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View Full Version : June Poliquin Question of Strength @ T-Nation


Garrett Smith
06-18-2008, 04:09 PM
http://www.t-nation.com/article/most_recent/question_of_strength_june

Some highlights:

For about 70% of the population who isn't carb tolerant, 2 grams per pound is good for mass gains. It can make a huge difference. Personally, I couldn't get above 192 pounds until bodybuilder Milos Sarcev convinced me to get 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. In no time I was up to 205, lean.
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It has to be individualized to an extent. Still, most people don't "deserve" the carbs they eat. The rule for most people is this: you have to earn your carbs.
The overhead squat sucks for size gains. But as an assessment tool, it's unbeatable.

You can actually predict a player's risk of lower body injury playing his sport just by assessing how close to perfect form he can get with the overhead squat. Perfect form equals extremely low risk of injury, and research groups in Sweden and Switzerland have clearly demonstrated this in various studies. At the PICP (Poliquin International Certification Program) at level 3, we use it extensively in the prehab/rehab module.
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Even Olympic lifters don't do the overhead squat anymore. People in the know stopped doing them in 1975. It's a forgotten exercise for training purposes...for good reasons.

The only reason people find them challenging is if they're not flexible. It's one of those exercises that looks cool but it's a total waste of time unless you're a novice Olympic lifter learning the ropes.
Creatine is one of those things that works best the first time you use it.
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I still believe in the loading protocol.
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The advanced trainer should take a small dose (5 grams) of creatine pre-workout and a small dose post-workout.

By the way, most of the so-called "side effects" of creatine, like gut upset, were caused by using cheap forms of creatine that contained heavy metals.
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Something else to keep in mind: Creatine has other functions besides increasing strength and size, like the prevention of brain aging and for the alkalization of the body. Good stuff.
As to how creatine is alkalizing to the body, being comprised of amino "acids", is a new one to me.

A cleanse was a great idea... a hundred years ago. The reason is, the average American today has to detoxify 500 chemicals a day. So a cleanse was a better idea when there wasn't so much pollution around.

One phase of detoxification is in the liver and one phase is in the kidneys. This is known as phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification. You need rich nutrient reserves before you do any kind of detoxification program.

Most people don't have enough nutrients in their bodies, so as they detoxify they actually get very toxic! Since they're also consuming low calories on their cleanse, the fat cells dump the toxins as they burn them.

So, basically, people today get more toxic because of the cleanse. They have to get rid of all that stuff, so they actually get worse from the detox. It's easy to make yourself sick with a cleanse.

Finally, unless you have a genomic profile done, you should never do a cleanse. You need to know which enzymes you have. You also need to have a comprehensive metabolic profile done so you'll know what it is you need to detoxify. For example, if you have toxic levels of aluminum in your body, the only thing that pulls it out is magnesium malate.

You need to know what poison you have in your body so you'll know how to get rid of it. You can't do that with generic, unregulated, over-the-counter "detox" supplements.

In short, if you're going to do a cleanse, only do it under the supervision of a well-trained functional medicine doctor. Otherwise you could do something very bad for your health.
Preach on, brother! :D

First, for fat loss purposes, I find aerobic training to be worthless. Most people are already stressed enough, and aerobic work only further stresses the adrenals.

Second, genetically speaking, we're made to throw a rock at a rabbit, not to run after it. We're not aerobically designed machines; we're designed for short bursts. Slow, continuous aerobic work also interferes with the brain's ability to recruit high-threshold motor units and interferes with power development.

I don't make any of my athletes do aerobic work unless they compete in an aerobic sport. And yet my athletes score really high on aerobic tests. My hockey players always have the highest VO2 max at camp, and all we do is interval training a few weeks out of camp. People can't believe my players don't do aerobic work in the summer.

In the '92 Olympics, the Canadian alpine ski team actually surpassed the cross-country team on aerobic scores using this method as measured by third party university labs.
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Listen, the research is very clear: Having a so-called aerobic base doesn't make you handle interval training any better. And most sports are basically interval training: short bursts followed by a rest, then another short burst.
Soy is for dorks.
:D
I really want to go to the Biosignature seminar, to better learn how to apply a lot of the knowledgez I've spent all this money and time accruing...

