RayK

An Introduction to Progressive Exercise

130 posts in this topic

Ray, you're deliberately changing the subject. I never said that the human body wouldn't use protein as a source or energy in the face of starvation, so I don't know why you're challenging me to undergo such a masochistic experiment as suggested above. In fact I said, “Of course starvation will lead to the loss of muscle, but the human body will not destroy "most" of it's muscle before allowing fat to be used for fuel.”

I simply challenged your statement that, "Not until the body has destroyed most of its own muscle will it finally release an enzyme call hormone sensitive lipase to release and carry the fat cell to the liver to create ATP, to be used for energy." So what if a person doesn’t eat every 3-5 hours? Once a person has been without food for a long enough period of time they will exhaust their glycogen and then simply enter ketosis. This process will happen long before they have destroyed “most” of their muscle. If waiting longer than 5 hours is enough to induce “starvation” then we’re all starving every time we go to sleep at night. And yet we still wake up each morning with our muscles intact.

Another problem I have with the way you’ve written your introduction is with statements like, “I have defined three principles in both exercise and diet…”. You did not define the fundamentals of exercise (other people did that before you) just as I did not define any word I happen to see in the dictionary. Although that is likely an innocent mistake it is nonetheless misleading. That is why I felt that you were not giving credit where credit is due. It would be better to say something like “below I will explain the three fundamental variables of exercise.” Even if you don’t use the names Jones, Hutchins, etc. at least it will not look like you’re claiming credit for their discoveries.

Ray, just because I corrected an erroneous statement does mean I question whatever benevolence was behind your intentions. Nor should my own intentions be viewed by anyone as malevolent. I just want to set the record straight.

I do feel it’s important to note that I’m not disagreeing with Ray about his approach to exercise (HIT), just some of his claims regarding optimal human nutrition. I first became aware of HIT methodology five years ago. In 2001 I had the great opportunity to work for a man that was one of only a dozen people that had achieved the status of Level-3 Master Superslow Trainer within the Superslow exercise guild. I don’t dispute any of the results that Ray claims to be getting for his clients, because I have also witnessed nearly all of the same results in the clients I trained in 2001.

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Paul,

I agree with your statements on improper word usage, such as defined. I also agreed with you earlier about the word "most", as it being improper. I also was not deliberately changing the subject. But there are things that I have observed in the last 22-23 years about diet and formed some new conclusions.

Although Dr. Darden has written about some of this, I am trying to further understand certain items of dieting. One of these items is the urge to overeat seems to magnify once a person goes beyond 5 hours. I have observed it in myself and in my client's statements, again and again. So to beat this reaction of going without food I recommend eating before the five hours pass. Also it seems to me that if there is an urge that constantly comes around every 5 hours, there must be a biological reason for it. I think that the reason is because are body is sensing starvation, or getting close to it.

I have also observed in myself and by listening to my clients that once they eat, after going beyond 5 hours, they almost always over-eat. So I think that there must be a biological reason for this which is our body is sensing starvation and is forcing us to eat to get ready for famine. Again, Dr. Darden hits on these points in his writings. But I am trying to understand it even further, in trying to learn how to beat it when the urge comes. This has lead me to try and understand the psyche and being conscious of what one is doing and what one wants to accomplish. So if a person goes beyond 5 hours and starts to eat a meal, they can recognize the urge and discard it as being invalid at this point. Because that person is going to eat again in 3-5 hours.

On your other statement about making it through the night without eating. We as humans store around 70 grams of glycogen in the liver just for this reason. We also can store around 200 grams of glycogen in the muscle per day. So a person on a regular diet has more than enough glycogen to get through the night.

Another question you put out is weather we will eat our own muscle mass if we go beyond 5 hours. I think we do and again I have many examples. I have had many clients that have lost weight when they start with me, because they apply the 3 fundamentals. After a while they think that they can manipulate these fundamentals and eat less often, while still getting their caloric intake. They always gain fat and lose strength, everytime they drop one of the fundamentals. Specifically though it is going beyond their 5 hour limit. So I do think that the body senses starvation is coming around the 5 hour mark and begins to conserve our energy. Also, even if the body is in ketosis, it still needs sugar to fuel the brain. Fat cannot be turned into sugar, only glucose and the amino acids derived from protein that are turned into glucose. The average male brain requires 150 grams of sugar a day to function properly, that is 600 calories, just for the brain. A pound of muscle has 600 calories.

When it comes to starvation the body can not think about next week, it only reacts to the situation/stimulate, that being getting you through the starvation state. So when it senses starvation it is going to get rid of the most caloric costing item in your body, that being your muscle and then deal with next week if we get there.

You do not have to agree with any of this. These are some of the things that I have observed in the last 22-23 years in myself and all the trainees that I have observed. I have been training people for almost as long as I have been training myself. My wife and my younger brother have been my test studies since 1982. While I was in the Marines I was the training NCO, and trained hundreds of people in my two enlistments. And, finally over five years worth of training almost 80-90 people a week. I have been writing down questions since the beginning and also trying to come up with my own conclusions. I do not have the laboratory machines to answer "without a doubt" my questions, but I am tying to come to the most rational conclusions. If you or anyone one else has a idea, I will listen to it, but it will take a logical persuasion filled with facts, after all the things that I have seen and tried to understand. It will also take a lot of convincing because it is the understanding of what I have learned that has allowed me to achieve 5-6% body fat.

