View Full Version : Questions about supplements

Frank Needham
11-25-2006, 05:39 PM
This may end up being a bit of a ramble so bear with me. I'm 52, 193lbs and am working at getting fit. Been doing CF for about 6 months. Took me 3 months just to work through minor injuries, etc. before I could begin to make some headway and do the WODs with subs/mods. Along the way I messed about with trying the Zone (starved all the time, let it go). I tried MD for about six weeks and actually did pretty well on it but the sameness of it after awhile doesn't work well for me. It did help me sort out what foods (grains mostly) aren't great and I've cut then down to bare minimums on them by pretty much replacing them with good fats.

Now I'm right around 2k cals per day and it is working well so far (Thanksgiving was a killer!). Fitday has helped me focus and balance out the diet overall so oddly I'm pretty much eating Zone but don't count blocks. It is more of an eyeball thing for me, and religiously tracking cals.

I'm still fried after most workouts and that is not to be unexpected I know. But I'm beginning to wonder about and want to experiment with is recovery strategies? So I've been reading here and there about PWO meals & drinks. It seems that this area is much like so many other things one reads about, what works seems to vary much from one expert to another. There is Grow!, Lo-carb Grow!, and a plethora of others out there as well. There is, of course, even differences of opinion/fact/studies about whether one should even eat/drink after a meal, or, wait for awhile to eat?

Before anyone points it out we all know that plain old food is what should be handled first when considering one's options in this area. But this gets right back around to the quandry that faces all who take fitness seriously, professional athelete or dilettante. If you value performance and fitness, but find that you don't recover the way you'd like then what to do to enhance things in a sensible way?

Robb Wolf
11-26-2006, 09:47 AM

This is a great question. Everyone under the sun LOVES the post workout shake for recovery/growth but it has been the one thing that guarantees I get a nice layer of fat going in right at the waistline! Ido might have some insights on this with regards to my hormonal status and not responding favorably but if I take a similar amount of solid food and just shift my solid food carb allotment to post workout, that seems to work pretty well.

Another element is work capacity and if you are constantly tanked you will need to dial back the volume and or intensity of the work until you establish a comfortable baseline. In other words, what is an output in which you can go 2-3 weeks without feeling like you were hit by a truck? Find that level and then slowly ratchet things up. Keep in mind that highly eccentric movements such as squats, wall-ball and thrusters will cause much more soreness than DB power snatches, box jumps and rowing/running. Keep an eye on the amounts and types of eccentric loading and perhaps shift to movements that are less demanding in this regard.

There is no doubt that the CF front page WOD produces a high level of fitness...if you manage the ramp-up and individualize it appropriately. It's my understanding the Bulgarians success in O-lifting was due in part to pumping huge numbers of people through the program and the people with phenomenal recovery and mental toughness made it to the top. The WOD is similar in the regard IMO in that it endeavors to push the bounds of human performance...but that leaves some significant potential for crispy-critter status if one does not tinker loading and intensity.

I've tried following the WOD intermittently and found it to be more than I can handle. SOME would say that's because I'm a puss and a weak performer. I'd be inclined to agree but by modifying things to suit my needs I've managed to post 16 rounds of Mary (5HSPU, 10Pistols, 15 pull ups) in 20 min, a 2:58 fran, 3:21 Diane and a few other goodies I'm reasonably proud of. I could not have done that without modifying things to suit my needs. Others follow the WOD as prescribed and have stellar performance. Bully for them. You need to find what works for you.

Frank Needham
11-26-2006, 11:06 AM
So you are a believer in PWO but with food instead of liquid. What do you say to folks like Berardi who unabashedly promote things like Metabolic Drive, Grow!, and the like instead of solid food PWO? Part of the reason I posted here is to get informed opposite opinion of what he and others espouse, unashamed promotion of Biotest and the like products (if anyone reads that as a slam you are mistaken). I sure don't have to worry about the waistline bulge, its there all the time regardless but has diminished about 1.5-2 inches.

Work capacity has increased enormously since beginning to hack away at this but I am definitely still in the early stages of self-discovery on this. How things change over the years. I am finding/building my base and have started to wonder when it'll be possible to work up from here. Actually, I'm just happy as a pig in poop that I can do what I do at this point. I do get your point about trying to dial things in more and discover a level of work that allows improvement without being fried. Ego never gives in unless beat down solidly I guess.

That analogy you use to compare CF with the Bulgarians is interesting. I'll pay more attention from that perspective on things.

To sum things up for my situation would be to say that being extremely fit, without using much beyond normal food and rest to do so, is my goal. This idea has pretty much what I've always followed in past days of better fitness and continuing with that unless there is something better is ideally what I'm going for now.

Would you, or anyone else here, have any idea how what percentage of those who work out in some better than average program are doing supplements for PWO? From what I gather, and saw in past gym experience when junk was it, it must be a huge proportion.

Ido Portal
11-27-2006, 02:45 AM
The research about PWO supplementation is very extensive. There is no doubt a good combination of fast digesting protein/amino acids and glycogen replenishing agents (whether some kind of a carbohydrate source or unique combination of individual amino acids like L-Glutamine) can produce positive results and a faster recuperation.
The latest in PWO trends is a customized amino acid blend based on your ION panel (take a look at ttp://www.metametrix.com/TestServ/default.asp?PageID=1 especialy the fasting plasma Amino Acids) It can make a huge diffrence in recuperation, as it goes straight to the source and helps with your deficiencies.

One thing about PWO supp', though, is that there is no long term reasearch about it, and there is a claim that after the first couple of weeks of extensive use of PWO procedures, the body adapts and they lose some of their effectiveness. Some people, due to the mentioned above, decide to go the liquid PWO route only after the most deplenishing workouts and that way, keep the effectiveness.

Another issue is health vs. fitness. Liquid PWO and a high glycmic load seems to be not the optimal choice if your health is your first priority, but Robb would be the person to consult here.

I hope this helps.

Frank Needham
11-27-2006, 06:04 PM
Another issue is health vs. fitness. Liquid PWO and a high glycmic load seems to be not the optimal choice if your health is your first priority, but Robb would be the person to consult here.

I've been up, down, and all around over the last 8 years or so over health related matters. In part that is why I'm here asking the questions so that I do not blindly do anything not based on some solid thinking. So I'm glad you made a point of that last comment Ido. All this pretty much tells me that good old fashioned food is the way to go from my perspective.

Ido Portal
11-27-2006, 06:42 PM
Frank, in my opinion, and looking at it from purely health point of view, you do not want to spike insulin. Ever. Even though you get higher insulin sensitivity pwo, there are other issues related to the insulin spike, and though I advice you to go with the a low glycmic aproach. It doesnt have to be solid food, you can definitly use a fast digesting protein or pure BCAA together with a high amount of Glutamine. Research shows that L-Glutamine consumption PWO will help replenish glycogen deplated stores, and it does so with minimal insulin spike. This is the optimal aproach for you, from both performance and health point of view. You can even further fine tune it to yourself by using the ION panel as described above.

Frank Needham
11-28-2006, 04:45 PM
Thanks Ido. I'll look into the BCAA/L-Glutamine very closely. I ought to be able to use that new kitchen counter top mixer contraption we bought for that. And at some point I may check into the ION panel. That sounds quite interesting.

Fyi, you have some interesting contributors on your blog...:eek: