My question has to do with the ECA stack (great article on it by Bryan Haycock). I was wondering if yohimbe and/or grapefruit (naringenin) would enhance the stack further. In Dan Duchaine’s book, yohimbe was referred to “letting off the brake where ECA was like stepping on the gas” and I read that naringenin has the ability to prevent caffeine to breakdown in the liver. Any thoughts on this?
Another question I got has to do with diet. I’m on a high protein/carb diet with low fat (maybe too low). My body has actually transformed. I’m no longer worried about losing fat (I find it kinda easy if want it bad enough). But I am worried about my metabolism slowing up. So I’ve decided to take a few weeks off dieting. I still get my 40gms protein every 2.5 hrs (religious about that) but I’ll eat anything. Pizza, chocolate cake… anything. Funny thing is I feel great. I’m sure I’m packing on some fat but I actually feel stronger in the gym. I figure losing fat is easy compared to building muscle. How do you feel about this? Maybe I should go back on my diet and supplement with some flax… I am still learning.
Answer: Yohimbe + ECA does seem to have more potent effects than ECA alone for exactly the reasons that Dan says. ECA stimulates beta receptors which increase fat breakdown and calorie burning (like stepping on the gas pedal). Yohimbe inhibits alpha receptors which slow fat breakdown and calorie burning (like stepping on the brake). So the combo has a dual effect. But there is a potential problem. The same receptors which control fat burning and calorie burning (gas and brake pedals) also control heart rate and blood pressure. Some people get very high heart rate and blood pressure responses from combining the two and that can be potentially dangerous. So all I can say is be careful and monitor yourself. If your heart rate jumps very high when taking ECA and yohimbe, for god’s sake drop the yohimbe. Also see the last question for other details.
AS to naringenin, there is some debate over how much affect it will have. Peak Training Journal had an article about the effects on grapefruit juice and the author (Lonnie Lowery) referenced several studies showing that it was other substances in grapefruit juice (not naringenin) that was having the effect. I do know that ECA seemed to have more of a kick when I took it with grapefruit juice but that’s about all I can say about it.
In general, I would say that alternating periods of dieting (4-6 weeks unless you have a contest or something) and mass gaining seem to work best. This will keep bodyfat under control while allowing lean body mass to increase gradually. That is, rather than just bulking and bulking and bulking and ending up with a lot more lean body mass AND a lot more fat, you can see saw your way up in lean body mass while keeping bodyfat under control. I’m not surprised that you’re strength is going up since you’ve come off the diet. It seems the the people who are the most anal about their diets while gaining mass tend to gain much slower. I’m personally a believer in eating big to get big (within bodyfat limits of course). Since it seems to be working for you, I’d say go with it. You’re getting adequate protein but you might try to sneak some flax in there somewhere, it is a healthy fat.