How Training, Nutrition, And Eating Frequency Affect Overall Health And Body Composition Pt 2
This is a continuation of my previous article, "How Training, Nutrition, And Eating Frequency Affect Overall Health And Body Composition." Click here to read part 1.
Let's dive into the supplements.
Creatine is an amino acid. Not a steroid, not a drug. It's one of the most heavily studied supplements on the market and extremely safe.
There's a ton of scientific literature on creatine. Here are some of the most interesting benefits to people interested in fitness:
- Helps muscle cells produce more energy
- Supports many other functions in muscles
- Improves high-intensity exercise performance
- Speeds up muscle growth
- May help with Parkinson's disease
- May fight other neurological diseases
- May lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes
- Can improve brain function
- May reduce fatigue and tiredness
- Safe and easy to use
Practically speaking, I've found creatine incredibly useful for virtually every single type of workout I've ever done. Weight training, cardio, Muay Thai - they have all been improved with creatine.
Some people will recommend a "loading" phase of 25g a day, but I've never done that. I get enough of a kick from 5g, I can only imagine what 25g would do.
Creatine will give you a "puffy" look because it makes your muscles retain water. But in my experience the performance and cognitive benefits are worth it.
It also makes you 2-3x thirstier, so keep that in mind if you're fasting, doing cardio and sweating a lot, or spending a lot of time in hot weather.
Also, make sure you get micronized creatine instead of creatine monohydrate. It's known to cause "digestion issues," meaning it'll make you shit like an elephant if you take too much.
Micronized creatine seems to minimize this effect.
Noopept (and other racetams)
Supplements and nootropics have become somewhat of a hobby to me.
For 35 year old boomers like me who don't have the stomach for Adderal-induced hangovers and the potential legal repurcussions that come with most narcotics, yet still want something that will give us an extra boost, nootropics are the way to go.
Defined as substances that improve cognition, nootropics have evolved into a somewhat popular subculture, complete with various gray area marketplaces that operate somewhere between the dark web and the clearnet.
Most of these substances fall under the "unregulated" category of scheduling in the United States. They're not scheduled substances like marijuana and cocaine, but they're also not supplements like whey protein and creatine.
While a lot of these nootropics ("noots" for short) are sold openly on the internet, they have limitations on how they can be marketed because of legal concerns.
Despite the fact that noopept is a prescribed medication in Russia for some cognitive disorders, it hasn't been submitted to the FDA for any medical or dietary use.
With its patent long since expired, it's unlikely that any one company is going to do so either. Why would they spend billions on studies just to open up the market to anyone enterprising enough to order mass quantities from Chinese labs?
Anyway, noopept is one of current favorite nootropics. Not only does it have an extremely effective minimum dose (only 10 mg), but its effects on cognition and energy are incredible.
Here are some of the anecdotally reported effects of noopept:
- Increased memory (good for studying)
- Increased energy
- Increased verbal fluency (helpful for social situations and writing long articles)
- Offers the benefits of piracetam without having to swallow 4g of disgusting powder
- Helps recover faster from alcohol-induced hangovers
So what does noopept actually do? Here's the facts according to Nootropedia:
Considered vastly more potent than piracetam and other memory enhancing smart drugs, noopept is currently used as a potent prescription drug for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other age related cognitive decline in countries like Russia and the former Soviet Union.
Although derived in 1996, noopept has much evidence to suggest efficacy for improving cognitive abilities and memory. According to one study, noopept is 1000 times more potent than piracetam, which is why the recommended dosage is so small. Noopept improves memory by increasing brain chemicals called BDNF and through other means.
Despite noopept’s purpose to improve memory and prevent cognitive decline, one of the main benefits of noopept is anti-anxiety and mood enhancement. A study concluded that noopept was more effective than piracetam as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and helped with feelings of irritability. Even further, noopept has been implicated in reducing depression, which might make it a useful (and safer) option than other currently prescribed options. This hasn’t been thoroughly tested, however.
Beyond mood enhancement, there are many benefits of noopept. Primary among these is memory enhancement through brain chemicals called NGF and BDNF. These brain chemicals help act as fertilizer for the brain to create new connections and memories.