John Alston
06-18-2008, 04:22 PM
Just read it, too. Still trying to get 180+ grams (1per lb and up) of protein a day. Time to up it still more, I guess.

Steven Low
06-18-2008, 05:34 PM
Read that earlier today. Great article.

The one gripe I have is with the protein per lbs. IMO 1g is enough unless you want to significantly add mass over what your body type normally will tolerate.. like packing it on BBer style.

For the rest of us 1g is fine.. less is fine as well if your training program and rest of your diet is good. I mean, I probably only get like .5g/lbs some days and I do fine. Shrug. Whatever though this is a pretty minor point.

Mike ODonnell
06-18-2008, 06:08 PM
Not going to buy the whole aerobic thing is worthless for fat burning....as he deals with elite athletes already in elite conditioning (or maybe they had a month or two off). May work for them, but like I said...they were in top shape a month or two back...not like he took an average joe off the street and trained them for the NHL....but the typical overweight person will not do high enough intensity for intervals only to work, and will need extra aerobic based work after lifting to enhance fat burning. Best programming is something that can incorporate both without going into overtraining (aka what he talks about overstressing the adrenals...which I think you are fine unless you are talking about hours of cardio a day).

That being said intervals of course do well for athletes as most sports are explosive bouts of short term activity.

that and maybe Elmer Fudd should of used a rock.....

Derek Weaver
06-18-2008, 09:28 PM
I always find myself reading Poliquin and bouncing back and forth between "that's genius" and "really?".

I think Mike made good points that his take may be a bit biased. The longer, steady state cardio is crucial for your average obese, mainly sedentary person in order to help create a greater caloric deficit. I figure once work capacity has been improved through aerobic exercise and weight/fat loss, the intervals can be brought in.

I've been more wiped out from 2-3x weekly sprints than 2x 5k runs and I have played interval based sports all my life.

Another good point by Steven on the protein also. I often get the feeling that Poliquin seems to look at a lot of athlete type clients as novice bodybuilders. A certain amount of functional mass gain is crucial for power based sports, but how much can someone really put on and maintain their speed, agility, endurance etc.? I mean, how many great running backs would have been so so if they had 10-15 more lbs. on them? There's a fine line between increased athletic prowess and turning someone into an explosive behemoth who can't pull away anymore.

Allen Yeh
06-19-2008, 04:45 AM
I always find myself reading Poliquin and bouncing back and forth between "that's genius" and "really?".


Ditto that.

I would love to go to some of his seminars though. The Biosignature stuff seems really interesting.

Garrett Smith
06-19-2008, 07:42 AM
I'll never get 2g of protein a day, that's just too much work--then again, I'm not trying to gain muscle mass. Gymnastics is hard enough at 6' tall and 180#!!!

Also, working in a weight loss clinic, I see lots of overweight/obese people doing their "cardio" and not losing weight (especially if they don't get off all the carbs and artificial sweeteners). Steady-state low-intensity cardio should only be a stepping stone to higher levels of conditioning...once those are achieved, it becomes unnecessary and potentially counterproductive, IMO.

I do agree that he has a bodybuilding-ish bias in terms of the size of his athletes.

The overhead squat stuff is interesting. When I was designing my SS-inspired workouts, I thought about rotating it in, decided against it. If my front and back squats go up, the leg power will be there. The handstand/pressing training and other gymnastics strength work will help my overhead support and core strength, so that shouldn't be an issue. As far as any other coach who has see me is concerned, my OHS in OL shoes is fine. So, I left it out.

I will be trying out my OHS's for a max and BW reps soon, just to see if they have gone up. The OHS/FS/BS WOD from the other day will be a good one for a start...

Mike ODonnell
06-19-2008, 08:11 AM
A certain amount of functional mass gain is crucial for power based sports, but how much can someone really put on and maintain their speed, agility, endurance etc.?

Agreed....although I would say it depends on the position and sport...linemen vs running backs. But true story, knew a NHL guy who put on 30lbs over the summer of muscle doing hard style BB based hypertrophy workouts with loads of pasta.......looked huge.....but come training camp he was winded and worthless and they had to widdle down 20lbs off him to get him to be functional for 3 periods. Coaches were not too happy. More is not always better.....it helps but there will always be a point of diminishing returns. A 195lb hockey player will be faster than perhaps a 235lb hockey play in open ice....but I'm guessing the 235lb player wins the battles in the corners. Each has a role....I guess that what makes sports interesting as you can see people's strengths and weaknesses exposed. But pros are usually experts at a few things (speed, power, strength) and never a master of all things....hence why there is a full team behind them to play roles. The sports person trying to be good at everything without mastering 1-2 things, will spend all of their time in the minors.

