Mike Furci, guidelines for weight training, creatine

Q&A with Michael Furci

Furci Home / Fitness Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Q: Mike,

I just read your latest Q&A regarding vegetarians and vegans. 

Great job. 

My sister was raising my twin nieces as vegetarians and I read/heard somewhere that your body loses its ability to digest meat if you go long enough without (something to do with enzymes I think -- I'm sure you know exactly why this happens). So I gave her tons of shit. My argument was that they should be raised on a normal diet and then decide for themselves what kind of diet, if any, they would follow. Now they eat chicken. Hey it's a start. Thanks for providing me with references and another angle to argue for why they should eat meat.

Keep up the good work.

A: Andy,

I’m glad your sister has started to feed your nieces some chicken. However, what about eggs, cheese, milk, fish, etc. Without protein the body can’t and won’t grow. Protein also maintains and repairs all the tissues in our bodies. When a parent deprives their children of the highest quality protein because they don’t like it, or they have an aversion to killing animals, it’s neglect, in my opinion. That’s how important I feel protein is to the development and maintenance of the human body. 

How about feeding kids a well balanced diet of vegetables, protein and good carbs, and cutting out most of the sugar-laden snacks, juices and sodas? Notice I said MOST. Even I think ice cream, soda and snacks are okay once in a while. In this country the nutritional state of affairs of our children is dismal. Obesity is at epidemic proportions, and diabetes is sky rocketing. This is all due to lazy parents feeding their kids processed convenient foods and allowing them to spend hours in front of the computer and TV instead of playing outside.

Sorry about going on a tangent.


Q: Concerning your responses to the negative vegetarian e-mails, way to go Mike!!!

A: Tony, 

Nice to hear from you. Hope everything is going well with your family.

Q: I just read the article you put up on Bullz-Eye.com about squats with a barbell. It’s a great article and I am just getting into body building. However, when I do those squats, I do them in a slightly different way, the way I do them is that instead of coming “all the way down,” I tend to stop at sort of a 75-degree angle. The reason why is that if I go lower like the ones in the pictures my legs crack as I go back up again, so I think if I'm doing them with this crack I may end up with arthritis, which I obviously don’t want. I was just wondering if there is a way to stop this crack and go all the way down.

Cheers, Jon

A: Jon,

I've been told by a few prominent orthopedics that cracking is nothing to worry about as long as there is no pain associated with it. Do your knees crack every rep or just on the first few? Usually when people get warmed up the crack tends to subside.


Q: Mr. Furci,

I'm 23 years old, 5-8, and 180 lbs. I recently underwent hernia surgery and will not be able to lift for four to six weeks. Before the operation, I felt I was hitting a plateau and needed a rest anyways. Since I will be starting back at square one I need a good routine. I have tried many, ranging from four days a week to a three-on, one-off to even a double split. Most of the routines I got from books by Joe Weider. I've never been happy with any particular routine. My goal is to bench 360-plus, squat 540-plus, and deadlift 720-plus. Please provide me with a good routine to cause the quickest recovery gains and even let me go beyond my original plateaus. Also what supplements would you recommend?

Thank You,
Zachary Zimmer

A: Zachary,

Thanks for taking the time to write. Having a hernia operation luckily is not that bad these days. One of my best friends, Gregg Krause, a masters national competitor, had a hernia operation literally eight weeks before a national-level competition. His doctor used a piece of mesh behind the hernia to help its strength. The doc told Gregg that there was almost no chance of retearing the same area. Gregg started to do light workouts two weeks after surgery and gradually went heavier as the days passed. Like Gregg, you will experience some pain in the area even after it's completely healed because of scar tissue forming and tightening the tissue around the injury. Now, I am not telling you what to do, but I would talk to your doctor about when the proper time is to start working out. The doctors we consult with work with many pro athletes around the world and are very aggressive when it comes to getting back to training.

What supplements do I recommend?

Protein mixes and MRPs (meal replacements) made by the following: MetRx, Labrada, Optimum Nutrition, Prolab, Dorian Yates Approved, HDT and Beverly International.

Other products: RedKat & Tribex made by Biotest (these are awesome products), Nitric Oxide products are also a good bet.

Try the following training schedule:
Day 1: Chest and triceps
Day 2: off
Day 3: Back and shoulders
Day 4: off
Day 5: Biceps, calves and traps
Day 6: off
Day 7: Quads and hams
Day 8: off

First 3 weeks:
Perform as many warm up sets as needed on each exercise, building up to one working set.