Many of these same properties make noopept beneficial for preventing cognitive decline. In countries like Russia, the drug is used as a prescription to treat Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and age related cognitive decline. One of the primary mechanisms (beyond NGF and BDNF) are benefits for acetylcholine processes.
Another benefit of noopept is how well-tolerated the drug is despite high potency. You can take a strong and impactful smart drug while still feeling safe.
Finally, this drug can be a powerful psychostimulant (concentration / focus enhancer) as well. There is some evidence noopept excites neurons, but more research is needed to confirm this as a main benefit of noopept.
In my experience, I also have much better workouts when taking noopept.
The first time I took it, I remember going to a nearby park to run some sprints and I legit felt like I was flying. Not only did it take me longer to get winded, but I felt like my movements were more fluid. Almost like there were strings attached to my body and moving me like a marionette.
I'm currently taking it 3-4 times a day (only lasts a few hours) for productivity. This entire article was written on a combination of Wellbutrin (coming up next), noopept, agmatine, and phenibut.
Wellbutrin - the brand name of the generic Bupropion - is a drug commonly prescribed as a smoking-cessation aid.
It was also prescribed for depression back in the day, although it seems to have fallen out of favor in the past 10 years in favor of newer drugs.
I was prescribed Wellbutrin when I was an angsty 20 year old and didn't want to do anything. I was young and angry at the world for not providing me with any appealing challenges other than "get a degree" and "get a job."
After failing every class during my first semester at the University of Arizona (I never went to class), I moved back in with my parents. They took me to see a shrink and he diagnosed me with depression.
Our session went something like this:
Shrink: "How are you?"
Me: "I'm fine."
Shrink: "Really? You seem depressed."
Me: "No. I'm not."
Shrink: "Hmmmm. I'm writing you a prescription for Wellbutrin. It should help with your depression.
Me: "But I'm not dep-"
Shrink: "Thanks. That'll be $250. NEXT!"
Even though I resisted it every step of the way, but eventually started taking the pills.
I had just enrolled in a local community college and started back at the gym. With the introduction of the new drug, I noticed a few interesting changes in these environments.
I had always hated school and found it boring as shit. I could never understand why I had to learn about obscure topics that didn't seem to have anything to do with real life.
I never took notes, turned in low-effort projects, and only sometimes did my homework - somehow managing to skate by with passing grades just because I was (and still am) a good test-taker.
But with Wellbutrin, I would walk into class, sit in the front row and obediently write down everything the teacher said like I was getting paid by the word. I took an interest in what they were saying, even raising my hand to ask questions and participate in class.
It was all completely effortless.
In fact now that I think about it, it was like the marionette effect of noopept but even stronger. It was almost like I was being guided by the drug itself.
I even felt stronger at the gym, but it was a disassociated kind of strength. It wasn't that my muscles were stronger per se, but almost like I had more control over them. I remember watching myself do bicep curls (I was into bodybuilding back then), watching my arms in awe and thinking, I don't even feel like I'm lifting this. How is this happening?
I eventually stopped taking it when I got into raving and taking ecstasy every weekend because I read that it would interfere with serotonin release and dampen the effects. Not the brightest idea in hindsight, but 35 year old me is bad enough. Try telling that to 20 year old me.
I ended up taking a break from the drug until I was going through some shit back in LA. I had stopped working with my friend at the PPC agency and was feeling some of the same despondency that I had felt back then. I decided to try Wellbutrin again, thinking maybe it would help.
It did. A lot.
It made the Uber driving less unbearable. I had transitioned from Crossfit to yoga at this point and it helped there as well. That combined with the appetite suppressant effects meant that I dropped about 15 lbs.
When I was driving for Uber, I remember upping my dose from 150 mg a day to 300 and noticing that my verbal banter with passengers was instantly improved. The right words would just come out of my mouth without me even having to think about them.
I still take 300 mg a day and am kind of scared to think what life would be without it.
I don't think I can outright recommend it to you without breaking some law, but for me it is #1 when it comes to mental health.
