 269:E820–E826 3. Reid IR, Wattie DJ, Evans MC, Stapleton JP 1996 Testosterone therapy in glucocorticoid-treated men. Arch Intern Med, 156:1173–1177 4. Crawford BA, Liu PY, Kean MT, Bleasel JF, Handelsman DJ 2003 Randomized placebo-controlled trial of androgen effects on muscle and bone in men requiring long-term systemic glucocorticoid treatment. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 88:3167–3176 5. Ferrando AA, Sheffield-Moore M, Wolf SE, Herndon DN, Wolfe RR 2001 Testosterone administration in severe burns ameliorates muscle catabolism. Crit Care Med, 29:1936–1942. 6. Zhao W, Pan J, Wang X, Wu Y, Bauman WA, Cardozo CP. Expression of the muscle atrophy factor muscle atrophy F-box is suppressed by testosterone. Endocrinology, 2008 Nov;149(11):5449-60. 7. Lynch GS, Schertzer JD, Ryall JG. Anabolic agents for improving muscle regeneration and function after injury. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol, 2008 Jul;35(7):852-8. Review. 8. Souza R, Goncalves W, Dal Pai-Silva M, Gallacci M. Influence of anabolic steroid treatment upon muscle regeneration and satellite cells of mice following envenoming by Bothrops jararacussu snake venom. Toxicol Lett, 2007; 172: S237 9. McKay BR, O’Reilly CE, Phillips SM, Tarnopolsky MA, Parise G. Co-expression of IGF-1 family members with myogenic regulatory factors following acute damaging muscle lengthening contractions in humans. J Physiol, 2008 10. Hill M & Goldspink G (2003). Expression and splicing of the insulin-like growth factor gene in rodent muscle is associated with muscle satellite (stem) cell activation following local tissue damage. J Physiol, 549, 409-418. 11. Linnamo V, Bottas R, Komi PV. Force and EMG power spectrum during and after eccentric and concentric fatigue. J Electromyogr Kinesiol, 2000 Oct;10(5):293-300. 12. Wolfe, B.L., LeMura, L.M., & Cole, P.J. (2004). Quantitative analysis of single- vs. multiple-set programs in resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 18, 35-47. 13. Schiffer T, Schulte S, Hollmann W, Bloch W, Strüder HK. Effects of Strength and Endurance Training on Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor and Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 in Humans. Horm Metab Res, 2008 Oct 29.

MGF Myostatin Low GH Rats Increased

No Effect

Testosterone Alone No Effect

GH Alone

No Effect

Testosterone and GH No Effect

No Effect

Normal Rats GH Alone

No Effect Increased

Testosterone Alone No Effect Decreased Testosterone and GH No Effect Decreased They found that GH increased MGF in GH-deficient rats, but GH had no effect on MGF in normal rats and even worse, it increased myostatin! Testosterone decreases myostatin in normal rats and had no effect of MGF. The researchers speculated that myostatin levels increased (negative feedback) as a counter-regulatory mechanism to reduce the anabolic actions of GH. This may be the reason that GH is a poor anabolic agent, as the anabolic actions of GH are offset by a rise in myostatin. Testosterone, on the other hand, resulted in anabolic action by reducing myostatin. The researchers again concluded that GH by itself has minimal anabolic actions in normal rats.

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Rigamonti AE, Locatelli L, Cella SG, Bonomo SM, Giunta M, Molinari F, Sartorio A, Müller EE. Muscle Expressions of MGF, IGF-IEa, and Myostatin in Intact and Hypophysectomized Rats: Effects of rhGH and Testosterone Alone or Combined. Horm Metab Res, 2008 Oct 7.

February 2009


By Dan Gwartney, MD

An Interview With Author

William Llewellyn uring the 1980s, tattered, photocopied pages of a secret volume of lore passed among weightlifters in gyms and weight rooms across the U.S. This text, the Underground Steroid Handbook, was considered the authoritative text regarding illicit anabolic steroid use, guiding novice and advanced bodybuilders in drug selection and injection technique, as well as informing users of some of the potential side effects. Often crude, the text combined humor and information in a way that was readily accepted by its intended audience. So influential was the text, that it has been referenced in medical reports and congressional hearings. It clandestine author was later revealed to be the late Dan Duchaine. Since the time of the Underground Steroid Handbook and its less-well-received sequel, and following the passing of Duchaine, several other authors have written booklets that have expanded well beyond the 40 or so pages of Duchaine’s debut work. These literary daughters to the Underground Steroid Handbook vary considerably in quality, depth and breadth of coverage. Certain authors have produced newsletters, websites or books of remarkable quality…Bill Phillips and Bill Roberts are highly regarded for their works. Yet, the nominal text that is most highly referenced in the field of illicit performance enhancers is the ANABOLICS series by William Llewellyn. His readership includes professional and amateur bodybuilders, athletes, physicians, coaches, legislators and lawyers. Bill Llewellyn has

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just completed the latest edition in the series and offered his time to discuss the book in this interview. MD: Today’s interview is with author William Llewellyn, who has announced the completion of the latest edition of the ANABOLICS volumes. Further information on the book, including ordering information, can be obtained via the many distributors who carry the text or directly from his site at Bill, I am sure most readers are interested in what is new about the latest edition, but let’s backtrack a bit first. Before telling us about the book, tell us about the author. What qualifies you as an expert in a field that is littered with self-promoted gurus? Can you tell us about your formal education, your personal experiences, practical time you have spent observing users and your ad-hoc education out of the classroom? BL: I have always had an interest in the sciences, but did not pursue a formal education. My interest in steroids specifically came informally, first with intent to use these drugs as a teenager. This quickly developed into a fascination with human performance. Most of what I have learned came from reading on my own. I would spend countless hours in the local medical library reading about these drugs during my 20s. Most people would probably find it boring, but it was the most exciting part of my week, that and the cheap hospital cafeteria food, which wasn’t half bad. I’d like to think of my job as being a bridge between the sci-

entific world and the bodybuilding/sports community. So it is really half-science and half real-world observation and application. I am not sure if there is any set qualification for such a job, as it sort of is a fringe occupation in many ways. Certainly a background in the sciences wouldn’t hurt, though. MD: What then was your inspiration for writing a reference text on anabolics? Given your age, one can only imagine that Dan Duchaine’s booklet, the Underground Steroid Handbook, must have been influential. BL: More than influential. Reading Duchaine’s book was a life-turning event for me. Here I was, growing up during a time when steroids were a big public interest. The controlled substance laws for anabolics were just passed after a long media crusade against the drugs. All you heard was how deadly these things were. Here I am, this skinny kid, thinking about risking it anyway, but I decided to do some research first. And then I come across this book that presents an

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testosterone entirely different point of view, as if the medical community and media had it entirely wrong about steroids. It gave me this sense of being on the inside of something very important. It made me want to dig into the medical books for myself, so I could understand the subject the way he did. The more I read the more I wanted to read. As years went on, the more I read the more I felt compelled to write. MD: The first edition then was printed in 2000; how well was it received by your intended audience and those outside the muscle-sports demographic? That year was somewhat of a low point in the publishing industry, as the all-natural movement was strong and a strong push against anabolics had just been completed by the DEA. Not surprisingly, the introduction of the Bush administration and the anti-doping message that is promoted about every summer Olympic Games had also heightened the negative public stance toward performance enhancement. BL: The bodybuilding community responded really well to the book. Sales were immediately far better than I had imagined they would be, and people were generally very happy with it, I think. It really was an amazing time in my life. The book may just have filled an important demand. I was in the right place at the right time, maybe. Those outside of the bodybuilding and sports world have always been mixed about it. Some understand that I am only trying to provide important information so that people can make informed decisions; information the medical community should be focusing on but is not. Many physicians actually buy it every year, and I’m even invited to lecture on the subject at times. Others just look at it as a book that promotes steroid abuse. The recent Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball even had some choice words about it. This is exactly the last thing I am trying to promote with ANABOLICS, of course. MD: What were some of the early surprises and challenges you encountered with that first edition? BL: There were small road bumps and things to get used to being “the

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steroid guy” to your friends and family, and people who would assume I also must be a steroid dealer. But honestly, the biggest challenge I faced was a legal battle over the copyright with my former publisher. It was a disgusting mess. My wife and I had just been married. She lost her job when her company closed, and all of our income was suddenly cut off. We were living solely off of our wedding gifts. I had to start off not only my time in this industry with this book, but my new marriage with an enormously expensive legal battle in federal court over the ownership of my own work. I won’t get into the details, but it was a long and ugly road that eventually worked out to my satisfaction. It taught me to be prepared to fight for what is mine in this industry. MD: After that kind of baptism, many people may have folded up the tents and walked. Did you find yourself more driven to write the second edition or less intrepid? BL: Honestly, I would have been on the street if I didn’t write the second book. I needed the money desperately. So I just did it. I didn’t have time to think about much else. MD: Since that time, you have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and likely have been read in part or in whole by millions. How has the book evolved over time? BL:Yes, definitely. I feel an enormous pressure to keep readers happy with the latest book. I can’t do that unless I substantially overhaul it each and every time. To give you some perspective, the 2000 edition only had about 200 pages, was all black-andwhite, and had a handful of medical references. The latest ninth edition (2009) has about 1,000 pages, 3,000 color photographs, and over 900 medical citations. I really put my heart and soul into this latest update. And many readers have been enormously helpful by keeping me up on details in local markets. This edition is the most extensive overhaul of the book yet. I trust people are really going to notice the changes this year. MD: You are titling the latest edition in a way that is different from your conventional ANABOLICS. Tell us

about what defines this edition? BL: It really signifies the completion of the book for me, at least the fundamental structure of it. Each year, I often would get lost in black-market updates and relevant time-sensitive information. The early chapters of the book, especially the practical applications section, have been in strong need of a rewrite for a long time. This latest edition was put on hold one year (we skipped 2008) so I could finally complete this. I feel the foundations of the book are now complete. It will probably be another two or three years minimum before I come out with the next one, as it will take this long before I have enough new information to justify the printing of a new edition. I won’t release a new book just for a few updates. So using edition numbers instead of dating it by year at this point seems to make the most sense. MD: The book opens with an introduction to androgen physiology and the “mechanics” of anabolic steroid use by bodybuilders, including representative examples of common cycles. The “meat-and-potatoes” of the book is a description of the individual drugs, their history, use, common dosages and descriptions of legitimate and counterfeit packaging/pill/vials. Tell us what you have seen in the trends of use. What was the historical use of anabolic steroids and how does that compare to now? BL: I think for one, the average steroid user is more sophisticated today. Information is much more readily accessible, and as a result, they are more likely to do things like use a PCT (post-cycle therapy) program, or even just simply use anti-estrogens, aromatase inhibitors, or reductase inhibitors to counter common side effects. At the same time, though, I must admit I do see a stronger trend for abuse. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, you were more likely to see people taking say 400mg a week of testosterone, or 20mg of Dianabol per day and considering it a good cycle. While many people do still follow these programs, there are also a growing number who consider 1g per week of testosterone stacked with pretty formi-

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testosterone dable doses of trenbolone and Anadrol to be a good beginner’s cycle. Honestly, this trend does concern me a bit. I would like to see more people consider the first type of dosing patterns I discussed.These really are sufficient for most circumstances. MD: What about the drugs being synthesized to be “undetectable” by WADA? Were you aware of the existence of these drugs generally, and specifically, THG and the cream, prior to the news releases involving the BALCO arrests? How pervasive is this market or has it been effectively stopped? BL: People have known about designer steroids in general for a long time. I don’t want to comment on anything I may or may not have known about any compounds specifically that was not public knowledge, as discretion is key to my ability to research in this field. I will say I don’t believe that it is a pervasive problem. I do believe that some designer steroids are likely still being used. Especially after a scandal like BALCO though, the use of such compounds is going to be an even more closely guarded secret. MD: Of course, many users now combine other drugs with AAS. What is the most common adjunct drug or drug class used during a cycle? What adjunct(s) are the most concerning from your point of view? BL: I believe Nolvadex (tamoxifen) is still the most widely used ancillary medication, although many people are using a variety of aromatase inhibitors to block the side effects of estrogen, too. The most concerning are those that have a risk of death if the dose is miscalculated, such as insulin and DNP. The latter is probably the most dangerous compound that I discuss in the book, as it is classified as a poison and is not even available as a prescription drug product. MD: In addition to drugs to help improve AAS effectiveness or potency, and control side effects, there are also many drugs taken to pass a drug screen. You don’t discuss those much, but obviously that is part of the use for athletes who are violating banned drug rules in sport. A number of recent suspensions have been announced relat-

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ing to such practice. What are you seeing in effectiveness of a user passing drug screens when using “detectable” AAS or other performance enhancers? BL: It is still possible to pass a drug test using conventional steroids so long as you know when you have to take it, and can avoid random “out of competition” testing for a sufficient length of time. This usually means fastacting injectable testosterone and oral anabolic steroids, which are discontinued weeks before the drug test will take place. Blocking agents that prevent renal steroid excretion are not as widely used. Pretty simple stuff, still. MD: It seems that in the last 10 years, access to research-grade drugs has infiltrated into the market to a small degree. Do you feel you are staying up-to-date with the newest agents being used in the underground community? BL: I am definitely making an effort to study the research chemicals as information becomes available. I haven’t specifically included most of these compounds in ANABOLICS however, as they have never been approved pharmaceuticals. ANABOLICS is really about established drugs. That is not to say I am ignoring them. In fact, I can’t give you exact details, but I am working on another project that will cover in great detail a lot of these newer and lesser-known compounds. MD: How difficult is it to keep upto-date with the non-AAS performance enhancers? There are a number of drugs out there, many of which are not androgen based. BL: It is much harder, simply because these compounds are so new and there isn’t a lot of research on them, especially in humans. As you know, a drug has to progress quite far in animal experiments before the government will grant approval for human trials. So what we do know about these compounds tends to come from limited animal data, and of course the human guinea pigs who don’t mind injecting themselves with a research chemical to grow some muscle, perhaps years before it is ever approved for the earliest phases of human testing.

MD:The sources for much of the “practical” information in your books come from the AAS-using community. What are some of the more noteworthy contributions you have received? The most unusual? BL: The community as a whole has been really supportive of the book. If I had to pick the most unusual contributors, they would have to be some of the people who run underground steroid manufacturing operations. I have even had the opportunity to meet with some of these owners in person. Knowing that my position is generally for people to avoid underground pharmaceuticals, I have been somewhat surprised that so many labs have been willing and anxious to supply information. MD: Do you get feedback/ information from other countries to a great degree, or is most of this information U.S. specific? BL: I have had the good fortune to be able to speak with people from all around the world. If you can find a country with an active bodybuilding culture, I’ve probably been in contact with people there. It’s given me a great opportunity to learn not only about the anabolics scene in various countries, but often a little about the people and the culture. I really hope to be able to travel to many of these places at some point. MD: With the withdrawal of standard pharmaceutical manufacturers, the packaging, dosing, labeling and stamping of these products are more diverse than ever. Add to that the potential complication of products in a foreign language or from homebased specialty labs, it has to be nearly impossible to keep track of what is legitimate versus fake, and what is on the label versus what is adulterated or mis-dosed. One feature of your books that plays a vital role to the illicit consumer is identifying counterfeit vs. legitimate product. Would you talk about what you provide relating to identifying these products and what you find when looking for adulterated products? BL: I have to admit this is an increasingly difficult part of my job. Most counterfeiters used to be fairly

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testosterone small operations. Their products were often easy to spot. Now we have an increasing number of what I would consider large-scale sophisticated commercial counterfeiting operations. Their products can often be difficult to spot. As best as I can, I am always trying to track down known legitimate versions of each pharmaceutical so I can compare them to other products for minor deviations. I also spend a good amount of money on lab testing each year. We’ve been looking at more than just what/how much steroid is in each product for this latest edition. We wanted to know how clean and pure each product was, so we’ve been testing for other additional things like heavy metals and steroidal intermediaries. I have to be honest, the current state of the underground market is not looking that good. On the last run of testing, more than 20 percent of the products had heavy metals contamination. A higher percentage still had unidentified steroidal compounds. True pharmaceutical-grade steroid products are getting harder and harder to find. I also like to try and keep up on effective security measures. For instance,

all Greek drugs still carry a sticker that will show a distinct pattern when held under ultraviolet light. U.S. Depot-Testosterone is another product with a hidden mark that appears under UV light. So far these security measures have been some of the safes from counterfeiters. I always try to highlight what are the most reliable products on the black market when I can. MD: Bill, this was a long discussion on a project that you have been working on and improving steadily for years. The layman community has found great value in your books, but what about the professional community? Do you get feedback or questions from physicians, coaches, trainers, lawyers, legislators and the like? BL: Yes, we’ve seen a growing interest in this book in areas outside the athletic community. I’ve been able to speak with many doctors, health care workers and law enforcement officers. I’ve even been invited to speak at professional conferences. I believe ANABOLICS is becoming increasingly recognized in all areas where steroid use is of professional interest, and quite often it is found

very useful. This has opened many new doors for me, and keeps my flow of information from being too one-sided. MD: All very interesting and we thank you for your time. Is there anything you would like to add as we close? A: Thank you, Dr. Gwartney. It’s been a pleasure. I would just like to add for those who have never read one of the ANABOLICS books, that it really is an objective reference on the science and application of anabolic steroids. It is not a book that encourages the abuse of these drugs, but does try to give people the information they need to make the best choices. We all know that the medical community essentially ignores the steroid user today (millions of steroid users). This is the fundamental problem that has always driven me to write and update this book for all these years. Information is everything. If you can better understand the ins and outs of these drugs, you are in a much better position to make an informed decision and use them with higher relative safety and benefit.

RAPID-FIRE QUESTIONS: MD: Most effective single steroid according to your reader’s feedback? BL: Still Anadrol. Not the friendliest steroid, but still the most effective. MD: Most popular stack? BL: Difficult to say for sure. Testosterone and Dianabol, maybe. Trenbolone is becoming very popular these days too. MD: Does the average user need PCT? If so, what is the most positively reported course? BL: Yes, PCT is probably a good idea for all cycles, except the very briefest. I like the one published by the Program for Wellness Restoration (PoWeR). It is based on a brief course of HCG, Clomid and Nolvadex. They are all initiated together. HCG is dropped first, followed by Nolvadex and finally, Clomid. The data on their subjects looked pretty good. This is the program I outline in ANABOLICS. MD: Where is the illicit supply originating from and how is it being distributed? BL: Mexico is not as big of a source country as it used to be. I think China is still at the root of the raw powder market, supplying the underground labs and many legitimate companies as well. Most finished anabolics today are coming in from Asia and Eastern Europe. The Internet is still a thriving marketplace for their sale, as

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are networks of local dealers. MD: What is the prevalence of serious adverse effects in steroid users from your perspective? BL: I’d say somewhere in the middle between rare and common. I believe heart disease in particular results from steroid abuse more often than people understand. As you know, physicians always have a hard time isolating individual factors that may have influenced cardiovascular disease. For example, we all understand fast food can be very bad for you, but cause of death is never listed as “greasy cheeseburgers;” it is simply myocardial infarction (heart attack). How is a physician going to blame steroids for something that took decades to develop and is affected by so many other genetic, dietary and lifestyle variables? But that doesn’t mean these drugs aren’t commonly involved. I believe they are, and people do need to be careful when it comes to the cardiovascular side effects of steroids, especially when they are taking these drugs in high doses for long periods of time. MD: What supplement(s) do you feel people should use on cycle and post-cycle? BL: I think the two most important areas are cardiovascular support and liver support. The latter, of course, is only really important if you are taking liver toxic steroids. To help keep cholesterol in check, a quality fish oil supplement is

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testosterone always a good idea; maybe 4 grams per day. I also like a lot of the betterstudied cholesterol support ingredients like garlic, green tea, niacin, etc. Of the classic liver support products, I have recommended Liv-52 and Essential forte. Both are very good. This year, I also launched two products to support these health areas under my Molecular Nutrition label, called Lipid Stabil and Liver Stabil, respectively. MD: What is the future for anabolics? BL: I think the trends of the last few years will continue. The governments of the world are going to further the criminalization of anabolic steroids, which will push the market further and further underground. As it is now, we are seeing more raw powders being smuggled into the U.S. than finished product. I think as the years go on, you will have more homebrew underground labs supplying the market, and fewer legitimate pharmaceutical products. This frightens me, to be honest. MD: What is your opinion on the existence of “roid rage” and have you seen uncharacteristic explosive anger/violence in a user? BL: A small percentage of users, roughly 5 percent, seem to become emotionally unstable with high doses of steroids. They are more argumentative and aggressive, and can have dramatic mood swings. This is a small percentage, and about as close to any type of a “roid rage” as I am willing to go. I don’t believe steroids can turn a normal, sane person into a criminally violent individual. I do think some people shouldn’t be taking steroids for emotional/psychological reasons, though. MD: From your perspective, is there such a thing as “too much” or is the “more is better” crowd right? BL: I am definitively not a “more is better” fan for several reasons. For one, outside of a pretty moderate range, the return is very low for your dosage. For example, 400-500mg per week of testosterone is a good dose. You will build decent muscle with it. You can take more, but are not going

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to gain say three times more weight on 1,200-1,500mg per week. You will gain a little more but pay for it with a lot more side effects and cardiovascular strain. Also, gains made from excessive doses tend to be lost more quickly following steroid cycles. Those who gain slowly and steadily seem to retain their muscle better. Bottom line, unless you are a competitive pro bodybuilder, I think you should stay away from high doses, and focus more on maximizing your results from moderate doses by paying even closer attention to training and diet. Use steroids to enhance your programs if you need, not as a shortcut to hard work. MD: What advice would you give your (hypothetical) 18-year-old son? What about your 40-year-old brother? 60-year-old father? BL: For the 60-year-old, and many men decades younger, I’d say that testosterone could be a very helpful medication to take in corrective doses. I am a big supporter of testosterone replacement therapy. For anyone looking to take high doses to build muscle, I’d have the following advice. Steroids are effective medications. They build muscle very well. But they also have their dangers. Anyone considering it should understand all the risks before they commit to anything. The “fuck it; it’s no big deal” attitude is the wrong one to have. You should also think about your long-term goals. Do you plan on using steroids frequently? Just once? If I had a dime for every time someone told me they would try just one cycle and went on to abuse steroids for years, I’d be a rich man. I try not to preach. I just want everyone to be careful and think about their health first, whatever they decide to do. MD: How frequently are fakes found on the market? BL: Very frequently. I get to keep a pretty close eye on this too. I’d estimate in the U.S. right now, well more than 50 percent of the steroids circulating are either counterfeit or from underground labs. Legitimate humangrade pharmaceuticals are fairly rare these days. Legitimate human-grade pharmaceuticals from Western drug companies are even more rare still.