So I think that I am moving into new areas, while using the shoulders of the giants that have come before me to reach even further. Arthur Jones is an amazing man, but I will not be happy with just learning what he has written. And as I go further and further into my learning process, my exercise philosophy becomes more me than HIT or "SuperSlow". When it comes to being "SuperSlow" certified I do not care to be certified by anyone my mind can do its own certifying. I talked to Ken Hutchins about this over the phone back in 1998. I will not forget the heros of the past, but I must keep looking toward the future, which is what I intend on doing.

I also want to say I appreciate the support.

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Inspector,

I have found that the most important part of stimulation is the attack on the muscle's function, its movement.  The muscles primary objective is to facilitate movement, when this movement is stopped, this is the point of highest stimulation.  It can happen anywhere in the movement, close to flexion or contraction.  The goal should be to lift heavier and heavier weights, lifting the same of any amount will not stimulate the body to increase its size or strength.  The body will not expend a lot of resources to build new muscle when one can already function alright without it.  We, as I stated earlier are very efficient and economical animals.

Ray,

I had given up on asking this before, but the quality of your latest response leads me to believe I should try again.

Having read Mr. Little's book, and sharing the HIT principles with him, what is your opinion of his Max Contraction method?

1) He claims that it provides a greater intensity with the higher weights that it makes possible, and does so more efficiently than the traditional raising and lowering of the weights, which he claims is unnecessary to growth.

2) Furthermore, he advocates isolation exercises over compounds because the smaller muscles will tend to fail before the larger ones, and therefore the larger ones will never get trained to failure.

Do you agree with those statements? They are quite radical, from what I can tell.

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Ray,

Thank you for a well written response. Based on my personal and professional experiences and observations I won't dispute anything in your latest post. I'm also a proponent of "superhydration" (as Dr. Darden calls it) and frequent eating (grazing). I do believe that such streategies help with controlling appetite.

One thing that needs clarification is the issue of ketosis. As stated in Metabolism At A Glance, in ketosis "use of glucose as a fuel by the brain is considerably reduced. The advantage of switching to the ketone bodies for energy is because, during starvation, glucose is obtained by gluconeogenesis from muscle protein. This causes wasting of the muscles and so the 'glucose-sparing' effect of the ketone bodies is an important adaptation to the stress of starvation."

Given how long it would usually take for a person to find themself in ketosis you can figure that they're either aware of the fact that either they're starving to death or they've intentionally induced ketosis with their diet (ala Atkins). If they're doing it intentionally and they're consuming adequate protein then plenty of the gluconeogenic fuel is still regularly coming in and that will have a muscle-sparing effect. This is why a properly planned ketogenic diet is often used with success by professional bodybuilders trying to lose fat while significantly curtailing or halting muscle loss while deficiting calories. The strategy that would seem to do this with the best results is the "cyclical ketogenic diet" (ala Dan Duchaine's "Body Opus").

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Inspector,

I do think that Mr. Little is on the right track, and I will try and explain why.

On the positive of every movement you are not only fighting the weight but also friction within the muscle. Arthur Jones wrote about this back in the 1970's. When you lower the weight, friction is helping you to slow down the weight. So it can seem that one is stronger in the negative, but how much so. The static contraction, because there is no movement, the muscle can seem to be even stronger. So one can hold heavier weights in the static hold compared to the other two, positive and negative. With this heavier weight, I think and agree with Mr. Little that the muscle can be stimulated at a higher rate. But, how practical is it to get to those higher weights?

For almost the whole last year I have raised my weight or time slowly but surely every time I lift. The weight was getting so heavy that I was having trouble even getting it off the platform. At around 160 pounds I was leg pressing almost 500 pounds on a Nautilus power plus leg press. (I know that does not sound like much but I was moving very slowly, and one rep would take almost 30 seconds.) So I decided to accentuate the negative. I would do the positive motion in a quick 6 second lift, then hold off the negative for as long as I could. When I hit 60 seconds for the negative I would go up in weight. Although it was extremely demanding my weights started to increase faster on the machines.

Three months go by and I am up 4 pounds. This does not sound like much, but I have been lifting weights for almost 23 years, I am happy. Now six months later I am plowing through the new weights and up another 6 pounds. In less than a year I have gained 10 pounds, and my body fat which has been stable at 5.5-6% for the last 4 years decreased to 5%, not much, but it means more muscle.

With all this happiness, I want to make sure that it is not fat. I become super fanatical about my diet, to make sure I was not just over eating some place and not being conscious of it. Two weeks later and measurements of my waist and it is the same as when I was lighter, pure muscle growth. Now I think I have something to go on. The intensity is the key principle, but increasing the weight must be continuously sought after also.

Can one then make progress without movement? Yes. My problem with doing this is that I train my clients by myself and can not lift the extreme weights I think one could reach, and quickly. So, I have now started getting my clients to as high as an intensity as possible as quickly as possible. Doing negatives and statics is very intense work, and I have found most cannot stand it at first and some never. Instead of doing static holds, I use primarily negatives, I have them lift the weight sometimes with my help and then they hold it off, for up to 60 seconds, once they can do this I raise the weight. I still think that it is the attacking of the muscle, causing it to fail at the lift that is the key.

When it comes to exercises, I am for compound exercises. I can put the whole body through an extreme workout in just two exercises. As a matter of fact I have been doing just two for almost 3 years. When I am done I can barely move, my whole body is on fire, and I can barely breath. I also have not done a single sit-up, calf-raise nor direct arm work in more that 3 years. I am growing all over, except my stomach, fat levels.