Cerebrolysin and Cortexin
Two drugs I doubt you've heard of unless you're deep in the nootropics game with way too much expendable income to spend on experimental drugs. But if you're looking to improve your cognitive ability, these two are the GOAT.
That said, you probably aren't ever going to take them for a few reasons:
- Cerebrolysin and Cortexin are substances extracted from the brains of pigs and cows, respectively
- Cerebrolysin needs to be administered via intramuscular injections
- They're both expensive (CRB is $400/month and Cortexin is a bit less)
Back when I was living in LA, just before my Uber-driving-loser phase, I was making bank running a PPC agency with a friend of mine.
It was more money that I knew what to do with, so I did what any nouveau riche nootropics enthusiast would: I placed an order with a Chinese chemical producer that I found off Alibaba and placed a $1500 order.
The idea was that I was going to start a nootropics website and start selling the powders to turn a profit.
This idea quickly fell apart as I realized that my 1 bedroom apartment wasn't exactly the type of place you want to be running a nootropics company out of. Sanitary considerations aside, it's probably not a good idea to have literal kilos of white powder in unmarked plastic bags... just in case.
I ended up sending 2/3 of it back (the Chinese company actually refunded me the money) and kept the rest.
I had always been interested in Cerebrolysin because in the nootropics community it's generally hailed as the king of cognitive enhancers. It's prescribed in other countries for stroke victims and Alzheimer's patients and I figured if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.
The general recommendation is to do a "cycle" of 5 days on and 2 days off and do 2-3 cycles before taking a few months off.
So naturally I decided to just order the max dose and take it every day indefinitely. I even ordered some massive 23 gauge 1.5 inch needles to perform the injections. Cerebrolysin comes in little glass containers called ampules which need to be broken open in order for the liquid to be pulled into the syringe.
I was nervous about injecting something as I always associated injections with junkies. But the more I learned about it, the more I realized that injections are just another delivery method - just like swallowing a pill. Some substances can't cross the blood-brain barrier, which means that a pill just won't work.
I did a ton of research before my first injection. I won't bore you with the details now, but suffice to say that my nervousness evaporated after the first time I pinned myself. I remember thinking... that's it?
Some people can't get over the stigma of needles. I completely understand. But if you've actually made it this far then you can probably tell that I don't let silly things like stigma and groupthink get in the way of trying new things like injecting pig brains into my ass.
The effects of CRB and CXN are very subtle at first and build over time. At first I didn't notice anything and felt very disappointed.
But as the days went on, I started to feel more and more effects. More energy, more hunger, and verbal fluency up the wazoo.
I remember one day after working out I came home and made some oatmeal and eggs to eat. I would normally have around a half cup of oatmeal and two eggs as a recovery meal and then eat a big meal at night (one of the brief periods where I wasn't doing OMAD).
Ten minutes after finishing it I was hungry again so I made another bowl. And another. And another. And then another. An hour later I had finished an entire carton of eggs and way too much oatmeal and was still kind of hungry. I couldn't even figure out why until it hit me - it was the Cerebro.
There are some reports of professional athletes "doping" with it (which I could totally believe), but for an extra $400 and the inconvenience of sticking a 1.5 inch needle into your leg or assmeat every day for the rest of your life... is it really worth it?
Right after creatine started getting popular, there was a supplement that came out called NO2. This was just before online shopping was a thing, so most of us still got our supplements from places like GNC.
The big thing about N02 was that anyone who spent $70 for a bottle of the stuff would get a 50 page book that explained how to use it. It had workout routines, dosage recommendations, and scientific explanations that went into gory detail on why No2 worked as well as it did.
The basic premise was that it would expand your blood vessels and increase the amount of nitric oxide in your blood. The idea was that the more nitric oxide (written as NO2) you had in your blood, the longer your blood vessels would stay dilated and the longer your "pump" would last after the gym.
In fact that was one of their main selling points: a "permanent pump."
But I followed the protocol and I'll be damned if my muscles didn't get bigger, harder, and stay that way.
