Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate can increase muscle stores of creatine in the body. Recall from the section on the energy systems, creatine can resynthesize ATP in the body. Both creatine and ATP are an integral part of energy. The energy I speak of is the "bursting' and "power" energy produced and needed for high intensity workouts. Low creatine levels will inhibit optimal ATP production leaving you with less overall energy to have the stellar workouts that really make a difference in adding muscle.

Creatine also seems to drive more fluid into the muscle. This fluid is an advantage. It serves as leverage to push heavier weights and it triggers a still not fully understood "anabolic switch" in the muscle to encourage muscle growth. This trigger is probably nothing more than fluid and blood retained in the muscle from storing more creatine, ATP and blood from good workouts which encourages growth.

A good dose for men is 4 to 7 grams a day taken in the post training meal or 2 to 3 grams for females. Higher doses may cause unwanted water retention and bloating making you look smoother rather than harder. Women are especially sensitive to water retention so a smaller 2 to 3 gram dose is advisable.

BORAGE OIL (see special fats and Ma Huang)

GARCINIA CAMBOGIA is derived from tamarind, a fruit found in Africa and the Middle East. When carbohydrates ,are over eaten, the body releases too much insulin which in turn sends a message to certain enzymes to make fat from the excess carbohydrates. Garcinia temporarily interrupts the enzyme ATP citrate lyase. Citrate lyase can form acetyl coenzyme A which will take the extra carbs and store them as body fat.

Another benefit of Garcinia is that it shunts the excess carbs somewhere else; mainly towards both the liver and muscle so glycogen stores stay high. High glycogen stores are helpful in recovery. Try 250 mg of (-) hydroxycitric acid 3 to 4 times a day 20 minutes before a meal. Breakfast and the meal after training have the least tendency to be stored as fat, so take your garcinia before the other 3 to 4 meals where carbs could stimulate some fat storage. If you don't see results, increase the 250 mg dose to 500 mg or even 750 mgs per meal. According to Milos Sarcev, one of the most knowledgeable bodybuilders around, high doses, even greater than 750 mgs per meal are required to see a difference. He recommends 1000-1500 mgs before each of the 3 meals outside of the post training and breakfast meals.

PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE (PS) is a supplement that can potentially off set muscle soreness and improve muscle recovery. It isn't one of the glamour supplements touted by many supplement companies, but it has some science behind it. PS is a phospholipid. It's part of cell membranes, the outer "coating" of all cells in the body including muscle fibers. In the early 1990s scientists in Italy reported athletes taking 800 mgs of PS a day for ten days decreased the release of Cortisol after exercise.{1) That's important because less Cortisol means less stress to the body which could boost recovery and growth. Other studies not only showed decreased Cortisol release, but an improvement in "well- being." Simply stated, those taking PS reported feeling better.(2) Dieting bodybuilders, engaged in daily aerobic sessions and 1 or even 2 training sessions in the gym will likely experience increases in Cortisol which could not only affect recovery and even lower testosterone levels, but simply make an athlete feel like crap. Keeping corisol levels in check by using 800 mgs of PS after training, and as high as 600 mgs twice a day, once after cardio in the morning and another 600 mgs after training later in the day, may help the dieting bodybuilder hold muscle mass.

(1) Monteleone, F, et al. Blunting the chronic phosphatidylserine administration of the stress induced activation of the hypothalmo-pituitary-adrenal axis in healthy men. European Journ of Clin Pharm. 42:385-388, 1992.

{2} Fahey, TD., Pearl, M. Hormonal effects of phosphotidylserine during 2 weeks of intense weight training. Med & Sci in Sports and Exercise 30:S35, 1998.

