Rules of Productive Weight Training for The Drug-Free Trainee

So you’re just starting out! No doubt, you’ve got conflicting advice coming at you from all directions – and you can’t figure out who, or what, to believe! Well, I’ve been at this for 18 years, and in that time I’ve helped hundreds of beginners …maybe even more. I know what you need to know, and I know what you don’t need to know. In this two-part series I’m going lay the truth out for you in clear, down-to-earth fashion. So, relax and let’s build you a strong foundation of knowledge to take to the gym.Before I get into the ‘meat’ of the article let me relate to you a little experience I had in the gym a little while ago. I’ll tell you this because you’ll probably be able to relate to the situation.

I had just finished my last exercise for the day, was changing my shoes and drinking my shake, when this skinny little guy comes up to me and says, “Do you know how to do a Deadlift?” “Yes”, I replied. “Can you show me?”, he says. So I agreed and off we went – over to where he was Deadlifting. When I got there he had already loaded up the bar (with a 10 pound plate on each side) and started to go through the motions for me. His form was pretty shakey – he was having trouble keeping a safe arch in his back (he had obvious inflexibility problems in his hips and hamstrings). Now, having performed and witnessed thousands of deadlifts in my lifetime, I knew his situation intimately …I’d seen it many times before and I knew the “cure”. But just as I was about to speak, some guy, who was even skinnier than him, cut me off and started explaining to him the finer points of Deadlift technique and training. Now, most of what he was saying was just about dead-on, but it was very obvious from his physique that he hadn’t spent too much time Deadlifting, if you know what I mean. Still, his instructions on form were sound so I didn’t feel like I had to add anything. Over the next half-hour, or so, the two went over all the finer points of Deadlifting technique and the various assistance exercises that the new trainee should be doing – with me watching patiently and putting in my 2 cents worth every now and then.

As time went on, more and more important practicalities of training were being left out of the sage’s advice. One thing became more and more apparent: This ‘instructor’ hadn’t lifted a weight in his life. He was well-read on all the latest texts that his obvious Phys Ed schooling had prescribed, and he had done his homework well, but he didn’t have a clue about real-world lifting. He made suggestions that were, clearly, straight from an arm-chair expert who had read one too many texts and lifted way too few weights. He had no idea of how to correct the problems that the new guy had, and he didn’t have the foggiest about constructing a practical training routine for the real world. In short, all his knowledge was useless because he lacked the practical experience to put it into context. Too much reading, too little doing. I later found out that he was the new resident ‘physical trainer’ for the gym – but that would be typical.

Don’t get the impression that I’m against scientific research and how it applies to bodybuilding (or powerlifting, or weightlifting, etc.). In fact, many people think of my writing as having a clear scientific leaning. In truth, I have degrees in physics, mathematics and engineering (and shortly a PhD). I’ve written numerous papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented papers at conferences around the world. I make my living from science in it’s highest form …so I’m not “anti-science” by any stretch. However, the “science” of weight training will never take the place of in-the-gym experience. And that’s what too few ‘experts’ seem to have …experience. Hey, you can read about boxing all you want, but that doesn’t qualify you to get in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko.

So what am I going to do for you? Well, I’m going to tell you straight. Not what I read from just a book or in a research paper (though, believe me, I’ve read a few) but what I’ve had hammered into me through over 15 years of unbreakable devotion to weight training; what I’ve seen other people go through and what I’ve learned from people who have gone before me. I’m not making any money from this, and the only reason I’m telling you this is because I remember, myself, what it was like to be stumbling around in the dark. So, let’s get into the Rules of Productive Weight Training for the Drug-free Trainee.

Rule #1: Don’t Be Mislead by 99% of What You Read in Books, Magazines and on the Internet

The vast majority of what’s in popular print is, for the most part, useless to you. Worse than that, it’ll do your training life immense harm if you take much of it too seriously. The fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Do you really think that the guy’s who make a fortune from this are concerned with your gains? No, they are not. Most of them are probably fat businessmen who go to board meetings and discuss what they can do to get this quarter’s profits up. To them, you are simply a potential customer. Think about it, how do they get your attention? They hire some professional bodybuilder to say that he got great gains from their product (training program or supplements) and they photograph him with some half-naked, big-breasted girl hanging on his arm. In reality, he probably never even used their product and even if he did, he takes so many steroids and anabolic drugs that almost any program would work for him and supplements are irrelevant. But all the advertisers are concerned with is getting you to give them your money for their latest book or magazine or “breakthrough discovery”, or whatever they happen to be selling.