Scott Kustes
06-19-2008, 08:14 AM
2 g/lb?!? I maintain 185 lbs at 10% BF with an average of 145 g/day (according to FitDay).

Gant Grimes
06-19-2008, 08:23 AM
I could use a few pounds. Time for a bucket of powder and LOTS of scrapjacks.

Dave Van Skike
06-19-2008, 09:54 AM
What Derek Said...

genius...Oh really?

Two things.

Re: the protein and size question....185# at 6' is tiny... itty.. bitty...skinnnnney in most strength sports....5'10" at 231 is decently medium.. Personally, my leverages and the abilty to recover get exponentially better at something north of 15% bodyfat.

I won't comment on the cardio thing....just that dogma is tired....

Derek Weaver
06-20-2008, 12:06 AM
Precisely what I was saying Mike. Diminishing returns, I would assume, would be reached quite quickly once at the elite level. It may be one thing for a junior level player who's this close to put on quite a bit of functional mass, but I have to believe that your typical professional level athlete is already at a point where he will want to train to increase his athleticism and skill, not his "most muscular pose".

Also, whatever happened to the idea that high fat diets have nitrogen sparing effects? In theory, shouldn't an athlete who is eating enough carbs to sustain activity, with lots of fat to make up caloric balance be fine with less than two grams/pound of protein?

I'm undecided on the overhead squats still.

Greg Everett
06-21-2008, 02:03 PM
2g/lb/day is nothing. I know of one Poliquin coach (Ito Portal in Israel) who recommends 3g. That is the gnarliest thing to try to do ever. But he swears by it. Along with high dose BCAAs and colostrum. I'd be doing 660g/day. And I'd probably be shitting my guts out.

Jordan Glasser
06-23-2008, 05:25 AM
in regards to the higher protein intake, sounds like it's coming from a mass gain standpoint. How does that relate to performance/fitness levelss? I can see it's merits in weightlifting, but, wouldn't it negatively effect metabolic conditioning/energy levels?

Garrett Smith
06-23-2008, 07:08 AM
All I know is that drinking multiple protein shakes a day would negatively impact my quality of life levels...I could not bring myself to be stuffed with food all day long anymore now that I'm comfortable with an IF plan...

3g/lb is whacky. Hope they're independently wealthy and have a killer source of digestive enzyme supplements!

Mike ODonnell
06-23-2008, 01:14 PM
3g/lb? That's some expensive peeing going on.....

Gant Grimes
06-23-2008, 02:02 PM
3g/lb? That's some expensive peeing going on.....

That's R. Kelly expensive.

Garrett Smith
06-23-2008, 02:54 PM
I'd rather do an IV drip of aminos than force-feed shakes...that gets $expensive$ pretty quick too...

Peter Dell'Orto
06-23-2008, 06:50 PM
I don't think I could afford 3g/lb. I do eat 1.5g a pound pretty easily, I do it every day, and I can reach 2.0g a day with some planning and effort. But 3g a day is too much for me...I just can't buy that much protein-rich food. I could easily eat it though. :D

Mike ODonnell
06-23-2008, 07:09 PM
That's R. Kelly expensive.

Completely off topic...but heard a joke..."Gas is getting so expensive that Rap artists are now drinking it".....ok back to the thread....

Gittit Shwartz
06-23-2008, 08:14 PM
Hmmm... Just to be fair to Ido, I used to type up his clients' programs for him. I've only ever seen him recommend >2g/lb in one case - that was a true hardgainer with a very high activity level who desperately wanted to put on mass. Even this guy started out at 2g/lb, but that only got him even leaner. And yes, at >2g/lb this guy's life was consumed by cooking, eating, and affording his protein.
With everybody else (goals being athletic performance or fat loss) I've never seen more than Poliquin recommended. I wonder in what context the 3g/lb Greg E. mentioned came.

Greg Everett
06-23-2008, 08:17 PM
It came from a conversation I had with Ido about gaining weight.

