PHIL KAPLAN'S FITNESS TRUTH - The Simplicity of Growth

The Simplicity of Growth (Eat and GROW!)
By Phil Kaplan

I've created my GROW! formula to take the guesswork out of growth supplementation. No magic, but no double talk either. Pure and simple, it's a delicious mix of the nutrients you'll need to grow. With that said, I want to make sure that whether or not you opt to use GROW! as an aid, you understand the realities of growing muscle. This article will share the foundation of muscle growth, and while millions of articles in hundreds of magazines lead people to believe there's some new magic, magic is not a requirement. Read on . . . .

What's the GOAL?

There are only a handful of aesthetic goals people express when they come into my office or my health clubs. The majority are seeking fat loss, but second only to fat loss is the goal "I want to get big." Allow me, in revealing how simply that goal can be achieved, to begin by taking you back a few decades.

I remember getting bit by the bodybuilding bug as a teenager. It brought me into a world of understanding of the human body that I never at the time had any suspicion would turn into a career. In fact, now, decades after the bodybuilding bug bite, this fitness thing is more than a career. It's become my life, and it all started in high schoool.

The Two Vital Elements

I remember seeing the movie Pumping Iron for the first time. I was 16, athletic but skinny, and I had one of those 100 pound weight sets with the cement weights and the collars that ultimately became artistic creations of rust. Lifting weights at home with the cement set and the rusted collars was losing its appeal. The cement inside the plates would crack, the weights started to rattle as if they were filled with gravel, and they'd roll and turn on their own as the misshapen cement appeared to have a mind of its own. I took a leap forward when I ventured into the dungeon of a weight room at the Flushing YMCA and that's where I started learning how to grow. There were two elements.

1. EAT

The weight room was in the back of the men's locker room, so there weren't any women present. That left us with three topics of discussion. Women. Eating. Training. Of course, ultimately the three were tied together. The eating and training led to developing a physique that attracted women. See, I told you it was simple!

Limited in my understanding of bodybuilding nutrition, but picking up daily information from the biggest of the bunch, I started eating everything that had protein in it. My daily menu consisted of a huge omelet for breakfast, cottage cheese followed by two hamburgers for lunch, and steaks for dinner, and while I saw muscle increases, they were slow. There were the compliments, the "you're looking bigger" comments, but it wasn't until I started going super high calorie that I started to develop respectable muscularity. I will surprise you now and say something I rarely say. The key, for me, to high calorie, was a supplement. Let me explain.

Results from a Supplement?

I read Muscle & Power magazine (later called Muscle & Fitness) and read the ads for Joe Weider's Crash Weight Gain Formula #7 again and again. Back in the 1970's we didn't have GNC on every corner, and the one health food store in my neighborhood didn't carry Formula #7. didn't yet have a driver's license, but after going through the telephone book, the only place I could find that sold Joe Weider's Crash Weight Gain Formula #7 was a place called Ferrigno's (yes, it's THAT Ferrigno, pre-Incredible Hulk) in Brooklyn. I took my father's car (without permission of course) from Bayside Queens to Brooklyn and bought four paint can sized cans of the stuff. My father nearly ripped my head off when I got home, but it was worth it. I had the stuff in my possession!

I remember hiding those paint can sized cans of Formula #7 on the top shelf of my closet. My parents thought there was something wrong with my obsession for muscle and the last thing I wanted them to know was that I had a secret formula. What was it? Sugar, protein, vitamins, and minerals. 2 years later I won my first bodybuilding trophy.

Was it really a result of Formula #7 (and by the way, what ever happened to formulas 1-6?)? Of course not. I trained hard, I ate lots of food, and I had a metabolism that was on fire. The supplement, however, was absolutely an aid in allowing me to get adequate nutrition for growth.

So let's turn this into a real understanding of the process.

