Pro Shop Diaries

Part One: Protein and Discontent

By Rusty Treaufee
1972 Mr. Lower Valley Open
Tall class runner-up (bad judging)
"Hey old-timer! I need some help in the pro-shop here!"
Magazine 11 #1

  "Mr. Old-timer, to you," I barked back, disturbed in the midst of my discrete observation of the young coed on the glute machine. Proper exercise form is essential and, even though I had to use two mirrors to get the proper angle, it was my sacred duty to make sure she kept her hips in a proper and safe alignment. Now this kid was interfering with my work. "What d’ya need?"

With a lanky six-foot frame and spiky black hair, I had seen this kid lurking around the gym for the past few months. He never seemed to be doing much along the lines of useful exercise but he was free to loiter... as long as he kept up on his gym dues. According to some of the customer service manuals I had lackadaisically glanced through, I probably should have known his name but, to be honest, this kid had a smug way of staring at you from behind his horn-rimmed glasses that made him instantly unlikable.

"Well, I just got paid and wanted to try some Blast-Tech Growth Matrix Protein. The guy that recently won the Southeast Pro Cup used it this past year to pack 30 pounds onto his frame."

"Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly what did it. No, kid... we don’t even bother to carry that stuff. You may think it sounds like the greatest thing going but odds are it won’t even be around two years from now. What happened to that big drum of discount protein I saw you buying a couple of weeks ago?"
Bob Maurer, Brian Strock, Mark Tillison, Joe Daniels, Neville Shakespeare

"Well, I just got paid and wanted to try some Blast-Tech Growth Matrix Protein. The guy that recently won the Southeast Pro Cup used it this past year to pack 30 pounds onto his frame."

"Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly what did it. No, kid... we don’t even bother to carry that stuff. You may think it sounds like the greatest thing going but odds are it won’t even be around two years from now. What happened to that big drum of discount protein I saw you buying a couple of weeks ago?"

"Well I’ve been using it and, as you’ve probably noticed, I’ve packed on some size."

"Yeah kid, you’re about a cheeseburger away from 160. Look out Lee Haney!"

"Lee who?"

"Forget it, kid. He used to train with Eugene Sandow and John Grimek back in the day. So you finished the entire ten pound tub of that stuff?"

"Well actually, no. I only drank two shakes... well, one and a half. It seemed to really rip apart my digestive tract."

"Yeah, kid. You definitely get what you pay for. Truth is, the only reason I keep a few tubs of that discount protein around is for shrewd bargain hunters such as yourself and because it works as a very effective colon cleanser. If you want a quality protein that has been proven effective we’ve got a whole shelf full over here. Not only will they provide high quality protein but you won’t have to chug them down and wonder which end they are going to come out of."

"You mean the stuff with the palm trees? I see some of the bigger guys in here buying it but none of the top pros I see in Flex endorse it."

Just then, a bronzed and muscular moving sculpture strides past the desk, jots his name down on the sign-in sheet and shares a broad, genuine smile. With his wide shoulders and impossible small waistline, he looked like a younger, taller version of Frank Zane.

"Hey Eddie," I yelled out. "Help me with something here. What protein did you use when you got in shape for the Tri-State Natural?"

"Muscle Provider and Ultra Size, all the way."

"And what did you use this winter to put on all that upper body size?

"Muscle Provider and Ultimate Muscle Protein... I got seriously addicted to the cookies and crème flavor."

"Thanks, champ. Have a good workout," I said as Eddie heads back to the dusty power rack in the corner of the gym.

"He’s good, I’ll give you that," the kid says as he slides his glasses back up his nose to their proper resting place, "But he’s not a pro."

For a second, I consider schooling the kid about genetics, the tissue-building drugs used by top pro bodybuilders or the fact that Eddie has a real job and a family to support and bodybuilding is just something he does to enhance an already good life, not the sole reason for his existence, but I know the lesson would be lost, so I take another track.

"The first thing you need to understand is that product endorsement rarely equates to actual product use when it comes to bodybuilding products. Most of these guys don’t get a product endorsement until they win their pro cards and at that point they have already built their physiques. They may put on a few pounds after that but most of them look their very best the year that they win their pro cards. Most of the products they endorse weren’t even around while they were building their size. You’d be surprised at what most of them really used."

"The palm tree stuff?"

"Yep."

"One of my friends showed me a Battle for the Olympia video where it looked like there was a bottle of Beverly protein sitting near the blender in Big Ronnie’s kitchen. They must have shelled out big bucks for product placement, right?"

"Nope. A lot of the pros use their own money to buy Beverly, even though they get the stuff that they endorse for free."

Even though the kid was bullheaded and a bit thick in the head, I could see he was starting to come around. "Okay," the kid says, "So, you want me to try this stuff?"

"Frankly, kid. I could care less either way. I have a good mark-up on the cheap stuff and its just collecting dust on my shelves. You can keep buying that if you want, but don’t expect to make much in muscle gains on it. I’ll even throw in a complimentary roll of toilet paper."