Every few months new gimmics come out and are pushed heavily in the magazines and on the internet because gimmics sell. People simply don’t want to see and read the same old things month after month, year after year. The newest “wrinkle” is what sells, and sales are what the ‘industry’ is all about. Even the genuine articles, which could be helpful to drug-free beginners, quickly get lost and overwhelmed amongst the sensationalism and material aimed at much more experienced lifters. A beginner simply cannot tell what’s appropriate for him and what isn’t …and if an author doesn’t specifically say that his advice is for beginners, then it’s not. Training for beginners is a very special case, and 99% of what’s printed in magazines and on the internet is not appropriate for beginners.

Another thing. You are not Jay Cutler or Ronnie Coleman or Arnold Schwarzenegger. The things that those men do to their bodies in training would destroy yours. Why is that so? Because they are taking enough drugs in a month that they’d be 250 pounds and ripped if they never even touched a weight. Seem a bit far-fetched? Well, I’ve heard of competitors spending close to $90,000 in drugs a year. Think that your body, with it’s natural hormone levels, can compare to that? If you do you’re dreaming. WAKE UP NOW, before it’s too late and you’ve spent years wasting your time following Jay Cutler’s biceps routine. It happened to me. I wasted 9 years on their drug-dependent routines. If you don’t be careful you may too.

Training approaches are very specific and different for drug-free people than they are for drug-users. People of different builds also require different training approaches (especially people that could be classified as “hard gainers”). If you want to learn how to train drug-free you have to look to the people that actually train and trained drug-free – the current drug-free champions such as Tony Montalbano and Jon Harris, and the legends of the Iron Game such as John Grimek, Tommy Kono, Steve Reeves, John Davis, etc. Think those people aren’t that big. Well, compared to Jay Cutler they aren’t. But let me tell you right now, if you want to be like Jay Cutler without turning your ass into a pin-cushion and choking down pills all day then you need a reality check. Take a look at these men. They are your measuring stick. Ain’t so bad, hey?

If you want to read some sensible bodybuilding books I can offer the following list:

– Brawn by Stuart McRobert. This is, without a doubt, one of the best and most valuable books for drug-free trainees ever published. I whole-heartedly endorse it.

– Weight-Training Technique: The Insider’s Tell-All Handbook on Weight-Training Technique by Stuart McRobert. Beginners need to learn how to do the most effective exercises safely and properly. This is the best guide.

– Building the Classic Physique the Natural Way by Steve Reeves. Reeves had one of the greatest drug-free physiques of all time. This book outlines his approach to training. Be careful though, only the most genetically gifted can tolerate his routine in its unaltered state.

– The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum. McCallum was probably the greatest muscle scribe to even put pen to paper. This book is a compilation of his classic series of articles in the old Health and Strength magazine. Of all the training books I’ve read this was the most engaging.- Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development by Brooks Kubik. A modern classic and a great read. Brooks knows his stuff and his solid advice is a worthy addition to the Iron Game.

– The Strongest Shall Survive by Bill Starr. Truly worth it’s weight in gold. Don’t let the sub-title (Strength Training for Football) put you off. This is one of the finest books ever written on how to build functional strength and muscle mass.

– Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D. A classic on how to pack on muscle as quickly as possible.

– 10-Week Size Surge by Iron Man Magazine. A solid program along the old-time, drug-free training lines …A very effective approach to training, and a very complete guide.

The vast majority of training books on the shelves today aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. I’ve read every one of the above books several times and can assure you that every one of them is worth the cost. If you have some free money and want to educate yourself about weight training don’t spend your money on crap …give your hard-earned money to the people who are actually honest enough to deserve it – go with something from the above list. They’re the wheat hidden amongst the chaff. If you don’t know where to get them you can try Ironman Books. Also, Bill Hinbern’s Super Strength Books contains some real gems and classic reprints from the pre-drug era.