Before ephedrine and caffeine became popular fat burning supplements, carnitine was the bodybuilding favorite. Carnitine is found naturally in organ meats and beef and has been used in supplemental form in Europe for over 50 years to treat heart patients with high levels of fat in the blood, the exact scenario leading to heart disease. Introduced in the US in 1986, aerobic athletes start using it to promote greater endurance. Later, bodybuilders began using it as an aid to increase fat burning during pre-competition aerobic work. Carnitine is a catalyst. When the bodybuilder does aerobic work, fat cells are broken down and the fatty acids from the fat cell is transported into the muscle where it fuels the aerobic exercise. Carnitine is the transporter that carries these fatty acids into a special part of the muscle cell (the mitocondria) where they can be burned. Interestingly, when glucose is absent from the diet, insulin levels drop and enzymes responsible for allowing fat out from their (body) fat stores become more activated as do those that participate in the manufacture of carnitine. A popular way to take carnitine has been to use 3 grams 20 minutes before aerobic work. The 3 gram dose has been reported by athletes to increase performance. Athletes in recent studies at University of Tennessee showed greater exercise endurance by using a 3 gram dose. Other athletes report the feeling of greater heat production within the body, perhaps similar to the increased metabolic effect that comes from using ephedra.

Another recent study showed chicken feed blended with carnitine yielded chickens with more meat and less fat. While researchers could not pin point the reason for the change in muscle and drop in fat in the chickens, we do know carnitine helps the body metabolize branch chain amino acids (BCAA) and helps manufacture ketone bodys. When calories drop in dieting states, the body calls upon fat as fuel and protein to a smaller degree. Specifically, the type of amino acids (protein) that is burning during lower calorie states if BCAA. Thus, it is postulated that taking 3 or 6 grams of carnitine while on a diet, especially one that is low in carbs, will help the body make better use of BCAA, thereby sparing or preventing the body from burning off muscle mass. When muscle is spared, the metabolic rate stays elevated making fat loss easier. Carnitine also helps make ketone bodys. Ketones are by products of fat breakdown and they exert very strong muscle preserving qualities. The theory holds that carnitine, by stimulating ketone production - again especially with a lower carb diet - can spare muscle loss. The more ketones the body produces, the less likely muscle will be burned as fuel. While the dieting bodybuilder seems to be using less carnitine than was popular in the early 1990's, I think carnitine is a very important pre-contest supplement that can make you leaner and retain lean body mass.

MA HUANG is an herb that's been used for generations in Indian and Chinese medicine as a tonic and for asthma. "Tonic" simply means it makes you feel good. And it does. Ma Huang is also the herb used to manufacture its drug cousin called ephedrine. Chemically, ephedrine is ephedra, more or less, and it has been slightly altered to "get into" the blood stream faster than Ma Huang. In either case, both are used as fat loss supplements and as a pre-workout "energy booster"

These products increase the metabolism by roughly 10% a day. That means, the completely inactive person who weighs 175 pounds and may burn about 1900 calories a day can expect to burn off another 190 calories a day simply by using these supplements. That's a pretty good metabolic boost, about the same amount of calories burned in 15 minutes of weight training or during a leisurely 40 minute walk. On the other hand, a small to medium size bagel yields about 190 calories so its equally easy to "put back" another 190 calories by over eating as little as a small bagel each day. That said, ephedra and ephedrine products may work their calorie burning magic by increasing thermogenesis in the body, a fancy hi tech word for heat. The metabolism is akin to a warm engine. The warmer it burns, the greater use of fat for fuel, and the less calories are likely to be stored as fat. Training and eating both boost the metabolic rate by boosting the internal core temperature ever so slightly. Turns out, even small increases in body temperature have a pretty big effect on the metabolism. To get a bigger picture, imagine a person running a fever of 103 degrees over a 24 hour period due to some type of illness or infection. A bed ridden 190 pounder, sick and running a dangerous fever, could expect to see a metabolic increase of 100%, or burn 3800 calories in 24 hours rather than 1900 calories.

So, every time you eat, the metabolic furnace increases which means 5, 6 or even 7 smaller meals totalling 3000 calories will increase the metabolic rate greater than 3 or 4 meals also totally the same 3000 calories. No wonder bodybuilders eat multiple smaller meals through the day as opposed to a few larger ones. More frequent meals increase thermogenesis which, in turn, keeps you lean. Since training increases thermogenesis, it makes sense for the pre-contest bodybuilder in search of a shredded physique to train twice a day, two shorter workouts each day, rather than one longer training session.

