I am in the middle of my first cycle of 500 Test E per week (4th week of an 8 week cycle), so far I've gained 4.5 pounds of quality mass with very little fat. In fact my overall body fat percentage has gone down. (Very happy about this) I've significantly up my calories since starting this cycle by increasing my protein and fat intake while keeping a low carb intake. I am eating so much that I feel that's all I do all day. I've up my workout intensity as well since I am able to recover faster, increase motivation in working out, and wanting to really take advantage of the situation while on the gear. I weigh myself everyday and average daily weight to come up with my weekly weight increase.
So far this week, I have not gained any weight. I am little disappointed specially this week I added 3 table spoon of Flax oil daily in my diet (That's about 360 Kcal). I know it is easy for me to eat more carbs and surely I will gain more weigh but don't really want to do that just for the sake of gaining weight.
I have 3 questions that I am hoping experienced board members can answer for me.
If gaining quality muscle mass is the desire, what is realistic for me to expect on a weekly basis?
Do you plateau in weight increase while on a cycle? In what week mostly?
Do you have any recommendation on how to continue the weight increase.
I know I am probably just being impatient here. It's just that if this is the maximum weight I will gain from this cycle, what is the point of finishing the cycle if I've achieved what I can get from this cycle. It this is true, the next 4 weeks will have very little good benefits compare to the risk. I mean the last 4 weeks, the benefits definitely outweighed the risk. I am not too sure about the next 4 weeks though. Again this is my first cycle, I could be totally wrong with the way I see things. This is where your expertise comes in. Please chime in on what you think.
Look, the truth is, you are scared of gaining fat - that much is clear. It is possible to gain muscle with a low carb plan of course, but the insulin secreted with carbs is important to building the most muscle one can.
If you want to gain ONLY with low carb, to make sure you gain as little fat as possible, strap in for a slow long ride. I personally use EVERYTHING at my disposal to gain muscle, it is what i DO. I wouldn't be using steroids if i was not going to use everything at my disposal.
If one wants to maximise muscle gain, then carbs are necessary. Not to mention that higher amounts of protein an be utilised when ingested with a CHO source. You have the glycogen, the insulin, the water - you are short changing yourself by not including this macronutrient.
If one is 250lbs and 6-8% in the off season, it may become a good idea to maintain that with a low carb but very high protein diet, as small changes can be made - but IIRC you aren't exactly big - just quite defined. If you want the MOST muscle, then add carbs, if you ONLY want muscle with zero fat - deal with slower results.
At the end of the day, if you aren't going to add CHO, then you need to add more calories. If 360kcal of fat doesn't do it - then you need more. TBH the 360kcal expectation concerns me as it is indicative of your total dietary habit. What i mean is this: when i am gaining and add oil to my day, i may add 2-3 tbsp 2-3x a day.. i rarely do as i eat too many carbs to add so much fat.. but you should not be scared with the lack of insulin.
I wonder if you are ingesting CHO peri-workout? Or in the morning? I wonder what your total caloric intake is, and your macro-nutrient breakdown? Also i wonder if you know what your BMR is and have adjusted accordingly?
I only ask - not particularly because i want to know (as i dont do everything for free), but i want to know if YOU know. It seems to me that your diet accounting for 360kcals extra and your low carb intake may well be very well designed, at least it should be if you are tracking carbs and calories to that level. In that case you shouldn't have an issue at adding the right calories in the right places.
Are you in ketosis? Or is it just controlled/low-carb rather than no-carb?
I recently advised Jimmy-Ray on his bulking, he is the other end of the spectrum i suspect. He balloons upto 22% (IIRC) and it is probably due to very 'dirty' bulking.. as with abso-fucking-lutely everything else on this planet, moderation is usually key - in 'hardcore' bodybuilding this is less true than other disciplines of course, as we eat as much protein as possible for example - whereas in natty bodybuilding, this ends up being a waste of money. You should loosen up a little to gain, and he should tighten up a little. You should talk to eachother!
Please do NOT complain about feeling like 'all you do is eat' here.. please remember that you are speaking to many people that have been living this lifestyle for years and quietly accept the fact that over-feeding is paramount to gaining as much as possible. Most of us feel like that most of the time.
As for the max muscle expected, i would be absolutely stoked with 3lb a week - in fact i dont think i have EVER gained at that rate.. being largely ecto it aint happening! I would say 1-2lbs a week is great, with 3 being the max. I remember a recent conversation with BR about this - i can't remember his pov other than it was a higher number than mine.. possibly 3lbs/wk to my 2lbs/wk..
Hey Brook. This is a fantastic response. I just got into work. I will need to re-read your response and answer your questions in a bit. A lot of good stuff in your response though. It's Friday and I need to do my freakin weekly status report.
