T Nation

Creatine and BCAA

I have a few questions regarding the use of creatine and BCAA.

  1. I was thinking of buying NO-Xplode, is it worth it and safe for me to take? Based on my schedule, how should I take it?

  2. Would it also be beneficial to buy BCAA? And is it safe for me to take? Based on my schedule, how should I take it?

My supplementation would look like this:

  • Multi-Vitamin
  • NO-Xplode
  • BCAA
  • Fish Oil

My Info:

I am a gymnast and workout 5-6 days a week, each day consists of about 1.5-2 hours of various types of bodyweight conditioning weighted and un-weighted. In the morning, I do body building type lifting for hypertrophy (building muscle size then applying gymnastic bodyweight conditioning and olympic lifting to it has worked really well for me strength wise). My lifting split is Arms, Shoulders, Chest, Back, and Legs. For hypertrophy lifting, I use Milos Sarcev’s training style; circuits with little rest and going to failure. I am enlisting into the Navy after high school with hopes to become a Navy SEAL, so I also incorporate running, swimming and strong-man type training whenever I can.

I am 16 years old, 5’8" 150 lbs and 7.5% bodyfat. I follow a healthy diet, try to get 8 hours of sleep a night and do plenty of extreme stretching. During the summer when I have more time, my training regime gets more complex, and I incoporate alot more running, swimming, and other endurance type activities.

The lifts I’ve tested max in are Bench-250, Deadlift-300, Leg Press-475, Military Press- 160. Bodyweight wise I can do 200 pushups in a row, and 35 pullups along with several gymnastic strength elements. During the summer I focus more on powerlifting and olypmic lifting, so I hope to bring my 1RM’s up. My concerns for taking the supplements are;

  1. I’m only 16.
  2. Possible short and long term effects.
  3. I’ve heard creatine gives leg cramps while running.
  4. Creatine is banned at SEAL training, and I don’t want to become depended upon or affected in a way that would hurt me at SEAL training.
  5. I dont want my performance in cardiovascular and strength endurance to be negatively affected.

My reason for taking these supplements would be for better performance in my workouts and gymnastics, and to help reach my full strength potential. I’m not sure if my bodyfat percentage needs to be any lower. I am already what most people would call ripped, but I would still like to add more size to my arms.


General Strength Workout Schedule

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

A.M. Hypertrophy Lifting Session
P.M. Gymnastic/ Bodyweight Conditioning
- 90 Minutes Upper Body
- 30 Minutes Corps

Tuesday, Thursday

A.M. Hypertrophy Lifting Session
P.M. Gymnastic/ Bodyweight Conditioning
- 30 Minutes Lower Body
- 30 Minutes Corps
- 30 Minutes Upper Body


A.M. After gymnastics practice I sometimes work on some olympic lifts.


Breakfast: 1 Cup Skim Milk with 2 scoops Whey Protein. Bottle of water.

Snack #1: Carrots and Cheese. Bottle of water.

Lunch: Tuna, Beef, or Chicken on 2 slices whole wheat bread. Carrots, 1/2 cup peanuts, 1 apple. Bottle of water.

Dinner: Fish, Chicken, Beef or Steak. 2-3 Servings of vegetables. Bottle of water.

Snack #2: 1/2 cup of peanuts with beef jerkey. 1 cup of skim milk with 2 scoops whey protein.

I follow this diet strictly Monday- Friday, and I eat whatever I want on Saturday and Sunday- which for the most part is healthy food with the exception of a fast food meal on Saturday.

If you need to know anymore info let me know. Any other tips or recommendations on my diet or workout schedule is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Creatine and BCAA’s are both very good products, and you’d probably benefit from using both of them seeing that your diet is in pretty good shape as it is.

The NO-xplode is crap, though. Dont waste your money.

You can get fish oils, BCAA’s, and creatine all from the T-Nation store and know you’re getting good quality products.

I used to swear by NO-xplode. Then I stopped taking it, and there was no difference at all. It is not a pure creatine product either, you arent getting enough of it with just no-xplode.

My advice- go with Biotest products or figure it out yourself, Biotest isnt the only good supplement company out there. if you stop taking creatine it wont hurt your performance.

You have great discipline for someone your age. It’s great to see!

Couple of things:
Forget the NO-X. Waste of money.