Ma Huang also increases neurotransmitters in the brain making you feel alert. Really alert. It's this increase in alertness that makes it easy for the dieting bodybuilder to blast away on the treadmill first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Though he's had little to eat, his glycogen levels flat, a small dose of ephedrine can boost those stimulatory neurotransmitters through the roof making 45 minutes of run-and-gun cardio seem effortless.

There's more. Dieting, any kind of caloric restriction, be it a reduction in carbs coupled with an effective cardio training program or the very low carb diet used by endo dieters puts the body at risk of burning off body protein (muscle). Ephedrine products cause a shifting effect, where fatty acids are used as fuel in preference to branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Basically, when calories go down and caloric expenditure goes up, the body will burn fat along with protein. Ephedrine pushes the body to burn more fat or less BCAA/protein. The net effect over time is a leaner body with more muscle. And if you can get the body to hold more muscle, then the metabolic rate stays elevated which burns off even more fat. How effective is ephedrine? I think it is the #1 fat burning supplement, better than synthetic growth hormone in burning fat, certainly less expensive. So, from a cost point of view, it's superior to growth hormone. While not as effective as thyroid hormones in increasing the metabolism, its safer, and arguably somewhat better. The reason; though thyroid hormones increase the metabolic rate, they can, in higher amounts, burn off a lot of muscle. When this occurs, the metabolic rate drops which cancels out the reason bodybuilders may have chosen to take thyroid in the first place. Furthermore, thyroid hormones definitely suppress your own thyroid. Upon cessation, there's a lag time where your own thyroid hasn't kicked back on leaving the post contest bodybuilder with a slower metabolism leading to a rapid, and sometimes alarming, increase in body fat.

Caffeine strengthens the effects of ephedrine and seems to radically increase ephedrine's fat burning effectiveness. Aspirin blocks off prostaglandins, hormone messengers, whose job is to interrupt the thermogenic effects of ephedrine + caffeine. While some bodybuilders take up to 325 mgs of aspirin a day, the smarter and safer dose would likely be around 200 mgs a day.

The final component to ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin is borage oil, or GLA found within it. Adding 500 mgs of borage oil to a ephedra, caffeine and aspirin mix has been shown to prolong the thermogenic effect by making receptors for norepinephrine more sensitive. Norepinepherine (NE) is termed a "catecholamine" and is increased with ephedrine use. NE stimulates fat cell breakdown and glycogen breakdown and is thought of as the polar opposite to insulin in that it liberates energy from fat stores and glycogen stores rather than increasing glycogen and fat storage. In fact, obese individuals taking these thermic combos will not see a metabolic boost unless they include borage oil which supplies gamma linolenic acid, an important regulator of heat production within the body.

Okay, the dose. First, know that ephedrine is a stimulant, a strong one that can effect heart rate. Anyone who wants to use these products should do so under doctor supervision and pregnant women, those with high blood pressure, gout, thyroid conditions and diabetes should never use them. That behind us, studies have shown 75 mg along with 200 mgs of caffeine, (about 2 cups of coffee or one caffeine tablet) taken 2 times a day caused pretty serious results in dieting, non active individuals. Dieting groups not using the thermic combo also lost weight - in some cases a lot of weight - but compared to the ephedrine/caffeine group, not nearly as much. I also know quite a few natural bodybuilders who took 150 mgs and 2 cups of coffee along with 100 mgs of aspirin (about a baby aspirin or 1/3 of a regular strength aspirin) and 2000 mgs of borage oil twice a day and got pretty darn ripped. The awful down side is the "crash." Most bodybuilders who resort to using these products to cut up find it really hard to get out of bed without them. Call it dependency. After all, ephedrine is speed like in nature. By the way, I don't recommend those higher doses of

334 mgs of Ma Huang generally is accepted as being, more or less, the equivalent to 20 mgs of ephedrine. For most bodybuilder, 334 mgs or 20 mgs of ephedrine along with a cup of coffee in the morning should suffice.

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