Now, some will be concerned about other parts of their body, so let me answer those questions. I can still reach over and touch my hands flat to the floor without a single stretch in over 7 years, so my flexibility is still there. My other vital signs, I have already given, but they have only gotten better in the last 7 years. It is not the duration on the muscle or the system. It is the demand of effort. Put as large a demand on the body in the shortest amount of time, and the whole system will make adaptations.

I hope that answers your question Inspector.

Paul,

After further research, beyond "MAAG", I do not think the brain uses ketones to fuel the brain. (With the help of Stephen pointing out some fallacies in studies which was discussed in another post.) I think that the brain either gets its sugar from the muscle or like you already stated through the intake of large amounts of protein. Again I do not think this is the most efficient way to lose weight. This is also why I think that the body will still go to the muscle to get the protein/amino acids to fuel the brain when one goes past 5 hours. This might not happen in large amounts because of glucose and glycogen still in the body. But I have clients that tell me "they only ate once today", and I think it will happen to them.

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After re-reading my last post I thought if taken out of context it could seem to good to be true. So I want to warn against irrational goal-setting because this exercise philosophy is not a panacea.

A person is limited by their own genetic make-up, and will not be able to achieve more than their genes allow. So a person should accept their genetic capacity and then set goals that are difficult but rational, in relation to their genes.

At an earlier point in my life I did not understand this and trained up to 18 hours a week, and my weight was up to 225 pounds, mostly fat with a 40+ inch waist. My goals were not tied to reality nor my genetic make-up so I wasted a lot of time accomplishing very little. This can also attack your self-esteem as you continually keep reaching for something that can never be obtained. I think most people on this FORUM understand this, but irrational goals seem to motivate people to be irrational.

So how does this relate to my statements from earlier? Because, from my earlier statements it sounds like I might have found a panacea to exercise and gaining muscle, there is not one. Although I have gained this extra weight, I still only weigh around 160 pounds, but I am maintaining it. But, I am never going to look like the genetic freaks that one sees on muscle magazine covers, and neither are most others. Get what you can from exercise and diet and then use that enhanced body to enjoy other areas of life. Stop spending time, money and your own resources going after irrational goals. Set difficult but rational goals and then go after them. There is a reason to exercise and I think it is to enhance ones body so that it can enhance ones life. Then get the hell out of the gym and enjoy.

I have a banner in my office that reads; Progressive Exercise manufactures time: Time to enhance your life!

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I hope that answers your question Inspector. 

Yes, it looks like static, or slow holds, are working well for you... at least until you get up to weights that are simply too heavy to deal with! I'm running into a bit of that myself; with static holds, I don't have to be strong enough to actually do the WHOLE range of motion, only strong enough to hold and lower the weight... and the result is that I've gotten up to the max weights on some machines, or more weight than my body weight on others (which, as a result, I can't pull down!). All this, and I'm probably not as big of a guy as you! (I'd be ~150-155 if I was as lean as you... only reason I'm not is that I don't want to impede growth by dieting, and I'm not as good at dieting as you are to the point where I could do both... plus my wife likes a few extra #'s on me, which is another matter altogether! B) )

As for the second part, the compound exercises, I suppose it doesn't work as well for me because I don't have all my muscle groups as evenly developed as you must. But I bet that's a real time-saver over what I do!

Anyway, thanks for you input. The big trick with static holds is that you have to do them at the full contraction position, which is not possible on, say, the power press like you were doing, since the weight is on your skeleton in that position... so you sorta have to break that up and do leg extensions instead. I'd say you might want to see what results you get doing a max-weight leg extension hold. But again, the problem is that you need a partner to lift the weight into position or else you'll be holding it for too long and making it into more of a cardio thing. (less intensity is not good!)

I'd love to see if you could independantly verify Mr. Little's theories, so that I know I'm on the right path.

Anyway, good workouts to you.

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I don't want to sound disrespectful to RayK as he has put allot of effort into his work and his intention here is to help people improve themselves and become healthy. However, I wish to state that in my opinion the intensity based system of training that he is advocating is highly flawed. Bryan Haycock's HST has been reccommended and I second that. H.I.T style training was based in large part around the work of Hans Selye who studied, among other things, the effects of various stresses to the body. But as great as Selye's work is, its application to strength training only paints half of the picture; and this is where H.I.T. and other intensity training systems fail. They focus largely on the central nervous system (CNS) and how long it takes to recover. But they don't focus on the actual biology of the muscle cell themselves. Bryan Haycock (and others like him such as Lyle Mcdonald) do.

If you only investigate HIT you will be doing yourself a major injustice and you will be making gaining muscle both harder and more more painful than it should be. Training to failure constantly is a highly stressful and grueling activity; and completely unneccessary. The stress to the joints when the weights get heavy and the chronic fatigue are completely unwarranted. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in rational, intelligent hypertrophic oriented (as opposed to strength oriented - and there is a big difference) training go to the HST site linked to above and read everything there is to read. I would even recommend reading the forums extensively for a period of a few months to understand what a scientifically sound approach to weight training looks like.

I'll also add here that there is a philosophic point to this. In my opinion, HIT (especially as it was advanced by Mentzer) approaches strength training rationalistically. It starts with broad principles, like Selye's adaptive principle, and builds a system around them without checking them against biological reality. But Haycock exhibits the far better epistemology. He studied the physiology of muscle cells, i.e. what can be demonstrably proven in a lab, and then checked that information with other biologically known facts and arrived at a set of *principless* for effective hypertrophic training (and not just a list of rules to be blindly followed which is a strong tendency for intensity based systems). He first studied man, then identified the facts and principle underlying man's muscles, and finally developed a training system which addresses those facts and principles. His approach was objective as oppose to rationalistic.

