Protein supplements, importance of protein, lactose intolerance and protein, lose weight to gain muscle

Q&A with Mike Furci

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QHi Mike,
I've been following your blogs and articles for a very, very long time, and the one nagging question that I need to ask is what other acceptable protein powders could one use in place of whey protein, especially for those with dairy allergies and/or gastrointestinal issues? I avoid soy protein for obvious reasons, but there must be some other protein powder that will be a good source of all essential amino acids.


I'm glad you are concerned about consuming quality protein. Protein is by far the single most important supplement/nutrient you can consume. It repairs and maintains everything in our bodies from hormones to skin to muscles to bones. Consciously consuming a diet low in protein has no benefits, is not based on good science, and is merely a matter of ignorance. If your protein intake or quality is low, your body will get the essential amino acids it needs from its most abundant storage system -- muscle tissue.

Protein powders

The #1 side effect of consuming protein powder is gastrointestinal (GI) upset. This is most assuredly due to lactose intolerance, which is not an allergy, but a digestion problem. It is caused by a lack of lactase production to break down the lactose (sugar) in milk. Anyone with lactose intolerance who consumes dairy products -- including certain protein powders -- can experience gas, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Jerry, do you know if you're allergic to dairy products? If you're not, I wouldn't be concerned about it. You may be allergic if, after consuming dairy product, (including protein powder), you experience any of the following: itching, hives, eczema, tingling or itching in your mouth, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or lightheadedness, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and swelling in your mouth, tongue, lips, face or other body parts.

If you're experiencing any GI distress with protein powders, I recommend using a high quality protein like whey isolate, micellar casein, or a combination. Lower quality proteins like some whey concentrates will contain lactose.

Another way around lactose intolerance and dairy all together is to use beef protein powders. The top of the line products are Super Plasma Protein and Monster V Protein, which are both available through Super Plasma Protein is arguably the best protein on the market, but it is expensive. Monster V is a step below in quality, but is still one of the highest quality proteins you can buy.

Jerry, I encourage you to read ProteinRx, an article that covers various types of proteins, their pros, cons and how to use them.

QIn doing a squat, aren't you supposed to place your feet somewhat forward, so that there is a 90-degree angle between the thigh and the calf (thigh parallel to the floor)? Otherwise, the knees get a lot of pressure, and injury can occur. Isn't it safer to perform the exercise on the machine in that case? Thank you.

AI'm assuming when you say, "place your feet somewhat forward," you're talking about doing squats on the smith machine. Placing your feet forward while performing a barbell squat would be impossible. I have nothing against smith machine squats being used occasionally to switch things up. Placing your feet forward puts less stress on the lower back. And putting a 90-degree limit on knee flexion prevents you from stimulating the glutes as much as they could be stimulated by squatting deep.

If you want nice round glutes and well developed legs, smith machine squats are not as good as barbell or dumbbell squats. Having said that, the smith machine is an excellent alternative for those who have various injuries, weak points or are just not built right for squats (as with very long-legged people). You have the ability to use a wider range of foot placement in order to target different areas.

I must say, I am astonished that the myth "barbell squats are bad for the knees," is still out there. The squat is one of the best and safest exercises for size and strength. As a matter of fact, it's a normal movement for our bodies. The gains you make from barbell squats are highly transferable to everyday life.

The only time I recommend not performing a barbell squat is when limited by an injury or genetics. And keep in mind, there is no perfect exercise, and squats are not a must for bigger legs.

QHey Mike,
I am a 35-year-old male who needs to get back in shape. Problem is I am a divorced male 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 1/2 hour to 1 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 1/2 hour to an hour 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 thanks.


What burns fat as fuel? Fat? Where is the logic in losing 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, which will lead to 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 losing body fat is to weight train.

QHi Mike,
I was wondering if you have used Biotest Carbolin-19 yet, and if so what did you think? A mate of mine has been using it for about a month and thinks he is seeing some results, but slowly.


I have tried this product along with most of Biotest's products. I have to say I do like Carbolin-19. I tried it for three months and really didn't feel much different on it. It was when I stopped taking it for a few months that I noticed a difference in how I was recovering.

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