More Poliquin Top Tips

Categorized under Training

Our first list of Poliquinisms was so well received, we decided to pump out 20 more. Here they are:

1. Soreness is a Good Thing

Do you need to be sore all the time? No, but you should certainly be
sore 48 hours after you initiate a new program. When an athlete
is peaking at the end of his training phase, then he doesn’t want to
get sore. But when you’re trying to build muscle, then yes, you should
be sore to some degree after the first two workouts. The next four workouts
you adapt, and then by the sixth workout you’re ready for new soreness
from doing something else. The rule is, the program is only as good as
the time it takes you to adapt to it. The changes in the program don’t
have to be dramatic. For example, you could do shoulder-width stance
back squats for six workouts then go to front squats with the heels elevated
and you’ll be sore.

2. Smash Yourself Into the Ground

Hypertrophy is an adaptation to a biological stress. If something doesn’t
kill you, then the more you put stress on it, the more it’ll adapt. If
you’re not making progress in the gym, smash yourself into the ground
for two weeks – purposefully overtrain until you’re mentally depressed
and your body is about to shutdown – then take five days off. When
you come back into the gym, you’ll hit new personal bests.

3. Poliquin’s Power Foods

I like buffalo. It’s rich in omega-3. All wild meats are good actually.
I really like macadamia nuts, as they help build up acetylcholine levels.
Blueberries are one of the best foods for the brain and they’re rich
in anti-oxidants. I recommend all thin-skinned berries actually. Pomegranate
juice also ranks high on the list because of its heart-healthy benefits.
I like greens-type drinks because they alkalize the body. Figs are a
great post-workout food; they’re full of minerals, especially if you’re
Italian. Sweet potatoes are great, too.


A good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and damn tasty, too!

4. How Much Protein?

The easiest way to remember how much protein to consume is via the formula – 1
gram of protein per pound of body weight. Hence, a 200 pound individual
needs about 200 grams of protein. How much at a sitting? Well, there
are studies in which levels of 30 grams of protein are fed to subjects,
and this amount produces a tremendous rise in blood amino acid levels.

I’d imagine that 30 grams of protein per meal is a good starting
point. If you eat 30 grams a sitting and you eat 6 times daily, that’s
about 180 grams of protein. But imagine if you’re a 300 lb. football
player or bodybuilder. You’d either have to eat more protein per
sitting or just eat more meals. The answer to this problem? Consume
meal replacement powders as a protein supplement.

5. Whole Eggs vs. Egg Whites

Only dorks eat egg whites. A guy training naturally needs whole eggs.
What about the reported health concerns? Well, the studies that showed
eating eggs raised cholesterol were done by the cereal board.
And back then they didn’t differentiate between the types of cholesterol,
so the studies were invalid. Eggs canraise cholesterol – HDL,
the good cholesterol. If you’re going to have them, don’t be a pansy.

Eggs and beans

6. Gain Muscle, Not Fat

It’s not necessary to gain body fat when trying to add muscle mass.
That’s an antiquated idea. It’s also quite possible to gain muscle while losing fat.
I’ve seen it hundreds of times with my athletes. Now, a cheat day every
five to seven days (depending on your metabolism) is okay when you’re
trying to gain muscle.

I think it’s hard to put muscle on when eating clean all the
time. But there’s a difference between a cheat day every fifth day and
eating crap at every meal. Even on cheat days however, I tell
my athletes to avoid trans-fats, which can do severe damage to the body.
I’d rather see a skinny guy who’s trying to gain muscle wolf down a bunch
of rice pudding than eat French fries.

7. The Single Most Important Supplement

The biggest limiting factor in naturally training people to getting
lean and adding muscle is the consumption (or lack thereof) of omega-3s.
Looking at the body structure of cavemen, they had a lot of muscle mass
compared to modern man. They got their omega-3s through the meats they
ate. Primitive man would break the skull open and eat the brains. Brains
are 60% fat, and 60% of that is DHA, the omega-3. What they’ve found
is that the more brain-sucking was going on in those populations, the
faster the IQ went up.

Primitive man would also break the bones of the prey and suck the marrow,
also rich in omega-3, DHA particularly. DHA is the omega-3 most responsible
for brain development while EPA is most associated with reducing inflammation.
Biotest’s Flameout is a great product. I like the addition of CLA to
the EPA and DHA because most of the population is deficient in CLA. Don’t
take all your fish oil at once though; spread intake throughout the day.
Would you eat all your protein for the day at once?

8. Caveman Carbs

One thing people have to distinguish between is neo-carbs vs. paleo-carbs.
With paleo carbs the simple rule is: Were they available to a caveman?
Would he have access to grapes and raspberries? Yes. Bagels and pasta?
No. Usually, people who are gifted for hypertrophy are gifted for carb
intake as well. They can eat a boatload of neo-carbs and feel fine. Also,
if you’re white, fuck it. You’ve got to come from a region where there
was a lot of agriculture for a long time to be able to handle neo-carbs.
If you’re from German or Norwegian extraction and come from a line of
meat eaters and hunters, then neo-carbs are not for you.

9. The Breakfast Test for Carb Tolerance

The most simple field test for carb tolerance is eating carbs for breakfast.
You wake and you rate yourself on a scale from one to ten for energy,
ten meaning very good, one meaning you feel like shit. Then have a high
carb breakfast, say pancakes and maple syrup. An hour later, if you feel
sleepy and want a nap, then carbs aren’t for you. If you feel more energetic
and ready to climb walls, then carbs are for you, you lucky bastard.