Another benefit to HST is that Haycock understands the realities of training in a gym as well as the psychology of those who lift weights. He knows that constantly training to failure not only takes a physical toll but a mental one. His approach thus takes well grounded scientifically established principles of biology and builds a training approach around those principles which is easy to execute in a gym! In my opinion, his work is astounding and provides major values to all who seek health and fitness. He deserves tremendous praise. His work and thinking is far superior to Mentzer's, Darden's or Hutchin's. I can't recommend HST enough.

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Please click on the link provided and read the studies.

http://www.nautilusnorth.com/reanddev.html

When you the reader get done reading the information at the linked web-site, answer for yourself if the men mentioned in the above post were just sitting around thinking of ideas without attaching them to reality/being rationalistic.

I stated in an earlier post that I do not have the time to go back to that which I have already done and it still holds true. All of my clients make much better progress with just one day a week training, compared to three or more and those are objective results.

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All I can say is that if you go to the HST website or Lyle McDonald's Website or any of the science based websites that the above mentioned sites link to and *you* read the voluminous information there, you will see that the overwhelming bulk of studies on exercise physiology support the *principles* underlying HST and its methodology.

I have been in this kind of debate before and IMO some Objectivists cling to HIT protocols despite the lack of evidence in their favor. Just because Mentzer frequently quoted Ayn Rand does not mean that he offered support for his training regimen. "Once a week" training protocols are *not* the most effective training styles for *most* people precisely beacause volume and frequency *do* matter. Intensity is not the crucial determinative factor for hypertrophy.

In response to RayK who says that he doesn't want to do the research all over again because he's "been through it all before"; I used to say the same thing as a long time devotee of HIT in general and Mentzer's HD in particular (as well as other intensity systems such as DogCrap and Max-OT). But after three years of intensive reading and research on the subject it is *my* opinion that HIT is flawed.

Here is a link to an excellent thread as to why HIT can work for *some* people. It puts Mentzer into proper perspective.

http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/cgi-bi...4865;hl=mentzer

Specifically read all the posts by "vicious". His knowledge about biology and weight training is formidable.

I've studied the subject and made my decision. Each person will have to do the same.

Also, I'd like to link to another thread.

http://forum.objectivismonline.net/index.p...topic=1649&st=0

When you read this discussion and see it pan out, focus your attention on the arguments offered by "ex_bannana_eater" and on those offered by "black sabbath". I believe ex_bannana_eater makes the case for HST and its principles quite persuasively and answers all intensity based objections.

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bmcgreggor,

Could you explain the "principles" of HST in a nutshell? A big one that I don't understand is the workouts with sub-maximal weights. Nobody has ever laid out or explained the principles of HST to me. HIT principles are quite simple and can be easily explained. So far, nobody has done this for me with HST. Could you be the first?

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bmcgreggor,

Could you explain the "principles" of HST in a nutshell? A big one that I don't understand is the workouts with sub-maximal weights. Nobody has ever laid out or explained the principles of HST to me. HIT principles are quite simple and can be easily explained. So far, nobody has done this for me with HST. Could you be the first?

Here is a link. Its written by Bryan Haycock himself. His book is upcoming.

http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/hst_index.html

This would be a starting point. The HST forums would be the next step. There are extremely knowledgable people on that board. I have read many "Iron Game" boards but only Lyle McDonald's forum and the Avant Lab's forum come close. The posters to pay attention to are "vicious", "blade", Bryan Haycock, "dkm1987", and "old and grey". In reading through the forums you will learn a ton of information. It may turn you towards HST and it may not. But you will have vastly more knowledge either way.

And I hope you read through the "Why did I grow through HIT" thread. It will give you an idea why HIT works when it works; because it unkowingly incorporates the principles of muscle growth. The principles which Haycock built HST on.

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bmcgreggor,

I have read most of the information and the studies that you pointed people in your post to go to. There is nothing new that I have not already read. There is also nothing to persuade me from my conclusions.

You state just like the web-site on HST that the theory of HST is based on science and HIT is not. I have read many studies that state the opposite, so I have tried in my 23 years of exercising to apply the stated information to reality, through my workouts and results.

You also wrote that HIT is based on stress, well yes, and so is HST. What do you think that you are applying to the muscle when you use weights, if not stress. Although HST calls it "mechanical load". You and the web-site also state that intensity is not the key, but progressive weight increases. If this is not a way to raise the intensity, I do not know what is.

HST also states that the body should be worked within 48 hours to keep IGF-1 continually produced as the body deteriorates after production ends. I have never seen one study to prove the body begins to deteriorate after 48 hours. Nor have I ever had a client lose the muscle size that they have gained in such a short amount of time. I once had a 53 year old woman as a client that because of financial reasons had to stop for over 4 months. When she came back she had retained almost all her strength and muscle. One of the main reasons that she decided to come back is because of her yearly check-up where her doctor was amazed with her muscle mass and bone-mineral density. I do not know exactly when the break-down begins but it is not within 48 hours.

These are just the high-lights of what I read. I have not spent 23 years just coming up with ideas as you tried to state. I have read the research, and that which does not fit logically I discard.

