Growth Surge

Hit a training plateau? Prime your body for gains with this week-long supplement-loading program.
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PLATEAU BUSTER 4: CREATINE

Creatine should be a cornerstone of almost every supplement program. It works by providing a source of “fast energy” within muscle cells, making it possible to complete more reps and in turn spurring muscle growth. Creatine also helps to pull water into muscle cells, making them look and feel fuller. New research shows that creatine may directly increase gains by influencing new muscle-cell growth and enhancing muscular levels of insulinlike growth factor-I.

SURGE DOSE | To load muscle cells quickly and efficiently with creatine, a seven-day surge is critical for those who are just starting to take the supplement. Follow this advice even if you have been taking the supplement for a while, to ensure that your muscles are loaded properly. Take 5 g with breakfast, lunch, preworkout, postworkout and with dinner.

MAINTENANCE DOSE | Take 3-5 g pre- and postworkout.

PLATEAU BUSTER 5: GREEN-TEA EXTRACT

Green tea contains a group of compounds called catechins, which are responsible for most of the antioxidant properties of green tea. Because green tea is such a strong antioxidant, it helps scavenge the large amount of muscle-damaging free radicals produced during intense exercise. The most powerful catechin, commonly referred to as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), is up to 100 times more potent as an antioxidant than vitamin C.

EGCG also helps to enhance metabolism and increase the amount of fat utilized for fuel. Combine that with the caffeine in green tea — some brands may have 30-40 milligrams (mg) per eight-ounce cup — and you have a potent natural metabolism booster.

SURGE DOSE | Drink one cup of green tea at breakfast, lunch and dinner. At midday, before workouts and after workouts, take a supplement form that supplies 250-500 mg of green-tea extract standardized to 50% EGCG.

MAINTENANCE DOSE | Drink one cup of green tea with breakfast. At midday and before workouts, take a supplement form that supplies 250-500 mg of green-tea extract standardized to 50% EGCG.

PLATEAU BUSTER 6: WHEY PROTEIN

SURGE DOSE | Take 40 g before breakfast, an hour after lunch, before workouts, after workouts and an hour after dinner.

MAINTENANCE DOSE | For maintenance, it’s 20 g before workouts and 40 g after workouts, as well as other times of day when your protein intake from wholefood sources is not optimal.

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