Eventually people identified the main active ingredient as AAKG - arginine-alpha-ketoglutarate - which is now available for a fraction of the price as bulk powder. Thank you internet.
But this "nitric oxide" thing stayed with me until a few years later when I discovered L-arginine and later agmatine.
L-arginine is an amino acid that - you guessed it - is responsible for increasing levels of nitric oxide in the blood. I took this briefly when I lived in Israel as it was somewhat effective at giving a pump, but nothing like agmatine.
Agmatine is a metabolite of arginine, meaning that it's one of the substances that's released when your body breaks down arginine. Different metabolites are responsible for different actions in the body, and apparently agmatine is responsible for this effect and the illustrious nitric oxide working its magic.
Not only does it give you a sick pump that stays all day, but it also has an anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) when you take it.
Studies have also shown that it helps to increase pain tolerance similar to much stronger drugs like Oxycontin.
Anecdotally speaking, when I take agmatine I notice that I have much more strength in the gym. Aesthetically, the pump doesn't hurt either. But the main improvement would be how it seems to improve the effectiveness of other drugs.
If you'll allow me to get a little bro-sciencey on you for a moment, I would say that the dilation of the blood vessels improves your circulation well enough that whatever drugs you have in your blood get transported to your brain more efficiently, giving a greater effect overall.
Is that really what happens? No idea. But it works and that's good enough for me.
Agmatine also has lots of studies on it. Refer to Examine.com for more details.
One of the things I ordered and decided to keep from my shady Chinese chemical factory was a virtually unheard-of substance called C60 Fullerene. Also known as Buckminster Fullerene or "Buckyballs," this is a type of carbon that is often used in nanotechnology.
Back in 1993, French scientists wanted to test the toxicity of Buckyballs, believing them to be toxic. They created a study with 3 groups of rats.
- One group was given nothing (control)
- A second group was given olive oil (variable)
- The third group was given C60 dissolved into olive oil
They assumed that the rats given the C60 would die sooner than the other variable and control group.
Surprisingly, the rats given the C60 lived twice as long as the rats given only the olive oil. The rats given the water obviously died first.
Anyone who has had pet rats know that the worst thing about them is that they live short lives. The average rat lifespan is only 2-3 years. The rats in this study that were given the C60 lived for nearly 6 years. It's virtually unheard of for rats to live that long.
So, being the plucky little experimental nouveau riche future-Uber driver that I was, I decided to recreate the study with my favorite lab rat: myself.
I even bought a magnetic mixer from Amazon which I used to mix the oil with the C60. Apparently the scientists didn't want to heat the oil to speed up the absorption, so they used a magnetic mixer to essentially stir it 24h a day until it was totally dissolved. I let mine run for a few weeks before finally deciding to try my first dose.
Anecdotally, I noticed that I was able to inexplicably put up more weight in the gym than before.
At that time I was doing Crossfit workouts and the WoD was for heavy squats. I loaded up the bar with 265 lbs - much more than I was used to doing for reps - and proceeded to do a few unassisted reps without a spotter. Nothing too incredible, but prior to that my 1 RM was only 235 - and I hadn't tested that in weeks.
A double digit jump like that in only a few weeks was strange, even accounting for the gains made from the intensity of self-adminstered Crossfit workouts.
Since I had ordered 10 grams of the stuff, I bought a few bottles of California-grown olive oil from Trader Joe's and mixed up what I had left. I used it for everything I could think of: moisturizing my skin, conditioning my hair, cooking endless amounts of shakshuka... anything that could used with olive oil, I used the C60 oil.
On forums, people report similar effects. I remember reading some reports on Longecity about how a guy who hadn't done any exercise in years and was a heavy smoker took some C60oo and pushed himself to run a few miles. Another man said that he started regrowing hair on his bald spot.
There are a few more studies popping up about C60 and as far as I recall there are no reports of people dropping dead after taking it. But of course, do your own research.
While I was in the life extension research wormhole, I found a list by the Life Extension Foundation that listed the top 10 substances thought to increase lifespan. The top substance was human growth hormone.
HGH, only bioavailable through injections, is commonly abused by bodybuilders to help them put on size in a short amount of time.