Rule #2: Avoid Those Exercise Machines Like The Plague

That means no Shoulder Press machines, Cable Curls, Pec Decks, Biceps machines, etc. If you want to build the most muscle possible, as fast as possible then you will have to lift free weights. Sure, the machine manufacturers try to convince you with all kinds of so-called ‘scientific’ arguments why the machines are better, but, believe me, there are also a lot more sound scientific reasons why free weights are. And I have one reason for you right now (and it has nothing to do with lab coats and test tubes): If you spend your time on those machines you will limit your progress as compared to if you lifted free-weights. Reason enough for you? I spent YEARS wasting my time – and so have countless others. Don’t become one of those people who hits yourself in the head a little (or long) ways down the road and says, “Why didn’t I do the free-weights in the first place? Look at the time I’ve wasted!”

What makes the machines so appealing is that they are easy to learn to use, and comfortable when you do use them. But comfort is NOT what builds muscle. And what good is something being easy to learn if it’s not worth learning in the first place? The free weight movements will take longer for you to learn but you will be more than rewarded when you do. If you don’t believe me then feel free to waste your time.

Earlier I mentioned that fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry. Do you know how much those machines cost? You’d be amazed. We’re talking usually over a thousand dollars for each unit. Arthur Jones became a multi-millionaire because he invented the Nautilus line of exercise machines back in the 1970s. He used ‘scientific’ principles to hype the bejesus out of those things and they were bought all around the world. Nautilus gyms were everywhere. Their memberships were huge. The philosphy was ‘get people in, get people out.’ And the gym owners were satisfied because they were difficult to steal (free-weight theft is often a problem in city gyms). Let me ask you something, where are those Nautilus gyms now? GONE! Where is the old-fashioned barbell, though? It’s still in the corner of the gym waiting to be lifted. Don’t be a sucker.

Rule #3: Genetics DO Matter – But WHO CARES!

Some people will progress much faster than others. Some people will grow into solid chunks of muscle within a few months, while others will have to work for years to get half the gains. I’ve seen it a thousand times. And it’s not just training routine design, effort, desire or diet. If these things were all equal it would still happen. But there’s nothing you can do about it – so GET OVER IT. You can only work with what you’ve got, so do that. I’ve seen some very genetically gifted people come into the gym and pass my strength and muscle level within 6 months of steady training – and I’ve been doing this for over 15 years – but I lived. And I’ll be in the gym again tomorrow. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare.

I know it can be discouraging. I’ve already told you that you’ll never be built like Jay Cutler and now I’m telling you that the guy next to you might progress ten times faster than you. Well, take heart. Everyone can build an impressive physique. I’ve seen some pretty puny fellows put a great deal of muscle on their bones. I’ve also seen some pretty fat fellows lose the fat and build impressive physiques. I started off with both of those problems – 150 lbs overweight, weak as a rat, and with the upper body musculature of a 12-year old girl. Now, some fifteen years later, I still may not be a prime Reg Park, but I’m no fat weakling either. If you stick with it you WILL progress. And if you don’t let the industry garbage lead you down the primrose path who knows how far you can go? One thing is for sure, you won’t know until you try and you won’t get anywhere complaining about your ‘bad’ genetics.

Rule #4: Don’t Train More Often Than Three Days Per Week

“But Jay Cutler trains 6 times”, I can hear you saying. If that’s so, go back and read Rule #1 again. Unless you are very genetically gifted, you do not have the hormone levels or joint structures to train that often and progress maximally. It’s true that some advanced drug-free athletes can train 5-6 times per week but those routines are NOT appropriate for you at this stage (or maybe ever). Generally, drug-free strength athletes make their best gains when they spend more days out of the gym than in. Don’t believe me? Hey, it’s your life, do what you want – but if you don’t listen to this you’ll regret it. I’ve been there.

“But Mr. So-And-So said that he trained 5 times a week when he started out. He couldn’t have been on steroids then.” That’s right, now go back and read Rule #3. The fact that he’s Mr. So-And-So tells you that the guy’s probably got well above average genetics. He could get away with it. If you can too then you’re a lucky individual. There’s still no need to train more than 3 days per week at first. Genetically gifted people will just progress faster on that 3-day program. So, if you are genetically gifted for building muscle, a 3 day per week training program won’t hold you back. But if you are not it might make the difference between some gains and no gains.

