Simplicity of Growth (Eat and GROW!)
By Phil Kaplan
I've created my GROW!
formula to take the guesswork out of growth supplementation.
No magic, but no double talk either. Pure and simple, it's
a delicious mix of the nutrients you'll need to grow. With
that said, I want to make sure that whether or not you opt
to use GROW! as an aid, you understand the realities of growing
muscle. This article will share the foundation of muscle growth,
and while millions of articles in hundreds of magazines lead
people to believe there's some new magic, magic is not a requirement.
Read on . . . .
What's the GOAL?
are only a handful of aesthetic goals people express when
they come into my office or my health clubs. The majority
are seeking fat loss, but second only to fat loss is the goal
"I want to get big." Allow me, in revealing how
simply that goal can be achieved, to begin by taking you back
a few decades.
I remember getting bit by the bodybuilding
bug as a teenager. It brought me into a world of understanding
of the human body that I never at the time had any suspicion
would turn into a career. In fact, now, decades after the
bodybuilding bug bite, this fitness thing is more than a career.
It's become my life, and it all started in high schoool.
The Two Vital Elements
I remember seeing the movie Pumping
Iron for the first time. I was 16, athletic but skinny, and
I had one of those 100 pound weight sets with the cement weights
and the collars that ultimately became artistic creations
of rust. Lifting weights at home with the cement set and the
rusted collars was losing its appeal. The cement inside the
plates would crack, the weights started to rattle as if they
were filled with gravel, and they'd roll and turn on their
own as the misshapen cement appeared to have a mind of its
own. I took a leap forward when I ventured into the dungeon
of a weight room at the Flushing YMCA and that's where I started
learning how to grow. There were two elements.
The weight room was in the back
of the men's locker room, so there weren't any women present.
That left us with three topics of discussion. Women. Eating.
Training. Of course, ultimately the three were tied together.
The eating and training led to developing a physique that
attracted women. See, I told you it was simple!
Limited in my understanding of
bodybuilding nutrition, but picking up daily information from
the biggest of the bunch, I started eating everything that
had protein in it. My daily menu consisted of a huge omelet
for breakfast, cottage cheese followed by two hamburgers for
lunch, and steaks for dinner, and while I saw muscle increases,
they were slow. There were the compliments, the "you're
looking bigger" comments, but it wasn't until I started
going super high calorie that I started to develop respectable
muscularity. I will surprise you now and say something I rarely
say. The key, for me, to high calorie, was a supplement. Let
Results from a Supplement?
I read Muscle & Power magazine
(later called Muscle & Fitness) and read the ads for Joe
Weider's Crash Weight Gain Formula #7 again and again. Back
in the 1970's we didn't have GNC on every corner, and the
one health food store in my neighborhood didn't carry Formula
#7. didn't yet have a driver's license, but after going through
the telephone book, the only place I could find that sold
Joe Weider's Crash Weight Gain Formula #7 was a place called
Ferrigno's (yes, it's THAT Ferrigno, pre-Incredible Hulk)
in Brooklyn. I took my father's car (without permission of
course) from Bayside Queens to Brooklyn and bought four paint
can sized cans of the stuff. My father nearly ripped my head
off when I got home, but it was worth it. I had the stuff
in my possession!
I remember hiding those paint can
sized cans of Formula #7 on the top shelf of my closet. My
parents thought there was something wrong with my obsession
for muscle and the last thing I wanted them to know was that
I had a secret formula. What was it? Sugar, protein, vitamins,
and minerals. 2 years later I won my first bodybuilding trophy.
Was it really a result of Formula
#7 (and by the way, what ever happened to formulas 1-6?)?
Of course not. I trained hard, I ate lots of food, and I had
a metabolism that was on fire. The supplement, however, was
absolutely an aid in allowing me to get adequate nutrition
So let's turn this into a real
understanding of the process.
