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The ideal supplement meal – Never enough training time – The mythical Arnold press – Save the muscle – Chocolate Fix™ – Assimilation myths – Dumbbell newbie

By Iron Vic Steele


I read about ‘supplement meals,’ could you give an example? I work a job where eating more than lunch is a problem. I am thinking that a mid-morning and mid-afternoon supplement meal might be the way to get in the quality calories I need. Is there any strategy where you could consume a mini meal in the time it takes for a bathroom break?

Ralph C., San Fran


Keep a canister of Parrillo Hi-Protein™ powder, a bottle of CapTri® C8 MCT and a box of bars in your office desk drawer, locker or lunchroom. It takes five minutes to mix a shake (keep a Tupperware shaker at the office) and drink it while eating a Parrillo bar. My favorite supplement meal is one I have been using for a long time…

Protein Carbs Sugar Calories

Hi-Protein™ shake 31 8 1 160

CapTri® C8 MCT (2 tablespoons) 0 0 0 200

Energy Bar 14 35 3 210

Total 45 43 4 570

That is a lot of bang for the buck: nearly 600 calories with a near even division between high BV protein and slow-release carbohydrate. This mid-morning and mid-afternoon supplement meal will give you a total of 90 grams of quality protein and carbs and 1,100 calories. Combine that influx of clean calories with some hardcore training and bust yourself through to the next level of muscle mass.

Good morning, 

I am having a tough time getting all my exercises done in the time allotted. I come from a powerlifter background and I have been shifting to a bodybuilding higher-volume approach. I have shifted from doing three exercises per session with massive weight, low reps and lots of rest between sets – to lots of exercises done moving quickly. Any ideas for getting it all in without extending the session length? I am pressed for time as it is.

Lloyd, Denver


I will assume you are an intermediate or advanced guy. If you perform 3-4 movements per body part. The best way to fit a lot of exercises into a short amount of time is to super-set. The key to successful super-setting is to select non-conflicting exercises that attack muscles on the opposite side of a limb, or on the front and back of the torso. Super-setting is another term for ‘alternating.’ 

The classical super-set is a “push-pull” scenario where two non-conflicting muscles are paired. The best way to save time is super-set: every time you hit a set of biceps, immediately follow-up with a set of triceps. Any time you perform a set for chest, immediately follow with a set for the lats: perhaps bench press super-setted with barbell row. The dumbbell bench can be paired with dumbbell rowing. Overhead pressing is logically super-setted with pulldowns, pullups or chins. Super-set every thigh exercise with a hamstring or calf exercise. Doing three exercises in a row is tri-setting: you could do squats, leg curls and calves raises, 1,2,3 – then rest. Intelligent super-setting will cut your training time down dramatically – and with no degradation in strength or performance. 


I am a big fan of ‘The Arnold Press’ and wonder if you use this exercise? I think the corkscrew nature of the push path really activates all the heads of the deltoids. I have noted that I can’t use much in the way of poundage compared to regular dumbbell presses. I also notice that when I start off my shoulder routine using the Arnold Press, the pushing exercises that come afterwards always seems to suffer – should I place the Arnold deeper in the workout?

Janice, Dayton

Dave Draper once said, “I trained with Schwarzenegger for ten years and I never saw him do the ‘so called’ Arnold Press.” That should tell you something. Basically, the trainee purposefully corkscrews dumbbells from the shoulder to overhead, then reverses the corkscrew on the negative. Because the corkscrew is emphasized, you cannot handle much in the way of poundage. I have severe reservations about the effects of purposefully and forcefully twisting the shoulder joints while under loads; the twisting has a bad effect on my rotator cuffs. As you note, Arnold Presses done first pre-fatigue the delts to a point that any pushing that follows is pretty much destroyed, akin to doing sets of dumbbell flyes before benching, or doing a bunch of leg extensions before squatting. If I did any Arnold pressing, they would be last to be done amongst my pushing delt exercises. Here is an idea: drop the Arnold altogether and concentrate on getting good at the seated dumbbell press, arguably the finest of all shoulder exercises. 


I was wondering how you handle carbs during a lean-out phase. Every time I lean out, I lose a hell-of-a-lot of muscle in the process. I probably cut out too many carbs. It seems dropping carbs is the only thing that gets my bodyweight headed downward. In the Parrillo pre-competition phase, as I understand it, starch carbs are switched out for CapTri® C8 MCT calories. Maybe this is an approach worth trying. I use a lot of Parrillo Products but have never used CapTri® C8 MCT. I am ready to try a new approach. I seem to look the same at the end of every mass-phase and I seem to look the same at the end of every lean-out phase. Is there a way for me hang onto some more of the muscle I worked so hard to build!