The Human Muscle Machine

The body requires amino acids which are the building blocks of protein for growth. Human tissue is made up of cells, each cell comprised of chains of amino acids. So the secret lies in part in consuming enough complete proteins (rather than single amino acid supplements) to provide the material from which we'll build muscle.

How come I didn't see significant size increases until I started drinking those high calorie shakes? Because in order for the body to utilize the protein you ingest for protein synthesis (muscle growth), you need protein-sparing nutrients to prevent those amino acids from being metabolized. In other words, while the body prefers to burn carbohydrates as fuel, if there aren't enough carbs present, the liver will work to metabolize amino acids as af fuel substrate. Metabolize amino acids and you have less material from which to build muscle. When I added the high calorie shakes, complete with sugars and whole milk ample in protein-sparing fat, I had assured myself raw material for growth, and my scrawny 145 pound body packed on 30 pounds of muscle. No drugs. No magic. No bottles of pills. Just lots of calories and the right stimulation to build muscle.

Today the science has evolved, but as human beings we're pretty much the same as we were in 1976. So why are kids today trying andro-whatsit and tribulus-bulibulus? Because the supplement companies have run out of control! I'd like to make "Growth" simple again. I'm going to suggest that you stop messing with andro products that might randomly manipulate the hormonal cascade and are not likely to lead to the type of healthful growth you're looking for. I'm going to suggest you stop trying every new "breakthrough." If the technology exists, if people are growing muscle effectively, we don't need a breakthrough. We just need clarity, and that's what I hope to provide.

But what about research?

The words "research has proven" are overused in supplement ads. They reference research that, more often than not, has little to do with the substrate being sold actually resulting in muscle growth in humans.

The first time this type of marketing ploy was used effectively was in the 1980's when boron was promoted as a testosterone booster. All of the formulas added boron. Bodybuilders were buying the mineral in cases. The ads said, "research has proven." The reality is, the research study referenced using boron to increase testosterone was conducted on post-menopausal women, and was never replicated, despite numerous attempts, in exercising males. Never. Still, for years, boron sold big. No, it didn't "work," but people bought it. This opened a door for supplement sellers and today it's become so sophisticated the supplement sellers can actually fund, conduct, and skew the research results, and people buy.

You want to do your own research? Fine. First, speak to 100 people who have added serious muscle over the course of at least five years. I guarantee every one of them without exception will tell you they took in adequate calories and trained hard using basic compound movements. Sure, some of them will tell you they took supplements, but look for the underlying similarities in every anecdotal report. You'll find the only consistencies lie in the reports of eating right and training hard.


So, again, allow me to summarize the effective strategy. If you're lean, and want to pack on muscle, train hard. Do squats, bench presses, rows, and deadlifts using weights that provide significant physical challenge. Eat as often as you can getting adequate protein, and supplement with a high calorie formula. There is one more element which I'll get to in a short while.

If you're between 16 and 30 you might think I'm from the old school, but I assure you, I'm familiar with every bodybuilding trend that has emerged over the last 20 years. I've examined every "hot" new product, I've studied the science, I've analyzed the ingredients, and most of all, I've tracked real people to measure results. The simplicity I'm expressing is not outdated science. It is what really works. It's the precise strategy I've used with every single client, from high school student to pro athlete who has come to me seeking to turn a lean body into a big muscular lean body.

If you want a better understanding of the "train hard" element specific to muscle development, I've written an article titled The Two Week Strength and Growth Phenomenon. If you're new to resistance training, you'll want to also read the 8 Basic Resistance Training Movements. I'll provide links to both pieces at the conclusion of this article.

Now, once you have the strategy down, once you understand that eat right and train hard are the keys, we can add in the few supplemental compounds that have value.