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Hello RayK,

I am extremely interested in this thread, am also a big fan of Mike Mentzer, and have been very impressed with the information you have provided.

I compete frequently in sport jiu-jitsu and submission grappling tournaments and thus have developed a strong passion for reaching my top physical form. Currently I am 6ft 2in at 195 with low body fat, and the weight class I compete in is generally 188-200, so I am interested in adding more muscle while trimming or maintaining my current fat level so as to move up and dominate my category. This is quite difficult though, as on any given week I spar heavily 5 to 6 days and have little room to fit in an aggressive strength building workout plan. So if you don't mind, I'm very interested in asking you a few questions (time isn't free!) :)

To avoid your body burning muscle for fuel, while simultaneously avoiding calories that could add fat, what is your recommendation for consumption to break up the periods in the day where your liver starts converting protein? I use anything from a PB&J sandwich to a 20-40g protein shake, to a banana, what is the best?

Regarding supplements: I currently take whey-protein, L-glutamine, and creatine-monohydrate. I have done some reading over the health risks and am no longer worried about creatine affecting my kidneys, I had however read that excessive use of glutamine could result in a large number of free-radicals in the brain, possibly causing problems later in life there--what's the truth here? I have however been immensely pleased with the energy that I feel with creatine, and the combination of these three supplements has given me very pleasing gains in strength and weight; so preferably, I would not like to give them up.

Is it possible to both rapidly cut fat while building muscle, or does one usually have to focus on adding muscle, then trimming what you have put on, as in stages?

As to diet, if I buy lunch instead of cook it is a Subway foot long. Otherwise I am trying to maintain a diet of brown rice, tuna, bananas, along with soy-milk and maybe a sandwich. I however eat virtually zero vegetables.

I know I have asked a good deal in these question so if you answer just a few I will be more than pleased.

Thanks,

Carlos

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Carlos,

Unless a person is not taking in carbohydrates or has a very low calorie count the body will use carbohydrates as an energy source and not go to the protein stores. While in the fed state and on a slightly reduced calorie intake the body will also use fat as a secondary fuel, which it has to convert because fat cannot be used as a direct fuel. I would recommend that you eat every 3-5 hours so that you have a constant flow of energy which will also prove effective for fat loss. Protein can be converted into glucose, but this is not the most efficient way to get your energy. I would recommend a diet of around 50-60% carbohydrates which will give you the energy resource you will need to keep up your sparring matches.

What makes humans fat is not any specific macronutrient, but to many calories. The average adult male only requires between 2100-2200 calories a day to maintain and gain new muscle mass. It only takes around 16 extra calories a day to add 1 pound of muscle. The reason a lot of people are over-weight is because of to many calories above and beyond what is needed.

Studies done in the 60's and 70's with rats that were on a starvation diet and stimulated through intense exercise still gained muscle mass. If properly stimulated the body will grow at least within your genetic capacity. One can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. I have actually found that the idea of bulking up is an illusion. Usually when someone states to me that they are going to bulk up and then cut done once they get to a certain weight that almost all if not all of the gain is fat. There is a DNA enzyme called myostatin, that has been shown to regulate the total of lean body tissue that one can carry. What this means for humans, is that no amount of lifting will get you beyond this genetic limit.

Creatine actually helps to retain or gain water within the muscle cell. The more water in the muscle the larger it might seem. Muscle is 70% water, not protein, this water will allow you to contract longer or more intensely. I would not take it if you are tying to get an extreme cut look to your body. The water retention will make you look somewhat bloated, not fat, but puffy.

People have claimed for years that certain types of food, specifically proteins, will enhance your muscle gain, this is a fallacy. I eat pizza and drink the occasional beer, I still have chocolate cake and eat cookies. I am now the strongest and leanest I have ever been. In October I will turn 37 and I am 5-6% body-fat, so enjoy your food, but do it within the 3 principles that I mentioned in an earlier post.

I do not take any supplements at this time and have not in over 8 years. I did at one time spend and take almost everything on the market, it was not worth it. I now get a yearly physical and all my health markers are right on.

I hope this answers your questions.

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abanger,

Why do you think Bryan Hancock feels the need to mention HIT at all? Wouldn't the (positive) facts be enough to prove his system?

Secondly, how are the findings of "dozens of independent researchers" more valid than the findings of one man? How did all those independent reasearchers come to a conclusion? Truth by consensus?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Before I ever heard of HIT or Mike Metzer, or Ray, I did my own experiments with weight-lifting and arrived at all of the same principles. They work; they are true. I haven't been able to do much work on applying those principles, yet, but when my school gym opens back up on 9/1, I'm going to put the things Ray has said to the test.

One thing to note is that, while the extremely intense 7 minute workouts Ray endorses are very effective, it is also a bit dangerous to work out in this manner without a spotter. Since I prefer to work out alone (and also prefer free-weights), I plan to find a system that is intense enough to create lean body mass, but is still workable as a solo workout. I invision the routine taking significantly longer than Ray's (about 30 a day, 5 times a week), reaching failure through a series of (not quite as) intense exercises, targetted at a different muscle group each day.

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Hello RayK,Regarding supplements:  I currently take whey-protein, L-glutamine, and creatine-monohydrate.  I have done some reading over the health risks and am no longer worried about creatine affecting my kidneys, I had however read that excessive use of glutamine could result in a large number of free-radicals in the brain, possibly causing problems later in life there--what's the truth here?  I have however been immensely pleased with the energy that I feel with creatine, and the combination of these three supplements has given me very pleasing gains in strength and weight; so preferably, I would not like to give them up.