Perform 10-12 repetitions per set. 

Second 3 weeks: 
Perform as many warm up sets as needed on each exercise, building up to one working set.

Perform 8-10 repetitions per set.

Third 3 weeks:
Perform as many warm up sets as needed on each exercise, building up to one working set.

Perform 5-8 repetitions per set. 

Thanks again Zachary


Q: I have much success developing both size and strength in all muscle groups; however, I am a hard gainer as far as shoulders are concerned. What would be a good routine to promote rapid growth in that area? 


A: Try kneeling side lateral raises. Do not bring your arms above parallel to the ground, and the palms of your hands should be facing down at the top of the movement. At the bottom of the movement, try to keep your hands on the outside of the lateral part of your thigh (do not allow the dumbbells to cross over your thighs). Doing this allows you to build momentum. Momentum has nothing to do with exerting tension on the muscle. And if you're an avid reader you know that tension has everything to do with building muscle and strength. 

Perform 2-3 warm-ups with one working set to failure; 8-10 reps

Next, do 1/3 lateral raises standing. Raise the dumbbell in the same fashion you do the above exercise. The difference is you only bring them 1/3 of the way down.

Perform one warm-up with one set to failure; 10 -12 reps

For the last exercise, do bent over lateral raises for the rear part of the deltoid. This is all too often an overlooked body part. Sit on the end of a flat bench. Bend over so your stomach and chest lightly touch your quads. Grasp the dumbbells at your feet with your arms slightly bent. Under control, slowly raise your arms up with your elbows pointing toward the ceiling. At the top of the movement, your thumbs should be pointing down. Under control, lower the weight back down to the outside of your feet.

Perform one warm-up with one all-out set to failure; 10 -12 reps

Thanks for writing.

Mike Furci

Q: Michael, 
I would first like to thank you for providing information on frequency of training, diversification of exercises for a given muscle group, keeping a training journal and the time it takes to properly execute one repetition for a given exercise. These suggestions, as well as other information you have provided, have greatly improved my results.

The question I have pertains to protein. I consume approximately one gram of whey protein per one pound of body weight each day (FYI: I am 5-9 and 180 pounds). I also get protein from other food sources (about 40 to 50 grams per day). I try to pretty evenly distribute the protein I consume throughout the day, but sometimes I get too busy and miss one or two doses of whey protein. When this occurs, I will double or triple the amount of protein that I consume in one whey protein drink. This can result in taking about 46 to 70 grams of whey protein in one drink. My question is this: Is there an upper limit to the amount of protein a person should take in one drink/meal? I am concerned that at some point, the body will flush out the unused protein or convert it to fat, if that is possible.

Thank you in advance for you attention to this question. 
Albuquerque, New Mexico

A: Robert,

You are on the right track. One gram per pound of body weight, even up to 1.5 grams per pound, is what the literature and many experts say is a good rule of thumb for recovery and muscle building.

The type of protein is where you need a little guidance. Pure wheys are absorbed very rapidly and can be considered strongly anabolic. This is the ideal right after your workout. However, at other times of the day these proteins are absorbed so quickly your body uses much of the ingested protein as fuel. What you want, other than post workout, is a protein that is absorbed a little more slowly, thus delivering an array of amino acids over a longer period of time. 

Protein powders that are absorbed at a slower rate are those that use several types in a blend. Look for a protein that contains three or more of the following: protein isolates, cassienates, whey protein concentrates, egg albumin and beef plasma peptides. Some products to try would be Beverly international's Ultra Size, MetRx's meal replacement, Lee Labrada's meal replacement, Dorian Yates' Pro Peptide, just to name a few.

As far as amounts are concerned, obviously the best way to take protein is to distribute it throughout the day. However, if you are taking 46-70 grams as a way to catch up, your body will utilize it. Remember, it's used over a period of time. 

And to answer your question about an upper limit -- no, to date there is no upper limit set by any study. The saying that one can only absorb 30 grams of protein at a time is completely unfounded. Another example of this, completely unrelated, is drinking eight eight-once glasses of water a day. This is also an arbitrary number pulled out of somebody's ass.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad I can help.

Got a question for Mike? Send it to mike@bullz-eye.com. 

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

Around the Web