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By Gregg Valentino DISCLAIMER:


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charged me with being the DUMBEST MAN in America, I should have just called JOSE CANSECO and said “Get your ass down here right away and prove them wrong” …. Friday, October 10th 2008 : EX-Baseball slugger and admitted steroid user Jose Canseco was detained for more than nine hours at a San Diego Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility Thursday afternoon after border agents caught him trying to bring Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) across the border from Mexico…..OH YEAH BABE….THE CANSECO CREED > If you think you’ve hit rock bottom, the only thing that can cheer you up is bringing somebody else down with you… NOW HERE IS THE PART OF THIS DUMB RAT FUCKS ARREST FOR HCG, YO’, I LOVE THIS QUOTE ITS THE “QUOTE OF THE CENTURY” FROM CANSECO’S ATTORNEY GREG EMERSON “This is an incredibly harmless drug. We’re not talking about morphine or cocaine possession. Why he ( CANSECO ) attracted so much attention is a bit of a mystery.”…WOW….YA THINK….LOOK IM NOT GOING TO GET ALL WORKED UP AND INTO A HUGE SPIN, IT’S A SUBJECT THAT JUST KEEPS GOING & GOING, THERE SEEMS TO BE A NEW TWIST IN JOSE CANSECO’S DRAMA EVERY COUPLE OF MONTHS…. ON OCTOBER 21st LESS THAN 2 WEEKS AFTER HIS “HCG” ARREST AT THE MEXICAN BOARDER, A&E NETWORK AIRED A SHOW WHERE CANSECO WENT INTO A BIG SPIN ABOUT HOW HE REGRETS DESTROYING THE LIVES OF SOME OF HIS FRIENDS LIKE MARK MAGUIRE & SAMMY SOSA …BAHAHAHA…THAT’S SOME FUNNY SHIT….GEEZ BUBBA, YOU JUST THOUGHT ABOUT THAT NOW …LOOK IM NOT GOING TO GET WORKED UP ABOUT THIS, ITS JUST THAT HE IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST RATS OF ALL TIME , JUST LIKE THAT DISGRACE SAMMY “THE BULL” GRAVANO >> JOSE CANSECO TOOK DOWN ALL THE PEOPLE HE WAS CLOSE TOO AND NOW HE WANTS FORGIVNESS OR ME TO FEEL SORRY FOR HIM… NO WAYJOSE…. I PERSONALLY HAVE NO USE OR SYMPATHY FOR A RAT / BACKSTABBER …ENOUGH SAID ….Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs! The last thing a guy wants to look at at the end of the day is his girlfriends face…..Yo’, its enough to make a guy wanna drink himself to death and I don’t even drink!!!!… But I admit , I have often wanted to just drown my troubles >>> but I can’t get my girlfriend Mercedes to go swimming…OH YEAH BABE… “Show me a man that has never paid for sex and ill show you a fuckin liar”….GreggValentino …WE ALL PAY IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER…BACK IN OCTOBER ,MERCEDES AND I WERE IN A MOVIE THEATER, OF COURSE SHE WORKED ME FOR DINNER AND A MOVIE BECAUSE SHE KNEW I WAS FEELING FRISKY AND THAT I WANTED SOME GHETTO TRASH - ASS THAT NIGHT…ANYWAY MD 341


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TRENTAL By Patrick Arnold

his month, I am going to discuss a drug. It is not a steroid or anabolic peptide hormone, or anything like that. As far as I know, it is not currently banned by any athletic organization, but just like any drug out there, that does not mean it cannot be added to the list at any time and acted on retroactively. It’s just a drug that I find intriguing and although it has been written about in regard to performance enhancement here and there in other forums, it is still relatively unknown, so I thought I would take the topic on and share the wealth with MD readers. The drug is called pentoxifylline (brand name Trental). Chemically, it falls into a class called methylxanthines, which includes caffeine and its chemical cousins, theophylline and theobromine. Unlike those three natural compounds, though, pentoxifylline is synthetic. The main use of pentoxifylline is to treat a condition known as intermittent claudication. Intermittent claudication happens when a person’s peripheral arteries become obstructed, which can lead to poor blood flow to muscles during physical exercise. The most common manifestation of this is painful cramping and fatigue in the calves when walking. Pentoxifylline can reduce the viscosity of blood, which can improve blood flow to the limbs and ease the symptoms of intermittent claudication. Pentoxifylline also has been studied, and occasionally used, as a treatment to fight the catabolism due to infection or cancer. It has been shown to reduce wholebody protein loss in a variety of catabolic conditions. So it is mainly these two properties— the ability to improve blood flow to muscles and the ability to suppress protein catabolism— that makes pentoxifylline potentially useful for athletes.



ery from training. Oxygen, as well as nutrients necessary for contraction and growth, must get to working muscles. Unfortunately in some athletes, a variety of conditions (some natural and some drug related) can conspire to impede optimal blood flow. Now I assume that most people reading this are relatively healthy people who don’t suffer from serious, age-related vascular disorders such as peripheral artery disease. However, some of you might be into bodybuilding pretty seriously and your body may possess a formidable amount of muscle mass and body water. You may find that when you are on your bulking stage, you cannot perform certain exercises without experiencing a substantial amount of cramping and pain. Maybe you find that you cannot walk too far without your calves feeling like they are gonna explode. Or maybe certain exercises provoke that dreaded condition we refer to as the “back pump,” where your lower back seizes up in a massive cramp that has you lying on the floor writhing in pain. As you have probably guessed, these are all variations on the condition I described above called intermittent claudication. However, the culprit is not blocked or hardened arteries. The culprit is muscles that are so massive and/or overtoned that the small blood vessels that feed them are being pinched shut. The use of drugs can also lead to conditions that threaten proper blood flow to the heart and skeletal muscles. The use of anabolic steroids and the use of synthetic EPO can lead to the condition known as polycythemia vera, which is an overproduction of red blood cells (erythrocytes) by the bone marrow. An excess of erythrocyte production can increase the percentage of blood cells in your blood (called the hematocrit) above levels that are safe. This dangerously elevated hematocrit may be present at rest, or in some cases, excessive dehydration due to exhaustive exercise may take a borderline hematocrit and put it over the safe threshold. Whichever the case, the result is overly viscous blood that cannot easily circulate. Blood that does not easily circu-

Efficient blood flow is obviously of paramount importance to athletic performance. It is also vital to proper recovery from training.

Improving Blood Flow Efficient blood flow is obviously of paramount importance to athletic performance. It is also vital to proper recov-

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PATRICK ARNOLD late requires the heart to work harder and the blood pressure to increase— conditions that can precipitate a heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, an increased tendency of blood to clot can occur, potentially leading to dangerous embolisms which can be life threatening. Now you are obviously waiting for me to tell you if and how pentoxifylline can help these conditions. Yes, it potentially can help and I will explain how by telling you in minor detail the mechanisms behind pentoxifylline’s effects on erythrocytes. As you may already know, erythrocytes are concave, disc-shaped cells that circulate throughout the blood and deliver oxygen to tissues. Like many other tissues in the body, erythrocytes contain an enzyme called phosphodiesterase, which regulates the levels of the important biochemical messenger cAMP. The particular form of phosphodiesterase in erythrocytes (erythrocyte phosphodiesterase) is inhibited by pentoxifylline, and by inhibiting the enzyme levels of cAMP in the erythrocytes are increased. Administration of pentoxifylline will increase cAMP in the erythrocytes, thereby increasing their flexibility and ability to deform as they pass through narrow passages such as capillaries. As a result, an increase in what is known as “microcirculation” is achieved and tissues such as skeletal muscle will gain greater access to circulating oxygen, glucose, amino acids and other vital factors. Additionally, pentoxifylline increases the breakdown of fibrin (fibrinolysis), which is an important protein involved in the development of clots. So, for those athletes who suffer from the aforementioned occlusive conditions, the combination of increased erythrocyte flexibility and increased fibrinolytic activity can reduce blood viscosity, leading to substantially increased blood flow to working muscles. The “back pump” may be alleviated and complications due to elevated hematocrit may be partially minimized.

Effect On Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines And Protein Catabolism In addition to erythrocytes, there are many other cells circulating in the blood. Cells that are involved in the immune response such as leukocytes, macrophages and mast cells constitute a primary portion of the cells circulating throughout the body. These cells protect us from infection and also serve to assist in the repair of damaged tissue. These immune cells communicate with each other through chemical messengers known as cytokines. Cytokines are released in response to infection or injury. I don’t want to get into too much cellular biology stuff, because it is not my field and I don’t want to embarrass myself. You do need to know that there is a class of cytokines that increase the inflammatory response, and chronic elevations of some of these can be very catabolic. The relevance of this pro-inflammatory cytokine catabolism is most apparent in conditions of systemic infection or cancer, however for many athletes, conditions can exist where an excess of these chemicals also present real problems. Some of the more well known of these pro-inflammatory cytokines are IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-alpha. These cytokines cannot only be directly catabolic, but they can also suppress the

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production of anabolic factors such as IGF-1, as well as increase the production of catabolic hormones like cortisol. Overtraining in athletes is believed to be strongly associated with an overactive immune system, specifically as it relates to these catabolic cytokines. In addition, chronic degenerative connective tissue conditions such as arthritis and tendonitis have at their root a dysfunction of repair and regeneration stemming from overproduction of these pro-inflammatory cytokines. The good news is that these circulating immune cells also contain a phosphodiesterase which can be blocked by pentoxifylline, and by doing so the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines they produce are greatly reduced. In fact, in conditions such as sepsis or cancer, levels of the most notorious pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha are often reduced by over 90 percent, while levels of IL-1 and other cytokines are also reduced. This property of pentoxifylline has been exploited by many researchers who have discovered that administration of pentoxifylline to patients suffering from these serious illnesses can result in a marked reduction in protein loss, as well as an improvement in insulin sensitivity. But what does this mean to you, the athlete guy, the guy who wants to lift more weights and feel younger and healthier? Well I don’t know about you, but my body is full of aches and pains…many of which are chronic and really get in the way of my exercising. I have some pretty damn bad tendonitis in my knees and my shoulders are a mess, too. If I start pushing it too much, then the inflammation starts and the connective tissue starts breaking down. I would love to end this cycle, or at least give my body a fighting chance to be healthy enough so I can do my favorite exercises. For guys like me, there is a reasonable chance that pentoxifylline could help. The cytokine-mediated degeneration of the tissue in my joints might be halted, which in addition to the possible increased blood flow to these parts of the body via the effects on erythrocyte flexibility could lead to some noticeable improvements in my condition.

Trental Some of you reading this may feel as though pentoxifylline might be of benefit to you. You have to remember that I am not a doctor and being perceived as dispensing medical advice could land my ass in a sling. So my suggestion to you is read up more on the subject and find an open-minded doctor to discuss the subject with. As far as the availability of the drug goes, it is a prescription drug available in the U.S. and overseas and is sold under the name Trental. It comes in 400mg controlled-release pink tablets and daily doses are usually one tablet taken two or three times a day. Tablets must be taken with meals, because the stuff can tear the innards of some sensitive people up sometimes. Because the drug can reduce clotting time, it should not be taken by people who are currently taking other blood thinning-type drugs. Nervousness and sleepiness are short-term side effects sometimes seen when first taking the drug.

February 2009


NOJUICE Bodybuilding By Eric Broser

Natural Diet Dilemma: Zero Carbs vs. Low Carbs Part 3 I

n parts 1 and 2 of this mini-series, I discussed the pitfalls of a zero-carbohydrate approach to fat loss for the natural bodybuilder. And as a result, I hope that you have gained a better understanding of why it is best for a drug-free athlete to utilize at least some carbs in his/her cutting diet. However, before I wrap up this topic (at least for the time being), I would just like to give readers a general outline on how I feel carbs should be used when preparing for a show or event where minimum body fat and maximum lean muscle mass are the goals. Let me preface this by pointing out that it is my feeling that all truly serious natural competitive bodybuilders should never allow their body fat percentage to rise above about 12 percent to 13 percent in the off season, and a slightly lesser number would be even better. This way, it is not a struggle to reach “onstage” condition, which not only makes contest prep easier to deal with both physically and mentally, but also allows for more lean muscle tissue to be maintained right up through showtime. When preparing myself, or a client, for a competition, I like to take 16 weeks to do so, with carbohydrates being consumed only Eric Broser at times when the body is “metabolically set up” to utilize them efficiently and insulin sensitivity is at peak levels. By eating carbs at very specific times, we can remain in a fat-burning state and “partition” calories toward muscle, rather than adipose tissue. Generally, my diets are broken down into three four-week phases and one three-week phase (note: the final week of prep will generally be a “carb-up” week), with carbohydrate consumption slightly decreasing in each phase. I find that a progressive approach such as this is best for maintaining muscle tissue, while allowing for a steady, but constant loss of body fat. In order to give you a more clear understanding of my timed carbohydrate, phased dieting method, here is an example for a bodybuilder starting his contest prep at 200 grams of carbs on training days and 100 grams on off days:

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Weeks 16-12 (Training Days) Meal 1: Preworkout Meal: Intra-Workout: Immediately Post-Workout: Total =

75 grams 25 grams 25 grams 75 grams 200 grams

Weeks 16-12 (Off Days) Meal 1: 60 grams Meal 2: 40 grams Total = 100 grams Weeks 12-8 (Training Days) Meal 1: Preworkout Meal: Immediately Post-Workout: Total =

50 grams 25 grams 75 grams 150 grams

Weeks 12-8 (Off Days) Meal 1: 50 grams Meal 2: 25 grams Total = 75 grams Weeks 8-4 (Training Days) Meal 1: Immediately Post-Workout: Total =

40 grams 60 grams 100 grams

Weeks 8-4 (Off Days) Meal 1: 30 grams Meal 2: 20 grams Total = 50 grams Weeks 4-1 (Training Days) Meal 1: Immediately Post-Workout: Total =

20 grams 30 grams 50 grams

Weeks 4-1 (Off Days) Meal 1: Total =

25 grams 25 grams

Final Week Carb-up

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NoJuiceBodybuilding For meals not containing carbohydrates, I recommend protein (of course), EFAs (olive oil, fish oil, Enova oil, almonds, walnuts, natural peanut butter), and a moderate amount of green vegetables. The types of carb you utilize are a matter of preference, but I am partial to oatmeal, Ezekiel bread (love this stuff), sweet potatoes, brown rice and waxy maize starch (which is what I always use intra-workout mixed with large amounts of BCAAs and glutamine). Just remember that this is only a very general example of what my contest prep diets often look like, but there is always a moderate amount of variation from individual to individual. I am as far as can be from a “cookie-cutter coach,” and instead take a lot of time analyzing all of the factors involved that can greatly affect the cutting process, such as general metabolism, sensitivity to carbs, training program, lifestyle, starting body fat, etc. However, I am very hopeful that you find the information I have given you to be of some assistance the next time a competition is around the corner!

Pec-Talk Without a doubt, the body part on my physique that has garnered me the most attention is my “Arnold-like” pecs! Interestingly, many people have accused me of lying about my “natty status” based solely on the size of my chest! “Bro, there is no way you can build a chest like that without drugs,” is what I often hear. However, the fact is I have built my chest to this size naturally, and when I started out, my chest was not just flat, but literally concave! So how did I do it? Secret exercises? No. Magic? Nope. Synthol? Yeah, right! Actually the answer is quite simple…proper torso positioning. You see, what people need to realize is that building a big chest is not as mindless as lying on a bench...unracking a bar or DBs...and simply pushing from point A to point B. No! Each chest movement, whether it be a bench press, incline press, dip, flye, or crossover requires the exercise to begin before ever even moving the weight!

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Here’s How To Get It Done: 1. Lie down on the bench and set your feet firmly on the floor. 2. Arch your lower back slightly. 3. Raise your ribcage up high. 4. Squeeze your scapulae together. 5. Pull your shoulders downward and push them into the bench.

*These same principles apply to dips, crossovers and seated press and flye machines as well, with the exception of #1 (although the feet should always firmly be planted). Now you are in position to achieve maximum pectoral stimulation, with far less shoulder and triceps interference. The key, however, is to keep your body in this position throughout the set. You must learn to “lock” your body in this position and stay there! Trust me when I tell you that if you are not used to performing your chest exercises in this manner, it will feel awkward at first, and will likely require a reduction in the weights you handle. However, in time, you will learn to master the technique and eventually you will work up to the same poundage as you were using previously…but this time, with far thicker and denser pecs under the bar! Until next month…see you guys on the MD forums!

February 2009


Anabolic ResearchUpdate By William LIewellyn

Warning: Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine’s publisher or its editorial staff. MD does not condone any form of illegal drug use for bodybuilding or for any recreational purpose. MD also does not condone abuse of legal drugs for any purpose. Real Drive? I received this vial of Drive, supposedly made in Australia. I used it during a stack with other steroids so I can’t be sure, but I think it may not have contained real steroids. Can you tell me anything about this vial? Yes, I’m sorry to inform you but this vial of Drive is indeed a counterfeit. It immediately stands out next to a real vial of Drive, because the fake is much taller and thinner. I noticed that you wrote me from Alaska. I need to warn you that as a U.S. resident, the likelihood of you locating a legitimate Australian steroid is extremely remote. There was a time when many Australian steroids (not Drive) were being exported to Mexico regularly in high volume, but those days appear to be over following the big international “Gear Grinder” raids organized by the U.S. DEA. The Australian market has tight controls over steroid products and (like the U.S.) severe criminal penalties for illegally distributing them. It’s hard enough to find a real vial of Drive if you live in Australia. You are just not going to see it in the U.S. As with most counterfeits, I can’t tell you anything about what is inside it. Your guess is as good as mine.

Anavar from Paraguay? I have enclosed an empty box of Oxandroland. Is it legit? The box of oxandrolone you sent does look legit. It is made by the company Landerlan, which appears to be a subsidiary of Farmaco S.A. in Paraguay. Landerlan makes a fairly large selection of pharmaceutical products, including a good variety of anabolic steroids. A full list of their steroid products is below. The Landerlan line is very popular on the black market in South America, and occasionally is exported to other areas including the U.S. and Europe. This is a fairly new line of anabolics, and has not yet been the subject of large-scale counter-

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feiting. This is likely to change as the line becomes more widely distributed, of course.

Landerlan Products Decaland Depot 200mg (nandrolone decanoate) Oxitoland 50mg (oxymetholone) Stanozoland Depot (stanozolol 50mg/mL) Stanozoland 10mg (stanozolol) Testoland Depot (testosterone cypionate 100mg/mL) Testenat Depot (testosterone enanthate 250mg/mL) Duratestoland (sustanon blend 250mg/mL) Oxandroland 5mg (oxandrolone) Primoboland (methenolone enanthate 100mg/mL)

When in R.O.H.M.? I received a bottle of trenbolone acetate by R.O.H.M. labs. Do you know anything about this stuff? Is it real? R.O.H.M. is an underground steroid manufacturing operation based in the United Kingdom. Although there is no way to officially keep track of such things, R.O.H.M. appears to be one of the most wellknown of the UKbased underground companies. Being an underground operation, there is not a great deal I can tell you about this company aside from the basics. Feedback on the line seems to be positive, and I don’t see much talk about common issues such February 2009

AnabolicResearchUpdate as low dosing, visibly poor oil quality (particulate in the solution), or injection site issues. This may just be the result of good fortune, or it may indicate this operation has a fairly good handle on quality control. To get a handle on the odds that any one lab in particular is “better than the average underground operation,” there are generally four things I look in my cursory evaluation. The first is the size of their product list. The second is their sale of tablet products. The third is the magnitude of the brand’s market presence. And lastly, what people are saying about the company. The heart of the issue is to determine if this is a large-scale underground company, or one of the countless homebrew operations. Although being a large-scale operation is no assurance of quality, it offers us the highest likelihood that these products are made on modern manufacturing equipment (perhaps even under contract at an offshore pharmaceutical facility) as opposed to being assembled in a home or small, clandestine business with hand-filling and crimping tools. The latter method of manufacturing, of course, invites the most opportunity for contamination. In the case of R.O.H.M., we have a number of good signs that this is a fairly big operation. For one, they have a very big selection of products. By my count they have 16 different injectable products alone. They also carry a few oral steroids made in tablets. This is important, because small by-hand capsule filling equipment is very common with homebrew operations. You generally need an expensive and large piece of equipment to run consistent-quality tablets. R.O.H.M. is also pretty popular on the black market. This would mean an enormous amount of hand-filling time if they were actually a homebrew operation. And lastly, the feedback looks good. R.O.H.M. might very well be one of the “better-than-average” underground companies. Again, I base this guess on superficial things only. Always remember that you can never assure product quality with illegal underground operations.