In LA we have lots of life extension clinics that will prescribe low dose HGH for "anti-aging" purposes. They charge thousands of dollars for something that can be ordered from China for a fraction of the cost, mainly because of the reputation that HGH has.
HGH is a peptide hormone that stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration. Think of it like a magical substance that flows through your body and fixes everything that doesn't work properly. That's obviously an oversimplified explanation of what it does, but do you really care about the science behind it?
What's that? You do? Well guess what, you're just going to have to Google that on your own. Because this thing has just passed 10,000 words and I have an uncancelable appointment with a nearby Thai beach that I can't get out of.
Anyway, MK677 - also known as Ibutamoren - is known as a growth-hormone secretagogue. In other words, it stimulates your body to produce more growth hormone during the natural spikes of GH release that your body produces throughout the day.
In the article The Beauty Of Modern Science: Ibutamoren (MK-677), the author writes:
Growth hormone is the real worlds fountain of youth. It makes you stronger, leaner, healthier, improves skin and hair, and possibly even smarter.
Although, growth hormone has not been studied as a cognitive enhancer in healthy adults, it is naturally highest during life periods with the highest rate of cognitive development; even more importantly it has been found to improve cognition in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Growth hormone is undoubtedly a staple hormone in our physical development, providing the signal for our muscles to grow and proliferate; creating more muscle cells to mature and strengthen.
The issue with GH supplementation is 1) people are afraid of needles, and 2) excessive GH can result on acromealgy - a gross disease where the bones in your skull and hands continue to grow.
With MK677, this isn't an issue fore a few reasons. One, MK677 is not exogenous growth hormone - it doesn't come from outside the body. It's just a substance that makes your body produce more endogenous growth hormone.
Second, the science shows that the effect of MK677 is that it increases frequency of the body's natural low GH pulses. Not the amplitutde of the pulses themselves.
Regardless of the reason they conducted this following study, they found that MK-677 increase the frequency of low amplitude GH pulses, not the amplitude of individual pulses. I included this citation because there’s a limit to how hard we can push our internal organs, and the fact that MK-677 can be effective without pushing the body past it’s natural set-point is why it’s so well tolerated.
The best part? Long term use (2+ years) is well tolerated and the more often it is used, the more effective it becomes.
Anecdotally, I've found that MK677 is unparalleled when it comes to wound healing.
Over the years I've gotten some mild to moderate injuries from physical training - whether it's a strained back from trying to deadlift too much without warming up or a sprained toe from accidentally walking into an exposed pipe with flip flops, I've noticed that MK677 cuts my healing time at least in half.
In fact, I remember one time training in LA where I felt myself pull a muscle in my hamstring. I would normally warm up with one-handed kettlebell swings, but for some reason decided to use one in each hand without reducing the weight. A few reps in, I felt my hamstring pull and hobbled over to one of the Nautilus machines to collect myself.
Back then, working out was pretty much the highlight of my day. I was incredibly worried that a pulled hamstring would lay me up for at least a few weeks. So I sat on the machine and willed myself to heal instantly.
Five minutes later, I got up and continued working out with no sign of an injury. I was taking MK677 and C60 at the time (and probably a ton of other stuff), but over the years every time I have an injury I'll strategically dose MK677 for a few days/weeks and the injury heals unreasonably quickly.
The side effects are annoying but manageable - increased hunger and fatigue. They are annoying, especially when you take it in the morning, but if you have something to balance out the fatigue and are training hard enough to offset the increased hunger, you should be alright.
There's so much more I could say about fitness. I really didn't intend for this to be so long (the original post was 12k words but had to be split because of Steemit's post size limits). And all I really wanted to do was make a short and practical guide to getting in shape that wouldn't require too much thinking. Looks like I just got carried away.
But let's sum it up:
- Train like athletes you want to look like
- Eat mostly meat and other natural foods. Avoid processed foods
- Eat a large meal once per day to control insulin levels. Do 1-2 fasts per week of 48-72 hours if you're looking to cut weight. Fasting is fine, you won't die.
