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Bodybuilding FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

A lot of people are confused about very basic facts and concepts concerning diet, exercise, health, supplementation, and the bodybuilding lifestyle. We have listed the most common questions we've seen and answered them for you below.

Question still not answered? E-mail us at fitnesstips@trulyhuge.com and we will answer it for you personally, and maybe even post it in the FAQ (we will never post any identifying information).

I've heard the amount of protein bodybuilders eat is unhealthy and may harm the kidneys. Is this true? How much protein is too much?

The majority of bodybuilders take in a safe amount of protein. As far as the drug free athlete, the amount of protein that would be unhealthy is quite high. In addition to eating pounds of meat and multiple protein shakes a day, you would still have to have a very small or non-existent water intake or no dietary fiber to start feeling harmful effects from protein. Keep in mind though that you may encounter some flatulence when you suddenly increase protein intake, or if you supplement with a lot of whey protein. Usually this is mild and should subside if you continue your new diet regimen. However, if you're concerned about your kidney and liver health for any reason, you can look for blood work near you and get your blood analyzed to monitor your health.

Is low carb or low fat the best diet I can use to lose weight?

The most important thing to remember about a diet is that you need a caloric deficit. You need to eat less that it takes to maintain your current bodyweight. That is the only way to achieve significant weight loss. Now, as far as macronutrient profile (low fat or low carbs), a low carb diet has been shown to elicit a greater fat loss that a low fat diet, all things being equal. The two biggest problems with low carb diets are: 1) it is difficult to stay low carb, since carbs have been the biggest part of American diets for decades, and 2) people tend to count carbs and not fat and calories, which can lead to a caloric surplus (which means you add body fat, even though you are eating low carb). Just remember as long as you eat plenty of vitamin and mineral rich foods, take in at least 10-15% of your calories from fat, exercise and stay in a caloric deficit, then it doesn't matter whether your diet is low carb or low fat (10-15% is low), you will lose weight.

I want to be healthy, but I don't want to be as big as the bodybuilders. Should I still resistance train?

Yes, by all means. All the huge bodybuilders you see in magazines and on TV are blessed with fantastic genetics, and further enhance their bodies with various forms of drugs. Not only that, but they dedicate their lives to getting big. An average recreational lifter with a job and family could never reach that size. Resistance training is a terrific way to stay healthy, I highly encourage it for anyone without medical contraindications.

Is cardio harmful to the process of adding muscle?

Yes and no. It takes a little explanation of muscle physiology to clear this up. We all know that muscle adapts to heavy weight by growing bigger and stronger, but it also adapts to aerobic training. To make the muscle more efficient at receiving vital components to its energy production, it actually shrinks in size. This is not a bad thing, if you are training for a marathon. It makes the muscle work much better, but obviously if your goal is to put on muscle size this is a bad thing. Thankfully, your muscles won't shrink due to a 30 minute cardio session. Cardio for health or fat loss will not hurt your muscles. Performing multiple 10-k's a week will. Take a look at sprinters vs. Ironman triathletes. Sprinters are always muscular and lean, while Ironman triathletes are lean but often small and stringy. Remember, cardio is just as healthy as weight training, and when used in moderation will not hamper muscular gains.

I exercise for a specific sport. Will adding muscle impair my agility or speed?

Whether or not your performance will be jeopordized is something that can only be assessed on a case by case basis. Adding muscle to the wirery frame of a basketball player is usually not a top priority because it is easy to get too big and reduce speed, agility, vertical jump height, and acceleration. However, a linebacker in football usually needs to add more muscle to produce more power. Sometimes you simply cannot add weight. Bodybuilders, wrestlers, and olympic lifters may move up into another weight class, which may not be a good thing. A good rule of thumb is if your sport requires rapid movement or sustained movement, think twice about adding a lot of muscle. If you need short bursts of raw power, or to maintain a high level of power over a moderate period of time, extra muscle could be a plus. Bottom line, consult with your coach, teammates, or simply look at your performance and determine whether or not an extra seven pounds of muscle will give you that extra edge, or not.

Is their a supplement or drug I can take to help me lose fat and/or gain muscle?

This really irks me when people always ask me about the next miracle drug and how they can accomplish in three weeks what takes a dedicated individual years to achieve. Yes, there are many fat burners and muscle builders out there that can supplement your diet, exercise, and lifestyle. That's right, supplement. They cannot substitute for diet and exercise. Even steroids can only take you as far as you let them. The most powerful drugs and supplements in the world won't do a thing for you if you eat like a pig and never hit the gym.

Now, that aside, if you want to supplement your exercise and diet plans with quality supplements that will help burn fat or add muscle, there are several to choose from. Herbal Fat Melter and Get Lean Quick are very quality fat burning choices. Please, consult with your physician before taking and supplements.

To build muscle, Nitrobol, Ecdy-Bolin and Creatine are tops. Also Andro-Shock for increasing hormone production, because without hormones you can't build muscle.

Lastly, and most importantly, if your diet is not stellar or if you are restricting calories, you need to take a multivitamin. Although there has yet to be any definitive link between multivitamin supplementation and increased performance in sports, it is a simple and inexpensive way to ensure you always get the nutrients your body needs.

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