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R.O.H.M. may look good on the surface, but no government oversight means that we can never truly know for sure. It is your risk to take. It is always my advice to avoid using underground products if you can.

R.O.H.M. Products Multi-Vials Boldenone 200mg/ml Dianabol 25mg/ml Masteron 100mg/ml NPP (Nandrolone Phnylpropionate) 200mg/ml MTPN (100mg Masteron, 100mg Prop, 1mg Methyltrienolone) Stanozolol 50mg/ml (Oil Based) Methyltrienolone 1mg/ml Tri-Trenbolone 150mg/ml Trenbolone Acetate 75mg/ml Tenbolone Enanthate 100mg/ml Trenbolone Hex (Parabolan) 100mg/ml Testosterone Cypionate 200mg/ml Testosterone Propionate 100mg/ml Testosterone Heptylate 250mg/ml Tri-test 300 300mg/ml (100mg Prop, 100mg Hep, 100mg Test Undecanoate) Test / Tren Base 100mg/ml (Pure test 50mg, Pure Trenbolone 50mg)

Tablet/Capsules Anapolon 50mg Anavar 10mg Dianabol 5mg Winstrol 10mg Winstrol 50mg (Capsules) Methyl MST 50mg (Capsules) PCT (Post Cycle Therapy - Clomid 50mg, Proviron 25mg, Nolvadex 20mg, PT141, Natural Test Booster)

Liquids Thermo-Lipid (Fatburner) (Clenbuterol, Yohimbine HCL, T3, Nicotinamide, Gotu-Kola) T3 50mcg/ml Clenbuterol 0.04/ml Chex Drops (Mibolerone) Arimidex 1mg/ml Letrozole 1mg/ml  Editor’s Note: Know Your Gear! William Llewellyn’s ANABOLICS 9th Edition (2009) is out NOW. Order your copy of this monster steroid reference guide today by calling 888-828-8008 or visiting MD Readers receive 25% off the retail price! February 2009


The Anabolic Freak By Dave Palumbo, Editor-in-Chief,

Warning: Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine’s publisher or its editorial staff. MD does not condone any form of illegal drug use for bodybuilding or for any recreational purpose. MD also does not condone abuse of legal drugs for any purpose.

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to all preworkout meals. Virgin coconut oil, being primarily a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), requires absolutely no carrier molecules to get into the mitochondria of the muscle cell, where it’s then metabolized into energy (ATP). By virtue of its rapid absorption and assimilation by the muscle cells, it’s actually more potent at generating ATP than even glucose (which requires insulin as a transporter). Here is a sample diet for a 200pound man who weight trains, performs cardio for weight loss, and MMA trains: MEAL #1: Six whole omega-3 eggs (any style). Use macadamia nut oil to grease the pan. MEAL #2: Protein shake: 50g whey protein isolate with 2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter (PB). MEAL #3: 7 ounces chicken with one-third cup raw almonds, cashews or walnuts. MEAL #4 (1 HOUR PRIOR TO MMA TRAINING): Protein shake: 50g whey protein isolate with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil.* *On nontraining days, substitute 2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter. MEAL #5: 7 ounces lean beef with a green salad (no tomatoes, carrots or red peppers) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or macadamia nut oil and vinegar. MEAL #6: SHAKE: 50g Whey Protein Isolate with 2 tablespoons of macadamia nut oil.

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How would you tweak your diet for a MMA fighter who needs to lose 10 pounds in eight weeks in preparation for the next fight? Is it possible to do your ketogenic diet while training for MMA or do I need to have carbs? With the growing popularity of MMA and the close relationship between MMA and bodybuilding (if you doubt that, come to the Arnold weekend and see how many fans love both sports), it’s the perfect time to give the MMA fighters a version of my diet that they can use to cut weight without sacrificing strength and energy. My high-protein/moderatefat/low-carb ketogenic diet utilizes fats for energy while avoiding the energy drops and mood swings associated with unstable blood sugar from carbohydrate-based diets. MMA athletes have greater energy requirements than bodybuilders due to high-intensity sparring and conditioning. To provide adequate energy without the use of carbohydrates, I’ve introduced the medium-chain fat virgin coconut oil to the diet. This fat should be added

I’m a natural bodybuilder and I was considering using your diet for my next contest prep. A few people told me that if I don’t eat carbohydrates, I won’t release any insulin (which supposedly spares muscle). I realize that I won’t be building muscle during the diet, but will the nocarb approach cause muscle loss like some of these so-called “gurus” suggest? My diet includes a significant amount of healthy, essential fats. Without fat, your body can’t make testosterone and without testosterone, you can’t build or preserve muscle (not to mention that low testosterone leads to depression, lack of energy and decreased sex drive). Many “natural” clients of mine find that they actually maintain more muscle on my diet because they don’t suffer the testosterone crash that’s inevitable on a traditional, moderate-carbohydrate/no-fat diet. Remember, fats are not optional; they’re essential to the diet. In fact, that’s why they’re called essential fatty acids (EFAs). On another subject, it’s a total fallacy that insulin is the only substance that can drive amino acids and glucose into the muscle cells (thus preserving muscle). In a lowcarbohydrate, low-insulin environment (as exists on my high-protein/moderate-fat/low-carb diet), GH levels soar and IGF-1 levels follow suit. IGF-1 is significantly more anabolic than insulin and it drives amino acids and glucose into the muscle cells with much greater efficiency. The only thing that insulin has exclusivity on is the storage of excess glucose as fat. And if all these facts weren’t enough, it’s now a known certainty that 80 percent of the glucose that’s used during high-intensity training (i.e., weight training) comes from conversion of amino acids into glucose (gluconeogenesis) in the liver. When this newly manufactured glucose enters the bloodstream, insulin is released and the muscle cells utilize the glucose to produce ATP. This fact, alone, clearly demonstrates why ingestion of carbohydrates is completely unnecessary, even to the weight-training bodybuilder! February 2009

Training programs never say if they are for natural bodybuilders or for those using anabolic steroids. Shouldn’t you train differently if you are using gear? Don’t you need to train longer and more often to reap the benefits of the steroids? Steroids enable you to lift heavier and recover faster. While on steroids, extended training sessions still result in overtraining. If you can stimulate a muscle with heavy weights and less sets, growth potential increases (whether on or off gear). Steroids enable you to build lean muscle at a greater rate; however, if all other things (diet and supplements) are equal, both the natural and steroidenhanced athlete should both follow similar training protocols to maximize muscle gains. Similar principles should also be applied to diet. People often ask me, “Since I’m using clenbuterol and T3, can I can eat more than I did without the drugs?” I laugh when I hear this and respond, “No, it means you should diet harder!” When taking muscle-preserving, fat-mobilizing drugs, you can diet stricter and suffer more and not worry about potential muscle loss.The drugs are tools that enhance and elevate performance; they’re not excuses to avoid hard work. On my last diet, I used a BCAA supplement during my cardio sessions to prevent muscle loss; why don’t you recommend BCAAs while dieting? If you’re using a superior quality whey protein isolate and getting enough cumulative protein throughout the day, there’s no reason to add extra BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids).There are plenty of essential amino acids and BCAAs in whey protein. In fact, the largest BCAA pill is only 2g (2,000mg), whereas one scoop (30g) of whey protein isolate can contain as much as 8-10g (8,00010,000mg) of BCAAs. I can guarantee that it’s a hell of a lot cheaper to use the highest grade whey isolate on the market rather than waste your money on BCAAs. If you remember, BCAAs were huge during the ‘80s and ‘90s when there were no high-grade whey isolates. Once those came onto the

scene, BCAA pills dropped out of sight. Recently, whey protein isolate prices have skyrocketed and supplement companies realized that while these isolates are great products, they turn very little profit. Because of this fact, companies decided to start selling the much higher profit BCAA pills again. Remember, trendy products that come and go are usually never quite as good as the marketing behind them. Dave, I keep reading so much about GH that I feel like I will never reach my potential without it. Right now, I cannot afford GH, so I was planning to try some similar peptides that I have read great things about. What kind of results can I expect from GH-stimulating peptides? I’m constantly getting questions about growth hormone and lately I get a ton of questions about a lot of peptides that are analogous to GH. Peptides such as CJC-1295, Peg-MGF, Hexalarin and various others have been developed to stimulate the release of GH, act similar to GH and/or stimulate the production of IGF-1. Despite the claims of the few labs that produce these peptides, there are no hard, scientific facts to back these claims. To put it simply, if you’re looking for something that acts like GH, why not just use GH? I assume most of the intrigue of these peptides is more the result of their availability. Likewise, they can also be legally obtained at a fraction what you’d pay for GH. The distributors also make a lot of scientific claims that sound great, but have no hard evidence to back it up. Unfortunately, if there’s claim to build muscle or burn fat, bodybuilders will experiment with just about anything. My prediction is that in the future, most of these peptides will prove to be useless. As for GH, the questions lately are more financially driven rather than dose or result-driven. Most people fail to realize that GH is still not the common man’s drug of choice. It’s more geared toward the elite athlete or wealthy life extortionist. GH is best utilized as a chronic treatment— at least six months in duration— and that can cost between $2,000 to $4,000 (at black-market prices). MD 361

BODYBUILDING WITHOUT GENETICS Legal prescriptions to obtain GH are getting harder to come by as the government continues to crack down on life-extension clinics; as well, brand-name GH is a rarity on the black market.This means that most bodybuilders must seek out some generic form of GH (usually from China). I’m continually asked how to determine if GH is real! Since lab analysis is not practical, I recommend a much easier litmus test. Wake up, and without eating anything, test your blood sugar. Next, inject 4 IU of GH and wait at least 20 minutes. Recheck your blood sugar. It should be lower since GH stimulates the release of IGF-1 which ultimately drives glucose and amino acids into the muscle cells (thus reducing blood sugar). GH is a powerful substance that can yield awesome results if you inject an optimal dose (2-4 IU per day) for extended time periods (four to six months); but it’s not the Holy Grail that’ll turn you into Mr. Olympia. If you can’t afford to take GH, don’t skip paying your mortgage in hopes that you’ll make millions of dollars competing as a bodybuilder.Trust me, it just won’t happen! Wait until your budget allows for a cycle and then use it with the understanding that it’s merely another tool in the enormous tool chest that bodybuilders use to build lean muscle.

If a woman is taking 10mg of Anavar per day for 16 weeks, what are the effects on her reproductive system? Is there a birth control pill that can be taken along with this dose of Anavar and remain effective? When women take the mild anabolic steroid, Anavar (oxadralone), at a dosage of 5-20mg per day, several things happen to their bodies. First of all, they have a dramatically increased ability to build lean muscle and recover from workouts. Second, their female patterns of fat deposition slightly change due to the increased levels of male hormones in relation to female ones in the body. Finally, most women usually lose their monthly periods due to Anavar’s hormonal interference with the estrogen/progesterone cycles in the woman’s body. To answer your question, birth control pills are not a reliable form of preventing pregnancy while a woman is cycling anabolic steroids such as Anavar. Having said this, it’s foolish to stay on birth control while cycling, since the added estrogen and progesterone will undoubtedly make it harder to build muscle and burn fat. Most women bodybuilders, figure and fitness competitors find it impossible to get in their best shape possible while continuing to take the pill.

Name: John DelaRosa Anabolic Age: 24 Freak of the M onth: Height: 5’7” John Dela rosa Weight: Off-season: (255 pounds) Precontest: (198 pounds) Contest Highlights: 2007 NPC NY Metropolitans Heavyweight: Sixth Place; 2007 NPC Eastern USA Light-Heavyweight: Second Place; 2008 NPC Eastern USA Light-Heavyweight: Third Place Current Profession: Elevator mechanic Jonathon DelaRosa fell in love with bodybuilding the first time he saw his father, William, hit a front-double biceps pose. According to the younger DelaRosa, “My father was my biggest inspiration!” And it was his father’s passion for the iron game that led the elder DelaRosa to start bringing his son to the gym with him when Jon was only 7 years old. While most kids his age dreamed of being Michael Jordan or Joe Montana, young Jon was busy reading his father’s muscle magazines and admiring the

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I was reading your S.M.A.R.T Personal Training manual and in it you discuss breaking up your yearly training into four phases: strength, mass, cuts and rest. What’s the difference between training for power and mass? Is it that training for “mass” is just plain heavy weights, low reps…and “power” is perhaps a bit lighter weight with more reps? Do you change the actual exercises that you do? In order to ensure that the body consistently responds and evolves in the way it looks, it’s necessary to cycle your weight training just like you’d cycle your dietary intake or your anabolic steroids. I like to cycle my yearly training as follows: POWER PHASE (20 weeks) is designed to build strength so that when you get to the MASS STAGE, you’ll be strong enough to build muscle. In this phase, you should concentrate on power movements and basic exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bent barbell rows, incline bench presses and barbell military presses.These cornerstone exercises will help to build a solid foundation of strength. MASS PHASE (20 weeks) is more related to adding lean muscle tissue than it is to building strength, although strength gains usually accompany increased muscle size. In likes of Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone and Dorian Yates. By his early teens, Jon had yet to grow much in height, but he was clearly the most muscular kid among his peers. During those teen years, Jon stayed active in football, basketball and baseball until a back injury (broken coccyx) playing football left him bedridden for several weeks. After months of agonizing pain, Jon’s parents took him to the doctor and they discovered that a pilonidal cyst had formed along the fractured vertebrae. This injury was a turning point for him, because it was at this point that he began taking his weight training

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BODYBUILDING WITHOUT GENETICS more seriously. What began as physical therapy quickly turned to a passion for the “pump” that his father had introduced him to a decade earlier. Ever since that day, Jon has never left the gym and still trains daily with his bodybuilder dad, William. In fact, Jon and William both competed at the 2007 NPC Eastern USA Championships in New York City. Jon finished second in the light-heavyweight class, while his dad finished ninth in the light-heavyweights and third in the masters class. In 2008, the 24-year-old DelaRosa returned to the Eastern USA and finished third in an extremely competitive light-heavyweight class. By the this phase, power movements remain; however, concentration and machine movements such as Hammer Strength, cables and dumbbells are added to ensure that all facets of the muscle are developed. Likewise, now that you have the added strength (from the POWER PHASE), you can lift heavier weights with slightly more repetitions. CUTS PHASE (18 weeks) usually accompanies a reduction in calories in an attempt to drop body fat. While some basic mass movements are still included, the inclusion of concentration and additional shaping exercises such as cable crossovers, lunges and machine rows become the hallmark of this four-month training cycle. As calories are reduced, strength invariably diminishes.That’s why it’s so important to build strength and size in the previous two phases. REST PHASE (two weeks), although short, is extremely important to ensure that the body has some downtime to recover from the 50 weeks of brutally intense training it has just been subjected to. Likewise, you’ll also find that this two-week layoff actually leads to increased strength, size and a desire to get back to the gym for the next 50 weeks of hard training. Leave your neurotic guilt at the curb and make sure to relax and enjoy your time off! This four-phase training system can just as easily be applied to beginners, intermediate lifters or advanced level bodybuilders.

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time you read this, Jon will have posed down in his first pro-qualifying event, the 2008 NPC Nationals (in Atlanta, Georgia), where he’ll get a true taste of what the upper echelon of bodybuilding is all about. When asked about his future goals, Jon doesn’t hesitate for a moment: “I wanna turn pro and compete against the best bodybuilders in the world.” Who would’ve thought that a single double biceps pose by a father 17 years ago would have inspired the symmetrical, ripped physique we see on a son today? Jon and William DelaRosa’s passion for bodybuilding have forged a bond that transcends bodybuilding and time itself.

Reminders My Personal Training Certification Course, S.M.A.R.T. is now available online at Become a certified personal trainer from the convenience of your own home. I personally wrote the information-packed 100-page manual and I guarantee it’s the most comprehensive diet, supplement and training manual available. By popular demand, a paper copy version is now also available for $39.99. Check out the web address above.

Prison Bodies Edmond Manooken is currently incarcerated at Dalby Correctional Facility in Post, Texas where he’s serving a seven-year sentence for conspiracy to distribute “Ecstasy.” Edmond entered prison over six years ago at 6’1”, 242 pounds, but after getting into trouble, he spent his first 100 days in the “hole” and his bodyweight dropped to an atrophied 198 pounds. Eventually, he was released and transferred to his cur-

rent prison, where they had no free weights or exercise machines to speak of. Never one to give up easily, Edmond and his fellow inmates pitched in and purchased as many bottles of water as they could afford. At 1.4 pounds of weight per water bottle, Edmond’s crew was able to fill two laundry sacks with 50-60 filled bottles and attach the two sacks with a broomstick. Although crude in design, they were able to construct an extremely functional 140-pound barbell. Over the next several years, Edmond built an incredible physique by exclusively using this makeshift barbell and basic bodyweight movements such as dips, pull-ups and crunches. Now weighing in at a solid 236 pounds at around 8 percent body fat, Edmond is more than ready to go home in February and resume his life. While appearing in MD has been a dream realized, the discipline and determination he’s exhibited over these last 6 1/2 years will always be his shining achievement in my mind!  Dave Palumbo P.O. Box 1122 Seaford, NY 11783 To purchase my book, Perfect Prison Physique, please send a $25 money order to the above address or order online at

February 2009


By Jose Antonio, PhD

A Toast To Testosterone Boosters Straight Talk In my home state of Florida, they chose not to fund its steroidtesting program for high school athletes this school year after snagging only one violator among the 600 subjects who were randomly tested last year— a $100,000 spend. New Jersey found one violator, while Texas tested more than 10,000 students and found two violators. In Texas, that price tag was in the $3 million range! Ouch. Whose money are they spending? So is the “problem of steroid use” imagined or real? Put it this way, if this was YOUR money, would you spend a million bucks on drug testing to catch one or two players? Now if you have at least the IQ of a chimpanzee, I think you’d answer this way. Mmm…I think I’d rather buy a beach house in Key West. Maryland, Virginia and D.C. don’t currently steroid test. According to this article, it further reads that, “So the best way, financially and otherwise, to ward off steroid use among teen athletes is probably through parents and coaches— and the old-fashioned approach that Arlington county physical education teacher Rocky Belk and Arlington physician Ben Pearl took last week.” But wait, if only a couple students are found to be using them, who exactly is this audience they speak of who needs deterring? (Varsity Letter is a weekly column about high school sports in the Washington area. Email Preston Williams at [email protected]).

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Resveratrol— Good For Gonads And T Levels Scientists studied the effects of trans-resveratrol on male reproductive functions, penile erection and in-vivo sperm counts and quality. The relaxation effects of resveratrol on isolated New Zealand white rabbit corpus cavernosum (special penile tissue) were measured. Also looked at were reproductive organ weights, blood

Put it this way, if this was YOUR money, would you spend a million bucks on drug testing to catch one or two players? testosterone levels, testicular histopathology, sperm counts, etc. Repeated treatment with resveratrol (50mg/kg) did not cause an increase in bodyweight, reproductive organ weight or testicular microscopic findings; however, resveratrol did elicit an increase in blood testosterone concentration, testicular sperm counts and epididymal sperm motility by 51.6 percent, 15.8 percent and 23.3 percent. Damn. That’s pretty interesting.

One of the compounds found in red wine causing a rise in T levels and helping sperm count?

Androgens— Health And Selective Anabolism The sex hormone testosterone is becoming more and more known for the many good things it does. In fact, we know that the typical male experiences a decline in serum testosterone levels. In a study of 237 healthy men between the ages of 60 and 80, participants were randomly assigned to receive 80mg of testosterone undecenoate or a matching placebo twice daily for six months. Now mind you that isn’t a whopping dose. But then again, it certainly isn’t going to cause harm. What did they discover in this investigation? During the study, lean body mass increased and fat mass decreased in the testosterone group compared with the placebo group, but these factors were not accompanied by an increase of functional mobility or muscle strength. This leads to one lesson. You still need to exercise in order to maintain normal function. Insulin sensitivity improved, but high-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased; by the end of the study, 47.8 percent in the testosterone group vs. 35.5 percent in the placebo group had the Metabolic Syndrome. Quality-of-life measures were no different except for one hormone-related quality-of-life measure that improved. No negative effects on prostate safety were detected. Testosterone supplementation during six months to older men with a low/normal testosterone

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AnabolicEdge concentration did not affect functional status or cognition, but increased lean body mass and had mixed metabolic 2 effects. So as with any drug, this study points to the fact that the way individuals respond to androgens isn’t identical. It should be noted that many effects are good (in this study), but the fact that HDL dropped in both the placebo and testosterone group points to the general poor health of this group. Interestingly, different androgens have different effects. In fact, one of the most frequently misused steroid precursors (prohormones) is 19-norandrostenedione (4-estrene-3,17-dione, NOR), which is, after oral administration, readily metabolized to nortestosterone, also known as nandrolone (Durabolin). Data indicates that receptor-binding tests demonstrate that NOR binds with high selectivity to the AR or the androgen receptor. However, scientists conclude that NOR is highly selective for stimulating the growth of the skeletal muscle, but has only weak androgenic properties. This observation may have relevance with 3 respect to therapeutic aspects. Nevertheless, I’d say, get these folks out and make ‘em exercise. That, my friends, is the best medicine.

terone therapy and visceral fat accumulation decreased. There was a trend to increasing total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol with placebo. So, taking T lessens visceral fat 5 and puts on muscle mass.