Have you looked at CT's recent info on amino acid pulsing combined with insulin pulsing? More relevent for naturals, but according to CT also effective for enhanced.
Basically, it involves modifying your eating and para-workout habits to spike aminos and carbs throughout the day (espaecially para-workout) with smaller easily digested meals inbetween (so as to allow for the trickle of aminos to cease prior to next pulse). This is purported to be highly anabolic and Thibs and his crew have grown at AAS pace since starting the protocol. Thibs has put on 20lbs and maintained leaness.
This protocol allows you to put on weight without eating as much since a lot of the intake (especially para-workout) is simple carbs in the form of a shake.
I have read a few amino based articles on TN that have suggested that amino's are as anabolic as any cycle.. i am not totally convinced. It isn't common (does it even happen?) that someone of Thib's development adds 20lbs naturally from a change in diet - ESPECIALLY when they are supposed to be at the peak of dietary optimisation regardless.
Was this on cycle? In fact, i don't know even if CT uses AAS or not..
It's always interesting taking in CT's latest nutritional guidelines. What is disappointing however is that invariably each time his beliefs evolve, he realizes that his prior assertions were overkill or not optimal. I guess that happens in any evolution, but he sure sells a lot of Biotest products along the way...
OP, did you run a frontload? Brook is spot on regarding carb manipulation and gaining muscle. It can be done on low carbs, but not as effectively. So why waste your money and reputation (if you had gotten caught with AAS) by not trying to gain as much muscle as possible? The truth is that off cycle I follow a diet similar to the Anabolic Diet, because I don't handle carbs well. On cycle, pushing myself in the gym? You better believe that I'm eating carbs for my PWO shake and meal and that if I throw back some extra carbs here and there...I don't sweat it. I ran 500mg/week of TestE with a frontload and the first 8 days I put on 8 pounds.
Admittedly, that was in no small part due to water retention, but I continually added weight every week. If you've gone 4 weeks with only 4.5lbs gained then you might as well not even bother with the AAS IMO. All of this can be fixed...you just have to let go of the fear that you're going to turn into a fatass by eating more than usual and adding in carbs.
Finally have time to reply. To Brook: First of all thanks again for all the insightful information. I know you do this for a living and I am grateful for receiving all this information for free. All the acronymÃ¢??s made me kind of crazy thoughÃ¢?Â¦hahaha. Just to make sure I got them right: CHO=Cholesterol; TBH-To be honest; IIRC=If I recall correctly; POV=Point of view.
In regards to glycogen, insulin and water: I realized the importance of insulin spikes in building muscles. My insulin is kept stable throughout the day except for the following conditions during the day: 30 minutes prior to working out ingest 10 Biotest BCAA and 1 scoop of Biotest Workout Fuel. Peri-workout: 16 BCAA and 1 scoop Biotest Workout fuel. Post workout: Post workout shake containing: 1 scoop Biotest Surge, 1 scoop Biotest Metabolic Drive low carb protein, Leucine, glycine, glutamine. While on this sub-topic, hereÃ¢??s a typical nutritional intake during the day:
If working out: Pre-Workout - 30 minutes prior to working out ingest 10 Biotest BCAA and 1 scoop of Biotest Workout Fuel Peri-Workout - 16 BCAA and 1 scoop Biotest Workout fuel. Post- Workout - : Post workout shake containing: 1 scoop Biotest Surge, 1 scoop Biotest Metabolic Drive low carb protein, Leucine, glycine, glutamine.
Meal 6 (7:30PM) - Meat (Grilled beef or Chicken or Fish), diet soda, 8 caps Oil Capsule, MV.
What I am changing: Double the scoops of Biotest Surge post workout. Double the Flax oil from 3 tbsp to 6 tbsp
If this does not do the tricks in 1 week I will add 1 scoop Biotest Surge post workout. By that time I will be on week 6 of my cycle, it might be too late, should I add this now? I in regards to your question on the CHO intake whether taken pre-peri or post: I think I answered that question above. Any suggestion on how to maximize CHO intake is welcome.
In regards to your question if I am in Ketosis or controlled low carb rather than no carb: I do not believe I am in Ketosis even if I am, I will be easlily out during the workout dayÃ¢??s intake of carbs. I don"t believe I am off carbs long enough to maintain true ketosis state. I also I do a regular cheat meal on Friday nights. Everything is fair game on this one meal a week. (No alcohol)
In regards to feeling like eating a lot: I am kidding. No complains here.
In summary: My plan of action is pretty simple: Double the scoops of Biotest Surge post workout. Double the Flax oil from 3 tbsp to 6 tbsp.
fireflyz: I did not frontload please see link for my cycle: (http://tnation.tmuscle.com/...date_may_9_2009) I also do not handle carbs well. Last night I had my cheat meal and this morning I weighed 2.5 pounds more. This shows you that carbs will have a great impact on the quality of weight I will gain if I don't control my carb in take. Of course I realized the importance of carbs to maximize muscle gain during a cycle. 2 steps forward while on a cycle and 1 step backwards post cycle.
