Q&A with Mike Furci
I am 20 years old, and I am currently about 204 pounds, and I want to lose weight and get to 175 pounds. I also want to tone up my body, basically get my muscles defined and possibly a little bit bigger, but I am not going for a big increase in muscle mass. What is the best way to lose weight, and basically be cut more than having an increase in muscle mass?
The key to getting lean is consuming the proper foods in the right amounts. In a recent article, “Get Shredded,” I go into detail, but here are the main points:
1. Getting lean is a lifestyle and is not easy. If sacrifice and hard work weren’t involved, everybody would be lean.
2. Stop counting calories. Remember, calories-in-vs-calories-out, is a simplistic and untenable theory. The assertion that people process macronutrients like a calorimeter is just foolish
3. Carbohydrates are a nonessential nutrient and are the major player in unwanted fat deposits. In order to get lean, learning how to manipulate this macronutrient is imperative.
4. Fat does not make you fat.
5. Protein is by far the single most important nutrient/supplement you can consume in your quest to get lean, and add muscle and strength.
6. Supplements can aid your quest to lose fat, but relying on them without eating right is a dead-end street.
I would like to know if nitric oxide enhances testosterone levels, and if it could be taken as a sexual tonic (only before relations -- not on a daily basis) by those with prostate cancer, as a natural alternative to Viagra. Thanks.
Nitric oxide (NO) is a very powerful chemical that, among many functions, regulates blood flow. NO dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and allows blood to flow more freely. It’s this increase in blood flow that has lead many in the supplement industry to infer a better delivery of nutrients to muscle cells, which they equate to more muscle. That is one hell of a stretch and just doesn’t hold water.
The NO supplements of today are the same as the arginine products of the ‘80s, just marketing them differently. Unfortunately, for NO proponents the level of arginine in the blood has little to do with NO production, and consequently has nothing to do with increasing blood flow. If we could increase NO production through diet or supplements, because of the decrease in blood pressure that occurs with higher NO levels, we would have had anecdotal reports of lower blood pressure and syncope (fainting). These types of reports have not occurred, nor have they been found in research.
So, to answer your question with the above facts, NO products will have no effect as a sexual tonic. They are a waste of money.
Need some evidence? Read Robinson et al
I have seen some articles on low sugar creatine, and I am interested to know if that would be a safer bet than the sugary ones. I know that sugar helps its absorption into the blood stream, but simple carbs add to fat gain and affect mood and are potentially dangerous for our organs by the instant strain they put on them.
The potential dangers of sugar consumption are crystal-clear. The acute effects of consuming sugars and starches are: a dramatic increase in insulin and triglyceride levels, increased lipogenesis and fatigue. The chronic effects are: obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases and a whole host of other problems.
The question is do you need sugar at all to reap the benefits of creatine? No. Does sugar help you get to levels of ATP storage otherwise not attainable with creatine alone? There is evidence that suggests this is true.
My advice to you is to experiment. Use the low level sugar product for eight weeks; take four weeks off and then use a creatine-only product for eight weeks. Keep a detailed nutrition and training journal during this experiment and compare which supplement is better. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and it’s never steered me wrong.
I only use creatine and sugar together during and immediately after my workouts, along with my whey protein isolate. Peri-nutrition is the best time to consume creatine, simple sugars and protein; an outstanding way to push your gains to the next level. On the days I do not work out I take creatine alone.
I enjoyed reading some of your articles -- they helped a lot! I had a few questions I was wondering if you could help me with.
I lift weights with proper technique twice a week, and I take sufficient protein every day. I love running though, and I want the endurance for squash and other sports I play. My question is, how can I balance cardio with weight training? Does running for 30 minutes at a time, four days a week, on the treadmill affect my muscle gain and, more importantly, my arm size? Also, is whey protein the best supplement?
There is a fine line between endurance training and building muscle. The best way to know how running is affecting your training is to keep a detailed training journal. If your weight training is stagnant, then cut back on your running and see what happens. Only make one adjustment to your workouts at a time, and stick with it for at least four weeks to see the effect.
Jogging is a very inefficient use of time unless you really enjoy it. To boost your endurance levels try interval training on the treadmill or outside. Try a one-to-one work-to-rest ratio: one minute of all-out running and one minute of walking or standing still. Each interval is a set. Start by performing five sets of work to rest. If done correctly, you should be around 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate during your last sets. Do this twice a week with one day of jogging, if you really enjoy it, and see how it affects your game and weight training.
Whey protein is a great supplement to take during and after your workouts. There are better proteins to take during the day and before sleep. Read my latest article on protein, “Protein RX, A review.”