Mike Furci, guidelines for weight training, creatine

Q&A with Michael Furci

Furci Home / Fitness Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Q: Hi Mike,

I'm a 22-year-old male and I'm 6-1 and 117 pounds. I am thinking about joining a gym to get some muscle mass. Do I have to be a certain weight before I start exercising to see any effects (I currently just ride an exercise bike for two hours per day)? Also, what foods do you recommend I eat to get to that weight?


A: Trav,

At 22 years of age and 6-1 weighing 117 pounds, stop riding the bike or performing any other cardio unless you have been instructed by a doctor to do so for health reasons. The type of lifting that is necessary to attain muscle is more than enough to satisfy your health need for cardio.

No, it is not necessary to attain a certain weight before joining a gym. I am of the opinion that it is, however, necessary for you to gain weight for your own health. 

What foods do I recommend? For you, just about everything. I would insist that you try to get at least 1.5 grams of quality protein per pound of body weight. Eating a good amount of quality protein will help ensure that most of the weight you gain is lean body mass. 

Because you are not presently eating very much, eating four to six meals per day may be very difficult to do at first. I would suggest getting a protein supplement and using it three times a day in between two to three good meals. As you load your body with high-quality food and supplements, you'll notice your body starting to need to eat four, five and even six small meals per day.

Below, you'll find a list of "Authorized Foods" and a list of "Nutrition Principles" that will help you with your goals.

Authorized Foods

Proteins Carbohydrates Vegetables
-Orange roughy
-Low-fat cottage cheese
-Chicken breast
-Turkey breast
-Lean ground meat
-Maverick beef
-Top round steak
-Top sirloin steak
-Eggs (Sparingly)
-Egg whites
-Egg substitutes
-Protein powders
-Meal replacement packs
-Oat bran
-Nonfat yogurt
(artificially sweetened)
-Nonfat yogurt
(fruit sugar sweetened)
-Sweet Potatoes
-Whole grain brown rice
-Whole grain bread
-Whole grain pasta
-Green beans
-Green peppers
-Bell peppers
-Collard greens
-Brussels sprouts
-Dill pickles

Nutrition Principles
  • Plan your meals in advance.
  • Prepare your food in advance. You’re less likely to fall off the wagon if there is quality food already made.
  • Record what you eat in your Nutrition Progression Reports every day.
  • Avoid calorie dense fast foods.
  • Do not starve yourself. Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full.
  • Eat at least four meals per day. Your goal should be to eat six meals per day, one every two to three hours.
  • Make sure to eat a portion of protein with every meal. Eat the protein before you eat your portion of carbs.
  • A portion of protein is four to eight ounces. Or a portion is about the size of the palm of your hand or a clenched fist.
  • Choose carbohydrates that are on the lower end of the glycemic index.
  • Use meal replacement packs whenever possible. This takes the guesswork out of meal planning and ensures optimum levels of nutrients.

Q: Mr. Furci

I recently read in one of your articles that the optimum amount of time spent on training is 45 to 60 minutes. I am training intensely, sometimes up to three hours a day between weight lifting, running, stretching and doing reps of pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups. If I break this up into two or three workouts in a day, will I be able to get the desired benefits from these workouts?

Kevin Camire

A: Kevin,

What's your goal(s)? If building muscle is your main goal, cardio is going to have to be kept to a minimum. You’re going to have to find a balance between doing cardio and weight training, which is not an easy task. If you're not keeping a training journal, it will be impossible. Okay, let’s be honest about cardio’s benefit to work ratio. It’s poor at best. In other words, for the amount of work that’s put into it, it doesn't yield a lot of results. Look at all the people who do cardio religiously without losing much, if at all. I see them in the gym everyday. Women are especially hooked on the cardio myth. I see so many people doing hour after hour of cardio without making much progress after months and sometimes years. Adding muscle through resistance training and modifying your diet are the best ways in which to attain a lean healthy body.

