We usually don’t promote supplements. They’re pretty much useless if you don’t have your exercise regimen and diet in order. Much like band-aids, they’re a quick fix to a much larger problem. Fix the problem first. Then supplement.
However, because of the brutality of the Spartacus Training Program, we’re making an exception. Plus, if done correctly (proper diet, good exercise program outside of the training camp), a good supplement plan can really make a big difference with this program. Because our work intervals are in the perfect time under tension range for muscle hypertrophy (20-40 seconds) yet still metabolically demanding, most of us will probably experience the Holy Grail of fitness: muscle gain with fatloss.
So, if you feel everything is in order, and you’re ready to supplement, here’s what we recommend:
1) Creatine Monohydrate
How it works
To lift heavy weights, our muscles need energy (ATP). Unfortunately, there is only a limited supply of ATP available. So the body must make its own ATP via 3 different pathways. Creatine phosphate (ATP-CP) is one of those pathways. It also happens to be the pathway that supplies energy for high intensity exercise, around 8-10 seconds of intense work.
How much do you take
Creatine monohydrate supplies more fuel for the creatine phosphate pathway. Backed by literally hundreds of scientific studies, don’t be fooled by the “newer creatines” available. Plain, cheap creatine monohydrate will do. Take 5 grams 4 times daily for 5 days. After the loading phase, take 5 grams pre- and post-workout. A 1000 gram bottle, which will last 3 months, should only cost around $20.
2) Beta Alanine
You’re almost finished with your set. You just have a few more reps to pump out. Bam! Muscular failure, set over.
How it Works
One of the many causes of muscular failure is metabolic acidosis, caused by the buildup of protons (H+) from lactic acid. The low pH causes a host of problems within the muscle, eventually leading to the muscle not being able to contract.
Beta-alanine, when combined with histidine, forms carnosine, which acts as a pH buffer. It neutralizes the acid, allowing the muscle to pump out a few more reps. Studies have shown up to a 65% increase in carnosine content within the muscle after 4 weeks of beta-alanine supplementation. If your training is primarily heavy, low rep training, beta-alalnine isn’t essential because you’re primarily relying on the ATP-CP energy pathway instead of anaerobic glycolysis. However, the Spartacus Training Camp uses work intervals anywhere from 20-40 seconds long. We’re definitely tapping into the anaerobic glycolysis pool, as evident by the extreme muscle burn from the lactic acid buildup you’ll experience around the 25 second mark.
How much do you take
Take 2 grams 2-3 times per day. If you take more than 2 grams at one time, you’ll experience a weird, tingling sensation. It feels like tiny needles are poking your skin. You won’t notice the benefits right away as it takes time to increase the carnosine content within the muscle. Studies have shown increases in lean mass, decreases in bodyfat, and improvements in the bench press over 4-8 week cycles. 500 grams shouldn’t cost more than $25, and it will last almost 3 months.
3) Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCCAs)
The last thing any guy wants to happen during his fatloss training is to lose muscle mass. Maintaining muscle mass while losing fat is a tough balancing act though. If the training session is too hard for too long, the body will start breaking down muscle mass for energy. However at the same time, you want to create a big enough metabolic disturbance to burn calories and shed fat.
How they work
That’s where BCAAs come in. They are the only amino acids that can be used by the muscles for energy. So if we supply our body with BCAAs during the workout, they’ll use those for energy instead of our muscles. Plus, leucine, one of the 3 BCAAs, is considered the most anabolic amino acid. It can stimulate muscle protein synthesis by itself.
How Much Should You Take
Adding 10-15 grams to your workout shake should prevent the loss of any muscle mass. 500 grams should cost around $35 and last about 2 months.