Adam: Tim, let's start with summarizing what neuron said in the "Maximising Arachidonic Acid delivery to skeletal muscle" thread. Give our readers the most simple, yet effective dosing protocol for a cycle - both on training days, and off training days.
Before we draw a line under the dosing issue completely, is there any possible variable dosing schemes that may suit individual's in potentially difference scenario's?
Tim: Great questions Adam, and as you mentioned there are in fact a plethora of options to best suit the users individual needs.
For endurance athletes, we are often having them using 1-2 pills a day, every day.
For strength athletes we have often recommend 4 pills daily (with meals).
However, Neuron turned Arachidonic Acid dosing upside down with his thread that recommended high doses to be used for muscle building purposes within an hour of working out, and never dosing it on off days or at other points throughout the day. His recommendation was to use 4-6 caps roughly 45 minutes pre workout, and none on off days.
For the past year, this is how most users have been dosing it, and having been doing so with tremendous results. He also recommends two ingredients in particular to stack alongside it, L-Carnitine and Glycerol Monostearate. The quick version of his reasoning was L-Carnitine to reduce platelet aggression and Glycerol Monostearate for emulsification purposes, enhanced absorption. His thread goes into a level of scientific depth that must be seen first hand to be truly appreciated as it should be.
(That thread:) http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=119490141
For absolute maximal gains it seems nothing can beat this stack to be taken 45 minutes pre workout:
*4-6 caps X-Factor/X-Factor Advanced
*2 grams L-Carnitine
*3-6 grams glycerol monostearate
*(optional) 3 caps Test Factor
Note: With this dosing protocol, no X-Factor or Glycerol Monostearate is to be taken on off days.
Adam: What's the optimal length of time for a cycle to maximise gains?
Tim: The original recommendation was 50 days, 4 caps a day (every day) for 50 days. Meaning 200 pills or 2 bottles. Currently, due to Neuron’s increasingly popular recommendations many users are using two bottles with generally 4, but upwards of 6 caps roughly 45 minutes prior to their weight training. In this dosing protocol, none is taken on off days, meaning the cycles tend to be a fair bit longer depending on the frequency in which that user trains.
Adam: Are there any supplements you should specifically avoid while on X-Factor? I've seen some contrasting opinions mentioned on fish oil due to inflammatory purposes, although not able to recall it. Also, to be bluntly obvious: please tell people they don't have to avoid the basics such as creatine, beta-alanine, and *deep breath* protein supplements on cycle.
Tim: I feel that it goes without saying that protein supplementation is something that never needs cycling off of, especially as X-Factor rapidly enhancing protein utilization, so if anything you will want to slightly raise your protein intake to make the most out of your cycle. The inflammatory issue is quite interesting, as the Baylor University study showed markers of systemic inflammation to actually decrease with X-Factor usage, while the inflammation to muscle trauma from weight training increases leading to the type of soreness we all got when we first started training. And of course creatine and beta alanine remain in the handful of products, including Arachidonic Acid, that have scientific validity behind them, making them great additions to your cycle.
As far as what to avoid, the list is pretty simple, and comes down to anything that will negating the bodies natural inflammatory responses. This list includes high doses of omega 3 fatty acids,fish oil, sesamin, flax oil, olive oil, Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID), and many products formulated as a comprehensive anti inflammatory for joint healing/pain dulling purposes. This is a short list and is easy to avoid. I always get questions regarding to if people can still eat their peanut butter, fish, etc. and the answer is of course yes, we just recommend any foods heavy in omega 3’s to be eaten in moderation and not make up the entirety of your diet. You will see those who gain best on X-Factor are consuming plenty of red meat, eggs and dairy.
Adam: What should one do to combat any potential adverse side-effects from X-Factor? I understand there may be some minor headaches for some individuals.
Tim: X-Factor Advanced was formulated to take care of that for you, leaving no guesswork to the user. With the added electrolytes as well as boswellia, users are not only reporting only very rare headaches, but also saying their joints are actually feeling better than they have in months.
