Q&A with Mike Furci
Q: Hi there,
I was reading a few Q&A's on your site and I was wondering if you could lay out a defined plan for creatine use as well as protein. I have heard from some sources (namely the guy who sold me the creatine) that I should go for three months on/three months off. Load 20gm/day for the first week and then 5g/day after that. (I am well into my second month now). I was wondering what the problem is with staying on creatine for up to six months or longer? And if I went on for one month then off for a month, am I okay to start the three month cycle over again? As far as protein goes, I have heard that it's good to take 1gm/kg of weight per day, so according to that I would be taking in about 85 grams a day (I weight 185, and I'm 5'10"). You say I should be taking more like 200 grams per day? (1.5-2 gm/lb)... Should I be eating a dozen eggs every day or what?
A: Noel, I have my clients cycle their creatine for nine weeks because my workout cycles are usually nine weeks long. Taking creatine for much longer than that would be a waste anyway. Once you reach the point of saturation after the loading phase, most will continue to make gains for another six to eight weeks. After the first month, however, you will notice a slow decline in the quantity of gains made from the addition of creatine. You may even notice a slight decline in strength during your off time. Do not let this discourage you. Every time you go on creatine, most will notice they are further ahead of their previous cycle. It’s like three steps forward, one or two steps back, and so on.
Here’s the routine I follow with my clients.
Week 1: If they weigh more than 200lbs (not fat), load w/ 20gm/day. If they’re less than 200lbs but more than150lbs, I have them load w/ 15gm/day. Less than 150lbs, I have them load w/ 10gm/day. I have no scientific evidence to support this dosage regimen; however, I have seen excellent responses from clients from all fitness and genetic levels. The more muscular you are, the more ATP (adenosine triphosphate) you can store. Hence the bigger, more muscular, a person is, the more creatine they can use. Creatine, for those who might not know, facilitates the storage of ATP, which is used for fast bursts of energy like sprinting or weight lifting. After the loading phase I recommend 10gm/day if they’re more than 200lbs and 5gm/day if they’re less than 200lbs, for eight more weeks. Once the cycle is finished, stay off for four weeks and repeat.
Your question about protein is a common one. One gram per pound of body weight is my recommended minimum for somebody who is training their ass off. And yes, for somebody who is very experienced and is busting their ass in the gym, I do recommend as high as 2gm per pound of body weight. Protein repairs and maintains every cell in the body along with having countless other functions. Eighty-five grams per day of protein for you is way too low. If you’re going to increase your protein intake, which I think you should do, make sure it’s high quality sources.
Eggs are an excellent form of protein. I recommend eating two to three whole eggs from free range chickens per day. These eggs will contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids (350mg per egg) that the average egg in the grocery store won't contain. The eggs I buy are "Land O lakes Omega-3 eggs". Then add four or more whites from regular store bought eggs. The reason I use regular eggs for the whites is the price. Omega-3 eggs are going to run about twice the cost of regular eggs. The quality of the whites between the two types of eggs is basically identical. My favorite powdered proteins to take are Metabolic Drive from T-nation.com and Muscle Provider made by Beverly International. For the money and the quality, you can’t beat Metabolic drive. Stay away from buying pure whey proteins. The only time I would recommend them is if you’re going to take it right after your workout. Whey proteins are absorbed very quickly and their use at any other time has been shown unequivocally to be sub par when compared to a micellar casein, whey mix, like Metabolic Drive.
Q: Is Alpha Male still your pick for the best testosterone enhancer on the market? I just found your site on the web when I was looking for info on testosterone enhancers and noticed that the Q&A was over a year old.
A: Rick, Alpha male is an awesome product. I also use Tribex made by the same company, t-nation.com. In fact, they just reformulated Tribex.
Q: Hi, I went to the website T-Nation from a previous Q&A and I was wondering if Carbolin 19 really works or if it’s just another load of BS?
A: I don't know. I have some to try, but haven't started yet. I am a very skeptical person when it comes to supplements. I started bodybuilding when the supplement industry was virtually filled with nothing but scam artists. It has gotten much better but is still filled with people preying on the ignorance of others.
Biotest, on the other hand, has a great track record as far as the quality and efficacy of their products are concerned. Carbolin 19 being better than the anabolic steroid Anavar, like the manufacturer states, is highly unlikely. For me the jury is still out as far as this product is concerned. Give it a whirl and be very objective. I'm going to try it myself next month.
My name is Kyle and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I am 17 and workout every day when I’m not at school. I was just wondering if taking tribex500 is bad for me or if it will stunt my growth or give me any side effects. Or should I just stick to protein powder?
A: Kyle, How’s Australia? I would like to go there someday to see Great Whites along the Barrier Reef. Tribex 500 is not bad for you, and will certainly not stunt your growth. However, at your age I really don't think taking it is worth your while. You’ve got plenty of testosterone surging through you to get stronger and more muscular. Also, these types of products are meant to supplement an already excellent diet and training routine. You need to get a little more time under your belt. Train hard for a couple more years and learn everything you can about proper nutrition. Once you feel you've reached a plateau, then consider taking products like Tribex.
