December 3, 2001
1- Featured Article:
How to gain muscle mass.
This Month’s Featured Article: How to gain Muscle Mass.
An interview with Anthony Ellis author of “10 Things You Must do to Gain Muscle Mass”.
“Skinny and average, I hated being thin.”
You say that you are not genetically gifted. In fact, you openly state that your genetics actually worked against you. Yet you were able to gain 32 pounds of lean muscle mass in just 3 months! An absolutely incredible feat. The clear evidence of intelligent training.
In your E-book “Ten Things You Must do to Gain Muscle Mass” you clearly outline the ten most important steps to a successful weight gain program. Nevertheless, due to space limitations there were a few issues you could not cover. I would like to address these here.
NSN: Other than the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you outlined in your e-book, do you take any other nutritional supplements? Creatine, for example.
Anthony Ellis: Yes, I do use creatine, religiously. It most likely would have been number 11! I believe that anyone trying to increase their overall muscle mass or strength levels should give creatine a try. It has helped me immensely in those respects. The only thing that I must say is that if you want to use creatine, make sure that you know what it does and how it works so that you can make an educated decision about using it. I think your creatine guide is great for someone needing to learn more about creatine. Don’t use it just because someone says so. I see so many people either using creatine when they shouldn’t be (as a fat loss supplement), using it incorrectly or expecting some magical transformation from taking it.
No supplement is magic. Creatine is only there to enhance your already existing training and nutritional program. If you don’t already have a good diet and training program in place, it won’t help. Nothing will help.
Understand that creatine is a strength supplement. It’s not a fat loss supplement. It is used to increase your muscle’s work capacity. It allows you to lift more weight, longer — which will lead to more muscle gain, over time.
In addition, a bonus of taking creatine is it’s cell-volumizing effects. When creatine is stored in the muscles, it also brings along extra water. This extra intracellular fluid expands your muscle volume, giving your muscles a more full, “pumped” look. Make no mistake, this is not water weight. Water weight is stored just under the skin, giving you a bloated look. The extra fluids creatine brings into the muscles are stored within the cells themselves, making them larger.
If you discontinue using creatine, this cell-volumizing effect will disappear and any weight you gained (extra water) because of that effect will be lost, however, any muscle you gained as a result of taking creatine WILL NOT be lost if you discontinue using the product. This is where many people get confused.
Remember, the cell-volumization will happen quickly usually within the first week, but the muscle gains will take longer to appear and will come as a result of your increased strength levels. More strength equals more weight lifted; more weight lifted equals more muscle mass.
NSN: I’m often asked if age limits one’s ability to gain muscle mass. What are your client’s experiences? Can you be too young, or too old, to make significant gains in muscle mass?
Anthony Ellis: The ages of those I work with vary from teenagers to those over 65. In all cases, I have seen the ability to increase their muscle mass with consistent dieting and weight training. The extent of the amount of muscle gained will always vary from person to person, but anyone can gain more muscle. Anyone! I have to say though, that due to the large amounts of growth hormone their bodies are producing, younger people have more potential to gain large amounts of muscle in short periods of time. As you get older, it becomes more difficult to gain muscle and a bit easier to gain fat.
NSN: What do you advise for vegetarians?
Anthony Ellis: Well, as we know, to build muscle you need plenty of high quality protein. Your body breaks down protein into amino acids which are used to build and repair muscle tissue.Now, most of the best proteins for muscle building come from animal sources.
Many people call vegetable protein “incomplete”, but actually, all proteins have the necessary aminos. The only difference is that different proteins have different ratios of each amino acid. The best protein will have all eight essential aminos present at the same time, in the ideal proportions. If one amino acid is in a lower quantity or missing, protein synthesis can be stopped or reduced.
This is the basic difference between animal protein and vegetable protein. Animal proteins contain all the necessary amino acids, in the correct proportions that allow immediate use by the body. Vegetable proteins also contain the same amino acids, but have lesser amounts of each amino and in insufficient proportions. Vegetable proteins, gelatin and fruit are all undesirable protein sources for muscle building.
This issue may or may not be a problem depending on which type of vegetarian you may be. The general term is a bit misleading, as most vegetarians choose to eat dairy and eggs. These lacto-ovo vegetarians should not have much problems putting on mass at all as eggs, casein and whey protein are all excellent sources for muscle building amino acids.
The only problems are with those who are strict vegans or those that choose not to eat eggs or dairy. In this case, they must get the try to get a good portion of their protein from soy protein. Isolated soy protein powders like SUPRO, is actually the only vegetable protein that is almost equivalent to animal protein sources as far as amino acid content is concerned.
NSN: What are your suggestions for getting through training plateaus?
Anthony Ellis: Taking breaks are my most recommended solution, though it is the most difficult to do. It’s very difficult to convince someone who’s been training hard and consistently for the last 3 months that they need to take some time off. They don’t want to, and I usually don’t want to either. But, each time I do, I am constantly amazed at how my strength increases each time. It never fails, after each break, I come back stronger. I recommend taking two weeks off (no training whatsoever) after 3-4 months of consistent training.
NSN: Do you have any closing comments for our readers?
Anthony Ellis: Keep in mind, that consistency is the key to success in anything you do. You’ve got to break your old habits and make new paths for yourself, and the only way to do that is to consistently follow a new set of rules. Develop new, positive habits that will get you to your goal. Consistency is how great art is created, great fortunes are made, and great bodies are sculpted.
Still have questions about creatine? You'll probably find the answers in my ebook!
Creatine: a practical guide will teach you how to use creatine safely and effectively for greatest muscle growth. You'll learn: how to design your own personalized dosing protocol, what to eat (and what not to eat) and other methods to make the greatest muscle gains, at the lowest price. Also, find out whether expensive creatine formulations are really worth the money!
All for less than the cost of your monthly creatine!