Q&A with Mike Furci
Q: Hey Mike. I am a 35-year-old male who needs to get back in shape. The problem is, I’m divorced with two children and three jobs. I used to be in great shape. I wrestled and played football. I do tae-bo occasionally, and have just seriously started a workout program. I have been riding my bike nightly 30 minutes to one hour. I do have a Boflex that I was using, but I started to gain weight and I really want to lose first. I am thinking of sticking with cardio for a while to drop weight before I start lifting again. I know the 30 to 60 minutes doesn't sound like much, but right now for me it is. My main problem is finding time to work out, but so far I have been able to do it. Question is, do you think the Hotrox Extreme will work for me? I want to lose weight before I start to put it back on, and with weights I tend to gain fast. I know muscle weight is better than the fat weight but I need to lose fat weight before I try to lift again.
A: First let me commend you for being a caring father who works three jobs. Talk about being busy!
Jon, what burns fat as fuel? Muscle! Where is the logic in loosing weight before you weight train? Muscle drives the metabolism. The more muscle you gain, the faster your metabolism will be. If you lose weight and discontinue weight training, you will also lose muscle. Hence, a slower metabolism. A loss of muscle mass is the main reason yo-yo dieting is so counterproductive to keeping the weight off. The best way to lose body fat is to increase your muscle mass and eat correctly. The only way to maintain or to build upon the muscle you have while loosing body fat is to weight train.
Q: I am 15 years old and 5-foot-5. I want to squat to build muscle, but will squatting stunt my growth?
A: Absolutely not. Weight training of any kind will not stunt your growth. It’s great that you are taking an interest in fitness at such a young age.
Q: Hey Mike,
My name’s Grant and I'm 17. I've been reading a lot of your articles and they seem really good. I had a question on the appearance of your ab muscles. Everybody’s abs look different, but is that because of what you’re born with or how you work out or eat? I attached two different looking abs. One seems to stick out more, and one seems to go in. I want to know so I can make my workout benefit the appearance. Please give me your advice.
A: The shape of your abs, like every other muscle in your body, is entirely due to genetics. Despite what you hear, you cannot change the shape of a particular muscle by performing different exercises. Now, the appearance as it relates to how lean your abs are, is entirely due to diet. If you have fat covering your abdominal wall it doesn't matter what exercises you perform, if you continue to eat like a pig, your abs will not show through.
Q: I was wondering what you know and thought about anabolic steroids deca 200, tren 75, and d-anabol 50, which are actually alternatives to real ‘roids and are not even considered steroids, but are altered to be legal and have the same effect? Are they actually safer than the real ‘roids (as I have been told), and should I take all three types in one four- week cycle or at different time periods?
Can I start taking Anator p70 even though I am in the middle of a creatine cycle?
How can you tell what medications and supplements shouldn’t be taken at the same period of time?
A: All the products you see that use names resembling real drugs, like the ones you mention, are junk. In my opinion, it’s a horrendous way to market supplements, especially considering the fact they don’t work. These supplements have absolutely no similarities to the drugs they’re named after. And by the way, there are no "real" alternatives to steroids. There are products you can take that will give a little edge, but will elicit nowhere near the effect of steroids. I'm telling you this because the ads, which I'm sure you've seen in magazines, promise unrealistic gains from their products. Yes, these ads are nothing more than bullshit. SAVE YOUR MONEY.
Q: Hey Mike,
My name is Ian and I'm 15 years old, getting close to 16, and I am emailing you to ask you a question related to those you've been answering on websites. I've read some of your responses and so far I'm pretty impressed, and I was wondering if you have any information or sources for a very high protein diet, but one balanced enough so that I can gain muscle a little bit faster then I am right now. I've been working out for almost 2 1/2 years. When I started I weighed a measly 97 pounds. Yeah, small huh? Now after 2 1/2 years, I've gained a lot of weight and went up to 140 pounds. The only problem is, I'm starting to think that the weight I gained was just from a growth spurt, because I grew from 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-11. And lately I haven’t been gaining much weight or muscle and my max bench has been stuck at 170 pounds for a while now. I'm still very skinny, but I'm a lot more muscular then I used to be. That’s pretty much my story, so if you have any awesome information on how I could gain muscle, I would very much appreciate it, if you email me back.
P.S. So far I've gained all of my weight and muscle naturally. I really don't want to start taking protein powder or creatine, or any supplements, because I prefer to gain muscle naturally, not like many kids at my school who are currently on creatine. Thanks again,
A: Ian, Thanks so much for writing. You're probably right, part of your gains were in part due to a growth spurt. But don't sell yourself short. If you trained hard, you gained more than you would have with a growth spurt alone.
There's nothing "unnatural" about creatine or protein, except they are concentrated forms of what occurs in nature. In fact, these are two of the most effective natural products you can take. Protein is essential if more muscle and strength is what you want. I wouldn't worry so much about taking creatine yet. Although there are no side effects to worry about, I would wait until you’re training and eating correctly. Supplements are intended for supplementing a good diet and training program.
I would recommend taking a protein powder like Labrada's or Metabolic Drive. You should be getting at least a gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you're not, you're going to spin your wheels.
Also, take a look at your training program. Have you changed it? Are you doing more or less? Have you been recording your workouts? If not, how do you know what's working and what isn't? Read my article on designing a program and write back in detail what your training program consists of.
Got a question for Mike? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.