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Hello all!

As many of you know, the much-anticipated HULK will be opening up in theaters this weekend. But what many of you may not know is that Lee Priest was used to do the motion capture for the HULK animation. I had a great conversation with Lee the other day about it. Because of Leeís extreme proportions (i.e., heís HYUGE), the guys at Industrial Light and Magic felt that his movements would most closely match those of the HULK. Iím sure its going to be a BIG hit at the box office!

Another bodybuilder making news is Vince Taylor. Heís got a new controversial video out entitled "Beyond the Masters/ The Quiet Storm". He told me this was like no other video you have ever seen on bodybuilding. Iíve watched it myself and can vouch for that. If youíve ever wondered what it was really like being a pro bodybuilder, this video shows you like it is, no punches pulled.

Great news on the research side of things. Weíve got new info coming out of McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada on the effects of creatine on creatine transporters. Why is this news? Because this answers the question about creatine cycling. Should you or should you not cycle your creatine? On top of that weíve got more research asking questions about the true muscle building effects of using pre- and post-workout protein supplements like HSNís Primer and Driver.

Wed like to welcome Italyís most popular Bodybuilding magazine Olympians News as our newest overseas HSN representative. Olympians News publishes ThinkMuscle and Hypertrophy-Specific articles in Italian every month! We are proud to have them now offering HSN products to their readers as well.

If you still can't get HSN products where you live, please contact your favorite dietary supplement retailer and request that they carry HSN products. Its as simple as that!

Finally weíve got some great Q&A from readers that will answer a lot of the most common questions about training.

Until next time, enjoy!

Bryan Haycock
Anabolic Effect?

Title: Acute response of net muscle protein balance reflects 24-h balance after exercise and amino acid ingestion.

Researchers: Tipton KD, Borsheim E, Wolf SE, Sanford AP, Wolfe RR.

Institution: Metabolism Unit, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Galveston, Texas.

Source: Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jan;284(1):E76-89.

Summary: The purpose of this study was to determine if the acute anabolic muscle response to resistance exercise and essential amino acids (EAA) reflects the response over 24 h.

Methods: Seven subjects participated in the following two 24-h studies: 1) resting (REST) and 2) rest plus resistance exercise and consumption of pre- and post essential amino acids (ES). Net balance (NB) across the leg was determined for four amino acids. [(13)C(6)] phenylalanine was infused to determine mixed muscle fractional synthetic rate (FSR).

Results: Twenty-four-hour FSR was significantly greater for ES than for REST (P = 0.003). Exchange of phenylalanine across the leg was -194 74 (SE) mg for ES and -371 88 mg for REST (P = 0.07) over 24 h and 229 42 mg (ES) and 28 15 mg (REST; P < 0.01) over 3 h corresponding to exercise and EAA consumption for ES. The difference in phenylalanine exchange between REST and ES was not different for measurements over 24 and 3 h. Increases in NB during ES were primarily the result of increases in protein synthesis. Results for other amino acids were similar.

Conclusion: The acute anabolic response of muscle to EAA intake and exercise is additive to the response at rest and thus reflects the 24-h response.

Discussion: This study may seem confusing at first, but once you know the background assumptions that gave them the idea to perform this study, it all makes sense.

It is known that as you increase your daily protein intake, your body will compensate by increasing protein losses during the night.(1-4) So there is a diurnal regulation of protein balance. This is the reason why simply eating more protein doesnít make you bigger and bigger. The more protein you eat, the more protein your body gets rid of while you sleep.

Despite this observation, it is also known that carefully timing your protein intake around your training can significantly increase protein synthesis in muscle tissue. (5,6) So, it begs the question, does the anabolic effect of pre and post exercise protein supplementation lead to a net increase in muscle protein? The results of this study confirm that it does!

The increased protein synthesis that occurs with pre-and post exercise protein supplementation lead to durable increases in muscle protein over a 24 hour period, even in light of the diurnal regulation of whole body protein balance. The nighttime protein losses did not reflect the additional protein taken in as a pre- and post workout supplement. Thus the acute stimulation of muscle protein by exercise and protein ingestion is additive to the balance that normally occurs in resting muscle.

This study only enforces the importance of proper protein supplementation. By proper I donít mean just quantity, I mean using protein supplements in such a way that ensures the greatest anabolic response. Normally, I try to avoid mentioning specific supplements when discussing research, but Primer and Driver are specifically designed to maximize the anabolic effects of training and protein supplementation. If you are using HST and not using Primer pre-workout and Driver post workout, you are missing out on significant gains. Ok, I just had to get that off my chest.