New SARM SARMs are the wave of the future. These nonsteroidal tissue-selective androgen receptor modulators give you all the benefits of androgens while minimizing the side effects. Using a functional cell-based assay, a new SARM— AC-262536— was identified as a potent and selective AR or androgen receptor ligand. A two-week chronic study in castrated male rats indicated that AC-262536 has a great anabolic effect, especially in stimulating the growth of the levator ani muscle and in suppressing elevated LH levels. In sharp contrast to testosterone, AC-262536 has weak androgenic effects, as measured by prostate and seminal vesicle weights. And that’s a good thing. Who needs a prostate the size of a golf ball? So keep an eye out for AC-262536, a novel class of selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) with 6 beneficial anabolic effects. ■ References:

GH And T— Anabolic Duo In a six-month randomized, doubleblind, placebo-controlled trial in 21 healthy men aged 65-75, subjects received growth hormone (GH) or testosterone (T). They discovered that serum IGF-1 levels increased significantly with GH and GH plus T, compared with placebo. Mid-thigh muscle mass and maximal oxygen capacity increased with GH plus T only. Thus, six-month treatment with low-dose GH alone or with T in healthy, elderly men produces comparable increments in whole-body protein turnover and pro4 tein synthesis. And in a very longterm study, 60 healthy but symptomatic, nonobese men were randomized to transdermal testosterone patches or placebo for 52 weeks. Relative to placebo, total-body FFM (fat-free mass) and skeletal muscle increased and thigh skeletal muscle loss was prevented with testos-

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1. Shin S, Jeon JH, Park D, et al. transResveratrol relaxes the corpus cavernosum ex vivo and enhances testosterone levels and sperm quality in vivo. Arch Pharm Res, Jan 2008;31(1):83-87. 2. Emmelot-Vonk MH, Verhaar HJ, Nakhai Pour HR, et al. Effect of testosterone supplementation on functional mobility, cognition, and other parameters in older men: a randomized controlled trial. Jama, Jan 2 2008;299(1):39-52. 3. Diel P, Friedel A, Geyer H, et al. The prohormone 19-norandrostenedione displays selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) like properties after subcutaneous administration. Toxicol Lett, Apr 1 2008;177(3):198-204. 4. Giannoulis MG, Jackson N, ShojaeeMoradie F, et al. The effects of growth hormone and/or testosterone on whole body protein kinetics and skeletal muscle gene expression in healthy elderly men: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, Aug 2008;93(8):3066-3074. 5. Allan CA, Strauss BJ, Burger HG, Forbes EA, McLachlan RI. Testosterone therapy prevents gain in visceral adipose tissue and loss of skeletal muscle in nonobese aging men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, Jan 2008;93(1):139-146. 6. Piu F, Gardell LR, Son T, et al. Pharmacological characterization of AC262536, a novel selective androgen receptor modulator. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, Mar 2008;109(1-2):129-137.

February 2009


AskTheDoc If I Inject Deca In My Shoulder, Will It Heal My Rotator Cuff? If I had a dime for every time I am asked this question, I would be a much richer man! Bodybuilders and other strength athletes will often present me with this question regardless of who else is around them to hear the answer. Let’s face it; they are desperate! Rotator cuff tears are notoriously bad at healing on their own. Even with the best surgical repair, these tendons still have a difficult time healing. Anabolic steroids typically get a bad wrap when it comes to tendons. Many case reports in the literature exist to demonize the effects of steroids on tendons. The problem with those case reports is that the athlete with the tendon rupture is often on multiple drugs and probably doesn’t practice the safest lifting and training techniques. Other laboratory studies suggest that treating tendon cultures with anabolic steroids results in disorganization of the collagen and thus a weaker tendon. The problem with those studies is that the tendon

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cultures aren’t experiencing the stretch that allows new tendon formation to occur in an organized fashion. You see, tendons like to be stretched and this strengthens their collagen fibril orientation. One study by researchers Garrett and Karas from the University of North Carolina and Duke University, showed that Deca (nandrolone decanoate) may actually be beneficial to tendons. However, it was only beneficial for the tendons that were loaded or stretched. In their model, they loaded bioengineered human supraspinatus tendons and applied Deca. The strength of the tendons that were stretched with Deca treatment was better than with stretch or Deca alone. Although this study showed a beneficial effect, correlating this to repair in-vivo (in the human) is a long stretch. When the supraspinatus (rotator cuff) tendon tears in the shoulder, the tendon and muscle retracts and forms a gap. If this gap isn’t repaired surgically, there is little-to-no chance that the gap will fill in and restore tension on the muscle for proper function.Therefore, Deca alone won’t heal a torn rotator cuff.The combination of surgical repair and Deca may be ideal, but is an unexplored research topic. Furthermore, there are tears, injuries, or inflammation of the cuff that doesn’t form gaps or have a mechanical disadvantage. These could potentially respond to anabolic treatment. Clinical studies should be performed looking at how anabolic steroids or even IGFs can encourage more rapid rotator cuff healing.There is definitely a biological disadvantage in the healing of this tissue. Perhaps we

can push it along. P.S. Please don’t inject any black-market, bathtub, underground lab Deca in your shoulder or anywhere. If you get an abscess or joint infection, you will surely regret it. I am a figure competitor; does DHEA supplementation work to put on muscle in women? A recent study out of the Mayo Clinic showed interesting results. When given 50mg per day of DHEA for 12 weeks, HYPOADRENAL women (deficient in hormone production) increased DHEA sulfate and androgen levels but had no effect on physical performance, body composition and protein metabolism. The interesting fact is that it did raise testosterone and androstenedione levels and does suggest that oral supplementation can convert to these hormones in women. Unfortunately, this study wasn’t performed in healthy adult women who already have normal andro and test levels. An older study out of UCSD showed a rise in serum IGF-1 levels in men and women with 100mg DHEA supplementation. In women, but not in men, serum andro and test were increased to levels above gender-specific young adult ranges. However, this caused an increase in total bodyweight in women and no decline in fat mass. Lucky for the guys, this supplementation caused an increase in strength and a slight decrease in fat mass. I underwent a triceps repair surgery six months ago and I am having trouble with locking my elbows out on the top of dumbbell benches. I have full motion. What is the problem? February 2009

AskTheDoc— Injury & Rehabilitation The problem you are having is a common one after triceps tendon repair surgery. In fact, it is a common problem after any tendon repair surgery. Full motion is often difficult to obtain with any surgery above the elbow.Thus, early passive and progressive active motions are encouraged after any elbow surgery to prevent stiffness. If you were able to obtain full motion, I congratulate you on great rehab and choosing a good surgeon.

To maintain your strength throughout a wide range of motion, repair of the tendon to its muscle’s resting length is critical.This means that the tendon shouldn’t be overlengthened or overtightened. Overtightening often results in a loss of elbow flexion, but to a certain extent, may have prevented your problem. I suspect that your repair was overlengthened, such that when the elbow is fully extended the muscle has no stretch on it to allow for contraction. Say what, Doc? Let me backtrack a little. Muscle acts similar to a rubber

band.The more it is stretched prior to a contraction, the more force it can produce. However, this is up to a certain point, then the rubber band breaks and less force is produced.The same goes for muscle. With only little stretch at rest, the muscle produces less force. If a muscle is stretched to or slightly beyond its normal resting length, it produces more force. If stretched too far, the muscle produces less force.This can be understood by reviewing the Blix Curve (left). The goal with any tendon repair is to restore normal muscletendon resting length, such that there are no strength deficits throughout the full range of motion. If the triceps tendon is over-lengthened and thus the muscle experiences no stretch during full extension of the elbow, then the muscle will generate no force at the top of the benching movement. I would hesitate advising to have this repaired due to the morbidity associated with revision surgery. For instance, you may trade increased muscle tension for a significant loss of motion or a wound infection. But, to repair this condition, shortening the tendon would restore muscle lengthtension relationship and possibly improve contraction in full extension. Let me know if you are willing to have surgery again. I suspect that most surgeons would shrug you off and say, “Live with it.”

What’s Up With Dr. Prisk?

Please visit for multimedia information on injuries and joint health. My contact information and office location are available online.

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I can’t wait for the new competition season to start. How will Victor Martinez shake up the lineups? I am looking forward to seeing him in action again. Are you excited about the Arnold Classic? Here’s a picture from a long time ago!


Extreme Muscle Enhancement

By Carlon M. Colker, MD, FACN


t’s been years since the trials and tribulations of ephedra. Back then, I suffered the indignity of being one of the most oft-cited ephedra researchers in the world. Metabolife, Ripped Fuel, Xenadrine RFA-1, Hydroxycut, etc. You name it and I did the research. As a result, I endured dozens of depositions, federal and state court testimony, and appearances before Congress, not to mention being named in numerous lawsuits! I was dropped from all of them without even a single case adjudicated against me, but it all still sucked. In the end, ephedra was unjustifiably banned and taken out of the hands of the public and now apparently only safe if the drug company supplies it! It took me several years and the advantage of perspective at a distance to see who was really behind all that and why. In my view, the bottom line in all that crap was that it was the pharmaceutical industry simply using ephedra as the foil to try and overturn the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (also known as “DSHEA”). I’ll explain. In America, our access to natural elements in the form of dietary supplements is perhaps the single-most precious tool we have as free people to determine our own health, find our own natural cures and prevent illness and disease from killing us. It’s our right as Americans and in so being, there’s a law that protects our free access to nature’s healing power. It’s called DSHEA. It was passed into law

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in 1994 by way of thunderous support from the American people. DSHEA empowers Americans with the right to freely purchase dietary supplements without a prescription or limits, provided that the supplements have not been proven to be dangerous. It’s that simple. Companies and individuals have the legal right to sell dietary supplements and, thanks to DSHEA, we have every right to legally seek them out, possess them and take them at our own will. Obviously, that angers the drug companies, who know all too well the power of nature. That’s because the only cures they control come from nature (take, for example, antibiotics like penicillin— it’s natural!). Well, big pharma wants to take free access to nature away. As a result, DSHEA continues to be repeatedly attacked by corrupted politicians, lawsuits and legislation driven by the pharmaceutical industry (also known as “big pharma”). I believe that big pharma wants to destroy DSHEA because it’s a direct competitive threat to their stranglehold on health care. That’s why they want to control it and that’s why they lobby so hard against DSHEA. So, in my opinion, big pharma used the ephedra controversy as the dagger to try and kill DSHEA. They worked in cahoots with federal government agencies, bought-off congressman, greedy personal injury attorneys and private interest groups. On the surface, they held forth this

screwy premise that the public needed to be protected from herbal products containing ephedra. They got it banned. Ironically, ephedrine is now tightly controlled by big pharma and only available with a prescription. But in retrospect, the real motivation was a different end game— that of using the ephedra argument to show weaknesses in DSHEA and hopefully get it overturned. While successful in their attack on ephedra, they failed in their true prime directive of taking down DSHEA. So in effect, they were trying to paint ephedra as the monster and DSHEA as an inadequate knight in shining armor unable to save us. Ironically, if ephedra were not banned under DSHEA, they would then be able to attack DSHEA and try and get it overturned. But it unexpectedly didn’t happen. Ephedra got banned and DSHEA survived. Big pharma found out that it’s a great deal harder than they thought to undo a law here in America. This is especially true when you look at the fact that due to massive public need for better answers, alternative approaches to traditional medical care have now completely encroached on the big pharma monopoly. Disciplines like herbology, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), homeopathy and naturopathy can no longer be dismissed as nothing more than the wacky pursuits of some fringe hippies. They are all protected by DSHEA. Even drugstores themselves have

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ExtremeMuscle Enhancement aisles designated to dietary supplements. Due in a large part to a freer flow of global information in the Internet age, the shroud of big pharma has been lifted. People the world over are grasping for more information and alternatives to resigning themselves to ingesting synthetic lifetime drugs. People are realizing that there are better options as opposed to just the drugs big pharma wants to exclusively put in our faces. Though they continue to wage a war against DSHEA, big pharma has adopted a new strategy of trumping DSHEA through international regulations. By way of something called “Codex,” they hope to make new laws that supersede DSHEA and, in effect, render it powerless. The title “Codex” is short for “Codex Alimentarius” and Latin for “food and nutrition code.“ Codex is a policy originally founded back in 1962 by the United Nations with the purpose of establishing international free trade standards for the world to follow. It was accepted and jointly administered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) under the guise of protecting public safety by “standardizing” the way food, nutrients, vitamins and botanicals are made available to consumers. Now these groups (the WHO and the FAO) get together for meetings in which they set these standards. The problem is that what may have originally started many years ago with some good intention has been corrupted. Codex standards have now become heavily influenced by multinational corporate special interest groups, which include the pharmaceutical industry, who sit on national committees and send delegates to their meetings. As a result of this heavy influence of corruption, decisions are made that protect the business end of corporate interests at the cost of human health. Codex recommendations are then put in motion by various means, ending up as acts or amendments that are then passed into law by governments. This is going on right now right under our noses in such an insidious way that it virtually circumvents any

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public debate. That’s right…right here in America, by way of our own FDA, Codex is creeping up on us to control our access to nature. Codex decisions have the potential to globally influence our environment, along with every single bite of food and every swallow of drink we put in our bodies. If any nation neglects to follow these guidelines, they can be found guilty of setting up “trade barriers.” That’s when the almighty World Trade Organization (WTO) gets involved and assesses crippling financial penalties. Understand that the WTO is the global commercial police force ensuring countries purchase from certain “corporations,” all in the name of “lowering trade barriers.” With that kind of power, the forces of the private interest groups are working at a breakneck pace to get the WTO to grant Codex the unique position as the one and only international food code that all countries, including the USA, must follow. This entire “flimflam” operation is regarded by a number of experts and not just me, as a means for big pharma to eventually make all supplements available by prescription only. You see, big pharma’s fiscal ideal is to keep you alive with your disease in a chronic state, necessitating the drugs they provide and convince you that you need the rest of your life. The last thing they want you to do is to find a cure, and most certainly not a natural cure they don’t control! Since cashing in on chronic disease is the main source of big pharma’s wealth, the last thing they want is for anyone to get hold of a cure from nature or even something as seemingly benign as a natural prevention…Are you beginning to get it? Now to better understand big pharma’s role in all this, let’s take a step back and look at the state of things in America. With the FDA not allowing anyone to say that a natural substance sold as a dietary supplement can cure or treat your disease, clearly the pharmaceutical industry has our government protecting their interests. According to the FDA, only a drug that they’ve been PAID by big pharma to approve can be said to cure or treat your disease. As soon

as you say that something natural can cure something, you’re basically committing a crime! If we don’t stop them, here are just a few examples of the kind of new laws put forth through Codex by three major pharmaceutical companies which, if they have it their way, we’ll all be subjected to: 1. No herb, vitamin, mineral, or natural agent will be permitted to be freely sold for any therapeutic reason whatsoever. 2. Consumer access to dietary supplements will be limited to no more than the existing RDA. [Considered obsolete by most experts, the RDA is nothing more than the bare minimum of a vitamin or mineral required to prevent a deficiency disease, and certainly not the amount needed to maximize health]. 3. Dietary supplements without an RDA, which include the vast majority of dietary supplements on the market today, will be classified as drugs. [That means that popular substances like omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, bioflavonoids, and coenzyme Q10 will all require a doctor’s prescription to obtain]. Sound bad? Now do you understand how in America our free access to nature and our legal rights under DSHEA are being threatened by Codex and the devious forces behind it? If you want to hear how bad things are going to get if we don’t put a stop to it, just listen to what’s gone on in several European countries, Canada and other nations where Codex policies rule. In these places, dietary supplements are even more restricted than drugs. Natural remedies are either not available, or available only by prescription, and at a huge additional cost. People who want to turn to herbal remedies for a potential cure or treatment or simply take a particular vitamin to enhance their state of being must resort to the black market! Now can you imagine being arrested and put in jail for buying something natural known for its therapeutic and health-promoting effects? Imagine you want something simple like aloe vera to help heal, echi-

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ExtremeMuscle Enhancement nacea to get past a cold, gingko to help you with memory, or creatine for a good workout. Well now imagine being locked up like some kind of heroin addict or crackhead, just because you’re forced to procure them on the street! Sound crazy? Sound like science fiction? Well, I wish it were. But it’s all true, because it all boils down to the money. Big pharma knows that the more natural health products people use, the fewer drugs they buy. It’s for reasons like this that they fear nature and want to control our access to it. Big pharma is now using Codex as a vehicle to protect profits that would otherwise be lost to some form of non-pharmaceutical integrative health care. Some action groups are even accusing Codex of adopting a socalled “Napoleonic” approach bereft of Common Law; in other words, by this definition, anything under Codex that isn’t explicitly permitted would mean it’s strictly forbidden. This is in sharp contrast to Common Law considerations where we hold that anything not explicitly forbidden must be permitted. Again, it’s the difference between freedom verses no freedom. As a result, if we don’t act, we can expect that therapeutic grade vitamins, minerals and herbs will be eliminated from the free marketplace, with only a select few available with a prescription and strictly controlled by big pharma. The bottom line is that we as Americans must not ignore what’s going on. If we do, and heaven forbid Codex is fully implemented in the U.S., even a civil rights-size demonstration won’t get it reversed. In fact, since Codex is a global edict with punitive world trade sanctions built in, once adopted it will be irreversible. DSHEA will be a thing of the past. DSHEA will be trumped by Codex, and all the petitions, calls to congressmen, letters to senators, and marches on Washington won’t make a bit of difference. The scariest thing is how slow and creepy this robbing of our freedom is taking place. The well-financed perpetrator is sneaking up on us at a painstakingly calculated and predeter-

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mined pace with the idea being that shrouded in darkness, we just wake up one morning and our free access to nature is gone and we’re helpless to do anything to change it back. Big pharma is powerful, and they’ve grown rich on our backs and as a result of our own government selling us out. They’ve spent billions of dollars promoting their own interests and paying off members of congress with things like generous lobbying donations and creating lucrative jobs for them after they retire from Congress. Big pharma’s paid lackeys litter Congress. They act like they’re representing the people and benevolently working for the government, while accepting huge campaign support from big pharma to basically throw public trust under the bus in deference to big pharma’s interests and their own personal greed. And now it comes down to the mugger— their new foil called Codex. One of the most profound quotes I repeatedly refer to on the subject of the government influencing our health reads: “If the people let government decide what foods they eat and medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in a sorry state.” It’s a perfect and amazingly prophetic quote. What’s even more astonishing is that it was said by Thomas Jefferson back in the 1700s!!! What Jefferson said back then not only has withstood the test of time, but holds more truth today than at any other time in recorded human history! Stay tuned, gang. You just know I’m going to be part of this fight, and it’s going to get ugly… Dr. Colker’s book, Extreme Muscle Enhancement: Bodybuilding’s Most Powerful Techniques, is available by calling 1-800-310-1555 or ordering the book on-line at

February 2009

Busted! LegalQ&A By Rick Collins, JD

Gateway to Gear? I read that a new study is being conducted to prove that whey protein and creatine are the gateways to steroids. Are they serious?

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February 2009


guys who work out infrequently or not at all. Few if any muscleheads are training once or twice weekly when they first dabble in juice. Frequent workouts likely precede the abuse of steroids in virtually every single case! Absolutely.The two-year study will investigate whether So, in the spirit of maximizing our campaign to save the “legal performance-enhancing substances” such as whey children, let’s take it to the next level…why not ban anyone protein and creatine might be a “gateway” leading to the under the age of 21 from setting foot in a weight room? abuse of anabolic steroids.Tonya Dodge, assistant psychology Why not limit workout frequency for adults to no more than professor at Skidmore College, has won a $385,000 grant to three times weekly? And why not enforce strict limits on survey male college students to see what they use, how risky poundages? After all, the guys who never attempt anything they perceive the supplements to be, and how easy they are heavier than the pink plastic dumbbells virtually never try to get.The study follows research by Dodge which found that steroids. It’s almost exclusively the guys who are seduced between 15 and 20 percent of college guys say they’re curby the rep-rattle of Olympic plates on the flat bench who rently taking sports nutrition dietary supplements. A newspa- thereafter dip their toes into the dark waters of bodybuildper that picked up the story led off by asking whether whey ing pharmacology. So, why not ban all Olympic plates and protein and creatine are as “harmless” as they appear. bars and any dumbbells heavier than 30 pounds? Better The “Gateway Hypothesis” theorizes that drug use proyet, why not close the gyms and ban working out entirely?! gresses from one class of drugs to the next. According to the Ridiculous? Sure it is, but so is the source of the moolah hypothesis, the use of “lower stage, legal drugs” (including, to fund this survey: our tax dollars. That’s right, the National for Dodge, “drugs” like dietary supplements) is a risk factor Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)— a for illegal drug abuse. A finding that supplement users are federal agency that gets its money from you and me— has more likely to abuse steroids than nonsupplement users decided to pony up a chunk of our precious coin to investiwould render supplement use a “risk factor” for steroid gate the subject. Hmmm, with due respect to the Skidmore abuse. What then? Aside from fatter grants for follow-up stud- psychologist, my colleagues and I conducted the largest ies, don’t be surprised if we see new prevention and interven- and most comprehensive survey of nonmedical steroid use tion programs and maybe even Capitol Hill hearings seeking in history ( without asking for new anti-supplement legislation, all to “save the children.” or receiving a single dime of federal tax dollars. But would such a finding really be a surprise?The survey Keeping kids away from steroid abuse and other illegal design will certainly “prove” her hypothesis, confirming that drugs is a goal we should all support. But just because two the majority of steroid users first used legal dietary suppleassociated things occur in a certain order doesn’t prove one ments (they probably also consumed a high-protein diet— causes the other. And spending limited federal money to another “risk factor”). However, more significantly by far, the prove something that seems both obvious and meaningmajority of supplement users do not progress to taking illegal less isn’t helping. We can and should do better. n steroids.They never go beyond creatine and whey. Isn’t working out an even stronger predictive risk factor for Rick Collins, JD, CSCS [] is the steroid use, since I’d wager that over 95 percent of juice mon- lawyer that members of the bodybuilding community and sters started out with what seemed like a “harmless” little nutritional supplement industry turn to when they need weight training session in a school gym or local health club? legal help or representation. [© Rick Collins, 2008. All rights And isn’t the frequency of working out a risk factor for steroid reserved. For informational purposes only, not to be conabuse? Guys who work out a lot are more likely to juice than strued as legal or medical advice.]