The Human Muscle Machine
The body requires amino acids which
are the building blocks of protein for growth. Human tissue
is made up of cells, each cell comprised of chains of amino
acids. So the secret lies in part in consuming enough complete
proteins (rather than single amino acid supplements) to provide
the material from which we'll build muscle.
How come I didn't see significant
size increases until I started drinking those high calorie
shakes? Because in order for the body to utilize the protein
you ingest for protein synthesis (muscle growth), you need
protein-sparing nutrients to prevent those amino acids from
being metabolized. In other words, while the body prefers
to burn carbohydrates as fuel, if there aren't enough carbs
present, the liver will work to metabolize amino acids as
af fuel substrate. Metabolize amino acids and you have less
material from which to build muscle. When I added the high
calorie shakes, complete with sugars and whole milk ample
in protein-sparing fat, I had assured myself raw material
for growth, and my scrawny 145 pound body packed on 30 pounds
of muscle. No drugs. No magic. No bottles of pills. Just lots
of calories and the right stimulation to build muscle.
Today the science has evolved,
but as human beings we're pretty much the same as we were
in 1976. So why are kids today trying andro-whatsit
and tribulus-bulibulus? Because the supplement companies
have run out of control! I'd like to make "Growth" simple
again. I'm going to suggest that you stop messing with andro
products that might randomly manipulate the hormonal cascade
and are not likely to lead to the type of healthful growth
you're looking for. I'm going to suggest you stop trying every
new "breakthrough." If the technology exists, if
people are growing muscle effectively, we don't need a breakthrough.
We just need clarity, and that's what I hope to provide.
But what about research?
words "research has proven" are overused in supplement
ads. They reference research that, more often than not, has
little to do with the substrate being sold actually resulting
in muscle growth in humans.
The first time this type of marketing
ploy was used effectively was in the 1980's when boron was
promoted as a testosterone booster. All of the formulas added
boron. Bodybuilders were buying the mineral in cases. The
ads said, "research has proven." The reality is,
the research study referenced using boron to increase testosterone
was conducted on post-menopausal women, and was never replicated,
despite numerous attempts, in exercising males. Never. Still,
for years, boron sold big. No, it didn't "work,"
but people bought it. This opened a door for supplement sellers
and today it's become so sophisticated the supplement sellers
can actually fund, conduct, and skew the research results,
and people buy.
You want to do your own research?
Fine. First, speak to 100 people who have added serious muscle
over the course of at least five years. I guarantee every
one of them without exception will tell you they took in adequate
calories and trained hard using basic compound movements.
Sure, some of them will tell you they took supplements, but
look for the underlying similarities in every anecdotal report.
You'll find the only consistencies lie in the reports of eating
right and training hard.
So, again, allow me to summarize
the effective strategy. If
you're lean, and want to pack on muscle, train hard. Do
squats, bench presses, rows, and deadlifts using weights that
provide significant physical challenge. Eat
as often as you can getting adequate protein, and supplement
with a high calorie formula. There is one more element which
I'll get to in a short while.
If you're between 16 and 30 you
might think I'm from the old school, but I assure you, I'm
familiar with every bodybuilding trend that has emerged over
the last 20 years. I've examined every "hot" new
product, I've studied the science, I've analyzed the ingredients,
and most of all, I've tracked real people to measure results.
The simplicity I'm expressing is not outdated science. It
is what really works. It's the precise strategy I've used
with every single client, from high school student to pro
athlete who has come to me seeking to turn a lean body into
a big muscular lean body.
If you want a better understanding
of the "train hard" element specific to muscle development,
I've written an article titled The Two Week Strength and
Growth Phenomenon. If you're new to resistance training,
you'll want to also read the 8 Basic Resistance Training Movements.
I'll provide links to both pieces at the conclusion of this
Now, once you have the strategy
down, once you understand that eat right and train hard are
the keys, we can add in the few supplemental compounds that
Creatine Monohydrate -
not a miracle muscle builder, but the first and only compound
that was proven repeatedly in peer reviewed published credible
research studies, to increase muscle. Consider it an "aid"
rather than a solution. Creatine monohydrate (there are
many creatine compounds being sold, but creatine monohydrate
is one that consistently proves efficacious in research
and in practice) draws more water into every muscle cell.