"Does Beverly have specific formulas based on your individual genotype? Do their formulas even contain mitochondrial enhancement factors?"

"Mighto-what?" I say with disbelief. "Sounds like a bunch of nonsense. Mitochondrial enhancement factors could just mean table sugar. Let me tell you what you need. I have to warn you though. It’s simple. It makes sense and it’s more backed by solid research and gym-proven evidence than the marketing nonsense you’re used to."

"First off, you want to get protein from a variety of different sources. The best way to do that is to eat lots of eggs, lean beef, fish, turkey and chicken. I recommend you eat at least three whole food servings of protein per day." At this point, I lean in conspiratorially and whisper to him, "Not many people realize that whole food proteins contain a variety of potent myogenic stimulating co-factors that you just can’t get in supplements." I see the glimmer of excitement in his eye and fight hard to resist the smile that begins to tug at the corners of my mouth.

"Secondly, when it comes to your protein supplements, you don’t need anything in packets. What might seem like convenience is lost in the fact that you are paying for the packaging and can’t adjust the shake to your ummmm... specific genotype. There is no way that a company can design a packet that contains the correct serving size for both a 250 pound ripped bodybuilder and a 90-pound female trying to get fit. They can’t even design a packet that would work for either one of those at all times in the same day!"

"I guess that makes sense," the kid interjects, "I read recently on hardcore freakazoids.com that specific protein species of a low molecular weight can..."

"You’re doing that annoying thing with your mouth again, kid. Listen up. You’re about to learn something real. Next, you want a low carb product. It should contain next to no simple sugars. Remember when you drank the discount shake? In addition to giving you a lovely case of gas and diarrhea that you wouldn’t wish on Osama bin Laden, you probably felt tired and light-headed after drinking it. That’s because it was probably dumped full of simple sugars — despite what the label said. That’s why you need to stick with a company that you can trust and not a bargain basement operation."
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"But which protein powder should I buy?" I was amazed the kid actually seemed to be listening. He actually seemed to be cocking his head to one side, like the Dalmatian in the old RCA Victor logo.

"There are two primary protein sources you will be concentrating on, both derived from milk," I said, beginning to pace around the pro-shop, like a professor roaming amongst his students. "Casein is very high in glutamine and gels in the stomach so that it breaks down slowly and has been shown to raise serum amino acid levels for up to seven hours. Whey protein is a faster protein and is rich in BCAAs."

"So how do I..."

"You need to buy a protein blend like Ultra Size or Ultimate Muscle Protein that mixes both milk proteins in one formula. This gives you a nice balanced all-purpose, high-quality protein. You will get a gradual, sustained release protein from either one of these. Next, you need a quality whey protein like Muscle Provider. Because whey protein is absorbed quickly, it is useful right after a hard workout. By the way, you might even consider doing some of those!"

"So is this just a trick to get me to buy twice as much stuff?"

"Well that would be a pretty shrewd sales move if it made any sense," I say with obvious annoyance. "The fact is you may be buying more than one type of protein but you will also be using it up slower. Instead of putting three scoops from one canister, you will be taking two from one and one from the other. It’s still three scoops that you are using. If you plan to still be pursuing your bodybuilding dreams a year from now, then that extra tub of protein taking up space on your counter shouldn’t be a problem."

"So now how I know when to use which protein?" the kid asks, the nasal whine obvious in his voice.

"If you actually start hitting the gym regularly, we are going to want you to drink three shakes a day. In the morning, you’ll mix two scoops of either Ultra Size or Ultimate Muscle Protein with one scoop of Muscle Provider. You’ve gone all night without eating so a little bit of extra whey protein will help get your nitrogen retention turned on and the casein will get you set until you get a meal or two under your belt."

"After working out, your shake should be mostly whey protein, so this is the other time that Muscle Provider is crucial. Your muscles absorb the fast protein like they are sponges. Your before bed shake should be entirely the slower protein blends, Ultra Size or Ultimate Muscle Protein. This will keep you building muscle all night long. Later in the year, we can consider a training phase that incorporates Mass Maker in order to flesh out your skeleton a bit."

"It seems to make sense but can it really be as simple as that?"

"It works for Eddie over there. And those proteins have been used by more competitive bodybuilding champions that any other company you might see in the mags, even without the addition of mitochondrial enhancement factors."

"Okay, ring me up for a can of each flavor of those and a vanilla Muscle Provider... Mr. Old-timer!"

Volume 10 issue 4

Previous issue

Brian Wiefering
Back to the Basement – Breaking Down the Chest

Mike Milas
Can a Natural Bodybuilder Continue to Improve
In His Mid-40’s?

Jenn Paul
Striving to Be the Best of the Best
My Figure Contest Plan Dieting, Training, Posing, and Tanning

Ray Binkowski
Planning is Key to Success in Life and Bodybuilding


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