Some people will do everything to maximize the step forward with little regards to appearance. It's just my choice to stay relatively lean while on a cycle. One could argue that I am not using the right compound for this cycle or not taking advantage of the benefits of this cycle, again itâ??s just a personal choice to stay lean. Just like what Brook said it will be a long ride but doable. I originally planned this cycle with Primobolan or Tren because it Primo does not Aromatize and Tren being a cutting compound.
This is my first cycle, wanted to know first how my body will react to AAS before going into more complicated compounds like Tren. My supplier did not have Primo available and it is damn expensive. I have some action plans this week to up my carbs intake at the right time. I will also increase my oil intake to add calories.
Your plan of increasing the Surge post workout seems sound to me. I have done that while not on cycle and experienced good muscle gain over the course of a couple months with little to no fat gain. I will be curious to see how this works out for you. Good luck.
No that's fine - sorry about the acronyms, i type alot and i barely know i put them in! They are as you suggested
Your diet is OK.. and i know what it is like to want to gain.. it is frustrating when you believe you are doing all you can but you aren't gaining.. when people say "just eat more" and you do, and fuck all happens.. it is tough. The body (i am sure you know all this - but some may not) is very clever, and it will metabolise any excess calories if applied in a less than consistent manner. It must be regular - non-stop feeding!
It isn't wise to eat TOO much over what you need, as you will gain too much fat - but IF one is like you, eating more and not seeing anything, they SHOULD NOT be 'scared' of adding more calories.
I am still to this day not an 'easy gainer' (in refrain from 'hard gainer' as i do not believe i am that 'hard'), but i know what works for me. Tons of carbs, plenty of fat and tons of protein. To gain at my peak, i find that (i learnt this over many years of trial and error) around 2g/lb protein, 3g/lb Carbs and 0.5g/lb fat works very well. I WILL gain fat with this near 5000kcal approach.. and often eat less as i simply cannot afford to feed like that with a missus and 2 small kinds in the house. But the numbers work.
I can see you use carbs (i am not 'up' on the macronutrient breakdown of the various 'Biotest' supplements you use, and have little interest in knowing - BUT i do have an idea which contain carbs by their names - 'Surge' and 'Workout Fuel' do, while 'Metabolic Drive' is isolate is it not?) throughout the training day, BUT you are still not gaining (no, you wont be in ketosis).
If i were to give an educated guess to the amount of extra calories you could try to gain weight - knowing you are low body fat, under 200lbs and active.. i would add 500kcals from what you eat right now, a day.
I would eat the 500kcals extra for 1 week and see if it made a difference. If it did, i would keep the calories static for 1 more week, where i would add 250kcals PER WEEK while stringently monitoring weight/fat gain and cutting back on calories as needed, or rather than cutting back (when gaining 3lbs in a couple of days) keeping calories static until you normalise for a day or two.
If you didn't see weight gain from the first week at 500kcals extra, i would then add ANOTHER 250kcals the second week, and every week thereafter UNTIL you felt you were gaining too fast or too much fat (it IS possible with practice, to cease adding calories AS soon as the scale jumps too much to avoid excess fat gain. You don't cut back AFTER the fat is on preferably) - at which point you cease adding calories until the weight gain steadies, or you have gained enough for comfort.
With PT clients i rarely use this method, as the majority of people do not want to gain weight, AND if they do, they have no desire to exercise such control and discipline in order to do so...
Not only that, but for one's regular clients, you don't want to get them obsessive about their physique - and some people who are uneducated about physiology, yet weight concious are particularly sensitive to this outcome with regular weigh-ins.
So of course this method dictates that one weighs themselves daily.. morning and night preferably (it isn't a good idea to weight daily due to fluctuations in weight, UNLESS you weigh to such an extent that you learn exactly what those fluctuations are.. in the morning i am generally 6lbs lighter than the PM) and it also is necessary to be aware of the visual physical changes that occur. As a bodybuilder i shamelessly assess my body often, and i forget it isn't 'normal' behaviour! (no, not so much in public ;D).
I think you'll find when you check out CT's sub-forum (yes, he now has his own) that you would not have to make great modifications in your daily consumption to comply with the the new strategy of amino acid & insulin pulsing. You already have most of the recommended supps.
I noticed your question and CT's response minutes ago. One thing I am curious about is that he did not suggest you nix the fat intake when pulsing. It seems the intent is to spike aminos with quick absorbed protein powder (ideally casein hydrolysate or anaconda which contains casein hydrolysate among other good stuff).
So it seems to me it would be necessary to move your flax oil and omega-3 to solid meal times so they do not slow the intake of your pulse. Make sense?