THE TRUE VICTOR By Victor Martinez

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on a flat bench. You can also do either decline presses with a bar or dumbbells after that, or weighted dips with your torso tipped forward to focus on the chest and not the tri’s. Finish up with incline or flat dumbbell flyes. Flex your chest hard between sets and stretch it out nicely when the workout is over. Also think about doing cross-bench dumbbell pullovers. This is an old-school trick for stretching the pecs and opening up the ribcage to allow for more growth. All that should put you on your way to a bigger chest. Here are those routines again: Chest Routine A Flat Barbell Bench Presses Incline Dumbbell Presses Decline Barbell Presses Incline Dumbbell Flyes

4 4 4 4

x x x x

8-12 8-12 8-12 8-12

Chest Routine B Incline Barbell Presses Flat Dumbbell Presses Weighted Dips Flat Dumbbell Flyes

4 4 4 4

x x x x

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How many different pressing movements should I do for chest in a workout? Some guys seem to only do two, while others will do as many as four or five. What’s a good routine for someone who has been training about four years and still needs a lot more mass in the pecs? If you want a lot more thickness to your chest, nothing is going to beat barbell and dumbbell presses. As to how many you should do, it’s a matter of personal preference. These days I like to do an incline barbell press, a dumbbell press either on the flat or incline bench, and a machine press, but that’s now how I trained for most of my career. I had a partial pec tear two years ago while doing the flat barbell bench press, and it’s been out of my routine ever since. But if I had to say there was one exercise that gave me the most overall mass in my chest, that would be the one. Unless you have some serious injury that prevents you from benching, you should do it first and work hard on it for about 4 work sets of 8-12 reps (after warming up well, of course). Every second or third workout, start with the incline barbell instead. If you do flat bench with a bar, do your inclines with dumbbells. And if you start the workout on incline barbell presses, do your dumbbell presses

On The Road In October I am really racking up the frequent flyer miles toward the end of this year! I started off October locally at the Victor Martinez Perth Amboy Classic in Jersey, but every other weekend I was traveling. Right after that show I headed to Florida to chill for a couple days and make an appearance, then I posed at the Maryland State/East Coast Classic along with Phil Heath. Phil looked pretty good, but if he thinks he’s winning the Olympia next year instead of me, his brain must be dizzy from all that thin air up in Colorado where he’s from. The next weekend I was in Mexico City for a big contest and trade show called the Coloso Classic. The fans there love the fact that I speak Spanish fluently and can converse with them in their own native language. I wrapped up the month out in Illinois for the Continental Classic, but all this was just a warm-up for my big trip to Europe in midNovember (leaving for that shortly as I write this). I will give you the report on that next time and tell you some stories— if they’re fit for print, that is!

Grand Opening Of My Muscle Maker Grill— Don’t Miss It! Sometime most likely in the middle of January, I will be opening up my Muscle Maker Grill restaurant in Edgewater, New Jersey. Since I didn’t have the exact date nailed down by the time I had to turn this column in, please go to for more information. I already talked to Dave Palumbo and MD TV will be on the scene covering it all for you guys. Not only will we have a lot of local bodybuilding and fitness celebrities on hand, but I have some friends that play for the New York Yankees and Giants that will be stopping by too. You don’t want to miss it. And the food is gonna be just what you guys love— great-tasting dishes that are perfectly tailored to those of us who train hard and want to look and feel our best. Bring your appetites and your cameras, because it’s going to be great.

Speaking Of Starving. . . Some bodybuilders talk about being hungry to win a show, but let me tell you— none of them got nothin’ on me when it comes to the Arnold Classic coming up! I almost feel bad for the other guys who will be up there trying to win, because I plan to train so hard and diet so strictly that there will be no chance anyone except me has his hand raised up at the end of the night by Arnold himself. I missed a whole year, people— and a year in the career of a pro bodybuilder is like seven years in the career of a regular person. That title is mine, and then it all shifts to my attack on the Mr. Olympia. But as they say, one thing at a time. February 2009

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Victor Martinez— The True Victor

3 Things Beginners Should Not Waste Their Time On: Machines And Cables For Back Stay away from this part of your gym on back day! Nothing is going to give you more width and thickness than the raw basics: chin-ups, deadlifts, barbell rows and dumbbell rows. Work them hard and your back will grow, period.

Pec Decks And Cable Crossovers Just do presses and dips for your chest until you have some good thickness, at which point you can start doing dumbbell flyes. Leave that other shit alone until you are more advanced, maybe about two years of training under your belt.

Leg Extensions For big quads, do deep squats and add in some heavy leg presses every once in a while. You don’t need to worry about isolating your quads or trying to get more separation until you actually have the size there in the first place. Vic, what do you know about EPO? A few guys at my gym are using it and they say they are getting great pumps but the shit is expensive. Plus, I thought it was for bike racers, not bodybuilders. EPO is a powerful hormone called erythropoietin, which stimulates the production of red blood cells and increases blood volume. Yes, synthetic EPO is being used by athletes in events like the Tour de France. It was first popularized by endurance athletes because the increase in red blood cells increases oxygencarrying capacity. Bodybuilders are using EPO because of its blood-volumizing effects which also plays a critical role in muscle building and recovery through increased nutrient transport to muscle tissue. The most noticeable effect of EPO is the amazing full pumps you get during your workouts. I have been using MHP’s Dark Rage, which has a patent-pending EPO Technology and the pumps are incredible. Rather than spend thousands on synthetic EPO, I recommend you try Dark Rage. For more information on Dark Rage you can go to I feel it’s by far the best pre-workout formula out there. Got a question for Victor? E-mail it to him at [email protected] and you could see it answered right here in MD!

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By Branch Warren

Training…Not Quite The Same Yet, But Close


My strength is getting back to normal, or at least close. But the weird thing is that there are some exercises I can go heavy on again, and others that Trish could beat me at right now. I did 315 on the barbell incline press for 15 reps the other day, and I can also do my trademark dips with the chains. Compound movements are no problem. But any type of extension movement for the triceps is still painful and I have to be very careful. I was doing one-arm extensions on the cable with 20 pounds the other day…pathetic! I was getting frustrated about the whole situation until I talked to Metroflex Gym owner Brian Dobson, one of my very best friends and always the voice of reason. Brian reminded me that up onstage, all that matters is what you look like. Nobody knows how much weight you can or can’t lift. So who cares? I am switching up my training to feature more volume and possibly higher reps instead of just banging the heaviest iron possible. This was my third muscle tear in seven years! Even though this last tear didn’t happen while training, I still need to be careful. I can’t miss any more training time or contests. Pro bodybuilding careers, like most professional athletic careers, are limited to a certain amount of time. I still have a few good years left in me, but there is no time to waste sitting around injured while everyone else is out there making bank!

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February 2009

Boar Hunting, Not Just A Man’s Sport! A couple weeks back, I took my wife on her first boar hunt. It was me, Brian Dobson and my good friend, Anthony, who just retired from playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. This type of hunting involves running up and down some very rough terrain, hills and mountains, and you have to be in pretty good physical condition to even think about it. Wouldn’t you know it; Trish was running circles around the rest of us, because she is in phenomenal cardiovascular shape. I remember when Dave Palumbo and Bill Comstock came out here to tag along on a hunt for MD TV. Dave was trailing behind and having a hard time keeping up with us, and I was genuinely worried poor Bill was going to keel over. Boar hunting is no joke. On this last hunt, all we could find was a little 20pound runt that we normally wouldn’t have even went after. Oh well, you can’t nab Hogzilla every time.

Great News: My Arm Is As Good As New! Just 11 weeks after having surgery to reattach my triceps tendon, I am happy to report that I have successfully regained all the previous mass in that arm. Trish took out the measuring tape yesterday to confirm the fact, and I couldn’t help but smile when she announced the result: 21 inches.

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BRANCH WARREN—THE TEXAS TITAN I am currently recovering from my right biceps tendon being reattached, so it’s “legs only” for a few months, which isn’t a bad thing because I need to bring them up some, anyway. Just wondering: how can I get the most out of my extra training time? Should I hit legs twice a week, three times, split hams and calves? I would love some advice from the man with the best wheels around. My advice would be to go ahead and train your legs twice a week, with different exercises. You don’t need to split up hams and quads, but you could give them equal treatment by doing hams first on one of those two days. You should also continue to train your good arm and everything else you can manage to do with that arm, like onearm presses, flyes, rows and lateral raises. It sounds dumb to do that while the other arm is doing nothing, but I can tell you from experience that this will actually prevent your other biceps, and that whole side of your body, from atrophying as much. There is a “spillover” effect from training

that benefits even the untrained areas. Whether this has to do with the growth hormone release of training in general or what, I can’t say. I’m not a scientist. I just know that it does work, somehow. I have read that you usually have a steak and a potato after training, but first comes a shake. How much time to you give between consuming your post-workout shake and eating that meal? Also, are you drinking just whey or something with carbs (i.e, meal replacement)? I am guessing that the thought is to get the fast-acting protein into your system; immediately following the meal I drink my shake while I am driving home from the gym, which is just a few minutes after the workout is over, if that. I don’t hang around and socialize. It’s get in, train, get out. It’s straight whey protein if I’m precontest, or else it’s whey and some carbs if it’s off-season. It only takes about 30 minutes between the time I finish that shake and the time I start eating my meal. Either Trish will already have the meal ready for me, or I can grill up a steak and nuke a potato pretty fast.

Trish Is Coming To Your Living Room!

Skull-Crushers— Not Absolutely Necessary For Great Triceps

Some great news: Warner Brothers and Mark Wahlberg are producing a new reality show about professional fitness and figure competitors, and my wife Trish was selected to be on it! They had interviewed about 20 women at the Olympia Weekend, and we didn’t get our hopes up. There have been times before when either she wasn’t picked, or the project ended up going nowhere. But this one is a definite go. Apparently, it was the brainchild of Jane Awad, who sold Warner Brothers on the idea. She’ll be on the show along with Trish, Alicia Marie and Elaine Goodlad. I think there will be one other woman, too. So camera crews will be coming out here to follow Trish around as she prepares for the Figure International at the Arnold Classic. I will be getting ready for the Arnold at the same time, so it ought to be pretty interesting.

If you ask me which exercise probably puts the most wear and tear on the triceps tendon and is ultimately a factor in many triceps tears, I would have to say heavy skull-crushers. It’s an exercise I did and was really strong at for many years, but I am also pretty sure it played a role in what happened to my triceps over the summer. My best advice would be to always warm-up completely before doing skull-crushers. I would do at least 3 sets of high reps on something like the rope cable pushdown to get the whole area nicely warmed up first. And if you already have elbow pain that you suspect might be an inflamed tendon, don’t feel you absolutely have to do them. Weighted dips, close-grip bench presses and heavy cable pushdowns in good form can all build plenty of mass and thickness in your horseshoes. One thing I have to add is that if you do include skull-crushers in your routine, keep the form strict and don’t bounce out of the bottom position to heave up more weight. That puts enormous strain on the tendons and is a fast way to wreck your elbows.

November Appearances This month is pretty busy for me. As I turn in this column, I am headed up to New Brunswick in Canada to guest pose, then I go back to Canada next weekend for MuscleTech to open up a new health food store in Vancouver. But the weekend of the Nationals is the one I am really looking forward to, as Trish and I head off to Hawaii for the Paradise Cup. I have been out to Hawaii once or twice a year for the last five years, and it’s probably my favorite place in the world. I don’t know anywhere else where you can truly relax the way you can on the beach in Hawaii. After the last Arnold, we spent over a week there and I did nothing but lie out, eat and drink. Just what the doctor ordered after a grueling contest prep. Guy Leong, the promoter of the Paradise Cup, is a great guy who is always a perfect host, and we’ve actually been to Hawaii so many times now that we have real friends there. And just to remind all you guys and gals in the Southwest, mark your calendars for July 11th in Houston, Texas for the 2009 Branch Warren Classic. Visit for more info and I will talk to y’all next time.  Got a question for Branch? E-mail it to him at [email protected] and you could see it answered right here in MD!

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February 2009



By Lee Priest

President Obama: A True Victory For African-Americans Being out of the country, I can’t say that the results of the presidential election affected me at all. But I just hope now that having a black president will stop AfricanAmericans from saying, “Poor us, the white man held us back; we can’t succeed in this country of white devils.” If a black man can become president, then there is no excuse for any African-American to say he or she can’t do whatever it is they set their mind to. Of course racism and prejudice still exist, but the fact that a country that is still predominantly white elected a black man should tell you that color is not the huge issue that it used to be.

My Racing Days Are NOT Over!

Sorry Yankees, This One Is For Oz I have had some people talking to me and trying to convince me to make the 2009 Arnold Classic my comeback show. I know the Arnold is a huge contest and a lot of my American fans will be there. But I told Tony Doherty that his show here in Australia was the last IFBB contest I did, so it will also be the first IFBB show I do now that I have been reinstated in good standing. Australia is my home, so the good Aussies here will get to be the ones to see my return to the stage. There is nothing like a good home crowd to welcome you back properly. So to my fans who wanted to see me at the Arnold, my apologies. This one’s got to be for my fans over here.

Car racing is my other love after bodybuilding, and I am coming back to that after a long break. This November, I am going to Las Vegas to race. It would be a lot more convenient to race here in Australia, of course. Luckily, I recently met a guy here named Berend who offered me the use of his wingless sprint car in Perth next year. I will definitely be taking him up on that offer. His website is I would still require sponsorship, so any nice people who would be interested, please feel free to get in touch!

The Celibacy Is Over!

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After the longest “dry spell” of my adult life, I am happy to announce that I am finally fucking again! Notice that I didn’t say “dating.” I still don’t have any interest in getting into another relationship right now, but luckily there are some women out there who are simply looking for some great sex with no strings attached. That reminds me, I want to state for the record that I do not have and never had a MySpace page. There have been losers on there saying they are me, but these are all impostors— not the true Priest! One website I did visit at times was That’s a good site where you can meet nice, in-shape people who want to chat, flirt, fuck, suck, whatever. Let’s just say that several memorable encounters I had began on that particular site. You might be surprised at who actually posts on there…more than a few women whose names you would recognize. February 2009

My Gym Sucks Ass Well, I am still paying for my gym membership. And this gym is starting to get on my nerves in other ways, too. It’s so crowded you can barely get on the equipment you need, and there’s nowhere near enough parking. I don’t know what they were thinking when they built the gym and the parking lot…that most members would walk, take the bus, or get dropped off by limousine? All I know is that if you go at peak hours, good luck to you. But as we speak, a place called Beach House Fitness here in Rutherford had just offered me a free February 2009

membership; check it out at By the time you read this, it could very well be my new training headquarters.

Tattoo Update It’s been a while since I had any new ink, with the exception of having my face tattoo filled back in after partially removing it to please an ex-girlfriend. Now that I’ve had that done, I am thinking about getting a tribal pattern to join the face tattoo to the one on that side of my neck. I will let you know if I get it done and you’ll see the pictures here if I do.

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LEE PRIEST—Confirmed! No Longer Training By My Lonesome I usually find good training partners pretty quickly wherever I go. Right now I am working out with Richie Martin, Al and another Lee sometimes works out with us, too. Once in a while someone will e-mail me to say they are in the area and want to catch a workout. I let them join in, too, being a man of the people and all. I don’t need to work out with someone who is necessarily as big or strong as me. It’s more important that they show up on time, know how to give a good spot and follow along with what I am doing in the workout.

Staying In Shape— Within Reason Even though Australia has much better food and a better selection than the USA, I am not letting myself get too out of shape. I am right around 250 pounds now, but I can still see my abs, believe it or not. I am a bit bloated-looking, but that’s really just a lot of water retention. When the time comes to get in shape, I will do what I need to do.

Family Matters Now that I’m back home, I see all of my family on a regular basis. I see my mother just about every day because I have actually been getting in a lot of my workouts at her house lately. I have a big selection of Powertec equipment there thanks to Sam from Sam’s Fitness. ( This is the same line of equipment I had back in my very cool home gym back in Lancaster, CA when Cathy and I had the house there. I would highly recommend Powertec equipment to anybody looking to stock a home gym.

Let It Go, Jay; Just Let It Go! Jay Cutler is already talking all about how he is coming back better than ever next year to get his title back, he’ll bring a whole new package, blah, blah, blah. Let me take this opportunity to address him directly. Come on, Jay…do the right thing and retire. You won the Mr. Olympia twice, and you have three Arnold Classic titles. You have nothing else to prove. You’re not going to win eight Olympias like Haney or Ronnie, or even six like Dorian. You had a great run and accomplished a lot, so why not just move on now? All I see happening if you continue competing is that you will slide backward. Fourth place, sixth place, etc. Your body has had enough. But it’s up to you. If I were in your shoes, I would stop competing and just train for the fun of it while pursuing other things. I’d like to be remembered as a great champion, not someone hanging on to past glories and struggling to get back to where I used to be.

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February 2009

LEE PRIEST—Confirmed! Normal Question Of The Month! (I have to answer one occasionally) Many times, I have read about how injured pros are able to keep training the area in question by using lighter weights, yet making them feel heavier by slowing the rep down and emphasizing the squeeze at the end of each rep. If in fact this is an effective way to train, why can’t we just lift light weights all the time and grow? Personally, I could give a shit whether I am curling a 20-pound dumbbell or a 100-pounder, as long as my biceps are big, you know what I mean? I suppose some real studies would have to be done to see if this would work in the long term, but I think that with a lot of focus and a strong mind/muscle connection, you probably could get similar results by using lighter weights and making your reps very strict and slow. Keep the muscle under tension for the entire duration of the set, and it has to be stimulated. I wouldn’t go super light, though, because I doubt that would be enough to achieve any growth results. But for a guy who is able to curl 100-pound dumbbells in reasonably good form— and there really aren’t many guys out there besides me who can do this— you can probably get good results by using a pair of 60s and doing your reps a lot slower and with more emphasis on the squeeze. I have had to do this recently with my own back and biceps training, and I do find that the muscle responds pretty well. I still think you should add in heavier weights and a more typical rep speed every now and then, or else the muscles would simply get used to the other way of training and hit a point of stagnation.

Stupid Question Of The Month! For the past couple years, I keep hearing about all these huge busts the federal government has been making on steroid dealers and underground labs. They make it sound like the Feds have practically shut down the whole juice trade. But lo and behold, it seems

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there are just as many juiced-up bodybuilders as ever, if not more. So what I would like to know is where the hell are these guys all getting their steroids from? As a pro, I thought you might have the inside story and I know you’re not afraid to talk about anything. While I’m on the subject, are the authorities in Australia as rabid about going after steroids as they are here in America? I know they busted Sly Stallone trying to sneak his GH in.

Here’s another example of the media twisting the facts around to make a story more scandalous. Sly never tried to sneak anything into Australia. Whatever drugs he was taking with him, he also had valid prescriptions from his doctor for. When you legitimately have low levels of testosterone and/or growth hormone, doctors can prescribe these to you as hormone replacement therapy. And considering the guy is over 60, it’s perfectly reasonable that his natural levels are pretty low by now. I don’t know if it was just a matter of the Australian authorities being assholes and not recognizing a prescription from out of their own country, or what. Maybe they were still upset about some of Stallone’s shittier movies, like “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” or “Rhinestone.” As for all the many more guys out there juicing it up who don’t get their stuff legally, what do you think? It’s all about supply and demand. Every day there are raids and arrests to stop pro-

ducers and dealers of drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc. Yet the addicts keep getting their drugs, don’t they? There is so much money to be made selling drugs…literally billions of dollars…that whenever one dealer or source gets shut down, another one simply pops right back up to take its place. The only way to really win a “war on drugs” would be if nobody wanted to use drugs anymore. How likely do you think that is to happen? As for the U.S. government’s obsession with busting steroid dealers and users, I think their attention is misplaced. Drinking kills many thousands every year from liver disease and drunk driving, and smoking wipes out even more lives through lung cancer and emphysema. But both those drugs, and yes alcohol and nicotine most certainly are drugs, are legal and easily available at your corner store. Drunk driving is the number one killer of teenagers, yet I have yet to hear about a kid popping a D-Bol tab and wrapping his car around a tree with three friends in the backseat. Many times I have taken a shot of Deca or Winny and driven around for hours without so much as swerving once! They try to go on about “’roid rage” as well. Meanwhile, every weekend night all over the world, people get into fistfights and even shoot and stab each other after drunken arguments. Eighty years ago, the U.S. government tried to stop drinking when they passed Prohibition. That didn’t last long. People love to get drunk. So when they couldn’t buy their booze at liquor stores, they started making it themselves, and then the mob stepped in to make it a huge black market business. The same thing is happening with steroids. As long as there are people who want steroids and have money to spend on them, there will be other people who will find a way to either make steroids or acquire them from somewhere and sell them to those who want them. I never took a business class in my life, but even I can understand that simple concept of supply and demand.  Got a question for Lee, preferably a really stupid one? E-mail it to him at [email protected] and you could see it answered right here in MD!

February 2009



We have all been there before, kissing the curb after a serious leg workout, hugging the toilet after training back or blacked out from the intense heat and pace of the training. The question then becomes, what’s next?


or the serious bodybuilder “The Wall” is something you never actually see until you’re breaking through it. It’s a mythical place in our mind that someone says is there but we don’t know where until we are actually on top of it. You see, for a beginner coming into the gym early in the game, all we see are Walls. Fascination takes over as we build the Wall, site by site. Wow, look how much he is benching! Dude, check out those biceps! Hey, is he squatting a million pounds? Everywhere the beginner looks, he’s maxing out. Seeing stuff for the first time, experiencing sensory overload regarding weights he’s never seen on a bar before, the bigger guys dwarfing him with their shadows, hearing noises reserved for the restroom and screams of paranoia! Where in the hell does a beginner go from here? Simple, under the rack! Hindsight has a way of making things more “tolerable.” See, in the beginning, not like in Genesis but like in 1983, when I was 17 years old and beginning to feel hair on my chest busting through my tiny T-Shirt, I thought I’d seen it all and could handle most anything. Reality has a way of bringing things into focus when you train with a professional bodybuilder the first time

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you really start training. In many cases, things are relevant or proportionate regarding how strong you are combined with your training experience and poundages lifted, but when you are a punk kid who plays a high school football star by day and a wannabe super-

Soon, the great Walls I had built for myself as a beginner faded into the distance, becoming nothing but a vague memory of my mental weakness but still a reminder of how fragile we are as humans. star bodybuilder by night, things can get twisted really quickly. When starting to train seriously we all go through it: “Let’s see how much I can bench to find out how strong I am?” Then we get under the bar with some impressive weight on it and move it about an inch before someone has to do an upright row off our chest to save our life! We quickly realize we are all on a “learning curve” when we start out.

Some learn faster than others regarding specific limitations and expectations but nonetheless, we persevere and prosper, while others crash and burn. So we press on, albeit a tad slower, to find our groove on squats, leg presses, incline benches, deadlifts, bent-over rows and the like until we get through the soreness phase of basic training and begin to get into a rhythm and routine. Suddenly, we are reppin’ weight and combining sets to a point where nobody can tell us anything. We get a year or two under our belt, show a hint of some bulges under our shirt and of course we ready for the world…bring ‘em on! We travel from gym to gym looking for a great workout from a stranger, to show them how much we have dedicated to the game. We begin to search for just the right mix of cockiness with hints of weakness, so as to walk away victorious from battle. I did this my entire career. I trained at every gym imaginable within a 50-mile radius of my house just to find new challenges. The reality of bodybuilding and training is there is always, and I mean always, someone bigger, stronger or hungrier than you. Just when you get to a point where you know it all, accomplished all and think you have it all, some dude comes from nowhere and craps all over what you thought was “perfect.” We struggle day in and day out with ways to increase our benches, squats and presses, sometimes to no avail. We

February 2009

Shawn Ray—Telling It Like It Is train every which way but loose and we cannot increase our strength, poundages or gain the extra pound of weight we have been dying to gain. What to do? Is this the Wall? How will we ever get over it or around it? It’s so BIG! Barf! That was me at 18 years old. Everybody was bigger than me. None of my poundages would increase and I couldn’t gain a pound of muscle or weight. I was peaked at 18 years young and 180 pounds dripping wet. The Wall was insurmountable for me to imagine getting over to become the next Lee Haney, Gaspari, Beckles, Christian, Strydom, Robinson, Paris…oh my God, I wanted to just quit! A voice in my head and a training partner who was a pro said, “Keep going. Get up, eat more, train harder, don’t quit, your time will come.” It was those words and thoughts that took me to the next level. The belief that time would pay dividends if I only stayed the course. In the beginning, we put “imaginary Walls” in front of ourselves to justify not having to push ourselves to the limits by saying, “I’m just a beginner, I could never look like that, they’re all on drugs, he’s too big, etc.” I stopped thinking like that after I had puked in front of my training partners unwillingly, walked out on workouts that I thought were too hard for my age and refused to add more weight to the bar, justifying it by saying, “I don’t want to get hurt.” The Wall was built by me, brick by brick. In the beginning, I set the barriers in front of me by making imaginary limitations for myself so as to not train too hard. I was trying to have it all but not work too hard to get it. This Wall was keeping me comfortable and injury free. However, it was also inhibiting me from becoming the best I could be. I had to figure out a way through it because going around it wasn’t an option. To be the best, you have to beat the best and what they are best at doing. It was drilled into me during my workouts; the only person I have to fear is myself. I was afraid of what I could possibly become! If it was meant for me to be Mr. Olympia then there’s only one place to go from there and that’s down, so I might as well train to climb the Wall instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

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It was at this moment that I realized I had nothing to be afraid of, nothing to lose or prove except to myself that I could climb the Wall and defeat my fears. Set after set, rep after rep and year after year, the Walls came tumbling down. I pushed on in my training, harder and harder each week, knowing the small goals I was setting for myself were being reached and the bigger goals were well within my grasp. I’d compete in a city contest and win, move on to a county show and win, then a state show and win. With each contest came down one more brick, one more of my fears, as confidence would reside in its place. Training partner after training partner would concede that my skills in the gym were that of a young, hungry lion! No guts, no glory, soon replaced the question marks in my mind-set. I went after the bar like a crazed animal at times, and other times I went into the gym as if I were a tactical surgeon about to pick apart each exercise and angle of every machine to ensure I left no stone unturned in my quest to perfect my physique. I posed like an artist, choreographing my routine for the fans to admire and respect. My diet was instinctive, as the mirror would be my guide to remind me of what I needed or should extract in my pursuit to becoming ripped. This Wall prohibited me from fully realizing that the guys I had admired in the beginning were nothing but mortal men who traveled the same road I was on and had to deal with the same issues and insecurities I had. Soon they became targets of my aggression in the gym, imaginary enemies of war! I would envision myself going at it with them while engaged in a battle of squats, deadlifts and biceps curls. One after the other, they’d fall to the floor in defeat as I stepped over them and onto my next idol and next exercise. The mind is a powerful tool indeed, taking me places never thought possible as my no-name training partners suddenly emerged as the pro idols I would one day compete against. I’d call them by the names of the established pros I wanted to be like, then begin training in the gym as if they were the real McCoy trying to deny my right of passage into the pro ranks. Psychologically for me, it

worked. For every John Doe I trained with I mentally made them out to be topranked pros I’d compete against in the gym. Soon, the great Walls I had built for myself as a beginner faded into the distance, becoming nothing but a vague memory of my mental weakness but still a reminder of how fragile we are as humans. After receiving my pro card in 1987, four short years out of high school, others stood in amazement of my progress. I wasn’t the biggest, strongest guy they’d ever seen. What I had over most of the other wannabe bodybuilders I came up in the ranks with was confidence. I mentally replaced my fears with the belief that I could be what I imaged myself to be if I truly believed it was possible. Then I set my feet on the path of dedication and took the toughest road I could find in the form of my biggest challengers. I trained with other pros with like-minded interests and I ran with them! Never again did I look at anything as if it were “impossible.” I truly believed that if I worked hard enough, long enough at achieving something, why shouldn’t I be able to achieve it? Walls are meant to be climbed and broken through; we build them for this very reason, to see what’s on the other side of them. If you’re ever second-guessing that something is simply too hard for you to undertake for fear of failing, come back here and reread the story again about a small kid who in the face of being closed in by Walls I built for myself, overcame the doubts of my own abilities by pressing forward, believing in myself and challenging people bigger and better than myself to become one of the best! I’m nobody special, made by love between two parents and nurtured in the gym by bodybuilders who both believed in me and disbelieved in me, leading me to a place called the Mr. Olympia Weekend 13 years of my professional career. It is in the moments our self-doubt that champions are made. Success comes to those who work for it and are not afraid of it. The Wall you hide behind today could be the bricks you use to pave the way to the Olympia Weekend tomorrow!  Shawn

February 2009

BRANDEN RAY By Branden Ray

Road tothe USAs I just came off an amazing weekend in Atlanta, but before I get into the Nationals, I’m going to teach all my fellow gym rats a new term created by my training partner Dewan Cromer, aka “Dbo.” This new term is “civilian” and the meaning is slightly different from Webster’s Dictionary definition. Now we all know that we have to share the gym with others no matter how hardcore we wanna be. Most of us aren’t fortunate enough to train in gyms like Metroflex in Arlington, TX, Wolf Gang’s in Richmond, VA, or Strong & Shapely in Rutherford, NJ. These are hardcore gyms with experienced lifters who have proper gym etiquette. They may scream and grunt while training, but they always re-rack their weights.

need to tell us that we look like crap. We must not lose our cool. I’ve been very fortunate to travel all over the country this year and the civilians who work for TSA never surprise me when they say, “Sir, you cannot board with those guns… blah blah blah.” Now that you’ve learned a new term, on to Atlanta. I would like to congratulate all of the winners, specifically my friends, the ‘Monster of the Midway’ Mike Liberatore, ‘Super’ Ed Nunn, ‘Go Get ’Em’ Guy Cisternino, stunning Sheila Bleck, and the beautiful Elena Seiple. They are not just incredible bodybuilders; they are amazing people who I am fortunate enough to know personally. Mike Liberatore is a brilliant guy with an incredibly dry sense of humor. He puts a lot of focus into his posing and has definitely made it an art form. And speaking of posing, I asked Sheila to help me out at the USAs. We didn’t get around to it, but she’s a very honest person and told me that the first song that I chose SUCKED. Thank you, Sheila. Sheila is the female version of Kai Greene, able to display such incredible flexibility and mobility despite having a very muscular and statuesque physique. Her presentation is just incredible. She is a sweetheart, but if you ask her a question she’s not going to tell you what you want to hear; she’ll tell you what you need to hear! Ed Nunn is so down to earth. He’s like that friend who can sit on the stoop (NYC version of a porch) and shoot the breeze with you for hours, with a glass of Kool-Aid. He’s very humble and approachable. We met at the USAs when we ended up sitting next to each other at weigh-ins. Right away we were laughing and joking and not paying attention to the legendary Steve Stone as he briefed us. When Steve was done we looked at each other and asked, “What did he say?” LOL! Guy Cisternino winning his pro card is excellent for this sport. He’s very passionate about bodybuilding and interacts with the fans all the time.

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“Civilians” at your local LA Fitness or 24-Hour Fitness never re-rack the 30pound dumbbells that they were using for incline presses. A civilian will add clips at the end of the Smith machine when pushing through a grueling set of squats with 135 pounds. Civilians roll up their sleeves after hitting a set of alternate curls with the little dumbbells that have their own rack... you know, the 7.5-pound dumbbells that are on the floor waiting for you to roll over on. Now, my fellow bodybuilders have a term to describe these people. Only a civilian will approach you and ask, “What are you on?” Yes, it irritates us, but we have to learn to coexist. We cannot get upset when we’re one week out and they feel the

BRANDEN RAY—Road tothe USAs I respect that so much and always tell other bodybuilders that this is the only way to not just keep the sport alive, but to actually promote growth. Guy is going to have an incredible pro career and I wish him the best. He, along with friends Evan Centopani and PJ Braun, will be around for a long time. Now in 2006, Elena Seiple represented the USA in the strongwoman competition in Poland for six weeks in the Nationals! When I’m six weeks out, I’m starting to forget how to tie my own shoelaces. She was doing events like a 500-pound yoke walk, 250-pound farmer’s carry and she even lifted a car! She is also an incredibly success-

ful businesswoman. Elena as a pro is going to assure that female bodybuilders get the respect that they deserve! She is very competitive and spunky; however, having grown up in a big family with six siblings, she is also kind-hearted and selfless. These bodybuilders allow me to be a fan of the sport. I get excited whenever I see Sheila pose. No matter how much my arms grow, Liberatore’s arms are just that much more ridiculous. Guy’s conditioning is definitely something for all bodybuilders to strive for. Ed Nunn just makes you shake your head because of how tiny his waist is for being over six feet. Despite her striking features, Elena’s back can definitely put most guys to shame. These new pros are going to make this sport better than ever.

Training With The Pro Creator Hany is not just a genius when it comes to contest dieting; he is amazing when it comes to flat-out putting slabs of muscle on you in the off-season. I’m a huge advocate of FST-7, but you cannot simplify his training philosophy to just that. I have been introduced to new movements and angles that really allow me to connect with the targeted muscle. One exercise is partial lat-pulldowns. I was introduced to this with my boy Whitney Reed, owner of Wolf Gang’s Gym in Richmond, VA and also part of Team Rambod. With this movement you do your normal set of lat-pulldowns in a rep range of about 8-10 with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Immediately after this set, you sit upright and do partial reps by bringing the latpulldown bar down to a point just above your head. Once you’re just above your head, you pause for about 2-3 seconds, allowing your lats to contract… the burning sensation you will feel is INTENSE! You do this for a burnout. Just bang out as many reps as you can. Four sets of this movement will have you ready to hang up the back workout, but Hany cracks the whip and forces you to keep going. He’s a very honest coach and is very blunt about telling you what to improve, which you need if you want to make it to the next level. I’m excited about getting back on stage and you better believe I will be bringing a totally new package! 

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February 2009


The Big Bad WOLF By Dennis Wolf

Hernia— The Foreshadow People have been asking me when I first knew something was wrong down there. The very first thing I can remember was way back in 2005. When I was training for the IFBB World Amateur Championships, I noticed that my bellybutton was starting to protrude a little bit. It seemed strange, but because there was no pain at all, I ignored it.

Bring The Pain!

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Maybe some of you will make fun of me for saying this, but I am scared about being put under anesthesia and sliced open. I know, such a big strong guy and I am worried about a pretty minor operation, it’s silly. But I have never had any type of surgery in my life and I am pretty nervous. The doctor explained to me that everything should go perfectly, but there is always a small chance you won’t wake up, ever! There is also always a possibility of infection with any surgery, too. I have my fingers crossed that everything will be OK during and after the operation.

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It wasn’t until this year when I was about four months out from the Mr. Olympia that I began feeling pain. Any time I trained heavy, which was pretty much every time I trained, there was a burning and bad pulling sensation in the area between my belly button and my groin. I got scared, of course, because then I had a pretty good idea it was a hernia. If the pain were really bad on one day, I would just train a little lighter so I didn’t put much pressure on the hernia. But I didn’t want a doctor to tell me I had to stop training or that I needed surgery right away. The biggest and most important contest of my bodybuilding career was coming up and there was no way I was going to miss it. After the Olympia, I finally saw my doctor and he confirmed what I suspected. My plan was to finish all my appearances, then get the operation in December. But in the last week of October, the pain got much worse, and my bellybutton was popping out like a doorknob. I hated to cancel my appearances, because it’s my job and so many people were looking forward to seeing me, but I simply couldn’t go on like that any longer. I scheduled the surgery for Monday, November 2, which is tomorrow. I turned in my MD column a bit early, because I don’t think I will be feeling like sitting up at a computer and typing for a while after that!

Who’s Afraid? Not The Big Bad Wolf?

Downtime From Training— And Out Of The Arnold Aside from training the week after the Olympia when I was in Australia, I haven’t touched a weight since the big show. After the operation, I am going to have a break of at least six weeks, which is a bit longer than I normally take. Last year, I was back into heavy training right after New Year’s, but this time I will probably just be starting very light workouts then. I have promised myself I won’t be over-eager and hurt myself again, because I can’t miss any more time. As it is, I am already very upset that I won’t be able to compete in the 2009 Arnold Classic. Arnold was the man who inspired me to become a bodybuilder in the first place, and I have dreamed about competing in his contest and having my hand help up in victory by him for years now. After making top five in the Mr. Olympia two years in a row, the timing was right. And I also know that I could have brought a package like the Olympia but much fuller, which would have been very tough to beat. I just have to accept that it wasn’t meant to be, yet.

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Dennis Wolf— The People’s Choice Do you do any cardio in your off-season? I am scared my waist and stomach will become wider with all of the calories I am eating. I don’t do any cardio in the off-season, but that’s just me. I have a pretty fast metabolism and stay naturally lean. The main reason I don’t do it isn’t out of laziness, though, it’s because in my case it would interfere with my ability to make gains. I think most people should do car-

dio year-round. Not only does it help you keep the fat off, but it’s important to make sure your heart is strong and healthy. The heavier you get— and that applies to muscle, too— your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. If your heart is strong and in great shape, there is less strain on it. So I think you should do cardio three or four times a week in the off-season, for about 30-45 minutes each session.

Hanging With Lee Priest— Sort Of After the Olympia, I went to Finland and then toured Australia for a whole week. It was a great time! This was my first visit there and I know I will go back again. It’s a great country, the fans are incredibly nice and the promoters took very good care of me. I met Lee Priest a few times at Doherty’s Gym, and then working booths at two different contests. We talked a little bit and he’s a very cool guy. I didn’t get a chance to speak with him at length, because he was constantly mobbed by fans. They sure do love their native son!

The Victor And Kai Show? I have a feeling that the next Arnold Classic is going to come down to Victor Martinez and Kai Greene. Victor missed the entire 2008 season due to his knee injury, so he will be very hungry to win and prove he is still a champion. He has beaten just about everybody around except Jay, and he should have beaten Cutler in 2007 anyway. Kai is also going to be right up there. He missed the Olympia because of his hernia (what I am starting to think is simply an occupation hazard of being a pro bodybuilder), and he also wants to show he is as good as ever or better. I suppose the mystery is whether Phil Heath will compete. If he does, he could give those guys trouble. But based on how Phil has been taking time off to make improvements, I doubt he will compete again until the Olympia. If he does do it, the Arnold will be a great show – but not as great as if I was in it, too!


Bizarre Requests From Fans One guy came up to me and offered me $100 for the hat I was wearing. I thought it was strange, so I said, “No thanks! “ Some people ask me to take my shirt off so they can take a picture with me. One woman at the last Arnold Classic did not want to take no for an answer. I tried to explain that

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if I took my shirt off every time someone asked me, I would be at the booth shirtless all day with my pasty white skin. Finally, she said that if I took my shirt off, she would take off hers. I kindly declined the offer. Some people e-mail me wanting to buy my “used” gym socks or posing trunks. I delete these without replying because they just keep asking and offering more money, or tell me what they want to do with me. I appreciate my fans, but you have to draw the line somewhere!  Got a question for Dennis? E-mail it to him at edi[email protected] and you could see it answered right here in MD!

February 2009


Erik “The House” Fankhouser

By Erik Fankhouser

House, I started training five years ago, and I did my first show this year. I feel like I am burned out. I trained all that time for the show and now I don’t even want to go back to the gym. Do you ever feel like this, and what can I do to get back on track? Doing a show can take a lot out of you. I know when I am done with my shows I always take a few weeks off from the gym, after my rebound. I have found it is very common to feel this way. Think about it: you trained with one goal in mind for the longest time and now that you achieved that goal, you don’t have anything to look forward to. You need to set a few new goals. I always set a short-term goal and a long-term goal. The shortterm goal should be something you can work toward in a few weeks to keep you motivated. Then the long-term goal should be something you want to achieve in a year from now. Each time you reach your short-term goal, you should set a new one to keep you going. I feel if you set goals and take a few weeks off from the gym, you will find motivation again. I know when I take my time away from the gym I always feel like a champ when I come back. Your body needs to rest up from the contest, and time away is good. I would not take longer than two weeks. I have taken longer than two weeks before, and after two weeks it starts to get harder to come back. After time off, you got to remember to take it slow. The first week back you will get sore like you have not lifted before, plus it is good to take time off if you reach a sticking point in your training. Sometimes your body just needs to rest up. Don’t worry about losing muscle when you are not training. Two weeks off and you should be ready to go again. Make sure you keep eating while you take your time off. Eating will help keep your muscle and keep your metabolism up.

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February 2009


House, I will be a senior in high school next year. I have been playing football my whole life, and I want to be the best I can be in my senior year. I know you played football and we played the same position, so can you give me some tips on how I can gain some weight and which exercises to do for explosion? First off, bro, let me wish you a good senior year. Enjoy the high school year while you can, bro. High school football is a great sport and helped me in my training for bodybuilding. Football is what got me into lifting and after football was over in college, I continued to train and it lead me to bodybuilding. I was a fullback all

four years of high school and college. Fullback is a great position and you must be pretty big and athletic to play that position. To gain some weight as a football player is very similar to how a bodybuilder would gain weight. You need to eat, bro. You should be eating at least six times a day, and you need to eat a lot. As an athlete you have a high metabolism and are training hard so eat, eat, eat. I know it is hard to get all the meals in when you are going to school but there is always time between class to drink some shakes or slam some egg whites down. Keep it simple, bro. Eat before you go to school then have a shake before lunch, then solid food at lunch, then a shake before school is over then solid food at home, and another shake before bed. Stick to egg whites, beef, chicken and turkey for your protein, and rice, potatoes or oats for the carbs. Also don’t be afraid to eat some junk too, since you are trying to grow. Pizza will not hurt, bro. My favorite exercises to help me with explosion were power cleans, hang cleans, power presses, squats, deadlifts, and jumping lunges with weight. When working on explosion, you don’t need to do high reps. You should keep the weight high and focus on moving the weight as fast as you can. I like to keep the reps around 6 when doing these exercises.

House Builders This month’s house builder is the good old (and overlooked) decline skull-crushers. Everyone does skullcrushers for their tri’s, but when you change the angle of this exercise it works even better. All you have to do is perform the skull-crusher on a decline bench. When you do it, you will get a better stretch and your arms will stay in position easier than the standard skull-crusher. You can also try a incline skull-crusher, but I like the decline better. Give this a “tri” and you will grow some massive tri’s.