Rule #5: Do Mostly Compound, Multi-Joint Exercises

The core of your routine should be made up of exercises that involve the use of a large mass of muscle and the movement of several joints. Those exercises stimulate a lot of muscle and cause your body to release anabolic hormones. That means stuff like Squats, Deadlifts, Bent-Over Rows, Bench Presses, Overhead Presses, Dips, Stiff-Legged Deadlifts and Chin-Ups. These are the ones that will make you grow. If you go filling your routine with single joint exercises such as Lateral Raises and Triceps Kickbacks (because you want to “isolate” this muscle or that) you will only be wasting your valuable time. Put hard work into the compound exercises, on the other hand, and you will be rewarded with the fastest muscle growth possible. And it’s not just my experience that proves this, but the experience of thousands of weight trainers throughout the years.

Rule #6: Keep Your Workouts To An Hour Or Less

There are plenty of ‘technical’ reasons for that but this is not the place to get deeply into it. Let’s just say that it’s not necessary. Weight training is not an endurance event. If you want endurance go for a jog. When I get into routine design in Part II of this series you’ll understand better.

When you get more advanced you might end up adopting longer routines (though not necessarily), but, for now, anything over an hour means you’re loafing around too much or you’re doing more work than a beginner’s body is likely able to tolerate.

Rule #7: Strive For Perfect Exercise Form

Cheating your reps builds nothing but ego – not muscle. If you have to cheat that means the weight’s too heavy for you to lift properly. Cheating does not make a muscle contract harder because you can use heavier weights. A muscle can contract only so hard and that’s that. All cheating does is bring other muscles into the movement so that you can use more weight – that’s not how to effectively train a muscle. Besides, cheating can be DANGEROUS. Proper form is safe. When you start deviating from proper form you open the door for a potentially serious injury. Even minor injuries can cause you to miss workouts – and that’s certainly not an effective way to gain muscle. When you are advanced you might want to experiment with some minor, ‘controlled’ cheating, but for now avoid it at all costs.

Rule #8: Ignore The Guy Next To You

This rule ties in closely with Rule #7 but isn’t quite the same. Here it is: Don’t be insecure. If you’re lifting this puny little weight and he’s lifting 5 times that amount (or even 100 times) WHO CARES! He’s not you, you’re not him. Don’t start cheating so you can use more weight. If he’s using bad form and cheating a lot then that’s his mistake. Remember the tortoise and the hare. If you work hard enough, long enough, and never, never, ever quit, you’ll get there too – and with proper form.

You have to swallow your ego. I had been training for almost 10 years when I decided to learn the Olympic-style Lifts (the Snatch and Clean and Jerk). I had to go from Squatting 445 pounds to Snatching 65. Do you know how foolish that made me feel (and look). Remember, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Do what’s right for your body, not your ego. And through it all remember the golden rule of drug-free weight training: HAVE PATIENCE!

Rule #9: Spend Your Money On Plenty Of Good Food – NOT The Latest Supplement

This is one of the sadest things in the Iron Game today. Those supplements did not make Lee Priest huge. Go back and read Rule #1. The fitness industry is big money. The athletes are paid to advertise those supplements. I remember cart loads of products from the 1980s (when the supplement industry really took off) up through to the present. I’ve taken most of them myself. So have my friends and people I’ve trained with and advised. Bottom line: SAVE YOUR MONEY! I know that the latest magazine says product so-and-so has been scientifically proven to increase muscle mass. Don’t listen to it! I could still turn up studies showing that anabolic steroids don’t build muscle if I had to. A lot of those studies are funded by the same companies that sell the products. That’s right, they’re paying the researchers’ checks! That should tell you something. Even the most honest studies can be misquoted and re-interpreted to sound like they’ve found the breakthrough ‘key’ to massive muscles. Believe me, I myself could describe chicken breasts so that people would be clamouring to buy them for their potent muscle building effects.

I have to prescribe one ‘supplement’ here, though, and that’s a high-potency multi-vitamin/mineral tablet. Your body needs vitamins and minerals to grow. If you’re short on just one the whole muscle growth process will be halted. So take two a day – one with breakfast and one with supper. There’s nothing wrong with a little extra vitamin C and E either. And if you’re in really hard training some extra B-Vitamins can help. I’ve found that old-fashioned desiccated liver is one of the most effective supplements there is …if enough is taken. However, keep in mind that these things can’t perform miracles. They are merely support for your in-the-gym efforts. Don’t ruin all your hard work and dedication because you didn’t swallow a little tablet a few times a day. Incidently, this is how you should view ALL supplements …as nutritional back-up for an already sound diet. Think of them as a nutritional insurance policy – nothing more.