Derek Weaver
06-23-2008, 09:13 PM
3g/lb? That's some expensive peeing going on.....

To be honest... I don't want to know what would happen to/in my stomach at 3g/day. Not sure how anyone could afford it all that food, even/especially with shakes to supplement the intake.

Allen Yeh
06-24-2008, 04:55 AM
If you were going that much above you'd have to have some digestive aids, I think Greg prefers ox bile?

John Alston
06-24-2008, 06:29 AM
All this talk about 3g/lb and I can barely get to 200g total.

Steven Low
06-24-2008, 09:50 AM
All this talk about 3g/lb and I can barely get to 200g total.
Psshhh... I'm thinking I *might* get .5g-.75g per lbs on a normal day. lol

Darryl Shaw
06-25-2008, 05:06 AM
2g/lb/day is nothing. I know of one Poliquin coach (Ito Portal in Israel) who recommends 3g. That is the gnarliest thing to try to do ever. But he swears by it. Along with high dose BCAAs and colostrum. I'd be doing 660g/day. And I'd probably be shitting my guts out.

Whenever I hear a nutritionist recommend such a ridiculous amount of protein I can't help wondering how much money they've got invested in supplement companies.

http://www.nsca-lift.org/Perform/articles/PTJ060605.pdf

Jordan Glasser
06-25-2008, 10:45 PM
Is it strange that I can get in 2g/lb without a problem? I do it a few days in a row, and I don't have much of an appetite. I actually find it harder on my system to consume high quantities of veggies then high quantities of protein. 5 blocks of cauliflower vs 5 blocks of steak? No brainer, fire up the grill. Maybe it's because I weigh 155lb, and spread over 4 meals getting between 250 and 300 g of protein isn't so hard.

Peter Dell'Orto
06-26-2008, 01:28 AM
Jordan, I can do 1.5g/lb at around 188# with no problems. Getting 2.0g/lb is a little harder, if only because it's hard for me to spend the extra money and cram the food into my small fridge. But it's certainly doable for me if I try. 3.0 a pound would massively increase my food costs.

The veggies are harder. Not calorically dense at all, few carbs. I can eat all the veggies I want and still stay low-carb.

Same with calories. I love eating, and I can eat a lot. Get 4000 calories a day for mass gain? Yeah, generally not a problem (although it turns out I'm doing better on 3500). My problem generally is knowing what to eat for lean mass gain, not getting the food in.

John Alston
06-26-2008, 11:16 AM
So if we're looking at ~ 270g (180 x 1.5) of protein, how do people do it?

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/protein-amounts-in-food/
Using this, a pound of beef has ~140g.

2 pounds of meat, depending on the animal and cut gets you pretty far. I guess that's not that hard. I may have been underestimating my intake.

Dave Van Skike
06-26-2008, 01:42 PM
So if we're looking at ~ 270g (180 x 1.5) of protein, how do people do it?

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/protein-amounts-in-food/
Using this, a pound of beef has ~140g.

2 pounds of meat, depending on the animal and cut gets you pretty far. I guess that's not that hard. I may have been underestimating my intake.

here's my way.

breakfast
oatmeal with 2 scoops protein~ 48g

2nd breakfast
shake and chicken breast~48g and 25g

lunch
5 eggs~30g and,
Another shake~48g

Dinner,

big steak 8-10oz~70-80g

night cap.

another shake~48g

Daily intake.

250-280g

Darryl Shaw
06-27-2008, 05:29 AM
I'm amazed that you're all so rich you can afford to eat twice the amount of protein you need when all I can afford is the 1.4 - 1.8g per kilogram per day that experts say is required.

http://www.nsca-lift.org/Perform/articles/PTJ060605.pdf

Michael Hill
06-27-2008, 06:43 AM
FWIW, the 1.4 per kilogram per day that experts say is required is pretty darn close to Zone perscriptions based on a .7 multiplier. Note that this is the range they recommend for STRENGTH atheletes, implying that the amount needed by other types of athletes, for general fitness, etc is below zone perscriptions at a lower multiplier. Rather skinny on the protein IMO.

Besides I don't think anyone here is saying you can't do well on lower amounts of protein. Look at Steven Low's personal anecdote. Others, such as myself are simply saying that higher intakes have resulted in better results.