House’s Home Cookin’ Mass Shake 101 I am always looking for new ways I can pack as many calories as I can into a small meal. This is one of my favorite mass drinks and it is full of good, clean calories so you can get huge. 3.5 scoops or Real Gains banana flavor weight gainer from Universal Nutrition (600 calories; 54g protein; 84g carbs; 5g fat) 1 cup oat bran (360 calories; 21g protein; 63g carbs, 9g fat) 24 oz. whole milk (450 calories, 24g protein; 36g carbs; 24g fat) Totals For The Drink = (1,410 calories; 99g protein; 183g carbs; 38g fat) I am drinking two of these a day right now in the off-season and they are working well. I have put on some real good gains and when I stop gaining I will up it to three a day. February 2009

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Eric Fankhouser— North American Champion UT


Training Journal Training is going great! It’s cold, dark and snowy, but a good time to grow. Training in the cold is so different than when it is warm out. There is nothing like chipping ice off the car and driving to the gym in three layers of clothes. Then when you get to the gym you got to leave two layers on to get warm at the gym. When you are training in a cold place, you got to make sure you warm-up your muscles before you start moving heavy weight. I have seen and heard of too many people tearing or pulling muscles because they were not warm when training in the winter. I like to keep covered up anyways. Since it is the off-season, I don’t need to see my body in the mirrors. I just need more weight.

New Hobby Deer hunting is pretty big around where I live. I have never been hunting before, but now it is my new hobby. A few weeks ago I went to the shooting range with my future brother-in-law, Justin Cooey. He was showing me the ropes on how to shoot and hunt. The first time I shot a rifle I was hooked! I hit the bull’s-eye at 100 yards on my third shot. It was a great feeling. I am going to go deer hunting in a few weeks so I can eat deer meat for my offseason. Deer meat is very lean and high in protein. I bought my first rifle, a Remington 700. I will let you know how it goes.

Family/Promoting Family life is going great. This time of year is always good. With all the holidays you get to spend more time with family and enjoy all the good moments of being a family. Having my son Xavier makes the holidays good! There is nothing better than seeing him happy and excited; that is what life is all about. The 2009 Erik Fankhouser Classic is set now. The date is September 12, 2009. Since this is the second year, it should be easier for us to promote. Last year was a success and this year it will be even better. Got a question for Erik? E-mail it to him at [email protected] and you could see it answered right here in MD!

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February 2009


By Evan Centopani

NATIONAL HERO uneven and bumpy as hell. In a car with a smooth suspension it may not have been so bad. Ted had 22-inch low-profile tires and big chrome rims, and Hummers have stiff suspensions as it is. Plus, he was driving at about 110 miles an hour, at which point the electronic governor would kick in and force his speed down. I was feeling pretty queasy, and did my best to deal with it. But after about an hour of the crappy roads and his “Speed Racer” antics, I told him we needed to pull over. I heaved my guts out all over the side of the road, after which I actually felt fine.

A National Hero’s Welcome

Polish Power!

From Hungry To Heaving In 1 Hour I had been subsisting on shakes and nuts the whole way over (airlines these days don’t really like you bringing food), so by the time Ted picked me up, I was ravenous. I had also

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been up for over 24 hours at that point. Ted took me right to a restaurant and ordered up a bunch of chicken breasts, cabbage (the official national side dish) and pierogis. It’s funny; you can’t get a decent steak in Poland, but the chicken is great. There are actually chickens running around wild all over the place, like you see pigeons here. So I put away as much food as a starving 308-pound pro bodybuilder possibly could, which Ted found pretty amusing to watch. Feeling full to bursting, we got into his Hummer (which may have been the only Hummer in Poland), and set off on a 10-hour drive to the city where the contest was being held. Let me just say that the highway department in Poland is either horribly underfunded, incompetent, or both. The “highways” are only two lanes, February 2009


A couple weeks ago, I visited Poland for the Polish Cup, which from what I understand is their version of the Nationals. My host was the promoter, Ted Zarebski, who is also the publisher of the Polish MD. I had met him back in April during my first visit there. The flight to Frankfurt was 8 hours, then another hour to Poland. The trip over was fine, even though I had a regular coach seat, because the flight wasn’t very full. I could put my armrest up and stretch out.

I had a day to chill before the contest, so my translator took me to what he promised was a good gym. Maybe by their standards, it was. It just goes to show you how we take things for granted in the USA, like well-equipped gyms. This place wasn’t much better than most home gyms I’ve seen. The plates were mismatched, the machines were rickety, the pulleys stuck…just shabby all around. I decided against trying to stick to my usual workout and just pumped up a bit to get the blood flowing. The next day was the contest. I wasn’t in guestposing shape, so Ted had a booth set up for me representing his company, Fitness Authority. They are one of Europe’s biggest supplement distributors and carry all the major American brands. Ted had blown up some training photos of me into these enormous banners that were about 10 by 5 feet, which was pretty cool. He also had stacks of the Polish MD for me to sign for the fans, and I happened to be on the cover! It’s a lot smaller than our MD and has a lot more local athletes and contest coverage, but also a lot of the content from MD translated. I tried to see if I could read any of it. I speak Italian fluently and can usually pick up a lot of French and Spanish when I read it. But the Polish language has a completely different alphabet, so I had

no clue what I was looking at. The contest itself only had about 20 guys in it, and was won by 2007 IFBB World Overall Champion Robert Piotrkowicz. I don’t know what he was doing there, since I think he’s already won it several times. Second place was my friend, Radek Slodkiewicz. Generally speaking, the top Polish amateurs don’t have the size, condition, or complete packages of the top U.S. amateurs. But considering how much bigger our population is and what these guys have to work with over there, they do pretty damn good.

ant or showers to reek like the woman next to me did. I swear, I was getting a headache from the stench. But aside from this terrible end to the trip, I had a great time and want to thank Ted

for being such a wonderful host. It was also good to see Radek again and hang out a little with him and his wife. It’s weird, but slowly I am starting to make friends all over the world!

What’s That Smell? The trip home was in a word, miserable. The flight was full this time. For some reason, there were a lot of Russians. I don’t know if they were escaping, or what. But I can tell you that personal hygiene over there seems to be nonexistent. I had an aisle seat with two Russian ladies next to me. I would have to go nearly a week working out with no deodorFebruary 2009

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Evan Centopani—National Hero The Three Best Training Partners I’ve Ever Had 1) Keith Connolly aka “Mr. Dependable” Keith was my buddy since high school and he was my first training partner. He was strong, just freakishly strong. Keith also loved to party. This kid could be out all of Saturday night into Sunday morning, roll into the gym without a wink of sleep and hit 405 on the bench for reps with no problem. The problem was, you couldn’t rely on him to ever show up on time. The “Mr. Dependable” thing was a joke, because that’s what I would call him every time he strolled in an hour late to meet me at the gym. Eventually, I figured out that picking him up at his house and taking him to the gym was the only way to get him there on time. But once we started the workout, things were always great. We were on the same wavelength and always knew how to get the best out of each other. To this day, I would still say Keith was my favorite guy to train with.

2) Ron Rich Ron was like my mentor and big brother. He was the guy who really taught me all about bodybuilding and encouraged me to compete. We trained together for a solid year. Back then, he was a lot bigger and stronger than me and motivated me to take my own size and strength to the next level. I will always give Ron Rich credit for being the one who showed me the ropes when I was just starting out in this game.

3) Frank DiFonso Frank is my current training partner. At all of 165 pounds, he’s not much more than half my weight. But don’t let his size fool you. He’s a correctional officer who just finished a program called CERT— that’s their version of SWAT. I’ve trained with huge guys before who turned out to be pretty lazy, but Frank is a pitbull. He trains like a maniac and isn’t afraid of anything. He’s also down for anything I feel like trying. If I suggest supersetting barbell rows and incline presses, he’s like, “Cool, let’s do it.” Frank is always on time, never complains and always brings a ton of energy into the gym. Big or small, that’s an awesome training partner.

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How much are those calves measuring in the off-season? Have you seen or just simply know of Olympia-quality pros with calf implants? I don’t measure anything, and I haven’t since back in high school. But just for you, I took out the tape and found out my calves are 20 1/2 inches cold. That’s not bad, but I feel like a peg-leg whenever I’m around my boy Erik Fankhouser. He’s a few inches shorter than me and his calves have got to be 24 inches. As for pros with calf implants, I am not aware of any. If anybody does have them, they must be pretty good, because they’re fooling all of us. I find that calves don’t seem to be too important in physique competition. If you have ‘em, that’s nice, but if you don’t, judges seem to let it slide. Poor calves don’t seem to detract much from the overall flow of the body. More than a few people have noticed that Dexter doesn’t have very good calves. Personally, I think Mr. Olympia shouldn’t have any really weak body parts, but that’s my opinion.

Got a question for Evan? E-mail it to him at [email protected] and you could see it answered right here in MD!


musculardeECK OUT FOR CO m MPLET CONTE E S T COV ERAGE ! February 2009

ThePROCreator By Hany Rambod

How To Find A Good Contest Prep Coach W

ith the next contest season just around the corner, many bodybuilders, fitness and figure athletes will soon begin to prepare for their next event. And of course, the goal of each of them is to look his or her best and ultimately be rewarded with a win. As competitive as these contests are and with all the various factors including diet, cardio, weight training and supplementation, many will seek out the services of a coach to guide them successfully through the process. This month, I will help you find the right coach so that you’ll have a powerful resource to assist you in reaching your goal and hopefully walk away with first-place honors.

Are You Coachable? Before I get into what to look for in a qualified coach, you need to figure out if you would be “coachable” in the first place. Some people write off the value of both good coaches and being a good client by insinuating that success in bodybuilding is entirely related to having outstanding genetics and a more extensive supplement program than everybody else. Supposedly, anybody off the street could coach a person like this and he would win. This is actually wishful thinking or more appropriately, rationalization on the part of those who want to make excuses for their own lack of success. The truth is that there have been an abundance of athletes with superb genetics and access to anything else they could want or need, who never fulfill their potential because they refuse to listen to advice and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. I have had people like this express interest in working with me, but as soon as I get

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that vibe that someone is cocky, arrogant, or already thinks he knows everything, I tell him not to waste my time or their money. If people are going to be stubborn and argumentative, they are better off simply getting ready for contests on their own. More often than not, people who work well with coaches have an athletic background and have experience taking direction to improve their game or performance. That doesn’t mean that lacking that background necessarily means you can’t benefit from a coach as a bodybuilder. The critical factor is essentially whether or not you are receptive to new ideas and approaches. It’s also worth mentioning that a person who works well with a coach needs to be able to commit to one person’s guidance rather than constantly seeking out second and third opinions. The worst thing that can happen in the final stages of contest prep is the competitor flip-flopping back and forth, with different and often opposite strategies as he reacts to different advice and opinions. This comes from a lack of confidence that the person’s coach, or any one coach for that matter, can possibly have all the knowledge needed to guide him to his best condition. If you are going to constantly second-guess your coach, you probably shouldn’t work with one.

What To Look For In A Good Coach, And Red Flags To Beware Of If you have decided that you are the type of person who could work well with a coach, the next step is finding one. The nature of the bodybuilding industry dictates that most clients come to coaches

via referrals from other clients, or based on the track record of the coach. Both are extremely reliable ways to know whether or not a potential coach is worth your investment as well as whether you can trust him or her to do a good job of bringing you in at your best. Who has this coach worked with, and did he or she indeed help the athlete achieve his or her best look? You should know that there are more than a few B.S. artists out there who will claim to have worked with numerous pros and top amateurs, yet refuse to say specifically who. Any coach should be more than happy to provide references, so you can ask former or current clients how satisfied they were with the services of the coach. Don’t get overly impressed with certifications or degrees, and I say that as someone holding a degree myself. The absolute best marker of a good coach is a great track record of satisfied clients. There is no substitute for real-world, hands-on experience of helping athletes successfully achieve their goals. If someone says he is an expert in one particular aspect of preparation, such as training or diet, but admits he isn’t well-versed in one or more other areas, that’s a bad sign. A good contest prep coach should have a full breadth of knowledge across the gamut, so that he or she can guide you from start to finish and answer questions all the way from cardio to stage color, and has worked with athletes through the entire prep process many times. A good coach should also be accessible. Agree on how often you are to communicate, and hold the person to it. In the off-season, things are happening at a slower pace, and it’s reasonable to speak with a coach about every one to two February 2009

TheProCreator weeks. But during a contest-prep phase where every day counts, you will want to be able to reach your coach with any important concerns regarding your program. No competitor wants to be left in the dark while he or she is uncertain about what the next course of action should be, or if any changes are needed. It’s all a matter of personal opinions on etiquette, but you shouldn’t have to wait more than 24 hours for a reply to your phone call or e-mail during the final stages of your prep. Make sure you and your coach discuss this issue well ahead of time and agree on what you both feel is reasonable. A really big red flag should go up when a potential coach touts him or herself as being a protégé of a more well-known and established coach, and claims he can provide the same quality services at a reduced rate. Here’s a true story that illustrates this type of character. A few years ago, I was at the Emerald Cup and speaking with one of the female competitors. She was telling me that the man who did her prep had basically studied under me almost like an apprentice, and that I had taught him everything I knew. I told her that struck me as odd, since I had never done anything like that. The closest thing to that would be someone like Phil Heath or Bill Wilmore, who have both worked with me for a few years. So I asked who he was. When she said his name, I had to reply that I had never heard of him. She didn’t seem to believe me. She insisted that he had told her that he and I spoke often, bouncing ideas off of each other on the phone. Apparently, Chad Nicholls was in on some of these roundtable discussions, too. Now I knew this guy was really full of it. When Chad and I talk on the phone, it’s usually not to debate the latest research findings on amino acid supplementation. It’s more like Chad telling me about the latest gadget he’s bought or that his kids stuffed peanut butter and fluff sandwiches in the DVD player. “Well, he’s sitting right over there,” she said and pointed at a guy halfway across the auditorium. I took a good look at him and confirmed that I had never seen this man in my life. The guy saw me looking over at him while talking to his client, and must have realized the jig was up. He calmly got up and walked out of the the-

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ater, never to be seen or heard from again by that woman, as she later told me in an e-mail. And hopefully, never to dupe any more athletes into wasting their time and money on him. Even more common than latching onto the name of an established coach is to take credit for working with a champion athlete who the person never actually worked with. A friend of mine was talking a couple of years ago to someone who claimed to have worked with Chris Cook for one of his USA wins. Knowing that I was in fact the person who had coached Chris for that show, he asked him to be more specific. “Well, I helped him carb up,” he explained. My friend called him on it and told him that his buddy Hany Rambod had in fact worked with Cook. It turns out this other guy had warmed up some food in a microwave a couple times for Cook. Why would people lie and be so deceptive and dishonest? It’s all about money. The “contest guru” market has become pretty lucrative in recent years, as even a nonestablished coach can charge in the thousands of dollars for his or her services, and often gets it. Another surefire warning sign is when a coach can’t or won’t answer questions about the program. You have every right to want to know why he or she is having you eat certain foods, use certain supplements, train or do your cardio a certain way. If the person can’t back up advice with any explanation, be very suspicious of his or her competence. I’ve also heard of athletes working with coaches who give them “supplements” without explaining what they are. Nobody should ever ask you to take anything without clearly identifying what it is and what the purpose of it is. I know more than one person who has wound up in the hospital due to this exact same situation. Finally, beware of anybody who claims to have come up with the “ultimate” diet or training program. I invented the FST-7 training system, but I would never be so foolish as to declare it the one true training program. The only ultimate training or diet program is the one that works for you. Bodybuilding is holistic and we are all individuals, which makes it impossible for there to be any one true way to train or eat.

How To Be A Good Client OK, now that we’ve determined whether or not you would work well with a coach and given you what to look for and what to avoid in choosing a coach, let’s wrap it up with how to be a good client. First and foremost, are you selfmotivated? It’s not a coach’s job to motivate you to go to the gym or to stay on your diet. Motivation needs to come from within. If you rely on others to push and prod you to do these things, maybe you need to re-examine if bodybuilding competition is really what you want. I won’t work with people who need constant hand-holding and babysitting. Earlier in my career, there was one pro in the L.A. area I actually had to fly down from San Francisco just to drive him to the gym and make sure he trained. Next, will you do what your coach asks of you, within reason? Obviously, you wouldn’t drink motor oil, but if your coach is asking you to lower your carbs or increase your cardio, are you going to fight him on it or flat-out refuse to follow his instructions because you don’t want to? Again, the phrase that comes up often when I am dealing with a person like this is, “Don’t waste my time and your money.” If you are hiring a coach for his knowledge and experience, it’s only in your best interest to listen and follow their advice. Hopefully this month we’ve helped you figure out if you should be working with a coach for your next competition. And if so, you should know how to find a good one so that your efforts in preparation are as efficient and productive as possible.  My website is now up and running. Visit or for previous articles, news, an interactive forum, video clips and member profiles and blogs. You’ll also find updates on my current clients and who is preparing for upcoming contests. Free registration gives you full access to all of it. Got a question for Hany you would like to see answered here? E-mail him at HanyR[email protected]. Due to the high volume of e-mail he receives and limited editorial space, only selected questions will be answered and used. February 2009


The Contest GURU

CUTLER IN 2009; SKIN CARE OVER 40 2009 is upon us and it is a time for new beginnings.The question of whether Jay Cutler will enjoy a new beginning in 2009 or if he will continue to compete has been cramming my mailbox! Also, as New Year’s resolutions run rampant, I have been fielding more and more questions from men regarding anti-aging and skin care. I hope you enjoy this interesting read and thank you again for another year of fantastic support! I know you were pretty vocal about Jay Cutler going into the 2008 Mr. Olympia, but since the Olympia, I haven’t really heard you say too much about Jay or the show or address the issue of Jay losing the show this year. My question really isn’t so much about the Olympia or him losing, but rather: what do you think he should do now? From what I’m gathering, the majority of people think he should retire and just walk away; do you? Or do you think he should continue to compete, come back and win again? The question about Jay has been brought up to me quite a bit. I have received so many e-mails about what I thought of Jay’s performance at the 2008 Olympia and what I think he should do at this point. There have also been many questions about whether or not I think Jay and Ronnie will ever battle again, because they had some great battles. Going into the 2008 Olympia, I saw many of the same mistakes that Jay had been making for the last several years and with this in mind, I knew

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that it would be a matter of time before someone brought his “A” game to the stage and caught Jay at an “off” moment. I have learned to read Jay’s physique over the years and when talking to people this year before the show, I laid out the scenario of what I thought would happen with Jay’s final prep. I actually would have bet the bank on it…and the way he looked onstage is exactly what I predicted. When I was prepping Ronnie during his reign, it was just as much my job to watch Jay’s

strong competitor. If he can correct a couple of issues that have plagued him lately, I feel Jay still has a few more great showings left in him. So, I do not agree with most in this case. One major problem Jay needs to address is whatever has been throwing a monkey wrench into his contest prep. Jay always stays fairly lean in the off-season and never really gets sloppy; he is tremendously dedicated and a hard worker— so that isn’t the issue. What I feel is that Jay needs a little assistance to help fine-tune him

Jay is still relatively young and a strong competitor. progress and learn how his body responded and expose his weaknesses as much as it was to know Ronnie and keep his progression in forward motion. From that point, once Jay won the title, Jay became public enemy number one! He took what Ronnie had and what the rest of my team wanted and this made him the enemy— not in real life, but when it came to competition. Off the battlegrounds, I have the utmost respect for Jay and think he is an extremely hard worker and a real asset to the sport. That being said, now that Dexter took the title from Jay, Jay is no longer public enemy number one— Dexter is— so now I must exploit his weaknesses and so on… I guess I need to get to the question: Do I think Jay should retire? My answer may surprise you.To tell the truth, Jay is still relatively young and a

to ensure certain mistakes do not arise…the type of mistakes that can take you from looking great to wondering what the hell happened in a matter of minutes. Once Jay finds the final pieces to the puzzle, I can definitely see a couple more Sandows in his future and I definitely think he needs to iron out the kinks in his armor and get back to business. Over the years, you have stressed time and time again the importance of skin care and taking care of your skin. I can tell you that I have been competing in the sport for over 20 years now. I began in college and though I only compete for selfgratification, it’s something I plan on doing well into my later years. Through all those years of competing, tanning and harsh

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CHAD NICHOLLS— THE CONTEST GURU dieting, although my body looks even better than when I was in my 20s (I’m in my 40s now), the skin on my face has paid the price. Facially, I look much older than my age and this bothers me. In my book, facial rejuvenation via plastic surgery is out of the question. I’m afraid of not looking like myself, or of looking freakish. Short of surgery, do you have any suggestions or advice on what I can do to begin “natural facial rejuvenation?” Hello and thanks for the great question! I enjoy all the questions I receive, but particularly those off the beaten path of supplements and diet, as few realize all the components needed to create the “total package.” Though skin care is something you should have been concerned with all along, it is good that you realize the problem you have encountered and that you are ready to correct it. In today’s high-tech world, there are many options to remedy skin damage and create a more smooth, clear and youthful complexion— even for men! More than ever, men are into skin care and not just your “metrosexual” types; the manliest of men who spend hours creating mounds of muscle are now just as worried about their complexions and anti-aging as women. Aside from the normal “drink plenty of water; stay away from sugar and load up on antioxidant and omega-rich foods,” there are many effective topical skin care products that men can turn to. In the past, women cornered the market on highly effective, cutting-edge, peptide-rich anti-aging products and men were relegated to shaving creams, aftershaves and Stridex pads for their skin care regimens. In the past few years, however, the health and beauty industry has begun to delve into cutting-edge anti-aging over-the-counter treatments for men. A good start for taking back your youthful appearance is to concoct a

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successful regimen and I would suggest a keeping the following staples on hand: 1. A skin-polishing exfoliant to remove excess dead skin cells and dirt from your pores. 2. A product specially made to reduce and refine pores and fine lines. 3. A good under-eye product formulated to target the three primary signs of aging related to the under eye area (dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles). 4. And finally, a great all-in-one anti-aging product…one that is rich in peptides, helps to renew your complexion by encouraging rapid cell turnover and also encourages the skin’s own production of collagen and hyaluronic acid— two of the key components to banishing wrinkles, firming the skin and creating a youthful appearance. Kim and I have been avid researchers in the field of anti-aging and skin care for many years and are always looking for the best nonsurgical ingredients and products to “preserve” a youthful complexion. Now there are several skin care lines dedicated to the anti-aging and special skin care needs of men. We have researched, sampled and personally rated the best of the best out there. One of my favorites is a new preventative and anti-aging skin care line that specializes in men’s products by the name of Dominici Skin for Men. So far, this high-end men’s product line delivers the results it touts. It may be a little difficult to find since it is relatively new, but I would definitely recommend giving the products a try! Kim and I want to wish you all a fantastic New Year and hope you all enjoyed a joyous holiday season! Just a heads up for 2009— our ThirdAnnual NPC Muscle Mayhem Championship will be held on Saturday, May 30, 2009 in Kansas City at the Folly Theater; please stay tuned to for event updates and details in the upcoming months!