Learn from what I’ve learned the hard way in the past. If you have some extra money spent it on some steak (or other good, high protein foods like milk, eggs, liver, yogurt, etc), not on the latest fad. Protein powder and desiccated liver are worthwhile and convenient, but they don’t perform miracles. Which leads me to the next rule…

Rule #10: Eat More Good, Nutritious Foods And High-Quality Protein

Weight Trainers need more protein than the normal individual. Each weight training session causes your muscles to be broken down and rebuilt a little stronger than they were before. If you want to progress at the fastest possible rate then you’ll need a healthy dose of daily dietary protein to fuel this process. 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day has been shown many times to be an optimum amount. Be sure you get that much, day in, day out.

How do you do that? Eat lots of stuff like eggs, milk, beef, tuna, chicken, cheese, liver, etc. Essentially, if it comes from an animal it’s good. Get yourself one of those protein counter booklets at the bookstore or supermarket and pick out some high protein, animal-based foods. Then use these to meet your protein quota. If your healthy don’t worry about the saturated fat and cholesterol in these foods. You need both to grow properly (especially since you’re drug-free).

It might be a good idea for you to buy a protein powder and some desiccated liver. Those are okay ‘supplements’, but remember this: There’s nothing that protein powder and desiccated liver can do for you that steak and eggs couldn’t. But the powder may allow you to mix up convenient shakes and it may turn out to be cheaper. Liver is an all-round worthwhile supplement because it has many nutrients important for building muscle and fueling heavy workouts. Don’t spend your money on the most expensive supplements you can get, either. Any protein powder made from whey, milk and/or eggs will do fine. Every brand of desiccated liver I’ve seen on the market is made from Argentine beef liver. Go for the cheapest ones.

You also need plenty of healthful fats, such as those found in fish and olive oil, to support and promote growth. Also, as a drug-free trainee, it’s a mistake to avoid all saturated fats and cholesterol, that would decrease your testosterone levels. You should eat plenty of natural, unrefined carbs such as vegetables and rice, but avoid products laden with sugar and while flour. ‘Good’ carbs give you energy to train and also provide your muscles with the energy they need to build yet more muscle. ‘Junk’ carbs only make you fat and sick.

Another thing, as soon as you get up eat a good breakfast. And that doesn’t mean Pop-Tarts and Fruit Loops. Get some of the good carbs, proteins and fats that I spoke of above. After sleeping all night (and, therefore, not eating) your body needs nutrients to grow with. If you deny it that you will hamper your growth. Have some milk, eat some eggs, eat a steak if you want, but get some protein. Add a little oatmeal (it digests slowly and will hold you over until your next meal) and you have a good breakfast shaping up.

And eat some protein before you go to bed. Overnight your body will need protein, so give it some just before you go to sleep. It could be some meat, some cheese, a few hard-boiled eggs or something else solid. Solid proteins, generally, take longer to digest than liquids, giving a steady supply of amino acids to your body – so use them.

Before I leave this rule, heed this warning: If you skimp on your nutrition you will cancel ALL of the growth that you stimulated in the gym. Yes, nutrition is THAT IMPORTANT.

Rule #11: Get Plenty Of Good, Sound Sleep

Most beginner’s don’t realize this but let me assure you, sleep is just as important as training and nutrition when it comes to muscle growth. DON’T just skip over this rule and think it isn’t that important. Critical repairs are made to the body and nervous system when you sleep. If you skimp on your sleep then you won’t recover from your workouts properly and your nervous system won’t fire your muscles optimally. Sleep deprivation results in reduced glucose sensitivity of the muscle cells and higher resting cortisol levels (and that’s bad!). There are reasons why training, nutrition and sleep are considered to be the ‘big three’ keys to weight training success. PLEASE, treat good, sound sleep as a full ingredient of your weight training program.

Rule #12: After Your Workouts Consume This Simple Shake

After your workout your body needs carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes – and it needs them fast. So I’m going to give you a simple, quick-digesting, shake recipe to take care of that. Of course, it isn’t at all a ‘magic bullet’. In fact, of all the Rules covered in this article this one is probably the least critical. But good post-workout nutrition is still an important factor if maximum progress is your concern (and of course, it is!). This shake won’t do anything for you that a good meal wouldn’t, but it often isn’t easy or convenient to have a good cooked meal immediately after training …use this instead.