Creatine Monohydrate - not a miracle muscle builder, but the first and only compound that was proven repeatedly in peer reviewed published credible research studies, to increase muscle. Consider it an "aid" rather than a solution. Creatine monohydrate (there are many creatine compounds being sold, but creatine monohydrate is one that consistently proves efficacious in research and in practice) draws more water into every muscle cell. Since muscle is predominantly water, the end result . . . larger muscle. In addition, creatine monohydrate ingestion leads to increased retention of creatine phosphate in the muscle cell. Creatine phosphate explained simply is a fuel substrate that accumulates in muscle. The more creatine phosphate you hold, the more prepared you are to take on an intense set. You'll find after a week or so, you start getting a few more reps in each basic movement, and your strength should begin a gradual climb for a few weeks. This allows for more challenging workouts and greater stimulation of protein synthesis. GROW! contains 5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate per serving.

L-Glutamine - it's the most abundant amino acid in muscle. It is also called upon during times of stress by the immune system and the digestive tract. In order to make certain you have an ample supply of L-Glutamine, supplementing acts as insurance to make sure the other systems of the body do not rob L-Glutamine from muscle. GROW! contains 1 added gram of L-Glutamine (in addition to the L-Glutamine found in the protein blend) and 1 added gram of Glutamine Peptides which allows for optimal use.

Also worth mentioning

Sugars, while they're not ideal for those seeking fat loss, do have their place for those seeking muscle growth. They do provide quick energy, but more importantly, help to replenish glycogen stores post-exercise. In other words, during exercise you use stored fuel (glycogen) and in the post-workout state, the hormonal environment is ideal to shuttle ingested simple sugars (glucose, fructose) into the muscles and into the liver, in essence refueling the muscle machine. GROW! contains 8 grams of sugar and 22 total grams of carbs (including 14 grams of protein-sparing slow-release carbs).

Proteins, we know are essential for muscle growth, and proteins come from food. If, however, you are going to supplement for those times protein foods are not accessible or convenient, you want the best mix of proteins possible. Whey protein is a fast-release protein with exceptional value, however, the fast-release property may stimulate the liver to metabolize some of the amino acids by spiking serum amino acid levels in the blood stream. Ideallly the whey will be tempered by a slower release complete protein. GROW! uses a mix of whey, egg whites, and caseinate to achieve that ideal blend.

Calcium, magnesium, and a host of micronutrients are also essential for growth. GROW! contains a very complete vitamin complex and multi-mineral blend ideal to support protein synthesis.

I've created my GROW! formula to be the ideal supplement for those seeking muscle growth. I've studied the science and formulated a product that contains the macronutrients you'd want from a meal (proteins and protein-sparing carbs), the micronutrients necessary for growth, and the supplemental compounds that can act as aids. If your aim is muscle growth, I guarantee GROW! will help you pack on the pounds, help to increase your workout intensity, and contribute to your strength. No scientific double talk. No andro-supro-bubblymubbly. Just quality nutrients put together in a delicious tasting formula guaranteed to be the most valuable muscle growth supplement you ever try.

The Missing Element

Oh, I mentioned there's one more element. It's not an element for which people typically think they have to be proactive. The missing element is Recovery. Ideally the human body alternates periods of stress with periods of recovery. In today's world, emotional stress, job pressures, traffic, and family obligations all pile up to make recovery more challenging. We need to make certain our workouts are ideal, but we also need to provide our bodies with nutrition and downtime to allow for recovery. Try to get at least 7, ideally 8 hours of sleep nightly. If possible, a 30 minute nap during the day can also help recovery. You also can benefit greatly by taking advantage of the post-workout window of opportunity to refuel glycogen stores. Another product works hand in hand with GROW! It's called RELOAD! The Recovery Formula.

That's it. That wraps it up. I know the secrets aren't as sexy or as mystical as many of the supplement sellers promise. I also know the secrets are real, they work, and they will work for you! GROW!

[ Order GROW! ] [ Find out more about GROW! ]
[ Find out more about Recovery ] [ Find out more about RELOAD! ]
[ Order GROW! and RELOAD and get a Special Savings! ]
[ Read "The Two Week Strength & Growth Phenomenon" ]
[ Read "The 8 Basic Resistance Training Movements" ]


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