Since muscle is predominantly water, the end result . .
. larger muscle. In addition, creatine monohydrate ingestion
leads to increased retention of creatine phosphate in the
muscle cell. Creatine phosphate explained simply is a fuel
substrate that accumulates in muscle. The more creatine
phosphate you hold, the more prepared you are to take on
an intense set. You'll find after a week or so, you start
getting a few more reps in each basic movement, and your
strength should begin a gradual climb for a few weeks. This
allows for more challenging workouts and greater stimulation
of protein synthesis. GROW! contains 5 grams of Creatine
Monohydrate per serving.
L-Glutamine - it's the
most abundant amino acid in muscle. It is also called upon
during times of stress by the immune system and the digestive
tract. In order to make certain you have an ample supply
of L-Glutamine, supplementing acts as insurance to make
sure the other systems of the body do not rob L-Glutamine
from muscle. GROW! contains 1 added gram of L-Glutamine
(in addition to the L-Glutamine found in the protein blend)
and 1 added gram of Glutamine Peptides which allows for
Also worth mentioning
Sugars, while they're
not ideal for those seeking fat loss, do have their place
for those seeking muscle growth. They do provide quick energy,
but more importantly, help to replenish glycogen stores
post-exercise. In other words, during exercise you use stored
fuel (glycogen) and in the post-workout state, the hormonal
environment is ideal to shuttle ingested simple sugars (glucose,
fructose) into the muscles and into the liver, in essence
refueling the muscle machine. GROW! contains 8 grams of
sugar and 22 total grams of carbs (including 14 grams of
protein-sparing slow-release carbs).
Proteins, we know are
essential for muscle growth, and proteins come from food.
If, however, you are going to supplement for those times
protein foods are not accessible or convenient, you want
the best mix of proteins possible. Whey protein is a fast-release
protein with exceptional value, however, the fast-release
property may stimulate the liver to metabolize some of the
amino acids by spiking serum amino acid levels in the blood
stream. Ideallly the whey will be tempered by a slower release
complete protein. GROW! uses a mix of whey, egg whites,
and caseinate to achieve that ideal blend.
Calcium, magnesium, and
a host of micronutrients are also essential for growth.
GROW! contains a very complete vitamin complex and multi-mineral
blend ideal to support protein synthesis.
created my GROW! formula to be the
ideal supplement for those seeking muscle growth. I've studied
the science and formulated a product that contains the macronutrients
you'd want from a meal (proteins and protein-sparing carbs),
the micronutrients necessary for growth, and the supplemental
compounds that can act as aids. If your aim is muscle growth,
I guarantee GROW! will help you pack
on the pounds, help to increase your workout intensity, and
contribute to your strength. No scientific double talk. No
andro-supro-bubblymubbly. Just quality nutrients put together
in a delicious tasting formula guaranteed to be the most valuable
muscle growth supplement you ever try.
The Missing Element
Oh, I mentioned there's one more
element. It's not an element for which people typically think
they have to be proactive. The missing element is Recovery.
Ideally the human body alternates periods of stress with periods
of recovery. In today's world, emotional stress, job pressures,
traffic, and family obligations all pile up to make recovery
more challenging. We need to make certain our workouts are
ideal, but we also need to provide our bodies with nutrition
and downtime to allow for recovery. Try to get at least 7,
ideally 8 hours of sleep nightly. If possible, a 30 minute
nap during the day can also help recovery. You also can benefit
greatly by taking advantage of the post-workout window of
opportunity to refuel glycogen stores. Another product works
hand in hand with GROW! It's called RELOAD! The Recovery Formula.
That's it. That wraps it up. I
know the secrets aren't as sexy or as mystical as many of
the supplement sellers promise. I also know the secrets are
real, they work, and they will work for you! GROW!
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