1: Millward DJ. Metabolic demands for amino acids and the human dietary requirement: Millward and rRvers (1988) revisited. J Nutr. 1998 Dec;128(12 Suppl):2563S-2576S.

2: Quevedo MR, Price GM, Halliday D, Pacy PJ, Millward DJ. Nitrogen homoeostasis in man: diurnal changes in nitrogen excretion, leucine oxidation and whole body leucine kinetics during a reduction from a high to a moderate protein intake. Clin Sci (Lond). 1994 Feb;86(2):185-93.

3: Price GM, Halliday D, Pacy PJ, Quevedo MR, Millward DJ. Nitrogen homeostasis in man: influence of protein intake on the amplitude of diurnal cycling of body nitrogen. Clin Sci (Lond). 1994 Jan;86(1):91-102.

4: Pacy PJ, Price GM, Halliday D, Quevedo MR, Millward DJ. Nitrogen homeostasis in man: the diurnal responses of protein synthesis and degradation and amino acid oxidation to diets with increasing protein intakes. Clin Sci (Lond). 1994 Jan;86(1):103-16.

5: Tipton KD, Rasmussen BB, Miller SL, Wolf SE, Owens-Stovall SK, Petrini BE, Wolfe RR. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Aug;281(2):E197-206.

6: Tipton KD, Wolfe RR. Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001 Mar;11(1):109-32.


Cycling Creatine Revisited

Title: Acute and moderate-term creatine monohydrate supplementation does not affect creatine transporter mRNA or protein content in either young or elderly humans.

Researchers: Tarnopolsky M, Parise G, Fu MH, Brose A, Parshad A, Speer O, Wallimann T.

Institution: Department of Medicine (Neurology and Rehabilitation), McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Source: Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2003 Feb;244(1-2):159-66.

Summary: Animal studies have shown that supra-physiological creatine monohydrate supplementation for 3 months reduced skeletal muscle creatine transporter (CRT) content. The doses of Creatine (1-2 g/kg/day) used in these studies were between 5 and 10 times those usually used in human studies, and it is unclear whether a down-regulation of CRT would occur in humans at the recommended doses of 0.1-0.2 g/kg/day.

Methods: CRT, and citrate synthase (CS) protein content were measured using Western blotting before and after 2 months of Creatine supplementation and weight training in young men using 0.125 g/kg/day. CRT and CS were also measured before and after 4 months of Creatine supplementation and weight training in elderly (> 65 years) men and women using 0.075 g/kg/day. Finally, CRT mRNA was measured using competitive RT-PCR before and after 8-9 days of Creatine loading in young men and women using 0.18 g/kg/day.

Results: Total creatine content was significantly elevated after the Creatine supplementation period as compared to placebo in each of the studies. Neither Creatine supplementation, nor exercise training resulted in measurable alterations in CRT protein content and acute Creatine loading did not alter CRT mRNA. There were no gender differences in CRT mRNA or total creatine content in the young subjects and no gender differences in total creatine content or CRT protein content in the elderly subjects. Weight training in young men did not increase CS protein content, however, in the elderly there was a significant increase in CS protein content after exercise training.

Conclusion: These results demonstrated that Creatine monohydrate supplementation during weight training resulted in increases in skeletal muscle total creatine without reductions in Creatine Transporter protein and acute Creatine loading did not decrease Creatine Transporter mRNA content.

Discussion: Nearly five years ago I reported on research showing that creatine transporters can down-regulate in response to creatine supplementation. (1) In this previous study animals were given very high levels of creatine monohydrate in the diet, much higher than we might use to supplement with. After 3-6 months of this high creatine intake, creatine transporter proteins were significantly decreased in muscle tissue. Since then a number of other studies have followed to augment our understanding of the creatine transporter (2,3,4,5).

Now, as the study we are presently discussing mentions, these and other similar studies used between 5 and 10 times the amount used in human studies. But none of these studies has provided clear evidence as to the down regulation of creatine transporters after creatine supplementation in humans. So in order to clarify the impact of normal creatine supplementation on creatine transporters in humans, this study was warranted.

