by Thomas Kurz
I train a young athlete who is very strong yet has a hard time gaining muscle mass, which he needs for his sport. He does not tolerate protein powder very well, so I have considered advising him to take an amino acid supplement, specifically Master Amino Acid Pattern. I had colleagues in the States who have researched and used this product with good results. Let me know your thoughts when you have a moment.
I don’t like resorting to extraordinary means of performance enhancement if there are unused reserves in the ordinary means.
Judging by testimonials and by studies on MAP (two on athletes and two on overweight people, it is effective, BUT I wonder how many of those athletes using it eat well and exercise rationally? (The overweight people obviously don’t eat well.) So how do I know that MAP is not used by athletes, like those in the studies and others giving testimonials, as an expensive compensation for errors in exercise and eating?
Are you sure MAP won’t just “paper over” errors in exercise selection and training loads, errors in nutrition, or poor digestion or poor nutrient absorption, or even a metabolic disorder?
As for the exercises: Does he do the mass-packing lifts (squat, deadlift) with an optimal intensity and volume of resistance? Is the load of his technical and tactical training not excessive, meaning it does not interfere with adequate recovery needed to build muscle mass?
As for the eating: Does he eat an amount of protein adequate for intense exercises (i.e., up to 1.6 g of protein per 1 kg of lean body mass)? Does he get enough energy from fat and carbohydrate to keep that protein from being converted to energy? (The optimal proportion of fat and carbohydrate to protein is in Optimal Nutrition by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski.)
If all is well–there are no errors in exercise or in eating and he is healthy–then trying MAP makes sense. Otherwise he will be throwing money at the problem and even risking his health (all amino acid supplements have side effects) for something he could get free.