10. Get Lean, then Eat Carbs

People are kidding themselves about how many carbs they need. There’s
a difference between a mouth and a vacuum. Forty to fifty grams per day
of good carbs is plenty for most of the population. That’s why there
are so many fat dieticians and personal trainers. Nutrient timing makes
a difference, too. A lean 200-pound man can keep his leanness eating
250 grams of carbs a day, if 200 of them are taken post-workout and the
other 50 grams spread throughout the day in low glycemic carbs. Get lean
first if you want to eat carbs. The leaner you are, the more carbs you
can eat.

11. The Best Time to Have a Post-Workout Meal

The sooner, the better. Scientific research points out that there is
a direct correlation between the proximity of the post-workout meal and
the rate of glycogen resynthesis. I believe that liquid meals work best,
and adding protein to the liquid carbohydrate solution will markedly
increase the glycogen content of muscle. However, if you’re training
to put on mass, use 2 g/kg (0.9 grams per pound) of carbs, and 0.5 g/kg
(0.23 grams per pound) of protein. If you need to lose body fat, keep
the carbs at 0.6 g/kg of bodyweight (about .27 grams per pound).

12. Prevent Overtraining with Glutamine

Research has demonstrated that consuming glutamine following exercise
can accelerate muscle glycogen resynthesis and glutamine levels, which
are critical in the prevention of overtraining, and the creation of an
anabolic environment. I recommend ingesting 0.33 g/kg of glutamine, so
for a 90 kg man that would be 30 grams. If someone has a higher percentage
bodyfat, I up the glutamine and reduce the carbs.

13. Take Enough BCAAs

During workout the most important thing is Branched Chain Amino Acids
(BCAAs). People who claim they don’t get results from them simply don’t
take enough. A 200 pound man should take 40 grams of BCAAs during a workout.
I also add 9 grams of Carnosine. My athletes might go through 40 or 50
capsules per workout. We just dump about fifty capsules in a bottle and
make sure they’re all gone by the end of the workout. I find that to
be very anabolic.

Most people who try this protocol break their plateaus right away. BCAAs
have a host of research-supported benefits including preventing catabolism,
stimulating anabolism, lowering DOMS, and providing endurance, energy,
and an increased rate of recovery. Military personnel in many countries
now receive BCAA solutions to prevent mental fatigue during maneuvers.

14. Creatine Loading is Crucial

I think the loading phase is crucial. There is however, some evidence
that taking a small dosage for a longer time will be effective, but those
studies were done on subjects whose activity levels were equivalent to
that of full-time stamp collectors. It’s my personal opinion, based on
research studies and personal experience, that in hard-training athletes,
the loading phase is of paramount importance. I recommend 0.45 g of creatine
per kg of bodyweight for a 5 day period. After that, a “maintenance phase” of
about 5 to 10 grams a day should suffice.

15. Beta Alanine Kicks Ass

I think Beta Alanine is great. It allows you to do more reps. I think
it’s most beneficial when you work in the 4-5RM range. If you’re the
type of guy who does ten sets of three (10 x 3), then it’ll allow you
to get that up to tens sets of four or five (10 x 4-5). I’ve used it
a lot in the last six months and my athletes are making much faster progress,
especially at high doses. Up the dose until you get tingly, then back
down a little. I think people should take 10 grams of it a day. Taking
3 grams a day is just far too small of a dose. That dose is like trying
to fart against a hurricane.

Take it until you feel the tingle.

16. Remember Your Minerals

About 54-75% of the American population is deficient in magnesium. The
percentages for zinc are somewhat greater. I’ve found that both zinc
and magnesium are deficient in 100% of the athletes who come into my
clinic. The higher their training volume, the greater their deficiency.
When I gave ZMA to my athletes, virtually all of them reported better
quality of sleep, an essential factor in maximizing recovery. About 70%
of them noted an increase in morning libido. If you’re active, the odds
that ZMA will enhance your performance in the gym are high. Expect the
results to be the greatest after 6 weeks of use.

Sleep better, and be hornier in the morning.

17. Reduce Stress, Increase Gains

Stress increases heart disease, diabetes, mental disorders, sexual dysfunction,
and gastrointestinal disorders. It suppresses the immune system and lowers
Testosterone. Stress can lead to muscle loss and fat gain. Everyone is
under stress. This is the norm, not the exception. As a result, our bodies
tend to run on adrenalin and cortisol. That can be great if you’re being
chased by a lion or a linebacker, but not so useful if you’re just going
about your daily activities. So, take actions to control stress. Improving
sleep and learning time management are the first steps.

18. Sleep Like a Caveman

We’re designed to live in caves. Your bedroom should be pitch dark.
And unplug everything – TV, alarm clock, cell phones: they all
emit radiation. Get rid of these things and you’ll reduce stress and
sleep better. Making your bedroom the Bat Cave alone will increase the
amount of melatonin and GH you produce when you’re asleep. That alone
will make you grow.


Increasing melatonin production is so easy, even this guy could do

We could probably easily compile another 20 – or even another thousand – Poliquinisms,
but we’ll quit at 40. We don’t want your brain to explode or