Make sure you buy creatine that is worth the money. You’ll find creatine mixed with stuff and sold in larger containers. The problem there is that even though there is more and it is “cheaper,” it’s actually not cheaper at all for how much creatine you get. Check out T-Nation/Biotest’s creatine to at least get an idea of a good kind to get - micronized, for one. You don’t need as much as people say you do, and look in the archives of the “cool tips” - on the left side of your screen - for creatine info.

Cramping, in general, is caused by dehydration. “The idea that creatine use causes muscle cramping is anecdotal with no clinical evidence to support this claim. On the contrary, clinical studies show that creatine use is not associated with cramping. In one study, researchers examine 16 men who either supplemented with creatine or a placebo. Under specific dehydration conditions, the occurrence of cramping and tightness were reported in both groups, but “nothing that would suggest a greater incidence associated with creatine supplementation.” Two other studies conducted at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro fond that creatine use by 61 Division I athletes during training camps had no effects on the incidence of muscle cramps, injury or illness. These athletes used 15-25g per day on the loading phase, and another 5g/day as maintenance.”

BCAAs are absolutely safe - it’s pretty much just like protein - unlike No-X, which is not natural at all. For recommendations, check out the BCAA information under Biotest’s BCAA. Even if you don’t buy it from here, the recommendations of those experts will help you. It’s great to take it when you don’t have food in your body (between meals, in the middle of the night) and after you workout.

I might add ZMA to your supplements given the sheer amount of activity you put your body through. Read about Biotest’s, even if you don’t buy it here.

Let me make a brief comment here: What you’re doing is obviously working for you, so I would say, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” Having said that, variety is very key. There are certain exercises that, as a gymnast, you have to do consistently and pretty much at the same weight and reps, etc. So if you are also lifting weights, you should be varying your weight lifting structure to compensate.

I’m curious as to why you are using Milos Sarcev’s routine, as he is a bodybuilder, and you want to be both an athlete and a Navy SEAL (awesome to have goals like that!). I definitely don’t want to downplay the fact that you are also doing olympic lifts, powerlifting, and strongman training, but you still have a bodybuilding split with bodybuilding training, which doesn’t match your goals.

The best way to prepare for anything is to train the way you will be when you go there. I doubt that Sarcev’s routine really matches the type of work you’ll be doing in the SEALs, for example - although it looks like the other work you are doing may be. If you want, do a search on T-Nation and I’m sure you’ll find information on Navy SEAL preparation. A quick google search brought this up, if you haven’t seen it: http://www.navyseals.com/community/navyseals/navysealworkout_main.cfm

You will be doing a ton of running, so practice running in boots. Also, you should do dorsiflexion work for your tibialis anterior. (See attached image) That will prevent you from getting shin splints.

Training for the SEALS will require a lot of endurance work. It sounds like you are already doing most of the endurance and muscular stuff (push-ups, etc) that you will need for the SEALS. If I were you, I would substitute the hypertrophy stuff you are doing with some of the concepts from Waterbury’s ABBH (http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459341) which will also make you very, very strong and very, very muscular. I recommend “some of the concepts” because it is a tough program and your CNS needs time to recover, but read about it. Even making a switch to this type of training (very low rep, many sets) will help you make fast progress because your body is not used to it. It will at least be positive for you to change from a body-building body-part split to a movement-based split. It will also still keep you ripped and hot. (ABBH, btw, also has a part II; incidently, Chad’s book (sold here) includes the whole progression and is awesome).

You may be interested in incorporating some active release techniques (foam rolling - check out http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=475832). In addition, I also would recommend you invest in “Magnificent Mobility” - sold here - and do it at least once a week. I know you are already doing hardcore stretching stuff - the point would be to incorporate activation work and healing for the amount of stuff you are putting your body through. Make sure you are also doing work to keep your shoulders healthy, like external (not internal) rotations (http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=280rotator2)
But don’t forget work for the serratus anterior and scapular depressors, some of which you will find on MM.

You may also, as a gymnast, find it useful to deload your spine (http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1444035)

With the amount of work you are doing, you may find the principles of g-flux interesting (http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=909183)

I’m sorry to be such a T-Nation whore here, but I am for a reason. I don’t work for the company or anything, but the information here is better than anything else I’ve found, and I feel more confident about their products than, say, GNC. I think most people on this site feel the same way.

Good luck - and I hope I answered your questions and understood you correctly.