By Iron Vic Steele
I am relatively new to the Parrillo approach. I am interested in losing body fat and while researching your array of excellent products (I love Hi-Protein™ and the Hi-Fiber Soft Chew bars™!) and was surprised to see that CapTri® C8 MCT, the Parrillo MCT lipid, is listed as both an aide for building muscle AND for losing body fat. I certainly understand how a lipid that deliver 100-calories per tablespoon makes an excellent supplement for adding muscle – but how does this high calorie supplement work for weight loss?
Janet, West Texas
Good question. When elite bodybuilders are in the final stages of show prep, they will strip off the final bit of body fat by taking starch calories out of their diet. The seasoned pro does this on a gradual and systematic basis. What John Parrillo discovered is that while taking starch out of the diet does in fact aide fat reduction, the loss of the starch calories caused an unacceptable loss of muscle mass. This was a difficult dilemma: the bodybuilder needed to reduce starch carbs (that attract water) to attain maximum leanness yet taking out the starch was causing muscle loss. The solution was counterintuitive and totally Parrillo: John correctly reasoned that it was not the loss of the starch that was causing the muscle loss, it was the loss of starch calories that was causing the muscle loss. His solution was to have his bodybuilders replace lost starch calories with some calories that would prevent muscle wasting – yet not interfere with fat loss. John had his bodybuilders “switch out” starch calories for CapTri® C8 MCT calories: every 100 starch calories removed were replaced with a 100-calorie tablespoon of CapTri® C8 MCT. John found that this same strategy worked wonderfully for hard training regular people intent on losing body fat. CapTri® C8 MCT calories, because they are a lipid derived from medium-chain triglyceride, should be used to augment a serious dietary effort. MCTs spike the metabolism and do not spike insulin. All serious dieters need CapTri® C8 MCT to round out their supplemental arsenal. Used right, CapTri® C8 MCT is a fabulous fat loss supplement.
I am trying to bring up my upper body. I am bottom-heavy and have short legs. I am wide-hipped and narrow-shouldered. My butt, thighs and calves (18-inches with no training) are thick and large. My chest, arms and shoulders are relatively small. I have been doing generalized bodybuilding for the past two years. I read your article on specialization and wanted to write to see if you could work me up a good, three-day-a-week upper bodybuilding program, one designed to bring up my lagging upper body?
This is not an uncommon problem. I would use a classical Parrillo three-day-a-week upper body specialization split. I will assume you train at a commercial establishment with access to all the right equipment and machines…
dumbbell bench press, incline, dumbbell bench press, flat dumbbell flyes, preacher curls, spider curls, machine curls (super-set biceps and triceps), E-Z bar lying triceps extension, machine triceps extension, tricep pushdowns.
seated dumbbell overhead press, seated Smith machine front press, machine side delts.
barbell bench press, barbell incline press, pec-dec, Smith Machine press behind the neck, bent-over lateral raises, front raises, standing barbell cheat curl, dumbbell concentration curl, dips, rope-handle pushdowns (super-set biceps and triceps).
I would work your legs one day a week and your back one day a week. Put all your energies into this intense upper body regimen. If you aren’t using 50-50 Plus™ already (the Parrillo post-workout replenishment shake) you will need to; this is tough work and you need to replenish with quality protein and slow-release carbohydrates. Stay with this for sixty days and your disproportionality will improve.
I am a long-distance runner that is getting a little older. I have been experiencing energy drops that I never experienced in younger years. I am 41. I run a lot of 5Ks and half-marathons and do quite well. The usual carb loading before a race seems to not help like it used to in years gone by. The energy drinks make me physically ill. I wondered if there were any Parrillo nutritional strategies for forestalling energy nosedives in endurance competitions.
John Parrillo has worked with high-level endurance cyclists and cycling teams to find ways to create natural energy without having to resort to unnatural methods. The cyclist had similar issues; they were lacking energy in the final stages of road races and sought out Parrillo’s help. Carb loading was no problem: Parrillo Pro-Carb™ when mixed with water creates a powerhouse glycogen-replenishing shake that uses low DE maltodextrin to provide a steady source of sustained energy. The cyclist had great success sipping Pro-Carb™ during the event. In addition to Pro-Carb™, John had the cyclists load up on Max Endurance Formula™ before the race. Max Endurance™ promotes oxygen transport during cardio exercise. Improved oxygen transport improves performance and forestalls energy nosedives. Many of the cyclists would consume Parrillo Energy bars during the actual endurance race. The Energy bar provides 220 calories and is loaded with slow-release carbs. I would suggest trying these three supplements in combination during your training and during your next event. Rather than eat a bunch of spaghetti before an endurance event (a terrible choice, spaghetti carbs burn off quickly) wash down some Max Endurance™ capsules with a Pro-Carb™ shake. Sip more Pro-Carb™ during the event. An Energy bar consumed before or mid-way through the event is a great way to assure that late-in-race energy drops are a thing to the past.
