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The Fast Lane To Growth

The Fast Lane To Growth
[Editor's Note: Welcome to Part Two in our three-part series on Bodybuilding by Body Type. Last week, in Gains For Hard Gainers, we addressed the special physiological challenges faced by Ectomorphs when they try to add pounds of muscle to their lean frames. This week, we're taking a look at those who possess the "winning lottery ticket" when it comes to  physique transformation. Mesomorphs (people blessed with peak metabolism and mass-gain potential) have a great head start in the mass-building game. What follows is a step-by-step roadmap to making the most of that potential. Next week, will move on to Endomorphs (people who have difficulty ripping up and getting lean). In the meantime, let's hand it off to Chad Kerksick, PhD.!]

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Mesomorphs: The body type so many of us strive to possess. These are the people who look like natural athletes. For many of us, they are the ones who we wonder, 'How they do it?" How do they train? What are they taking? What do their diets look like? 

In other words, these people are pretty much doing several things right and as a result their bodies are functioning at pretty high levels. If you're legitimately one of these people or you're close, understand you owe it to the rest of us mere mortals to bust your tails in the gym, eat a clean diet and supplement well.

Manifest Peak Physical Output
To get to this point you have to be training at a pretty high level. So if your goal is to transform your physique into this category, intense muscle-building workouts must be the order of the day for you. A program that has you training most days of the week using a wide variety of resistance-based exercises with multi-joint exercises that focus on our largest muscle groups should make up the foundation of each of your workouts. 

From here, one or two sets of each exercise should be considered a minimum and in most situations body-building workouts will consist of 3 to 6 sets of each exercise using anywhere from 6 to 12 repetitions. In addition, do not even think about stopping a set before your muscles are gassed or picking a weight where you can crank out more than 15 reps. Load up the bar and move some weight until you legitimately cannot complete the movement after 6 to 10 repetitions! Lastly, no flapping your gums to everyone at the gym. Put on some headphones, shorten your rest periods to 45 to 90 seconds between each set and get to training.

Eat Right to Grow Right
From there, your diet has to be solid. In fact, it probably already has been for you to be considered a stereotypical mesomorph. If you are one of the "chosen few" who can follow a less-than-ideal diet and still get ripped, congrats on being a higher life form. For the rest of you, building muscle and training hard creates a calorie deficit throughout the day that will impact gains. You have to be sure you are consuming enough calories. Many people don't! 

From there, optimal levels of carbohydrates are critical (5 to 6 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body mass) to fueling your muscles, while high amounts of protein (1.6 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram) are needed to help drive positive changes in strength and muscularity (Phillips 2004, Campbell 2007).  Some studies even indicate that higher amounts might be needed to ensure positive changes in muscle without gaining fat (Antonio 2014). 

Make Every Gram of Protein Count
While a food first approach is always encouraged, practical considerations that relate to food preparation, timing, and being always on-the-go make protein supplementation a consideration. Uniquely, mesomorphs and other high-level physical machines are considered to be the best candidates for this type of supplementation. Why? Well, because their already exceptional genetic disposition and training program exerts great stress upon the body; as a result the amount of stress they must recover from, the time frame in which they oftentimes need to do it and the overall stress of the next workout creates the need for optimal protein supplementation. 

Studies in the past several years have told us that an optimal single dose of high quality proteins is likely somewhere around 20 – 25 grams (Moore 2009, Yang 2012, Witard 2014) and other recent reports have indicated that optimal levels of muscle protein synthesis are maintained to the greatest degree over a period of time as long as 12 hours when approximately 20 gram doses are consumed every 3 hours (Moore 2012, Areta 2013). 

At this point, an excellent first step to add high-quality protein to your diet is to start with the NytroWhey family of proteins. NytroWhey Ultra Elite contains the highest quality whey isolate and hydrolysate proteins available as well as four times the leucine content of other brands, which is important given leucine's role in "switching on" anabolism in muscle tissue post workout.

A Unique Synergy for
Physique Maximization

It should come as no surprise that creatine is strongly recommended. No other supplement can rival creatine's stellar reputation as an ingredient required by athletes to push harder and lift heavier (Kreider 2003, Buford 2007). As we've stated many times before here at, the world's gold standard for creatine content in Creapure from AlzChem of Germany. ProSource's Creatine Monohydrate is 1005 sourced from that justifiably famed Creapure creatine . 

Any product that combines premium protein and creatine will offer valuable convenience and in this respect, MyoZene from BioQuest should be on your supplement shopping list. Hydrolyzed whey protein isolate like that found in MyoZene and NytroWhey Ultra Elite is considered by many to be a "super protein."  Isolate versions of protein ensure that the highest amounts of protein will be found within the final protein product, but hydrolyzing an isolate takes that already protein-packed product and makes the amino acids more readily able to be broken down and as a result they are thought to enter the bloodstream faster. Tang and colleagues compared a hydrolyzed whey protein isolate against other proteins and found that at both rest and after exercise it produced the highest levels of muscle protein synthesis (Tang 2009).

