Growth Surge 1

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.


Growth Surge 2
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.


FL06144T0_2006 2 1
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle. Dietary glutamine has demonstrated an effect that allows other dietary aminos to be used for protein synthesis and muscle growth, sparing amino acids. Glutamine also helps draw optimal amounts of water, glycogen and other nutrients from blood into muscle cells, where they can be utilized completely to help you grow bigger and stronger.

On top of all this, glutamine serves as a fuel source for the immune system and supports healthy gastrointestinal function. This might be as important as anything, because being sick for two weeks will destroy gains much faster than an “average” training plateau.

SURGE DOSE | To provide your muscles with a big surge of glutamine for one week, try taking 40 g per day — 10 when you wake up, 10 right before your workout, 10 immediately after your workout and 10 before bedtime.

MAINTENANCE DOSE | Take 5 g of glutamine at each of those four times of day.

Growth Surge 3


The amino acid arginine is well established as an effective nitric oxide (NO) booster. For that reason, various forms of arginine (L-arginine, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, arginine ethyl ester, etc.) are included in virtually every “pump” product on the market. Because arginine helps increase circulating levels of NO gas, it in turn promotes blood-vessel dilation and, therefore, the delivery of blood, oxygen, nutrients and anabolic hormones to working muscles. The effect is improved protein synthesis and more rapid recovery. Arginine also helps to draw more water into muscle cells (a contributing factor for better pumps) and boosts growth hormone release.

SURGE DOSE | During surge week, take 5 g of arginine four times per day — before breakfast, before lunch, before training and before bedtime.

MAINTENANCE DOSE | For maintenance, drop down to 3 g before breakfast, before training and before bedtime.


Growth surge 4
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.


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.


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.

FL06148T0_2006 2

FL06148T0_2006 2 a