I think we all know you can only put so much stock in what "nutrition experts" say.

Dave Van Skike
06-27-2008, 11:30 AM
FWIW, the 1.4 per kilogram per day that experts say is required is pretty darn close to Zone perscriptions based on a .7 multiplier. Note that this is the range they recommend for STRENGTH atheletes, implying that the amount needed by other types of athletes, for general fitness, etc is below zone perscriptions at a lower multiplier. Rather skinny on the protein IMO.

Besides I don't think anyone here is saying you can't do well on lower amounts of protein. Look at Steven Low's personal anecdote. Others, such as myself are simply saying that higher intakes have resulted in better results.

I think we all know you can only put so much stock in what "nutrition experts" say.


Another way to look at it is to see how someone with an appreciable amount of strength and body mass does it. Zones prescriptions that may work well for a 145 pound adult male may not work for someone trying to push their strength levels up to something above average or even competitive in the strength arena. Yup..you can get by in Low protein environment, but if there is one nutrient that nealry everyone agrees can have a positve effect on recovery and body comp, it's protein.

If a person is content with 175 pounds soaking wet and a 300 pound back squat then sweating the protein intake is probably not neccesary.

If you are 5'9" and 220 looking to load a 360 pound atlas stone...well then you might need to push things a little.

Peter Dell'Orto
06-27-2008, 08:36 PM
I'm amazed that you're all so rich you can afford to eat twice the amount of protein you need when all I can afford is the 1.4 - 1.8g per kilogram per day that experts say is required.

It's not terribly hard.

Okay, maybe it's hard if you only lean, grass-fed beef and omega-3 eggs and so on. But none of that stuff is available to me, so I get my food at the supermarket and I can reach 1.5g per pound a day.

I'm about 188 right now, so I need roughly 280g of protein to get the 1.5g I aim for each day. Mostly I get it with:

- chicken breasts. Not much. Costs about $0.60 per 100g here.
- raw salmon, probably farm-raised, label doesn't say. Costs about $1 to $3 per 100g, averages around $1.50 and I buy lots and freeze it.
- canned tuna. $1 per 185g can.
- canned sardines. $1.5 per 100g can.
- steak. At the cheapest it's $2.50 per 100g (so I don't eat this often)
- assorted raw fish and cooked squid. Costs about $1 per 100g on sale, $2 per 100g normally.
- eggs. 10 medium eggs, locally raised brown, are $2.

...and whey and whey/casein protein mixes. $100 per 3kg for whey, $60 per 2kg for whey/casein for a protein-only no-flavoring/sugar powder.
I save money on fish oil (which is expensive here) by eating lots and lots of fish (which isn't).

It's not hard to eat all of that, especially when I also get some proteins from my veggies - spinach, romaine lettuce, etc. Sometimes I have trouble getting to the minimum, but not often. Getting to 2.0g a pound is more expensive, because the markets here are smaller, so I often can only get a limited amount of what I want, so it's not so simple as just getting more. But the day after my heavy days I push my protein up, and I'll go with multiple sources - a spinach salad with grilled chicken on, plus some broccoli and salmon sashimi - and try to space it out.

So that's how I do it. It helps that I like to eat, I like to eat a lot, and while I'm a penny-pincher I try not to cheap out on what goes into my body. Not saying you are, just that I make getting good protein in good quantities a priority, and since that matches my food tastes anyway...it's just not that hard for me.

And I know that I spend under $15/day for the food I eat. That's less than my per-day rent before utilities.

***

But, for what it's worth, I've got pro fighter buddies who eat much less protein than 1g per pound a day. They eat high-carb meals and do just fine in terms of muscle and fitness. I don't think you need it. It does seem like high protein diets help, but where the point of dimishing returns is I don't know. I personally eat low carb most days, I'm very active, and the calories I need have to come from somewhere...and I'd rather have them come from eating some more sashimi or chicken or a steak than from drinking olive oil, thanks anyway. :D

Emily Mattes
08-03-2008, 09:52 AM
Dang, wouldn't protein intake of 2-3g/lbs dramatically increase your risk of kidney stones?

Steven Low
08-03-2008, 01:56 PM
Dang, wouldn't protein intake of 2-3g/lbs dramatically increase your risk of kidney stones?
Drink more water.