Q&A with Mike Furci
Q: Hello, I have read some of your articles and they’re great. I'm a 5'3 119lbs teenage girl. I have toned my legs really well from track and have some muscle in my arms, but how do I become stronger in my arms? My right bicep is stronger than my left one. How could I equal those two out? Also I have been doing 100 curl-ups twice every day for six months yet I still don’t have any abs. I have a crease but nothing more. Is there an exercise or diet I could do that would make my abs show more or be more toned?
Most people have an imbalance of strength between body parts. But before I go any further, I hope you're training your whole body. If you're not, you need to start. You'll be pleased with the results. Back to your imbalance. There are two things you can do to help equalize the strength in your biceps. First, work your biceps iso-laterally, meaning one arm at a time. An example of an iso-lateral exercise would be dumbbell curls. Second, only perform the number of reps on your strong arm that you can perform on your weak arm. In other words, if you can do a max of eight reps with a certain weight on your weak arm, perform eight with your strong arm. If you continue to do more with the stronger arm the weaker will never catch up.
One hundred curl-ups twice a day?! STOP! This is just another example of what I've been trying to tell people for many years: You can work your abs ‘til you're blue in the face, but if you're not eating properly, washboard abs are not going to happen. Judging by the description you gave me I do not think excess body fat is much of a problem. However, there must be just enough to keep your abs from showing, or you wouldn't have written me. In some cases people who are not fat, like yourself, can't seem to get the abs to show.
What's the answer? Read my articles "Washboard Abs: A Comprehensive Approach" part I and part II. Start a training program that works your entire body and train with weights twice a week. But, most of all, be patient. You are still very young and have not reached physical maturity. Also, keep in mind that getting a lean look takes a lot of work and discipline. Stay focused, work hard and write again, if you need more help.
Q: Mike, I came across your website the other day, and wanted to ask you something about Creatine. I weigh 219 pounds and I am 5 feet 3.5 inches, so as you can see, I'm very overweight. I am 35 years old.
However, I've recently started working out three times a week in the gym and I'm going to start swimming too. I wondered, will Creatine help me to lose weight, and if so, how much should I take? I will probably find capsules easier than powder as I am a totally blind person, so capsules would be easier to measure out.
I am also paying attention to what I eat and trying to eat more sensibly. This is just my second week.
Hoping you can help.
I'm glad to hear you are going to start taking care of your health. Read my article "Fats, cholesterol and the lipid hypothesis.” Avoid at all costs anything with the following ingredients: fructose, hydrogenated oil, vegetable oil (soy and canola especially), and partially hydrogenated oil. Reducing your carbs and eating whole foods is key to your success. Attached you'll find my list of banned foods, authorized foods, and nutritional principles.
Will creatine help you lose weight? In a word…NO. Creatine has some very positive effects but weight loss is definitely not one of them. The best weight loss product on the market right now is a product called Hot Rox Extreme. I’ve had great results using this product. Protein capsules or tablets are good if you think you will have trouble using powder. Beverly International has excellent protein products in tablet form.
Q: Hey Mike.
Cool Q&A section. But I’m afraid I’m still confused about the genetic make-up issue. Is it possible to still look good, not necessarily getting really BIG, but looking good and physically fit, regardless of genetics? Like, I was once told that working out would only burn the fat to expose my muscles, thus making me somewhat muscular, but still looking like a skinny bitch...like my friend Joe...he's got muscle...more than me...but he's still skinny, and it doesn’t look good to me. I don't want that, but is that all I can hope to achieve if my genetics aren't the best? I’m not trying to look like Arnold in his early days. I just want to look good.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I really do appreciate it. And if you could give me a response and some feedback, that would be f*****g awesome because I want to put this genetics question to rest. Thanks again man. Hope to hear from ya soon.
A: Yes, it is possible to look really good, muscular and lean, with only average genetics. Having said that, a “hard gainer” needs to be much more disciplined in their training, nutrition and supplementation than somebody with the genetics of Arnold. There are those guys out there who seem to get muscular just by walking in the gym. These guys are few and far between. Statements like these are not meant to discourage you but to make sure you're being realistic when it comes to appreciating the gains you make.
I make it very clear one should never compare themselves to others but to use others as a motivator. What works for others is not necessarily going to work for you. Learn how your body responds and don't be afraid to change if what you're doing isn't working.
The only way you can figure out what works for you is to keep a detailed training journal. Read my article “Every Journey Begins with one Step” to get started in the right direction.
Q: How long must I weight train before I see changes in my body? If I stop training will my muscle turn to fat?
A: Depending upon genetics and how hard you work, it will take between six to 12 weeks before you see physical changes. You will notice strength gains very quickly. Strength gains always precede size gains.
No, muscle doesn't turn to fat. It is physiologically impossible. People who stop exercising will tend to put on extra fat because they lose muscle and tend to fall into bad eating habits.
Got a question for Mike? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.