There’s a bit of a disconnect between the science that’s published in scientific journals and the science we publish in the journal we call FLEX. We use a combination of the scientific research that’s performed in laboratories by white-coat-wearing scientists and the hands-on research that we conduct in our lab: the gym.
Take creatine, for example. Sure, today it’s widely accepted as a safe and effective supplement for building muscle size and strength. But back in the ’90s, when bodybuilders already knew it worked and that it was safe, none of those scientists accepted creatine in that light.
Scientists researching supplements often fail to study them the way they are used in the real world. For example, most bodybuilders know to stack several supplements to maximize each one’s benefits. Yet, most supplement studies look at one supplement at a time. This is no real fault of the scientists, but has to do more with what is known as study control: having to control for other factors that might affect the results. So, when we see a study that investigates the effectiveness of a common supplement stack, as a recent study from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) did, we are delighted.
Given all of the known benefits of whey, creatine and conjugated linoleic acid by themselves, the Canadian researchers designed a study to measure the effects of these three ingredients when given in a triple stack. Weight-trained male and female subjects were split into three different groups: one group received 6 grams of CLA, 9 g of creatine monohydrate and 36 g of whey protein per day; another group received the same dose of creatine and whey protein without the CLA; and the third group received 45 g of whey protein only. Each subject participated in a five-week weight training program that involved a three-day training split performed twice per week for a total of six workouts per week.
All three groups improved their muscle mass and strength over the five-week training period, but the group receiving the stack of creatine, whey and CLA had the best overall results. Both bench press and leg press strength improved almost twice as much in those taking creatine, whey and CLA compared to the averages for the two other groups. Lean muscle mass was also increased by almost twice as much in the creatine, whey, CLA group.
Go with 20 g of whey and 3-5 g of creatine within 30 minutes preworkout, and 40 g of whey with another 3-5 g of creatine within 30 minutes postworkout. Add CLA to your sup- plement regimen (2 g two or three times per day with meals) to aid recovery after intense training. CLA’s ability to decrease muscle breakdown, combined with the muscle- and strength- building properties of creatine and whey, will help maximize your gains in the gym. And that’s now supported by research.