In the present study, they used three different creatine regimens, young men using 0.125 g/kg/day and weight training for 2 months; elderly (> 65 years) men and women using 0.075 g/kg/day and weight training for 4 months; and finally, young men and women using 0.18 g/kg/day loading for 8-9 days. Each of these three regimens resulted in increased muscle creatine levels. However, none of them resulted in a decrease in creatine transporter proteins, even after 4 months of daily supplementation.

This is good news for those of us who have enjoyed the benefits of using creatine, but were concerned with the question about cycling it. From the results of this most recent study, there would be no reason to cycle creatine for up to 2-4 months.



1: Guerrero-Ontiveros ML, Wallimann T. Creatine supplementation in health and disease. Effects of chronic creatine ingestion in vivo: down-regulation of the expression of creatine transporter isoforms in skeletal muscle. Mol Cell Biochem 1998 Jul;184(1?2):427-37.

2: Brault JJ, Abraham KA, Terjung RL. Muscle creatine uptake and creatine transporter expression in response to creatine supplementation and depletion. J Appl Physiol. 2003 Feb 28.

3: Brault JJ, Terjung RL. Creatine uptake and creatine transporter expression among rat skeletal muscle fiber types. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2003 Feb 5.

4: Murphy R, McConell G, Cameron-Smith D, Watt K, Ackland L, Walzel B, Wallimann T, Snow R. Creatine transporter protein content, localization, and gene expression in rat skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2001 Mar;280(3):C415-22.

5: Walzel B, Speer O, Boehm E, Kristiansen S, Chan S, Clarke K, Magyar JP, Richter EA, Wallimann T. New creatine transporter assay and identification of distinct creatine transporter isoforms in muscle. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Aug;283(2):E390-401.


Reader Q & A

Question: First, I can only say, wow!, thanks! I am a natural bodybuilder and the results of HST training have been fantastic. I am 40 and have been lifting since I was 12 years old (with a few dormant years here and there). I've never seen better, nor faster, results.

At any rate, my question is this: While the focus on compound movements really hits all my muscles, and gives me a very good and natural symmetry, I do still find I have some weak areas (after all, as bodybuilders we do want to shape our bodies in specific ways)--such as right now my arms seem to be lagging just a bit behind. So how do I target special areas without going to the point where I start experiencing muscle fatigue or interfering with the basic HST principles. Do I drop out some of my compounds and add in some more arm exercises? Surely I wouldn't add more sets to the targeted areas, that would be contrary to HST principles, correct?

Thanks for your time and consideration.



Answer: First off, thatís great to hear about the gains. And still growing with HST after over 25 years of training? Thatís fantastic!

Unless you have inadvertently neglected lagging body parts, getting them to grow might require a bit of rearrangement of your training. However, you would never have any reason to adjust your training contrary to the principles of muscle hypertrophy. That wouldnít make any sense at all.

Let start by summarizing some of the principles of HST:

  1. Specificity: Muscle adapts in a way that is always specific to the nature of the stimulus.
  2. Frequent loading: In order to create a potent stimulus for change, it must be frequently applied.
  3. Repeated Bout Effect: Any stimulus able to cause adaptation of the muscle will lose potency over time as part of the adaptive process.
  4. Progressive Load: Due to the Repeated Bout Effect, the stimulus (in this case weight loads) must grow heavier to accommodate the tissues growing resistance to the stimulus.

Now these are just generalizations. HST uses specific methods in order to take advantage of these principles. Namely:

  1. 48 hour Training Schedule: In order to take advantage of the muscles adaptive capacity, each muscle group is trained on a 48 hour schedule.
  2. Mandatory Increase in training Load: Weight loads are increased each workout to ensure adequate potency of the training stimulus.
  3. Strategic Deconditioning: Recognizing the Repeated Bout Effect, HST incorporates SD to maintain sensitivity of the muscle to the loading stimulus.

Now, this may seem like a long drawn out way to address the question at hand, but I thought it necessary to show that HST methods are easily applied to different situations when the principles are understood first.

Fatigue is not a bad thing; its simply not the goal as it is in all other bodybuilding methods. When fatigue becomes the goal of a training method, it leads to exhaustive workouts with little adherence to the principles of muscle growth and growth inevitably stops even in light of some strength-endurance gains. Cumulative fatigue is a different matter. This type of fatigue builds over the course of several days or weeks and can effect training motivation (e.g. burnout) and strength levels. Your concern about muscle fatigue is justified only on the grounds of cumulative fatigue, however, bis and tris being relatively small muscle groups, it is unlikely doing an extra set of curls or triceps extensions would significantly lead to burnout.