I use creatine as well, and am very pleased with it. Ray's description of what creatine does is a bit simplified, so I'll go into some more detail. The primary energy source for muscular contractions is a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). During the process of extracting energy from the molecule, a phosphate is split off, converting it to ADP (adenosine diphosphate). Now, ADP can be converted back into ATP by utilizing your muscles stores of phosphocreatine. The ADP basically just steals phosphate from the phosphocreatine and keeps on truckin' all of this can happen on the fly while you are working out. Your bodies normal creatine stores are limited, so sometimes its helpful to take additional creatine, which allows for more ADP to be converted back to ATP, increasing the amount of time needed to reach failure, giving you more time to create more tears in the muscle fiber. The thing is, your body has a set amount of creatine it like to keep in its stores, so if you take the creatine to long before your workout, you'll just pee it out, and if you don't take it long enough before you workout, it won't make it to the muscles in time to be of use to use, you won't use it, and you'll just pee it out. Ray is correct; it does cause some water retension, so you won't look as cut when you are taking creatine; and water retension ups your weight - something to think about if you are concerned about staying in a lighter class.

Some people recommend a period of creatine "loading" for a few weeks to build up your stores. In a loading phase, you take extra creatine for a couple of weeks in the hopes that it will build up a stockpile. It's a waste of money. Your body is only going to store the amount of creatine it stores (an amount which is determined genetically), so you are, quit literally, pissing your money away. (As a side note, most multivitamins say to take two. Take one. Unless you live on a diet of iceberg lettuce and pure cane sugar, the second one goes right through you. That neon yellow color your urine has when you take a multi is wasted vitamins.)

The tricky part is in knowing how much creatine to take, and how long before your workout to take it. Powdered creatine gives you the most control over how much you take, and it is absorbed by the body at the most conistent rates, so that's what I use and recommend. I take roughly 3-5 grams a day; I'm probably wasting a little. I just stick a teaspoon in and use whatever comes out. How much you need depends on how much you weigh. The best thing to do is research how much creatine is affective for what weights. I really don't have much to offer here. I know 3 grams is how much "they" say a 180 lb. man should take. Powdered creatine gets absorbed and distributed fairly quickly. The exact rate depends on your metabolism, but for most people it's in the neighborhood of 45 minutes. It'll stay in the muscle for a good hour and a half before the excess gets flushed out, so you have quite a window to work with.

Whey protein shakes are good for convenience. You should take in some protein within the next hour after a workout. Whey protein does the job, it gives a good balance of aminos, blah, blah, blah. But tuna salad or a burger or a chicken breast would be fine, too. There's really no need to turn your body into a chemistry lab. It's remarkably resourceful, and will find a way to pull all the nutrients it needs from the food you eat throughout the day; a multivitamin is a good idea. In addition to protein, you should also eat some sugar after a workout. Chances are, your blood sugar levels are near depletion (if you've had a hard workout), and you need sugar to get glucosamine, which is key to muscle-building. If you don't get sugar, it's not the end of the world. Your body will just convert some of the protein to sugar, then to glucosamine. It's just a little less efficient.

I would check the amino acid listings on your whey. It probably already contains L-glutamine, in which case, what's the point of taking an extra supplement?

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One thing to note is that, while the extremely intense 7 minute workouts Ray endorses are very effective, it is also a bit dangerous to work out in this manner without a spotter. Since I prefer to work out alone (and also prefer free-weights), I plan to find a system that is intense enough to create lean body mass, but is still workable as a solo workout. I invision the routine taking significantly longer than Ray's (about 30 a day, 5 times a week), reaching failure through a series of (not quite as) intense exercises, targetted at a different muscle group each day.

Dave and anyone else,

Do not make the mistake of thinking that duration and frequency take the place of intensity, they do not. Intensity is the principal of principles and it sets the other two principles which are duration and frequency. More that 80 studies done over 100 years ago showed that one set to failure was more productive than multiple sets. In the 1960's and through the 1970's Nautilus performed the same studies (unknowingly), and came to the same conclusions, that one set to failure is productive.

Why use free-weights when some exercise equipment such as Nautilus is more beneficial than free-weights. Nautilus is designed with a variable resistance curve that makes the rep, if one does reps, more demanding as one moves toward contraction. It also lightens the demand as one moves toward a weaker position. If you like to train alone, find exercises that you can train alone and intense with. Some examples would be pull-downs, dips, leg-press. Another thing is that your body cannot tell the difference between a contraction from a flat bench, incline bench, decline bench or a dip where you might contract the chest. One either contracts the chest muscles or not, you cannot just contract the lower, upper or middle. What I am trying to state is that all the extra exercises does nothing but, maybe, re-stimulate the same muscle causing more damage that a person has to heal from.

When you work-out do you think that you are not affecting your system in general? Do you think that you can attack the muscle and not affect the the rest of the systems of the body? When a person does a work-out they are creating a wound, and it takes the whole system to recuperate before you have fully healed. When one does a split routine, which I do not advise, one has local stress and systematic stress. But, it takes the system as a whole to fully recuperate. Most people blunt their growth by thinking that as long as I am not using the same body part I am okay, this is a large mistake.