Here’s what to do: Get some dextrose (you can buy this at any brew supply shop – it’s usually called ‘corn sugar’ – and it only costs around $1 per pound. Supermarkets often have it too). Get some potassium-based salt substitute. You can get this at the supermarket – stuff like ‘Nu-Salt’, etc. If you’re not sure about it just look at the ingredients for ‘potassium chloride’. If that’s the main one then you’ve got it. Get a bottle of some magnesium tablets. These are only a couple of dollars and you can get them at any health-food place (again, probably the supermarket). Anything with 250 mg of magnesium per tablet is good. Get a box of regular table salt (i.e. sodium chloride). And you should get some protein powder, like I recommended in Rule #9. So here’s your grocery list:

* Bag of dextrose (also called ‘corn sugar’)
* Potassium-based salt substitute
* Bottle of magnesium tablets
* Box of table salt
* Protein powder

To make the shake, first figure out how much dextrose you need. Divide your bodweight in pounds by 2.2. This is the number of grams of dextrose you need after a tough workout. Each heaping tablespoon of dextrose contains 20 grams. So if you weigh 154 pounds this would be 154/2.2 = 70 grams of dextrose. That would be equal to 3 and a half heaping tablespoons. Then put in 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt substitute and 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt. Throw in one magnesium tablet. Use one-third the amount of protein that you did dextrose (by the gram). So if you used 70 grams of dextrose then you’ll want 70/3 = 23 grams of protein. You can figure out how much this is by looking on the label of your protein powder and seeing how much protein is in one scoop. Now, add at least 1 quart/liter of water (more if you can) and blend it all up until the magnesium tablet is dissolved. Put it in a container and take it with you to the gym. Drink it immediately after you finish your workout (you may sip on it during the workout if there’s enough to make it worthwhile, but leave three-quarters of it for after).

NOTE for people who have a tendency to get fat: You’d be better off if you don’t use as much dextrose as suggested above. Go through the calculations as usual but after you’ve calculated the amount of protein you’ll be using double this and that will be the amount of dextrose you should actually use. So, in the above example we first calculated 70 grams of dextrose and 23 grams of protein for a 154 pound person, well if that person has a tendency to gain fat easily we’d use 23 grams of protein and only 46 grams of dextrose (23 x 2).

As a note regarding protein powder, the idea is to get protein into the system fairly quickly, so the best kind of protein would be a pre-digested whey type. I really don’t trust many of the supplement companies, though. After all, several of them have been busted for lying on their product labels – and there is no regular testing of their products by any government establishment. So, really, why would I trust a company who has some drug-built monster in their ads, trying to mislead me into thinking that their product is responsible for such muscle? I usually just go with the cheapest protein powder, or the ones with no drugged-out Bodybuilders endorsing them, because there’s probably not a greal deal of difference in them. On the other hand, possibly the most reputable and established brands do contain what they say – but it probably doesn’t amount to a hill of beans anyway.

Getting back on track… Believe it or not, that shake doesn’t taste too bad. I’ve been using only Strawberry flavour protein powder for the past several months, so I don’t remember what the other flavours tasted like, though.

If you just don’t want to make the above shake, you can always go with Yogurt. Yogurt contains high-quality protein and carbs and it digests very quickly …and if you make your own it can be pretty cheap. All you need is a packet of active yogurt culture (you can get that for a couple of dollars at a health-food store), a few tablespoons of store-bought yogurt and some milk (use skim milk powder and mix some milk up – it’s cheaper). The instructions to make the yogurt will be on the culture packet. If it’s too tart when you make it just add some dextrose (which would be ideal for after a workout) or sweetener like ‘Twin’ or something (especially if you’re trying to lose weight). 2 cups of yogurt will have around 18 grams of protein and 26 grams of carbs (without the dextrose added).

That’s sort of the sophisticated approach. If you can’t afford any of that, or haven’t got the patience to bother with it, then buy a bag of skim milk powder and mix up 1 – 1.5 liters (or quarts) of milk and drink it immediately after the workout instead – 1 liter if you’re under 170 lbs and did a fairly ‘easy’ workout, and 1.5 liters if you’re over 170 lbs or had a ‘tough’ workout. Milk has been supporting muscle building for a long time – don’t underestimate ‘simple’ nutrition.

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