February 2009


Trainer of of Champions Champions

THE BODYBUILDING I have a question about which type of flye movement I should be doing on chest day. Many bodybuilders seem to do dumbbell flyes, but I have noticed all I really get when I do those is an extreme stretch of the pecs. There is no real resistance at the top when you bring your inner pecs together and contract. The pec flye machine and cable crossover seem like a better choice, because they let you squeeze against resistance at the end of each rep. With that in mind, why should I bother with dumbbell flyes? Can’t I just do the machine or the cables instead?

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I am thinking about entering a bodybuilding contest just to challenge myself to get in great shape, as I haven’t been very lean for over 10 years now and I think it would be just what I need to motivate myself. I just worry that people will laugh at me because I look nothing like the guys in the magazines, and I don’t want to be humiliated. In your opinion, should I do it or not? Absolutely! If anybody laughs, the joke’s on them, because they don’t have the guts to get up there and put it all out there for everyone to judge and critique. Many times at local contests, you will see at least a couple people who don’t quite look as big or as lean as the majority of the other competitors. But often, those are the ones who have accomplished the most. Maybe one is a mom who lost 50 pounds and is in the best shape she’s been in since she was a teenager. Another could be a guy who was in a terrible car accident and couldn’t walk for a year. Others may be overcoming God knows what type of adversity— be it physical, mental or spiritual. You never know the whole story. Don’t worry about what other people are going to think about you and the way you look. If competing is going to be the impetus you need to finally do something about your body and get lean and healthy again, you should definitely go for it. It doesn’t matter if you look like the guys in the magazines. You don’t usually see anybody like that competing in a local show, anyway. Find a contest that features a novice division, or maybe masters (you didn’t give your age), so that you will be up there with people of similar backgrounds rather than the open class, where you tend to find the more genetically gifted guys who have been training hard for a long time already and often have been competing for many years, too. So go get in the best shape you can and proudly show it off on contest day!

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You could do the machines and cables, but I still feel you can get a lot out of the dumbbell flye if you do it right. You are correct when you state that due to the direct downward vertical pull of gravity and the arc motion of a flye, there is very little resistance on the pecs as you near the end of the rep. You are forced to contract your pecs to provide that last bit of resistance. Granted, it’s not coming from the

same direction as it would be using a pec flye machine or a cable crossover, but it’s a different type of stimulation. What I would suggest is to alternate the movements. Do a machine or a cable one week, then dumbbell flyes the next. That way you get the best of both types of stimulation.

Charles Glass— Trainer of Champs Arms have never grown easily for me, and in fact they have always lagged behind everything else. Believe it or not, my calves are almost 1 inch bigger than my arms! Pretty sad. So, I have tried various methods over the years to bring them up, with mixed success. I usually train biceps with either shoulders or chest, and the same with triceps. One thing I really never gave a fair try with is hitting arms on their own day. I have heard that training both the biceps and triceps together is very effective; is this true? Also, if I train arms on their own day, should that be all I do for them every week, or should I also do a few sets for them on some other day? Believe it or not, even some of the pros I train are dissatisfied with their arms and want to improve on them. Actually, if you know the perfectionist mindset that most champions have, it’s not much of a surprise. So I have had to come up with effective ways to get their guns growing. We do train arms twice a week. One of those times, it’s paired with a larger body part and the other day is an arms-only workout. A common pairing would be chest and biceps, or back and triceps. On those days, we only do two exercises for that muscle for 2 heavy sets. The arms-only day is more about pumping and volume. We will do four exercises each for bi’s and tri’s for about 4 sets each. Supersets are common. We might superset a biceps and a triceps exercise, biceps with biceps, or triceps with triceps. It’s never the same exact workout twice. This strategy has worked very well for just about everybody I’ve ever worked with. I had serious knee pain for a couple years and I thought it was from squatting. So, I stopped squatting and just used the leg press and hack squat. The knee pain persisted, so I

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just did the leg press. Since the pain wouldn’t go away, I was at a loss as to what was causing it. Then I read something about how heavy leg extensions can really tear up your knee tendons and ligaments if you start the motion from a point any further back from where your lower leg is straight up and down. I have always been able to use the stack on just about any leg extension machine I have tried for anywhere from 10 to 20 reps, and took pride in that. But after reading this, I adjusted the pad so I started the reps more forward and only used about a two-thirds range of motion, and also didn’t go as heavy. My knee pain went away in less than a month! So I guess my question is: do you still think a person can get the same benefits from the leg extension without using a complete range of motion? I had almost the same thing happen to me way back when I started bodybuilding in the mid-‘70s after a couple years of Olympic lifting and powerlifting. The other guys were telling me to start leg day with heavy leg extensions to failure. Man, my knees were killing me after a while and I didn’t put two-and-two together for a couple months. I think you should use a complete range of motion on leg extensions, but there is one rule that you must follow. If you start with the leg extension, you have to use light weight and high reps and squeeze the quadriceps at the top of each rep. The knee was never meant to have to extend against that much force, such as the stack of a leg extension machine. You can come back to it at the end of the workout and go heavier, but don’t try to see if you can use the whole stack just to do it. If you do sets of 12-20 and keep the reps slow with a good squeeze, you should not need as much weight. You could probably cut at least a third of what you normally use off and get even more out of it.

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Charles Glass—Trainer of Champs Are there any new supplements you are using right now that you are excited about? I am particularly interested in anything that could be of benefit to the mature trainer. I am 46 years old and have been training since I was in high school. I think my test levels are still pretty high, but I am always looking for anything that can give me a little boost. As a matter of fact, I have been using a nitric oxide product made by Nutrex called Niox for about a month,

A New Day For America I write this just a few days after the historic election in which Barack Obama became the first man of color to be elected to the office of President of the United States of America. To say it’s a proud day for those of us who have been waiting our whole lives for something like this is an understatement. But far more important than any of that is that America spoke up and demanded a change, instead of just sitting idly by and letting the government do whatever it wants. Obama is walking into a mess left behind by

and I have put on about 4 or 5 pounds of quality muscle. That may not sound like much to you young kids, but come back and talk to me when you’re almost 60 and have been lifting for almost 40 years! For my protein powders, I use a couple different ones by Optimum Nutrition and love them. For me, they have the best taste, and my stomach handles them well. Neither company sponsors me, just so you know. I am giving you an unbiased comment on which supplements I am currently using and feel are worth trying.

George W. Bush that will surely take a very long time to clean up. But with so many young people now interested in the political process and realizing that they have to do something if they don’t want their country to spiral down into a hole, he will have a lot of help and support along the way.

My Newest Venture! Come Check It Out! After thinking about getting into the supplement business for many years, I have finally bought into a place called power Nutritional Depot

at 4320 Lincoln Boulevard in Marina Del Rey. I can’t say too much yet, but we plan on having our grand opening around the time of the Pro Iron Man (which is in late January for 2009 for the first time…a month earlier than usual). There will be plenty of pros and other assorted personalities from the bodybuilding and fitness world on hand to celebrate this new venture. Got a question for Charles? E-mail it to him at [email protected] and you could see it answered right here in MD!

Troy’s Last Stand Finally, after much delay, I will be working with Troy Alves for the Iron Man. Troy is 40 now, and he knows the clock is ticking. The last couple years haven’t seen his best, and that’s not how Troy wants to be remembered. The man wants to go out on top, which I fully support. So he’ll be coming up to L.A. sometimes, and other times I will head down to Phoenix. He hasn’t had a lot of guidance during his contest prep for a very long time. All he really needs is condition. The mass, shape, and symmetry are all there. If he brings all that with crisp, dry conditioning— watch out. Troy wants to qualify for the Olympia with a top three at the Iron Man, then we’ll probably do a couple other shows just to keep him focused and in shape. At the Mr. Olympia, he wants to finally bring the striated glutes and hams that have evaded him for years. I don’t make predictions, but I’m saying right now I believe he is capable of a top-five finish. It’s up to him now, and I will be there to guide and push him.

All About Presentation Though I was very satisfied with how hard Silvio Samuel worked in the gym and tremendously proud of the stunning physique he brought to the stage throughout 2008, from now on, I am going to make sure he puts equal effort into his posing and presentation. I’ve said it before…you can have a great physique, but if nobody really sees it, how would they know? Silvio thus far has not been presenting his physique to its full advantage. I am confident that with a big improvement in this area, his placings will only go up from here.

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February 2009

hotshoppe By Angela T. Frizalone

CryoTest The World’s Most Hardcore Anabolic Testosterone Amplifier ny hardcore bodybuilder knows the raw, muscle-building power of testosterone. Countless athletes have used its power to dramatically improve performance, break world records and dominate competitors. Without the undeniable advantage of testosterone, don’t expect to reach levels of muscularity like the pros. But if you’re ready to cross the line into uncharted territory, then you need the explosive power of CryoTest™ – the latest scientific breakthrough formula from Team MuscleTech™! This powerful formula is the world’s first testosterone booster that jacks up testosterone and drives it directly into muscle cells! CryoTest is also strategically dosed with a key ingredient shown to jack up training-induced GH levels! By forcing a dramatic surge in testosterone levels, CryoTest transforms your body’s natural environment into one that’s extremely conducive to freaky muscle growth. While other testosterone-boosting products claim to offer only one benefit, CryoTest stops at nothing to force an extremely anabolic environment through multiple mechanisms. Get yours today at a GNC near you and experience the raw power of testosterone for yourself!


VPX Muscle Power ith 40 grams of the highest quality hypertrophy-producing proteins, VPX has done it again with Muscle Power! With a fastacting protein like whey protein, Muscle Power is guaranteed to get the essential amino acids into your system fast, for dramatic muscle building. And with the slow-acting protein casein, VPX has added the anti-catabolic dimension to ensure that your muscles are fed throughout the day! Muscle Power— For Maximal Anabolism morning, noon and night!


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Information for products discussed in Hot Shoppe comes directly from the companies represented and does not imply endorsement by Muscular Development.

Peak Beta™ Tingle-Free Beta-Alanine olecular Nutrition’s Peak Beta™ utilizes a proprietary new controlled-release delivery system called Molecular Distillation & Sustained Transport™ (MDST™). Each caplet sustains the release of betaalanine for up to 6 hours. Just a few caplets per day now ensure your muscles will have a near-constant supply of this highly effective nutrient, maximizing its uptake, utilization, and performance-enhancing benefits. In addition to removing the rapid-elimination disadvantages of regular tablets and powders, MDST™ technology completely eliminates “the tingles” for virtually all users, which is a hot flush or tingling sensation on the skin. This side effect is common when the body absorbs betaalanine too quickly. While the tingles aren’t dangerous, they can be very uncomfortable. Molecular Nutrition’s Peak Beta™ finally makes beta-alanine tingles a thing of the past! If you haven’t taken advantage of this proven ergogenic aid because of this, now is your chance!


Trap The Volume … Lock In The Gains™ With BSN’S New Volumaize™ SN has done it once again, this time cracking the “genetic code” for the “N-Training™” (during training) “Supplement Timing Window” with VOLUMAIZE™ - the Hypertrophic Activating Myocellular Expander. A new category of supplement, VOLUMAIZE™ is designed to tap into muscle fibers while you train (“N-Training™) to boost athletic performance, cellular growth, myohypertrophic activation, glycogen and essential amino acid super compensation, muscle cell membrane permeability, ATP regeneration (your body’s source for intracellular energy), protein synthesis, strength, the working capacity of muscle tissue, and recovery. It’s time to Trap The Volume … Lock In The Gains™ with VOLUMAIZE™!

B February 2009

Muscle Milk Light Trans-Fat-Free, Sugar-Free, Lactose-Free Nutrition In New 100-Calorie Shake


he industry’s premier protein-enhanced beverage slims down! Muscle Milk Light gets even lighter with 100-Calorie Shakes in a new sugar-free, lower-in-fat formula than original Muscle Milk Light. The new Muscle Milk Light 100-Calorie Shakes provide an excellent source of protein and nutrition, making it ideal for convenient on-the-go nutrition. “Consumers have become very conscious about monitoring their caloric intake, and that is why we created the 100-calorie version that also cuts back on fat and sodium, while continuing to provide optimal nutritional benefits. In addition, the 100-calorie category is full of snack foods. We wanted to provide a healthy alternative,” says Nikki Brown, CytoSport VP of Marketing. “Packed with 15 grams of protein, this beverage is enough to help sustain one’s energy throughout the day.” Muscle Milk Light is designed to promote lean muscle growth, fast recovery from exercise, and healthy, sustained energy. Lactose-Free, Muscle Milk Light 100-Calorie shakes are available in Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Mocha Latte, Strawberries ’N Crème and Vanilla Crème flavors. For more information on Muscle Milk or additional CytoSport products, visit:

Reconfigure Your Body With Just One Box! You Will Not Look The Same— Guaranteed ITOTROPIN™ from Gaspari Nutrition is not another “HARDCORE” or “EXTREME” fat burner destined to only burn a hole in your pocket. Let’s face it, fat burners are long dead because the category hasn’t delivered the results you’ve been after in years. It’s time for a new class of compounds with unrivaled power that can deliver a total reconfiguration of your body’s composition in just a single box. We are so confident as to the effectiveness of this revolutionary product that we guarantee YOU WILL NOT LOOK THE SAME after just one box of MITOTROPIN™! So what does MITOTROPIN™ do? • Dramatically Increases Resting Metabolic Rate • Turns The Mitochondrial CPT System Into OVERDRIVE • Amplifies Catecholamine Levels To Induce Lipolysis • Crushes Hunger Pains And Destroys Appetite • Increases The Presence Of Uncoupling Proteins • Increases Acute Sense of WellBeing—At Times Euphoric In Nature! • Enhances Mental Focus, Clarity, And Cognition • Rapidly Increases hermogenesis From the FIRST DOSE • Effectively Scavenges Free Radicals • Taken as directed, you absolutely CANNOT MISS with MITOTROPIN. Try MITOTROPIN™ today and detonate this incredible neutron bomb of a product on your own physique. From the only company with the firepower to deliver it— Gaspari Nutrition. Visit for more information.


February 2009

Advanced Nighttime Recovery Matrix Sleep While You Grow! Improve Sleep Cycles! Maximize Recovery & Repair he scientists at Muscle Pharm understand that quality sleep is absolutely essential to any bodybuilder wishing to max-out his/her genetic potential. This is precisely why they have left no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence and created a groundbreaking formula geared specifically toward not only initiating the sleep process, but actually maximizing it! Introducing BULLET PROOF, a scientifically engineered, synergistic matrix of specifically blended compounds that will allow you to enter into the most restful state of sleep, while at the same optimizing recovery and repair through proper hormonal modulation and precision nutrient infusion. BULLET PROOF will help you grow overnight by inducing total relaxation, feeding muscle cells, and cranking up levels of the most powerfulhypertrophy-producing hormones known to man— testosterone and HGH! BULLET PROOF represents a true breakthrough in current muscle-building technology.


Lean Never Tasted So Good! Detour® Lean Muscle Cookie Dough Caramel Crisp he next generation of premium performance nutrition bars ® has arrived, with Detour LEAN MUSCLE. Detour Lean Muscle has all of the essential nutrition you need to support a powerful, lean body and you won’t believe the rich, melt-in-yourmouth cookie-dough flavor. Lean Muscle incorporates cutting-edge research with Detour’s proven protein bar expertise, to promote and support a lean lifestyle. Lean Muscle starts with the all-new TM Quadra Whey Protein Blend , a full spectrum of high-quality whey protein designed to deliver peak nutrition and optimum results. Each bar provides 32g of protein, more than any other bar we make, to support powerful and lean muscle mass. Lean Muscle has an amazingly low 3g of sugar, is fortified with 20 vitamins and minerals, and delivers 2000mg of Omega-3s. And with four delicious layers, the new Lean Muscle raises the bar for great taste. Learn more about Detour Lean Muscle and the entire Detour line at


MD 453



Don’t Do The Crime, Because Now You Will Do The Time

he last couple of months have seen a sharp spike in bodybuilder deaths. The sudden increase in mortality has spawned much debate online as to whether we are preaching too cavalier an attitude toward steroids in light of the four guys who recently lost their lives bodybuilding. In spite of the fact that the loss of life was in reality the fault of diuretics, insulin, DNP and other nonsteroid drugs, some of our even most liberal-minded steroid proponents are starting to sound more like Dr. Gary Wadler than Dr. Norm Fost. Some of the rhetoric has become so trite and arcane that one would expect the next thing out of their mouths will be to ban bodybuilding. While this may come as no surprise to some, the fact that three people recently died running the New York Marathon with no call to outlaw distance running makes the former sound just a bit disingenuous. Be that as it may, a concomitant, yet unrelated, action by Congress has some of you involuntarily twitching. The bill that Congress just passed (H.R. 6353, S. 980) creates a new statute for offenses involving dispensing controlled substances by means of the Internet. The law attempts to clarify the laws regarding “rogue” online pharmacies and what constitutes a “valid prescription,” and also criminalizes certain advertising conduct in connection with such pharmacies. It also makes it easier for State Attorney Generals to go after online pharmacies beyond their state borders. The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (accessible at 10-6353) is named for Ryan Haight, who died at age 18 of a drug overdose in 2001 after he obtained Vicodin (a Schedule III drug just like steroids) over the Internet. The bill was signed

486 MD

By John Romano

by President Bush on October 15, 2008, and became Public Law 110-425. Its most relevant amendments will take effect 180 days after the date of enactment of this act (on or about April 13, 2009). Most importantly, the law increases the maximum sentence for selling Schedule III drugs (including anabolic steroids) from five years to 10 years (up to 15 years if use of the drug causes death or serious bodily injury). This is for a first offense. Second offenses double the maximum penalty from 10 to 20 years (30 years if use of the drug causes death or serious bodily injury). Now that the law says the maximum penalty for selling Schedule III drugs is 10 years for a first offense, how much should the convicted first offender actually be given for his individual case? Probation? Three years? Five years? Ten years? How does the judge determine how much time to give him? The federal sentencing guidelines instruct the court where, within that zero to 10-year range, someone should be sentenced based on that crime. Since Congress has boosted the maximum punishments by law, be prepared for the U.S. Sentencing Commission to convene to see if there is now a disconnect between their sentencing guidelines and the law. When the maximum first offender sentence capped at five years and the guidelines topped out at Level 20 (33-41 months), they were fine. But with the new statutory cap now raised to 10 years, they could decide to raise the guidelines so that they are more in line with the maximum sentence for the crime. Things have already gotten harsher. Right now, the drug guidelines are based on a unit system that was drastically increased in 2006. Prior to that, 50 oral steroid tablets was one

unit. Now it’s just one tablet. Prior to the change, a 10cc bottle of an injectable was one unit; now a unit is only 0.5cc! Soon they may increase the number of months attached to each unit level in order to bring the guidelines up to mesh with the new statutory increase. What this means to you is this: prior to 2006, a guy caught selling bottles of test out of his gym bag was looking at probation. By this summer the same guy, convicted of the same crime, could be looking at doing five years hard time. This is the problem we have because steroids are lumped into Schedule III of the DEA’s [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration] list of controlled substances. The laws and the penalties attached to them are clearly aimed at drugs that present some form of acute danger, such as Vicodin, Valium, OxyContin, etc. Steroids present no acute danger; however, they are guilty by association. Hopefully this is something our own Rick Collins will argue when he is no doubt called to testify before the U.S. Sentencing Commission. But, if the past is any indication of the future, don’t hold out much hope. Steroids are as demonized as ever. Especially now, since the recent rash of bodybuilder deaths is being attributed to steroids and not the other more dangerous, more readily available, and less illegal drugs bodybuilders use and from which they die. The take-home message is this, kids: it wasn’t that long ago when casual dabbling in male hormones among your gym buddies amounted to no big deal if you got caught. Almost no one went to federal prison prior to 2006 for juice deals. Now you could be looking at serious, hard time for the same offense. The big question is: is anyone going to stop using juice because the law changed? Pfffffff….. Fuh-ged-aboud-it.

February 2009

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