Do I drop out some of my compounds and add in some more arm exercises? Well, it really depends on how many other exercises you are doing. There is nothing wrong with using only 3 core lifts such as bench, chins, and squat for everything but shoulders and arms. This leaves quite a bit of room to add volume to your other body parts.

Surely I wouldn't add more sets to the targeted areas, that would be contrary to HST principles, correct? There is nothing about HST principles that dictates that you cant add sets. The number of sets you do depends on how quickly you can recover your strength from workout to workout. Usually, the more sets you do, the greater the growth stimulus. Though this has nothing to do with fatigue itself when talking about hypertrophy.

My advice is to do your arm training first in your schedule. This will ensure two things, one, you are fresh when training them, and two, you donít ever skip them. This alone while using HST will be enough to put the added emphasis on them you are looking for.

Question: No offense, but if HST is the fastest way to build muscle, why isnít everybody using it?

Iíll take my answer off the air.



Answer: No offense taken, and thatís certainly a fair question. There are several reasons that not everybody is using HST at this time. Let me list a few:

  1. HST is relatively new. It was introduced in October of 2000 without any fan fare or print publication. This is the foremost reason why everybody isnít using HST yet.
  2. HST is misrepresented. Many people only hear about HST through second hand misrepresentations. This causes many people to dismiss HST as just another workout like the hundreds of workouts they see in muscle mags every month.
  3. HST is misunderstood. This happens with many people who consider themselves experts. Many times they only skim the HST material and draw conclusions prematurely without fully engaging themselves in the research behind the method. Its like the 3 blind men who were all touching an elephant, yet thought they were touching something different, none of which was an elephant, because they failed to see the whole elephant. They drew their conclusions on only a small portion of what information was available and therefore mislead themselves as to what it was they had encountered.
  4. HST is understood, yet tradition and pride prevent acceptance of new information. This occurs most often with people who have a great deal of training experience. These are people who are trainers or writers for bodybuilding/weightlifting magazines. They will read and mostly understand HST, but because accepting it would require that they change their own practices and recommendations in full view of their readers and clients, they chose not to openly endorse HST. It is unnecessarily perceived that doing so would attest to some of their former advice as being incorrect, which would in their mind damage their credibility. Still, the influence of HST is being felt and is even being subtly incorporated into existing training methods with a few minor changes just to keep it their own. Accepting new research-based information never damages anybodyís credibility of course. In fact, all HST does with respect to their previous advice and practices is explain why those things that they taught and practiced that actually worked, worked.
  5. Some intimidated and/or turned-off by science. There are many guys whose motto is, ďShut up and lift!Ē They intentionally avoid scientific discussion because it isnít something they feel comfortable with it. There are relatively few people who are academically qualified to have a scientific discussion based solely on the research that lead to HST. Not everyone can be expected to follow the same academic path through college and grad school, and this is the way it should be. The problem is that people sometimes assume that discussing HST requires a bunch of scientific discussion. This is far from the truth. The principles of muscle growth and the methods employed to take advantage of these, are easy to understand and require no background in science or physiology.
  6. HST not necessary for some. Finally, and there are perhaps other reasons, but there are many who have reached their goals without using HST. For various reasons, whether it be low physique requirements, or the use of steroids, or simply having been at it for so long, there are many who donít see the need to change the way they do things to have what they want. There is of course nothing wrong with that, and it certainly doesnít make them ignorant, or stubborn. They simply get by without feeling the need to change their routine for improved results.

Question: This may sound like a dumb question, but how does one find their max? Sorry if this is common knowledge, but I just want to make sure I do it right.

Thanks in advance,

-name withheld

Answer: Thatís not a dumb question. Finding your repetition maximum (RM), or max is a simple process of testing your strength doing a specified number of reps on a given exercise. For example, to find your 15RM for bench press, start by thoroughly warming up with a set or two of about 50% of the weight you think you will ultimately be able to lift 15 times. The exact weight you use for your warm-up isnít important, it just needs to be heavy enough to prepare you for an all out effort, yet light enough not to make you too tired.

After your warm up, estimate how much weight you can lift 15 times (per our example) and give it a try. If you are easily able to lift the weight 13 or 14 times, simply stop and rest two or three minutes, put some more weight on the bar and try again. The same process is used to find your 10, 5, or even 1RM. It is this process of trial and error that you will use to find your RMs.



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