Fighting Genes and Water

It’s a bit of a shock to step on the scale and see the numbers go from 225 to 230 literally overnight. Even thought I know the cause, it’s still disconcerting and even disheartening. It’s water weight, caused by the addition of a new supplement. I’m taking a creatine supplement, which does cause cells to take on more water, so very literally, I’m bloated. It’s a "good bloat" and will regulate.

The form I’m using, an esterized version, is very quick acting. Creatine is one of the most widely used supplements in sports and is very misunderstood. It helps with both muscle fueling and recovery, working in ways that are better described elsewhere. The danger is that the very action of creatine forces the person to "superhydrate." Combining dehydration with overheating can be deadly; creatine’s been implicated in several deaths among wrestlers.

The supplement, CE-XL from iSatori, works very quickly, as I’ve said and kept my legs from being quite as sore as my arms. Still some slow onset soreness from a very heavy leg workout yesterday, but nothing like the "oh my god" soreness in my arms. Friday, I had a hard time straightening my arms, so it looked like I was running anytime I moved!

The other thing I’m fighting is genetics. My parents are both athletic, with my dad still a good tennis player and my mom a national level swimmer back in the day. Brian Giles, however, has a brother who’s as physically gifted as him. I’m still trying to find out more about Giles’ parents — Geoff Young of Ducksnorts pointed me to a bio of Giles that said his father coached in Little League, but I’ll bet one or both parents were athletes. There’s a genetic proclivity we all have for certain things, be it running, baseball, bodybuilding, math or music. I can ride a bike all day and I’m never going to be Lance Armstrong.

What we all have to do is get to our "genetic maximum" right? I’m not so sure. Genetics contribute and certainly everyone can’t do everything, but the human body is a pretty amazing thing. The genetic maximum is likely so high that no one reaches it. Heck, we’re just a few years away from altering the genes themselves.

One week down and I can say my energy level is SIGNIFICANTLY higher. Some of that is simply feeling better about myself; I’ve set a goal and am working diligently towards it. The rest is probably endorphins. The next couple weeks will be interesting — will the new supplements help (more on this soon)? Will I get past the muscle soreness that would prevent some people from continuing? At what point will there be visible results? How will the two workouts (heavy weights plus core) synergize? How will I maintain flexibility? How can I increase the cardio I’ll need to burn more fat? (This is the big weakness I have going so far … the thirty minutes of cardio isn’t enough.)

All interesting questions, I hope, and interesting answers in the coming weeks. As pitchers and catchers report, we’ll find out more about how baseball players are answering questions about conditioning and supplementation under the new drug policy (and what’s up with Mark Prior’s shoulder!)

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