Q: Hey Mike,
I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank you for all the help with training you've given me thus far. I've read all of your articles and Q&A's to determine the best workout regimen for me. When I first started reading your articles (about a year ago), I had (at the time) reached a bit of a muscle plateau. I was always the guy who was picked on for being so skinny. Because of the knowledge and general wisdom you've given me, along with a better understanding of how to work/build muscles, I'm happy to tell you that I've gained 25 to 30lbs of new muscle. I'm consistently complemented on my progress by others, and am performing like never before on the racquetball and basketball courts. All of this is thanks to you and your articles. I've considered you my personal trainer now for quite some time, and I've recommended your teachings to many. Thank you.
San Diego, CA
A: Thanks for such kind words. That's what personal training and coaching is all about: having the ability to help others achieve their goals and better themselves. Just remember a coach can only supply the knowledge; it’s up to a motivated person like yourself to do the work necessary. Nice job!
Q: Hey Mike,
How about a simple, quick workout for a guy with very little free time? I spend most of my days taking care of my daughter and most of my nights working, but I’d like to get into shape again. I eat pretty well, avoiding refined sugar for the most part while eating a fair amount of veggies and protein. I try to jog a couple times a week, as much to drop a bit of weight as to just stay active throughout a hectic week. I’d like to lift some weights during the week too, but I’m not looking to do anything outrageous. I’m not trying to win any body building contests and I’m not all that interested in adding a significant amount of muscle mass, mainly because I don’t think I have the time to do that. Instead, I’m just hoping to get into good overall shape while adding a bit of bulk and definition in the process. I’ve got a curl bar, two dumbbells, an exercise ball and a sit-up bench. If I can squeeze in one workout a week at, say, 45 minutes per workout, what kind of exercises would you suggest? Is that even enough time to make much of a difference?
To be honest, one workout per week with less than maximum intensity is just not going to give you the gains you desire. How do I know max intensity, meaning taking each set to positive momentary failure between 6-15 reps, won’t be done? Because you just don’t have the equipment. If doing high-rep/low-intensity workouts were the key, Minoru Yoshida, who performed 10,507 non-stop push-ups for a world record, would have a monster chest and arms, but he doesn’t. If doing lots of reps were the key, long distance runners would have large, muscular legs, but they don’t. As a matter of fact, competitive endurance athletes are in a perpetual state of over-training and many are emaciated looking. Having said that, do I believe you can get a muscular body using the equipment you’ve listed? Yes. The following I think will help you in your quest.
You should perform two sets for each exercise or combination of exercises.
Equipment needed: stability ball.
Perform as many reps possible while using a 4030 tempo -- four seconds down, no pause, three seconds up, no pause. As soon as you finish exercise 1A, go right into 1B with no rest and perform as many reps as you can in the same fashion. Rest two minutes, then perform again.
1A. Wide grip push-ups
Keep your body straight and rigid throughout the set. Your hands should be just outside shoulder width. The closer the ball is to your feet, the more difficult the exercise becomes. If you need more resistance, you can have somebody push down on your traps and scapulas while performing the negative portion of the exercise.
1B. Narrow grip push-ups
Keep your body straight and rigid throughout the set. Your hands should be shoulder width or just inside. As you perform your reps, your elbows should travel alongside your body.
Back: 4010 tempo
Equipment needed: chin-up bar. No rest between 1A and 1B. Rest two minutes, then perform again.
2A. Close grip chins hands supinated (facing you).
2B. Good mornings (use your curling bar).
Performing the good morning strengthens the posterior chain, which includes the lower back, glutes and hamstrings. The glutes (butt) and the hamstrings are responsible for hip extension while the muscles of the lower back (erector spinea) are contracted statically.
Extension of the body occurs when the upper body, torso, and pelvis rotate up and back. The biggest mistake I see with this movement is allowing the back to “round” and magnifying the kyphotic (upper back) curvature while de-emphasizing the lordotic (lower back) curvature. I need to add that a slight curve of the upper back will present no danger and will happen to most while using heavy weight, but if you look like a big question mark (?) while performing the exercise, that’s a different story.
Shoulders: 2020 tempo
3A. External rotation w/ dumbbells
Biceps/triceps: 3030 tempo
4A. California press
4B. EZ curl bar
Abdominals: 3030 tempo
5A. Stiff arm crunch on ball
This is by far one of the most effective exercises you can do. When performing this exercise, make sure your starting position is slightly rounded over the ball. Starting in this manner will ensure that you work the abs throughout their full range of motion. Your arms should point to the ceiling throughout the movement. Hold a plate or a dumbbell if more resistance is needed.
5B. Knee tucks This particular exercise is torture. Make sure to not let you back sway when your legs are fully extended. Your core should remain tight.
Got a question for Mike? Send it to email@example.com.