The original formulation of MyoZene was excellent, but recently the protein source was modified to include Leuvon 590 Leucine Peptides, a proprietary protein fraction produced by Glanbia Nutritionals, a worldwide leader for decades in protein manufacturing. Leuvon 590 Leucine Peptides offer some of the highest concentrations of the amino acid leucine that can be found in various proteins.  Leucine is both a branched-chain amino acid and an essential amino acid and currently is being researched to a great extent for its ability to regulate and turn on key pathways associated with protein turnover and muscle protein growth.  In fact, recent studies indicate that when leucine was added to even modest amounts of whey protein isolate that maximal rates of muscle protein synthesis could be achieved (Churchward-Venne 2014).

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Essential Co-Factors for
Productivity and Recovery

A high quality hydrolyzed whey protein isolate and creatine should form the foundation of your supplementation pyramid, but for people like mesomorphs who really can train harder and longer, other ingredients deserve a look. This list begins with Beta Alanine, an amino acid that is supplemented to increase levels of muscle carnosine, a key buffer that helps prevent fatigue during exercise.  Several studies are being published now using beta-alanine and a recent meta-analysis conclusively summarized that beta-alanine can significantly exercise performance particularly with intense exercise lasting 60 - 240 seconds (Hobson 2012).  It is recommended to take four doses of 800 mg each every day to maximize muscle carnosine levels.  While beta-alanine and creatine can help delay fatigue, a pre-workout like BioQuest's AndroFury can also be used to help deliver beta-alanine along with other amino acids while also delivering a good shot of caffeine to help you push even harder during your workout (Duncan 2011). [Editor's Note: AndroFury, of course, is also renowned for its remarkable key ingredient, a protodioscin-rich botanical super compound that supports all-important testosterone levels in males, even as its complex of energizers addresses every pathway of performance optimization.]

Pushing harder and harder demands good recovery and this starts with a killer diet, but many people also supplement with the Branched-Chain Amino Acids in doses ranging from 10 to 20 grams each day for a few days before a workout and a few days after (Jackman 2010, Howatson 2012). Finally, the conditionally essential amino acid, Glutamine, has been a mainstay for a number of athletes to help promote recovery, prevent illness that can result from heavy training and limit the breakdown of muscle from poor recovery. ProSource offers two of bodybuilding's premier sources for these crucial nutrients in their Mega BCAA and Glutamine products.

There's nothing sadder than seeing someone be handed the physical "keys to the kingdom" and watching those gifts be wasted by way of poor diet and exercise habits. Put the guidelines offered above to work for you and show us what human perfection looks like!

Antonio J, Peacock CA, Ellerbroek A, Fromhoff B and Silver T (2014). "The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 11: 19.

Areta JL, Burke LM, Ross ML, Camera DM, West DW, Broad EM, Jeacocke NA, Moore DR, Stellingwerff T, Phillips SM, Hawley J and Coffey VG (2013). "Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis." J Physiol.

Buford TW, Kreider RB, Stout JR, Greenwood M, Campbell B, Spano M, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J and Antonio J (2007). "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 4: 6.

Campbell B, Kreider RB, Ziegenfuss T, La Bounty P, Roberts M, Burke D, Landis J, Lopez H and Antonio J (2007). "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 4: 8.

Churchward-Venne TA, Breen L, Di Donato DM, Hector AJ, Mitchell CJ, Moore DR, Stellingwerff T, Breuille D, Offord EA, Baker SK and Phillips SM (2014). "Leucine supplementation of a low-protein mixed macronutrient beverage enhances myofibrillar protein synthesis in young men: a double-blind, randomized trial." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 99(2): 276-286.

Duncan MJ and Oxford SW (2011). "The effect of caffeine ingestion on mood state and bench press performance to failure." Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association 25(1): 178-185.

Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC and Sale C (2012). "Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis." Amino Acids 43(1): 25-37.

Howatson G, Hoad M, Goodall S, Tallent J, Bell PG and French DN (2012). "Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 9(1): 20.

Jackman SR, Witard OC, Jeukendrup AE and Tipton KD (2010). "Branched-chain amino acid ingestion can ameliorate soreness from eccentric exercise." Med Sci Sports Exerc 42(5): 962-970.

Kreider RB (2003). "Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations." Mol Cell Biochem 244(1-2): 89-94.

Moore DR, Areta J, Coffey VG, Stellingwerff T, Phillips SM, Burke LM, Cleroux M, Godin JP and Hawley JA (2012). "Daytime pattern of post-exercise protein intake affects whole-body protein turnover in resistance-trained males." Nutr Metab (Lond) 9(1): 91.

Moore DR, Robinson MJ, Fry JL, Tang JE, Glover EI, Wilkinson SB, Prior T, Tarnopolsky MA and Phillips SM (2009). "Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men." Am J Clin Nutr 89(1): 161-168.

Phillips SM (2004). "Protein requirements and supplementation in strength sports." Nutrition 20(7-8): 689-695.

Tang JE, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA and Phillips SM (2009). "Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men." J Appl Physiol 107(3): 987-992.

Witard OC, Jackman SR, Breen L, Smith K, Selby A and Tipton KD (2014). "Myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis rates subsequent to a meal in response to increasing doses of whey protein at rest and after resistance exercise." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 99(1): 86-95.

Yang Y, Breen L, Burd NA, Hector AJ, Churchward-Venne TA, Josse AR, Tarnopolsky MA and Phillips SM (2012). "Resistance exercise enhances myofibrillar protein synthesis with graded intakes of whey protein in older men." The British journal of nutrition: 1-9.

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