Reza, Wash DC

First off, let’s define “carbs.” Fibrous carbs are fantastic and highly recommended: broccoli, spinach, green beans, bell peppers, carrots, lettuce, etc. are calorically insignificant. Fiber slows down digestion, a good thing. Fiber is the perfect complement to a diet high in protein. Fiber carbs can be eaten in unlimited amounts – assuming they are not doused in butter, oil, commercial salad dressings, etc. Raw, steamed or sautéed in CapTri® C8 MCT are the preferred fiber prep treatments. Complex carbohydrates are broken down slowly and are the only type of carb (other than fiber) eaten in the Parrillo nutritional approach. All other carbohydrates break down far too quickly and generate unacceptable spikes in insulin: refined carbs, industrial carbs, manmade carbs, fruit (loaded with insulin-spiking fructose) and sugar of all types are to be completely avoided. The classical way in which the Parrillo bodybuilder leans out is designed to retain muscle while losing body fat. The first order of business is to establish a high lean protein intake, consume at least 1 gram or more of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Next add in those critical, digestion-slowing fiber carbs, prepared and seasoned just so. Add in the complex carbs. Only consume complex carbs in combination with full food meals: this little trick of the trade dampens the insulin response associated with the consumption of natural starch carbs. Once this prototypical bodybuilder meal schedule is established, you will see a nice reduction in body fat. The protein forestalls muscle degradation. Parrillo bodybuilders gradually cut back on their starch carb intake during the last four weeks leading up to a show. Any starch calories removed are replaced with offsetting amounts of CapTri® C8 MCT calories. Keep the lean protein intake high, keep fiber intake high, keep the caloric intake high then slowly ‘switch out’ starch calories for CapTri® C8 MCT calories: this is the tried and proven bodybuilder strategy that allows you to hang onto hard-earned muscle while leaning out.

Greetings Sir,

I keep seeing ads for the wonderfully named “Chocolate Fix™ Protein Powder.” I wondered how this blend differed from the Optimized Whey™ or the classic Hi-Protein™ blends? I would suppose that, because of the name, this product is aimed at those of us that love chocolate. The Hi-Protein™ chocolate flavored powder has fantastic flavor. Still, as a chocolate lover I am intrigued. 

Randy, Fresno


You hit the nail on the head. This blend is a luscious formulation that comes in two flavors: chocolate almond coconut and chocolate cherry cordial, which as Parrillo users know, are the flavors of two of our Energy Bars. Chocolate Fix™ is the ideal way for a person with a serious chocolate addiction or a sweet tooth to satisfy those illegal cravings legally. The taste is the key. The hard part is getting a true chocolate taste without resorting to sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. The response on the part of chocolate lovers has been overwhelmingly positive. The most common comment being “This tastes’ too good to be legal!” My favorite combination is to mix a serving of Chocolate Fix™ thick, almost a pudding consistency. I drink the thick shake and eat a chocolate almond coconut flavored Energy Bar at night while watching the TV. Another interesting aspect to Chocolate Fix™ is it contains only three grams of carbs per serving, making it ideal for carb-conscious dieters. If you or someone you care about has an unhealthy addiction to chocolate, I would highly recommend purchasing a cannister of Chocolate Fix™ protein powder. The entire Parrillo lineup is loaded with excellent chocolate-tasting products.


Tell me again why I need all that protein?? If the body can only digest 30 grams of protein at a time and the rest is excreted, that means anything over 30 grams ends up in the toilet! C’mon – admit it! The reason you recommend a high protein intake is all about selling protein products!

Jason, parts unknown

This ‘you can only digest 30 grams of protein at a time’ myth has been around since the 1980s. It is as fraudulent today as it was when it was first uttered. These gross generalizations are easily punctured with the slightest bit of thought. Riddle me this Jason from parts unknown: how could a 6’6” 350-pound NFL offensive left tackle for the Packers and a 90-pound Olympic gymnast have the same protein assimilation capacities?? A 250-pound man is going to have internal plumbing that will dwarf that of a 105-pound woman. Still, everyone can only digest 30-grams??? This flies in the face of the inconvenient fact the digestive machinery on a big man will be double the size of a small person. The reason Parrillo Performance Products places such an emphasis on protein is when it comes to constructing new muscle, when it comes to accelerating healing and recovery, protein replenishment is the ticket. The harder you train, the more you need. Seriously, it’s not 1983 anymore and these flippant, widely held generalizations wilt when exposed to the sunlight of science.

Mr. Steele,

What is the best way to add in dumbbell training? I use a lot of machines when I do resistance-strength training. I had been reading some of your columns and note that you discourage the use of machines as opposed to free-weights. I was thinking about switching seated machine chest presses and seated machine overhead presses with lying dumbbell presses and standing overhead dumbbell presses. What kinds of sets and reps? how often? I am new to free-weights and don’t want to get hurt or injured.

Ted, NYC


I am not ‘anti-machine,’ however free-weights provide better results. Dumbbells are ideal for folks new to free-weights. Start ultra-light and really groove in technique before you add poundage. I really like your ‘switch out’ of exchanging machine chest presses for dumbbell bench press. Ditto for switching from overhead machine presses to seated (or standing) overhead dumbbell presses. Concentrate on 6-8 rep sets. Make small 5-pound jumps between sets. Use a full range-of-motion and lockout benches and overhead presses completely at the top of each rep. You are about to enter the exciting and result-producing world of free-weights. Make haste slowly: be prepared for some sensational strength and muscle gains.

2019-10-17T02:09:27-05:00 October 17th, 2019|Iron Vic Speaks, The Press|

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