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Health and fitness: Hi Acho,

I have made good muscle gains, but now my progress has stalled. I have a few questions:

1. Is it better to train in the 6 to 8 repetition ranges or 10 to 12 repetition ranges with shorter rest periods? 

2. I have little knowledge on supplements, should I take a whey protein, BCAA or beta alanine? 

3. Your advice to make further muscle gains? 

Tobgyel 

Hi Tobgyel,

1. The most common and safest repetition range for building as much muscle as possible are between 8 to 20 repetition ranges. But since we are all individuals, our results will vary doing different repetition range, so through trial and error you must find what works best for you.

It’s rare but there are individuals that work with 6 repetition per set and put on a lot of muscle, when for most people working in that repetition range will only experience strength gains with minimum size gains.

2. The only advantage supplements have over real food is convenience, it’s easy to carry, prepare, consume and it comes in so many flavours that one cannot complain of getting fed up! BCAA and beta alanine are all amino acids that are available in and all animal sources of protein like meat, eggs, milk, etc so taking extra from supplements are useless and a waste of money.

For vegetarian bodybuilders, supplements are absolutely necessary to fill in the missing amino acids that vegetable source of protein does not have. Unless and until the body does not get essential amino acids in the right quantities, one cannot repair and build muscle optimally.

So my personal advice is to use supplements only when you are unable to consume enough food or you are unable to find food.

3. Our body loves homeostasis, no matter what you do to, it will adapt.

Every time your results stagnant, you need to change some factor of your training or nutrition. You can increase the intensity of your working sets by doing advance techniques like drop set, super high repetition training, forced repetitions, isometric holds, super slow negatives, increase weight and do less repetitions, etc. Change your choice of exercise or try new exercise you have never done before by changing the sequence of your exercise, rest more or less between sets to shock your system.

Above all, never ever compromise the quality of the execution of your exercise at any cost, it’s not worth it, you may impress gym rats, but you are setting yourself for injury and lack of results, also you will appear a big fool to those who are well experienced and educated on training. As we get bigger in size, our body would require more fuel, which means more protein, more carbohydrates and more healthy fats, you can’t expect to eat the same and keep growing.

Bottom line is some factor of your training or nutrition must change if you hope to see and experience continued progress.

All the best! 

Tshering Dorji (three times Mr Bhutan winner), is a certified fitness trainer and specialist in performance nutrition

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