Creatine is not the panacea that everyone has been selling it to be. It has been sold as the "end all" for over 10 years now. Why have I not seen a 200 pound male increase his lean body weight to 300 pounds? Why does everyone that I know that takes creatine not look like Arnold by now? Why do most people want to think that they can change their genetic make-up through lifting and supplements? Why do most people not want to recognize genetic limitations within the body such as the afore mentioned myostatin? What makes most people think that stuffing food and supplements down their throat is going to make them "super healthy", "super strong" and "super large"? I think it is because most people are evading reality by not acknowledging their genetic make-up and nature. Realize that there are so many things at this time that are beyond your control within your body and the growth process. One should get what they can from exercise, which I think is an enhanced body so that one can enhance their life. Once this is done realize that one cannot do anything else and get out of the gym and enjoy your enhanced body and your life.

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First of all, thank-you for your reply Ray; it was very nice to learn some of that information, especially to now know that I don't have to eat like a monk to be healthy :)

So would I be accurate if I said to be healthy it doesn't depend on what you eat as much as one (myself in this example) would expect, but more how and when you eat it?

"Studies done in the 60's and 70's with rats that were on a starvation diet and stimulated through intense exercise still gained muscle mass. If properly stimulated the body will grow at least within your genetic capacity. One can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time."

I was very pleased to read this as well :)

I do have one particular follow up question: was that a typo, or does your body only really require an extra 16 calories to add on a pound of muscle?

I don't ask because I distrust you or your sources but because 16 was A LOT lower than I expected. I was under the impression that to add muscle mass one has to eat a significantly larger volume of food.

In regards to intensity: What amazed me when I read Mike Mentzer's book, was that the actual percentage of muscle fibers in a given muscle used in a workout depends on the intensity: lifting a light weight (low intensity) does not lightly employ all of your muscles; instead, only a small percentage of your muscle is actually contracting. When you lift a heavy weight (higher intensity) a higher percentage of your muscle fibers are actively contracting and being worked. Therefore, if you never do high-intensity workouts, your only developing part of your muscle, not all; you are negating a significant amount of your potential.

As to free weights vs. machines: I strongly prefer free weights, mainly just because of the extra work-load they place on your forearms and grip strength. I don't mean strictly in terms of raw gripping power, but more in terms of just prolonged stress. I want my hands conditioned to this so that in sport jiu-jitsu tournaments my grip will not wear out on me (I have a close friend that after a match was so weak he was literally unable to hold a water-bottle in his hand; a sport jiu-jitsu match destroys your forearms).

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Do not make the mistake of thinking that duration and frequency take the place of intensity, they do not.  Intensity is the principal of principles and it sets the other two principles which are duration and frequency.

I don't disagree with you. What I attempt to accomplish is to the most intense workout that is safe to do alone - if I worked with a spotter, I'd do higher weights. Because, without a spotter, it isn't safe to lift weights quite as heavy, you have to work out a little longer to reach failure.

Why use free-weights when some exercise equipment such as Nautilus is more beneficial than free-weights.

There are a few exercises which I use a machine for (like leg presses), but have you been to a public gym lately? Trying to get a machine is an ordeal in itself! Most people stick to the machines because it's easier to figure out what to do; it's actually irritating to watch the people you are waiting behind, because they will either turn the resistance machine into a cardio machine by doing low-intensity circuit training, or they'll take a 5 minute break between each set while they read the paper.

Besides that, free weights are kind of fun. They have that macho appeal, althought that isn't really relevant in the context of planning an effective workout. :)

When you work-out do you think that you are not affecting your system in general?  Do you think that you can attack the muscle and not affect the the rest of the systems of the body?  When a person does a work-out they are creating a wound, and it takes the whole system to recuperate before you have fully healed.  When one does a split routine, which I do not advise, one has local stress and systematic stress.  But, it takes the system as a whole to fully recuperate.  Most people blunt their growth by thinking that as long as I am not using the same body part I am okay, this is a large mistake.

This is where I disagree. I've tried doing it both ways, and have found that my overall gains were dramatically greater when I did a split routine. Doing a full-body routine, I found that I would run out of juice by the time I got to the later exercises, and wasn't able to work those muscles as hard; when I reviewed my charts, I also observed that my gains in each muscle(more or less) directly corresponded to the order in which I did my exercises.

Perhaps, if I was working with another person and able to achieve the same level of intensity as you and your clients, I would see different results.

Creatine is not the panacea that everyone has been selling it to be.

I fully agree with you here, too, Ray. It is advertised as a muscle-building miracle, which it's not. It's effects are very specific and do not directly aid in muscle growth whatsoever; in fact, for many people, it's completely useless. That's why I went into an in-depth description of how it works. If you aren't working to failure, it's a waste of money. If you eat a lot of beef, it's a waste of money - beef has tons of it. If your natural creatine stockpiles are already high, it's a waste of money. That said, it can have some (although not amazing) benefits for some people.

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Carlos,

When I was in college, almost 18 years ago, I ate very little carbs and fat, almost none. The majority of my calorie intake was protein, huge amounts. I would get up and eat 12 egg whites mixed with one egg yoke and one slice of wheat bread, plain. A snack would consist of a large can of tuna fish and a slice of toast. Lunch would be a quarter pound of lean meat in a low calorie/carb bun. I would then almost always just duplicate this agenda for my other 3-4 meals a day. I would always follow every meal with some type of protein shake to add calories and protein. All this protein and 18 hours of exercise a week generated a body weight of 225 pounds with a waist of over 42 inches. (If I only had the pictures of what I looked like with all this activity.) My face looked like I swallowed a pumpkin and I never took my shirt off. Now I eat, drink and be merry, within the three principles I already mentioned and acknowledge that I only require around 2100-2200 calories a day to maintain my weight.