What is your opinion of the Hex-Bar? Our gym has one and the owner says that using the Hex-Bar is safer than regular deadlifting using a barbell. What is your opinion? I like to deadlift using a barbell. The Hex-Bar feels strange to me – it sways back and forth. I do sumo deadlifts as a regular part of my back routine.
I would rather see an athlete use a Hex-Bar than deadlift using a barbell and bad technique. Your gym owner is partially right; an improperly performed deadlift, a deadlift using bad technique is (along with an improper back squat) the most dangerous exercise in all of progressive resistance training. The solution, however, is not to throw away the deadlift. The solution is to learn how to deadlift properly. I am also in agreement with you about the Hex-Bar ‘sway.’ As soon as the Hex-Bar clears the floor, it begins to sway fore and aft. A proper deadlift is wedged against the body as the lifter raises and lowers. I would suggest sticking with regular deadlifts and performing a set or two of Hex-Bar deadlifts as an assistance exercise. If a person works up to say, 150 x 5 in the sumo or conventional-style deadlift, a set or two of 5 reps with 110 to 120-pounds using the Hex-Bar would make a great back assistance exercise.
Howdy from Toronto,
I am training around a shoulder injury and was wondering what kind of program you might set up for a one-armed hockey player on injured reserve for the next two months – I am motivated to train. I was playing the best hockey of my life before the injury and I am determined to not lose my edge. Ideally, I would like a five day a week training split. The injured arm is my right arm, if it matters. I train in a well-equipped gym, so I have access to all the good equipment and machines.
I really like your determination. Machine training really comes into play when training around an injury. Our goal will be to train your legs and train your one good arm. I will assume you can handle loading and unloading plates, either alone or with a training partner.
leg press, lying leg curl, seated leg extensions, seated calf raise
machine bench press, machine incline press, pec-dec (push with the good arm)
machine row, machine curl, triceps pushdowns (pull and push with good arm)
hack squat, leg extension, seated leg curl, standing calf raises
dumbbell overhead press, machine laterals, seated DB curl (use the good arm)
This is a lot of work. I would suggest you take your time and really try and make a mind-muscle connection when using the good arm in all the one-arm exercises. Keep that injured wing relaxed and untensed while doing the one arm stuff. I actually bought my bench press up forty pounds during a period when I was recovering from a broken leg. You can keep your edge!
What is the biggest sin you see when you go to a commercial gym? You want to hear the latest travesty – at the (very nice) YMCA that I train at, the accepted practice would make your head explode: when using a resistance machine – say a seated chest press – the “athlete” does their set and when finished they sit and text while they are resting. If you ask to use the machine while they are resting between sets they tell you NO – I am not finished using it. And they tie the machine up for 15 minutes doing three sub-maximum sets and texting between sets.
I blame management for allowing this. I don’t go to commercial gyms anymore to avoid this type of insanity. I hear from another Californian that one trick is to lay a gym towel atop a machine, this indicates that the machine is “in use” and reserved – despite the person being elsewhere in the gym. I would take that towel and throw it on the floor. What makes my head explode? Where to start? Terrible injurious techniques that certified personal trainers teach…partial reps allow the trainee to use more ego-inflating poundage….scantily clad women more interested in talking than training…guys with zero muscle that stare at themselves in the mirror as they train…personal trainers that make clients warm-up for 30-minutes doing free hand stretching before they “strength train” (none of their clients every make gains)…and finally the screaming idiots that populate every commercial gym between 5-8 pm. For these clowns the high point of their lives is showing up and acting out in the free-weight section. Screaming and yelling before they do sky-high squats, partial bench presses and always the curls. These guys think they are WWE wrestlers and love to draw attention to themselves with their tiresome theatrics. I got a lot more complaints, but this is enough for now.