With my clients, if they insist on doing cardio, I recommend doing two days of interval training no longer than 20 minutes, and one day of medium intense cardio. For the intervals, I recommend doing them on a stair climber or an elliptical machine with a 1-to-1 work-to-rest ratio, meaning after a five-minute warm-up, you bust your ass for one minute then reduce the intensity to at least half and perform a one-minute rest interval. You’ll repeat this five to seven times. Interval training is the best way to not only burn the most amount of calories in the least amount of time, it will get your fitness level higher than another type of cardio.

Three hours of training per day is completely out of line. Split your routine up into three to four days per week, not two to three times per day! Corisol, which is an anticatabolic hormone, remains elevated for up to 48 hours after an intense workout. Days off are essential. Use an easy three-day split, like: chest, shoulders and tris on day one, back and bi's on day two, and legs on day three. You can also do a four-day split, like: chest and shoulders on day one, back and calves on day two, arms on day three and legs on day four. Perform your push-ups at the end of your chest routine and pull ups during your back routine. DO NOT do push-ups or pull-ups on your off days. Hit your abs like everything else, once per week, whenever you feel like doing them.

Good luck,

Q: Hi,

I have been lifting weights for about two months and was wondering if you would recommend integrating creatine into my routine? I am 15 years old and weigh approximately 125 pounds. If you do recommend using it, could you elucidate on the benefits of creatine and the usual methods of taking it? I was planning on taking it three to four weeks after a 30-45 minute routine in which I focus on biceps, triceps, abdominals, pecks and the upper chest.

Thanks for your help,

A: John,

Take 10 grams of creatine per day for five to seven days, and then take five grams a day for five more weeks. Get off for three to four weeks and start over. Take the creatine after your workout with eight ounces of grape juice. Doing this is controversial. Some studies show taking creatine with a fast absorbing carb helps absorption. Some studies show it doesn't seem to make a bit of difference.

My view is your body has about a 45- to 60-minute window of opportunity after an intense workout. Your body will absorb nutrients at an accelerated rate, with little of it becoming stored fat. Taking juice after a workout will also help replenish the stored glycogen in the muscle cells.

Don't forget about eating quality proteins. Without protein there is nothing to repair and build your muscles.

And as far as your workout is concerned, what about your back and legs? Go for the whole package.

Thanks for visiting Bullz-Eye.com,

Q: Mike, 

I’m 18 and I have been working out for about a year and a half, but I seem to be unhappy with my chest, especially at the bottom where the abdominals are, and the inner chest. Tell me some exercise that I can do so my whole chest is big and cut like I want it to be.


A: Phil,

The ability to gain size in a particular muscle or group of muscles and its shape are predetermined genetically. Some people just are not going to have a big, thick chest no matter what they do. However, that does not mean you can't make improvements. 

You did not include how many reps, sets or the type of exercises you perform. It makes it much easier and productive if I have a history of what you've been doing. Anyway, try the following workout and update me on your progress after at least three months.

Flat bench flys: 
3 warm-up sets: With each set go up in weight while descending in reps. Warm-ups should not be working sets. 
1 set of 8-10 reps to positive failure. Second and third 4 weeks, 6-8 reps. 
Use a 0403 tempo on your working set. Second 4 weeks, 0402. Third 4 weeks, 030.*

Flat bench dumbbell press:
2 warm-up sets
1 working set of 8-10 reps. Second and third 4 weeks, 6-8 reps. 
Use a 0402 tempo. Second 4 weeks, 0402. Third 4 weeks, 030.*

Any machine press flat or incline: 
1 warm-up set
1 working set of 8-10 reps. Second and third 4 weeks, 6-8 reps.
Use a 0402 tempo. Second 4 weeks, 0402. Third 4 weeks, 030.*

Cable X-overs:
1 warm-up set
1 working set of 6-8 reps. Second and third 4 weeks, 6-8 reps.
Use a 0403 tempo. Second 4 weeks, 0402. Third 4 weeks, 030.*

*explosive as possible 



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