Don't trust the medical/pharmaceutical industry because most of them are mainly interested in not getting sued. Helping people is only a secondary consideration.
Supplements I would recommend but am not directly recommending because some idiot on here will probably kill themselves and I'll get prosecuted:
- C60 Fullerene
Finally, I would like to say that the most important thing to remember when it comes to fitness and health in general is that you need to take every piece of advice, every infographic, every YouTube video that you see with a grain of salt.
The fitness and health industry is one of the most polluted industries out there because human beings are so vain and lazy that they'll do anything to get what they want without having to work for it.
Quick fixes, magical remedies and simple explanations are everywhere because people just want the quick soundbyte that they can store in their memory (reduced to 7 seconds thanks to the internet) so they can go back to scrolling through their Facebook feed.
Yes, this means you too. Especially if you're fat and out of shape.
It doesn't mean you're a bad person or even necessarily lazy. That would be convenient to say and would definitely make me feel better about my own personal obsession with fitness, but it's just not true.
If you're not fit, the truth is that you don't have a strong enough reason to be fit. And we can replace "fit" with "rich" or "popular" or any other adjective that refers to a desired state of existence that we fantasize about.
I like to use what I call "The Gun Method" to determine this.
If someone held a gun to your head and said, "I'm going to kill you unless you lose 20 lbs this month/get visible abs/bench press 400 lbs," you would do it.
Maybe some of you don't want to live. Or maybe the thought of a premature death sounds more appealing than physical exercise, in which case The Gun Method wouldn't work for you.
Perhaps even more effective is the Shame Method.
Snake Diet Guy uses this in his Facebook group - he'll require new people to post before photos of themselves in only their underwear and a paragraph about why they want to lose the weight. Then he makes you add as many of your friends and family to the group until Facebook locks the feature for you.
Take two identical people who are trying to lose weight:
One of them doesn't tell anyone, or maybe just casually mentions it to a friend over lunch.
The second one gets that same friend to take revealing pictures of them from all angles in their underwear, posts those pictures in a Facebook group with 300,000 people, and then invites everyone they know to see the post and judge them for their fatness, perceived lack of discipline, and gag-inducing body.
Who do you think is more likely to succeed in losing the weight and improving their health?
When people ask me how to lose weight, my stock response is that they should move close to a beach. Cities that have a beach culture generally also have populations that are less overweight and sexier.
Places like Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, Miami are all known for the attractive people that live there. Is it a coincidence that they're all on the coast?
But getting back to the point, fitness is not a thing you do once and then stop doing. In fact, the way I like to think of fitness isn't that you have to do all these new things but rather the opposite: you have to stop a bunch of bad habits.
- Stop eating processed junk
- Stop going days without exercising
- Stop letting your body deteriorate from lack of use
- Stop allowing yourself to be around people who enable your unhealthy habits and behaviors
Cut those things out and you'll have a much easier time of it.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment question.
Support me on Patreon
Also, if you got some use out of this guide I'd ask you to consider donating to my Patreon page. Despite my natural proclivity for business and modesty, I've decided that I'd rather spend all my time just creating content instead of exchanging money for information.
I wrote the first draft of this article in a single day and the words just poured out of me. I could easily turn it into an ebook and sell it for a couple bucks, but that just seems so shortsighted to me. I'd rather just give it away and start on the next one.
What I want to do is use the money from the Patreon account to fund all the extra stuff that goes into creating content. For example, I'd like to turn this behemoth into an animated explainer video that I narrate and can hand off to some Filipino and pay them $200 to do it for me instead of taking 20 hours to do it myself.
It's not like I don't have $200 to hire someone to do it, but I want to see if we can do it this way. I was listening to Robert Greene's "Laws Of Human Nature" the other day and he talks about finding your purpose by identifying the things you do where the time seems to pass without you realizing it... the only two things I could come up with were writing and selling hair straighteners.
My first choice would be the writing.
So if you enjoyed this and want to support me, please consider supporting me on Patreon. There are some incentives on there for contributors like gaining some creative control of the content that I produce, i.e. picking topics for articles, getting personalized questions answered, etc.
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