By Scott H. Mendelson and Eric Serrano, MD

Q&A 1:

Scott, I feel great so far following the Power Fat Loss plan from your article earlier this year. I have lost about 12 lbs of fat, which is a record for me in such a short period of time. I haven’t had any decline in strength either. I’m doing some testing soon, and I think there may even be some increases in my totals. Anyway, the problem that I’m having is with hunger on certain days. I can’t figure out why the days differ. Any tips? JT

JT, I’m glad you’re doing well, and yes, there are a few items to consider when trying to curb hunger. Make sure your dietary fiber intake, especially from vegetables, is consistently high each day along with the essential fats such as olive oil and alpha omega. For some reason, these items are easily overlooked during daily eating because they are new habits for many. Also, consider that on days when you train, your energy needs increase. I’m going to bet that within a couple hours of your workout you notice an increased level of hunger, which is not a bad thing. On training days, increase your portions by 10–15 percent and see how this impacts your hunger levels.

Q&A 2:

Scott, great article. It was easy even for a dummy like me to follow and lose fat. I have been a big fan of using amino acids for years, and I started the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis that you recommended a couple weeks ago. In the example plan, you suggest taking them before and after training. Can I drink them during my training? It would seem to me that the fuel would get to the muscles during the workout and be helpful. However, is my logic correct? Can I take some extra 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis between meals if I get hungry and am not near any food? James from Chicago, IL

Yes, it is James. There is some flexibility within the timing, but I would strongly suggest that you start sipping the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis powder combination 30 minutes before the workout to prime the body for exercise. It will provide vital fuel and will lower stress hormones. Dr. Serrano and I have observed great progress in strength levels with this tactic in addition to increased rates of body composition improvement. You can continue to sip during the workout or take the second dosage right after training. Either way, you will be in great shape.

Amino loading between meals is a good way to combat hunger and low energy. Absolutely use them between meals because this also has a positive impact on metabolic rate and recovery times.

Q&A 3:

Sticking to any diet has been a challenge that has always knocked me down the stairs after a week or two. It feels hopeless at times because I am 15 lbs over my weight class right now. I hate to say it, but I give into the cravings at least a couple times per week and go wild until I am full like a balloon. What can I do to stay on track? Tyler

Tyler, beating the cravings beast is 90 percent mental. There’s no way around it. You just have to man up. The most successful people that I work with have two common traits—they have a sense of urgency to attack goals TODAY and they are very consistent with their programs even if roadblocks at times knock them off course. Inevitably, you will be knocked off course for a variety of reasons. You must get back on the horse as soon as possible. Do not let a short interruption snow ball into a wasted week. The longer you practice the right eating habits, the easier it gets to stay with the routine. You did not pack on those 15 lbs of fat overnight so do not expect to get rid of them in a couple of weeks.

Q&A 4:

Dr. Serrano, I’m one of those guys who are really lean. I want to eat and supplement to maximize strength. My body weight is fine because I don’t want to move up in class right now. What would you suggest that I eat in regards to macronutrient ratios and the number of meals to achieve these goals? Thanks, Thomas

Thomas, I would eat 6–7 meals per day, but they do not all have to be sit down meals. Try to find some things you can eat quickly on the go such as chicken breasts, nuts, organic jerky, and 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis. A 40 percent dietary fat, 40 percent protein, and 20 percent carbohydrate profile should work well to help you gain size without increasing body fat. Obviously, the quality of the foods you eat will play a large role in how quickly you progress. You can afford to have a high carb intake following training. Go for fruits, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and rice. Start with 0.5 g of carbs per pound of body weight split over the two meals following training.

You can base the total food intake on 1.5 g of protein per lean pound of body weight. The other ratios fall into place from there, but if you are not gaining muscle efficiently, then bump up to 2 g of protein per pound of body weight while keeping the same macronutrient percentages above.

Q&A 5:

Dr. Serrano, I have always been conditioned to think that carbohydrates are needed for energy. However, after reading the article that Scott Mendelson wrote, I’m rethinking things. I’m a powerlifter interested in max strength only. How much carbohydrate intake do I need? I compete at 242 and usually go from 250 a week or so before to make weight, which drains me. I’m thinking that if I’m leaner, I will have an easier time for the next contest. Lastly, does the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis somehow replace carbohydrate intake? Thanks, Bo of Pittsburgh, PA

Bo, yes, carbohydrates are needed for quick energy. However, even during a period of low carb intake, there are reserves within the muscles and liver. For those who have a moderate to high carb intake, their glycogen levels are probably pretty high. A person consuming low carbs for a while can see a quick increase in strength by eating some carbs before training. But don’t over do it or you will get very tired during training. In the 1990s when I was competing, a low carb plan was used. I would carb load once per week with great results.

I agree that if you can avoid cutting a lot of weight before the meet your performance will improve so it pays to get lean in advance. Once per week try 0.5 g of carbs per pound of body weight during a meal following training. On the other days, keep your carb intake at 0.25 g per pound or lower to maximize fat burning.

Yes, I designed the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis to help with maximal strength levels by giving the muscles what they need in a rapid fashion. This is especially helpful for those using a low carb plan.

Q&A 6:

Dr. Serrano, why is it that the alpha omega works so well to make my joints feel better? With no other changes in my program, my elbows and knees feel ten times better. I have tried every joint supplement out there and did not gain much benefit.

The combination of the fat sources and the corresponding ratios I have developed are the keys to success. My goal was to bring many important factors into balance, and without boring you with tons of medical mumbo jumbo, I will tell you that I’m not completely satisfied yet. However, this is a big step in the right direction.