With that in mind, do not hesitate to keep a non NSAID pain reliever just in case that issue dose arise on cycle, I believe just as much as it being an issue of inflammation that some get the headaches, it may also be an issue of vasodilation due to the increase in prostaglandins. That is one reason many users report bigger pumps and more vascularity with this true muscle builder than with their cosmetic pump, nitric oxide products.
Adam: Now that we've covered the basics of arachidonic acid, let's talk about nutritional principles and training strategies. Since X-Factor can amplify anabolic hormones in the body and potentially increase protein synthesis, do you have any suggestions on specific macronutrient timing, overall targets and what one could do to enhance protein turnover?
Tim: One thing I recommend for users to do, in addition to slightly raising their protein and overall calories just as they should in any other bulking phase, is to not fear carbohydrates. X-Factor seems to have a very pronounced nutrient partitioning effect that lends itself to muscles being much more capable of utilizing carbohydrates rather than having them spill over into fat stores. Frequent meals and adequate protein intake and calories will always be key to positive nitrogen retention.
Adam: Since X-Factor can aggravate DOMS (in a positive sense, just to clarify), should users take preemptive measures in the recovery department, and what are your suggestions on training frequency - would this need to be scaled back? Myself, for example, I train bodyparts twice per week. I'm use to training through soreness to an extent, but would this be counterproductive to overall gains if I were to continue this on cycle? Also, how long does it take for the prevalence of the soreness to subside on a cycle and the body adjust? (Just to confirm for readers: additional soreness is in fact an indicator of X-Factors effectiveness and how it functions; it is not to be feared!)
Tim: That is the interesting thing about inflammation; it is the body’s natural response to heal damaged tissue. Some users report soreness as bad as the first time they trained, and report that they see those beginner gains all over again. Others report their recovery is actually better and they are able to train with more frequency, aiding in unlocking their potential. It is so highly individual that I really cannot give you any time frame for adjustment, or how much more sore, or longer one will be sore. If you are one of the unlikely ones who wakes up the next morning as sore as you were in freshman year weight training class, do not fear training through soreness as with the increase in protein synthesis you have nothing to fear.
Adam: A lot of people may now be under the impression that X-Facor may be solely for lean mass gaining, bulking or anaerobic / strength improvement. However, can arachidonic acid be used for fat loss cycles effectively?
Tim: That is certainly a false impression that many gathered initially, but with so much feedback coming in from men and women dieting for competitions or just wanting ripped abs for summer, we have seen a lot of anecdotal feedback supporting dieting on X-Factor.
I can actually recall my very first X-Factor cycle, I was 18 and at the time due to having the fast metabolism of a teenager, seemingly nothing worked for me to put on muscle other than creatine and of course higher calorie protein supplements. Well, I will just say this, it is with good reason that people suggest a 500 calorie/day increase if you plan on bulking on X-Factor, I actually started leaning up quite rapidly before adjusting my calories accordingly. With that in mind, present day I actually like to use it on lean bulks as I can be assured that in addition to the insane fullness, vascularity and pumps all users report, it also aids me in staying quite lean around the midsection.
Adam: Lastly Tim, what's your best tip for the cycle in general + anything else you'd like to add?!
Tim: Well Adam, if I could close with one piece of advice to first time X-Factor/X-Factor Advanced users, it is that while there certainly are products that stack tremendously well with Arachidonic Acid, it is not necessary to do so to see tremendous gains. X-Factor Advanced was designed to be effective on its own, not when stacked with five other products hoping and praying for synergism. All too often we see products with 25 ingredients in each product, telling users to stack it with X,Y and Z.
While I can say your stack will be amplified by products like Test Factor, glycerol monostearate, and carnitine, and that Arachidonic Acid is the perfect backbone to any muscle building stack, I can also confidently tell you that the majority of my X-Factor/X-Factor Advanced cycles were not stacked with any of those products and I have still seen upwards of twelve pounds of lean mass in a 50 day cycle. I wholeheartedly recommend that first time users stick to a fairly basic supplement stack (protein, creatine monohydrate, multi vitamin, etc) while on their first cycle so that they know which supplement to thank and which to come back to after their physique has been truly transformed in such a short period of time.