What’s your first reaction when training isn’t working anymore and you hit a plateau? Do more! If a bodypart isn’t responding, you hit it harder and longer, beating it into submission to force a response. Often, however, that is exactly the wrong approach. It’s what causes us at FLEX to whip out the term overtraining — which is probably a damn good word for Scrabble (if we even knew how to play that game), but a downright lousy word for bodybuilders.
Sometimes, a falloff in workout intensity is to blame for the aforementioned plateau. Other times, nutritional slip-ups might be the cause. For the sake of argument, let’s assume you’ve been your usual tough-as-nails self in the weight room, and that you’re adhering to a diet that fully supports your efforts, with optimal amounts of calories and protein being consumed every day at the right times.
With all of these things in mind, it would appear that there’s nothing left to do — just keep trudging through, dealing with low energy levels and lackluster strength, holding out hope that you’ll soon bust out of the rut. Actually, there may be something more proactive that you can do.
Some supplements, when taken in large doses for a short period, might be just the thing for blasting through that plateau. Combining the following ingredients at the prescribed doses for one full week could give your muscles everything they are asking for and then some. Instead of the usual beat-down tactics, you’re taking an alternative route to the same end by jacking up your power and energy while igniting your growth triggers. It’s an opportunity to get back on the path to huge, which isn’t such a stellar word for Scrabble players, but it is a kick-ass word for bodybuilders.
PLATEAU BUSTER 1: LEUCINE
Of the three branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine), leucine is the most critical because it has the unique ability to trigger protein synthesis. It enters muscle cells and turns on key biochemical processes that result in more muscle protein and, thus, more muscle size.
Supplemental leucine also decreases muscle breakdown. Leucine in muscle cells is broken down and used for energy during exercise. Low leucine levels lead to decreased muscle size and stunted growth processes. Taking extra leucine, especially before workouts, will spare the stores within muscles and provide additional quantities to get protein synthesis humming.
Therefore, this essential amino acid is not only a building block, but it is also needed to turn on the muscle-building process. Leucine also increases secretion of the anabolic hormone insulin, important for encouraging growth.
SURGE DOSE | Take five to 10 grams (g) of leucine five times per day — immediately when you wake up, between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, right before your workout and right after your workout.
MAINTENANCE DOSE | After one week, taper usage to maintenance doses of 5-10 g in the morning and before and after workouts.
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