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Q & A with Mike Furci

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Q: Hey Mike,

I have just started to read your column and like what I see so far. Your take on soy is very different from what I thought I believed. Like the other reader, I have used the soy protein as a supplement to whey, which gave me stomach aches. Are the soy protein powders just as bad as other soy products?

Tim Hackett

SoyA: Tim,

Since soy has no benefits over animal proteins (only deleterious effects), it only makes sense to not eat it. Moreover, the soy industry is no longer allowed to make healthy heart claims because the FDA finally woke up to all the overwhelming evidence.

The following is a list taken from with a few myths and facts about soy:

Myth: Asians consume large amounts of soy foods.

Fact: Average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is about 10 grams (about two teaspoons) per day. Asians consume soy foods in small amounts as a condiment, and not as a replacement for animal foods.

Myth: Soy foods provide complete protein.

Fact: Like all legumes, soy beans are deficient in sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine. In addition, modern processing denatures fragile lysine.

Myth: Fermented soy foods can provide vitamin B12 in vegetarian diets.

Fact: The compound that resembles vitamin B12 in soy cannot be used by the human body; in fact, soy foods cause the body to require more B12.

Myth: Soy formula is safe for infants.

Fact: Soy foods contain trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors led to stunted growth and pancreatic disorders. Soy foods increase the body's requirement for vitamin D, needed for strong bones and normal growth. Phytic acid in soy foods results in reduced bioavailabilty of iron and zinc, which are required for the health and development of the brain and nervous system. Soy also lacks cholesterol, likewise essential for the development of the brain and nervous system. Megadoses of phytoestrogens in soy formula have been implicated in the current trend toward increasingly premature sexual development in girls and delayed or retarded sexual development in boys.

Myth: Soy estrogens (isoflvones) are good for you.

Fact: Soy isoflavones are phyto-endocrine disrupters. At dietary levels, they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Eating as little as 30 grams (about four tablespoons) of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.

Myth: Soy isoflavones and soy protein isolate have GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status.

Fact: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently withdrew its application to the FDA for GRAS status for soy isoflavones following an outpouring of protest from the scientific community. The FDA never approved GRAS status for soy protein isolate because of concern regarding the presence of toxins and carcinogens in processed soy.

Myth: Soy foods are good for your sex life.

Fact: Isoflavones in soy have been shown in several studies to lower total testosterone and increase sex hormone binding globulin, which adheres itself to free testosterone, rendering it inactive. Numerous animal studies show that soy foods cause infertility in animals. Japanese housewives feed tofu to their husbands frequently when they want to reduce virility.


Q: Mike,

Weight LifterExcellent column on I am a 17-year-old university student from Australia and between lectures I go to the gym on average about three times a week. My current goal is to build up my triceps and pectorals as fast as possible, and in this respect I tend to focus on them every workout. Is this a bad idea? Often my muscles strain with lactic acid the following day (I currently work out on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, as that is only really when I am able to fit in the time to go to the gym) and I am not able to do as many reps as the previous day. I currently bench press, triceps pull down and “pec deck” as much as I can each day. I usually start off at a weight that I can do at least 10 reps on, decrease the weight to the lowest possible on the machine, and then break and start again in a few minutes. Is this also bad routine as it tends to be a fairly unorganized scheme?

Your advice would be kindly appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Michael S.

A: Michael,

Is training two body parts every time you train a bad idea? Absolutely. To quote you, “I am not able to do as many reps as the previous day.” Hello, Michael what are you thinking? You’re not able to do as much because you’re overtraining, which is severely hampering your efforts.

First you need to train the entire body for balance. Moreover, training the whole body will enhance your efforts to build the chest and triceps. Working only a few body parts will not only look ridiculous but will greatly increase your risk of injuries.


Q: Mike,

I just found your articles on the ‘net, they're really great. I've recently been doing calorie counting along with mostly cardio but over the past couple of weeks I've switched to mostly weight training. I'm noticing some improvements already. I'm also into day four of my first-ever creatine loading cycle. After reading your articles I'm going to try switching to lower carbs and more calories. I am 25 years old, 6-foot-2 and 235 to 240
pounds, depending on water retention. I'm trying to get lean (190 pounds or so). How many carbs should I be eating a day? I'm also taking Designer Whey and eating two to three chicken breasts a day. I get about 100 to 135 grams of protein a day. Sounds like my protein intake needs to be increased as well.

Thanks for all the info so far -- it's been a huge help.


A: Matt,

Glad to here you’re making improvements. You’re correct. You do need to increase your protein consumption. Try to get in at least 200 grams per day. The amount of carbs one consumes depends on how well one handles them. To figure this out, figure the average amount you’re eating at your current weight. This amount will be your high day. Cut that number by 50 percent and that will be your low day. So if your high day comes out to 200 grams, your low day will be 100 grams. Alternate these days. If you hit a plateau and do not lose body fat, decrease your low day by 20 grams. Every week or two eat a meal of anything you want.

Manipulating your carbs in this manner is a way of reducing the amount of overall carbohydrates without feeling like you are depriving yourself. Depending on how clean you’re eating, it can be mentally brutal when lowering your carbs.


Q: Hi Mike,

SquattingI've read a lot of your answers to the many questions people have posed and they seem very thorough. I am currently working out about three times per week and am eager to gain muscle and lose fat quickly. I have read that testosterone is an anabolic steroid used by body builders and athletes looking for the same results I am.

My question to you is: are there any legal supplements I can take containing high levels of testosterone to increase muscle mass and strength while decreasing body fat?

Thank you for your time.


A: Jim,

For those like yourself who do not want to take hormones or for those who just can’t afford to go to a life extension clinic, a few supplements offer a viable drug-free alternative.

A study reported in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” 2007, 4:13, analyzed the effects of supplementing for eight weeks with 6-OXO, a supplement made by Ergopharm purported to be an aromatase inhibitor. Results showed significant increases in testosterone, free testosterone and an increase in the testosterone to estrogen ratio, all being desirable. 

Another product that I highly recommend is Biotest’s Alpha Male. It is a blend of three different super concentrated testosterone boosting agents that are not found anywhere else.

I have used both products and highly recommend both, although I tend to see a little more with Alpha Male. Alternate between the two or choose one and run with it. You can’t go wrong.


Q: Mike,

Is twice a week good for squats?

A: No. Squats, one of the best exercises used for building leg size and strength, places a great amount of stress on the entire body. If you are performing squats correctly with 100 percent intensity as part of routine that trains the entire body, it will take between six and eight days to recover.


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