The number is correct and you are correct as to it not being very much. The human body is so economically efficient that it really requires little to do what it does. This is not to say we should go out and starve ourselves just that we really do not need to stuff ourselves every time we eat to gain muscle.

There is a principle called the SAID principle, specific adaptations to implied demands. What does this have to do with your situation and anyone else's? That a person should use strength training/muscle growth to get stronger and larger. Then use this enhancement in the field of choice. To do this one must practice that exact activity, there is no such thing as cross-training. If one wants to become the best quarter-back that they can become, I recommend getting as strong as possible so that one can generate as much force as possible. Then practice throwing the ball, and of course in live scenarios, until one is as precise as possible.

All the running between different objects, with parachutes and everything else is a waste of time and does not transcend to the activity of choice. Do not take ballet so that you can become the best receiver, practice receiving the ball. Do not practice ping-pong if you want to become a tennis player, practice tennis. If you want to become the best martial-artist, get strong and lean and then practice martial-arts. Realize that it is a brutal sport on your mind and body and be prepared to pay the consequences.

I hope that people can realize that proper training is the primary key to muscle growth not food. In the same studies with rats that I mentioned earlier the researchers went so far as to cut out parts of the rat's endocrine system so that it could not generate the hormones to facilitate muscle growth. Guess what? The rats still gained muscle mass, training is the key! One final statement about all this is your goals and ambitions must be tied to reality through your genetic make-up, again all the training will not allow you to go beyond your genetic capacity.

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I have many times in my past heard statements similar to Dave's from his last post. I have also asked the question, why am I slightly bigger, but not stronger and usually weaker when I have trained more often. This is my conclusion after many years of thought, research and general observation of trainees and myself.

Inflammation.

"Inflammation has been defined as a "local reaction to injury." It may occur almost anywhere in the body and it can take many forms; yet it is always the same kind of reaction. When fully developed it is always characterized by swelling, reddening, heat, and pain." Hans Selye

"...."Inflamation is a local reaction to injury." If so, it must be something active; it is not merely the passive result of injury, but a positive reaction against it. By calling it a reaction, we also imply that it has a purpose; apparently its object is to inactivate the aggressor and mend whatever damage has been caused." Hans Selye

"Judged by its structure, inflammation is undoubtedly an active defense reaction; it represents fight, not flight. It also comprises an element of repair, in that any wound, any tissue defect caused by an injury, is filled out and mended by the rapidly proliferating connective tissue cells and fibers. As the fibers mature, they tend to contract; this further helps to abolish the defect." Hans Selye

I think that this is a great example of what people go through when they work out. Although Dr. Hans Selye was not talking or writing about exercise I have made the connection of the general idea. Every time that someone works out they are creating a wound, which causes inflammation. This inflammation is constant in the person that is working out all the time. But, it is not muscle that one has created but a reaction to the wound, any wound. If one works out once a week with a full-body work out they are going to be less inflammed compared to the average person that works out everyday. But, everyting else being the same the once a weeker will be putting a lot less stress on their body. Which also leads to a more economical use of one's resources in life. Progressive Exercise is about enhancing the body so that it can enhance life, not wasting time so that I can create a psuedo inlargement, which is not even muscle.

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I think that this is a great example of what people go through when they work out.  Although Dr. Hans Selye was not talking or writing about exercise I have made the connection of the general idea.  Every time that someone works out they are creating a wound, which causes inflammation.  This inflammation is constant in the person that is working out all the time.  But, it is not muscle that one has created but a reaction to the wound, any wound.  If one works out once a week with a full-body work out they are going to be less inflammed compared to the average person that works out everyday.  But, everyting else being the same the once a weeker will be putting a lot less stress on their body.  Which also leads to a more economical use of one's resources in life.  Progressive Exercise is about enhancing the body so that it can enhance life, not wasting time so that I can create a psuedo inlargement, which is not even muscle.

Ray,

Thank you very much for your very good advice.

I have been working out for over 3 years and have tried several styles, but, with a close monitoring of best practices, I had come to the conclusion that an extended period of repair was necessary. So, when I read your professional advice about working out only once a week, it was an "Aha!" moment.

Now, since I began this regimen on principle, I've found myself able to lose beltholes, almost at will. I have not grown that much bigger though but that's probably because my focus is on weight loss. I try not to eat anything 5 or 6 hours before going to bed, and I run for 3-4 miles, on a treadmill, two or three times a week. (When I do this, I make sure I sprint for at least 5 minutes each time. The sprint, I've found, helps greatly with stomach and butt muscles, alleviating any concern with more than 2 sets of stomach-crunches a week.) I, however, still have a cup of coffee and a bagel/sandwich in the morning, and my lunches and dinners range from brown rice and vegetables to a chicken pot pie (bad! :) ). Apart from a daily multivitamin pill (Centrum), I do not take any supplements. I am 6ft 2in.

My question is about lifting, however: Rather than reach failure on the first set, I usually reach failure on three sets. I rotate the exercises, going through each machine on a first set, then repeating this on the next two sets. I've always believed that by giving myself a bit more time on the machines, I ensure that my failure is total and that I hit every single machine/exercise with the energy it deserves.

Is this where I am wrong? Is my going over one set simply inflaming my muscles and not allowing them to grow much bigger in the week of rest?

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