Protein Supplementation 2.0

Brian Carroll called me the other day, while I was traveling in Utah and asked for advice on his protein supplementation. When Brian calls you for help, you take it seriously; normally, people call Brian for help. So having just read the article, “Nocturnal Casein: Does a Case Exist?” in Muscular Development (MD)—the only mainstream bodybuilding magazine that I believe is worth reading right now—I thought I’d do a little research before answering him because the article brought up a few interesting points. Plus, this dovetails nicely into a new series I’m preparing that deals with a real-world plan for burning fat while gaining muscle that actually works; and protein intake is one of the most important factors.


Competing to be the highest totaling power lifter of all time doesn’t make Brian’s goals any different from my own, or anyone else serious about their resistance training. We want to build muscle as rapidly as possible, or, at times, lose fat without sacrificing mass or strength.

I’m a bit obsessive and spent about a week researching this, much to Brian’s frustration. Although the MD article cited new and intriguing studies, it presented them out of context, leaving me perplexed, affirming things I know, but devoid of application. Had they presented the information in light of the last 30 years of research, they could have made some interesting recommendations.

Excitement defined

I love doing new research, learning about the newest discoveries, and I have to be honest, what I learned this time excited me—and no run-of-the-mill excitement either—excited like a 600 lb woman eating her way through a mountain of Big Macs (true story; if you have the stomach for it, click here). For the first time, scientists are discovering several mechanisms of muscle growth, how to activate them, and how to sustain that growth indefinitely.

The old-school—well, current school—says proteins fall into two categories, slow-absorbing and fast-absorbing. Use slow absorbing, like casein, at night before falling asleep and use fast-absorbing, like whey isolate, after a workout for a spike of amino acids into the system. I’ve lived by this for years, which means I’ve been cheating myself of gains for years.

What we should be doing

Free amino acid (FAA) levels need to be kept high at all times: high when you get up, high through the day, high through your workout, high after your workout and on through until you go to bed and for as long as possible while you sleep. The extra-cellular concentration of essential amino acids, or the free amino acid (FAA) pool—along with other transcription factors—determines the growth rate of skeletal muscle. Maximum growth, or, more precisely, maximum protein anabolism occurs with sustained FAA levels. If you need to ingest a protein that absorbs super-fast because free amino acid levels have dropped, then you’re already behind the game.

Maximum anabolism is a key point. When skeletal muscle is in an anabolic state, the cellular machinery does everything possible to grow, which includes the prevention of proteolysis—the breakdown of muscle tissue. During a workout, when protein oxidation elevates, high FAA levels prevents muscle breakdown except during exercise. During resistance training, regardless of FAA levels, muscles do not grow, i.e. incorporate new protein into the cell. Muscle growth occurs before and after resistance training, but not during. Keeping FAA levels high during the workout blunts proteolysis, preventing the one-step-back scenario.

I’m sure Jay only got this huge and ripped because of Nitro-Tech protein.

Along with keeping FAA levels elevated, skeletal muscle also needs signals that tell them how much or how little of those FAA’s to incorporate into the cell. Insulin is one obvious positive signaler. Myostatin is a negative signaler. And one of the essential amino acids, leucine, is a positive signaler. All the essential amino acids and several non-essential amino acids, save leucine, fail to stimulate protein accretion and retention beyond normal. But leucine acts independently to speed muscle growth. The mechanism of action is too complex to discuss here, but the discovery is nothing short of amazing.

As mentioned above, insulin also helps stimulate muscle growth, as does lowering levels of myostatin. Insulin’s relatively easy to stimulate, but down-regulating myostatin is difficult and probably only achieved with resistance training (although, there’s mounting evidence that this occurs only for men…sorry ladies). But some old dogs do have new tricks and creatine’s one of them. Although the proof is scarce at the moment—scarce, but solid—creatine decreases myostatin levels, which may explain the accelerated rates of muscle growth when supplementing with creatine.

Putting it all together

The simple protocol, espoused in nearly every bodybuilding magazine, is easy to follow: casein throughout the day, whey after lifting and a lot of casein before bed. This prescription is okay, but far from optimal. Casein alone never raises FAA levels high enough, and whey is in and out leaving unwanted lulls. Also, new proteins are available—like whey hydrolysates and casein hydrolysates—that have unique and advantageous properties. Combining the different types into blends for different times is simple to do, even if it took looking through a few hundred research papers to confirm the methodology. This article is about protein and the subsequent amino acids but I’m going to add in carbs and creatine to the protocol where the impact is greatest.

You’re going to use one main blend most of the time consisting of whey isolate, whey hydrolysate, casein and casein hydrolysate. Upon waking, and every two to three hours thereafter, ingest 20 to 40 grams of this mixture along with 5 grams of added leucine with each meal. These are optimal amounts—under 20 grams produces less than optimal results and over 20 grams shows little advantage, although total saturation can occur at as high as 40 grams, and I don’t care how muscular a person is, their pancreas and liver are still the same size, still produce the same amount of enzymes and therefore can absorb only so much protein, i.e. 40 grams every couple or few hours is more than enough for anyone, and 20 is probably perfect. Make sure to get one of these shakes in about an hour before lifting along with 5 grams of creatine, and one right before bed sans the creatine. Don’t worry about getting up in the middle of the night to get a shake. Casein elevates amino acid levels for roughly eight hours and cortisol, levels of which naturally elevate through the night before falling in the morning, blunts the effects of high levels of FAA. Don’t sacrifice the sleep for an improbable and, at best, insignificant increase.

I’d hate to see the breast this stuff comes out of.

After lifting, ingest the second of your main blends. It’s 50% whey hydrolysate and 50% whey isolate. Make sure to ingest 40 grams of this blend within about 30 minutes to an hour of finishing the workout. Waiting longer won’t blunt gains much, as maximum growth occurs about 2 hours post-workout, but since whey needs an hour to peak amino acid levels, drinking it at the 30 minute to one hour mark is best. Despite twenty grams of pure hydrolysate being optimal, I recommend 40 grams of the blend to cover the spread. Make sure to add the 5 grams of leucine and another 5 grams of creatine along with 10 to 100 grams of glucose, depending on your carb tolerance and diet.

I suggest the blend of hydrolysate plus isolate over pure hydrolysate solely because pure hydrolysate tastes like…well, imagine burnt cheese mixed with burning rubber: that’s what it tastes like. If you can choke it down, more power to you, but there’s little you can do to kill the taste and life’s too short for unnecessary self-abuse, unless you’re into that kind of kinky thing. And if so, do I know the girl for you (watch the entire video below). Back to the horrible taste, the awful, vomit-inducing taste that leads me to believe that all of the commercial products that claim to use whey hydrolysate must be lying because their products taste damn good and I’ve tried adding everything in the world to differing mixtures of hydrolysate without success. A 50% blend—of two different hydrolysates—is the most tolerable I can find, no matter what I add to it or chase it with.

Where to get it

There are two companies who make creating these blends a breeze, and I use for my needs, but I plan to take for a test drive soon, to compare and contrast. Both use US sources for their protein, so there’s no need to worry about China doping the protein with plastics that test positive for protein during assays (and yes, most of the major brands get their protein from China and, to my knowledge, none use an independent lab to check for plastic additives).

Blend one:

At ProteinFactory, select Custom Protein Lab from the top menu. In the popup, agree to their terms. On the next page, choose “All-Purpose” for the blend type (it gives the least amount of annoying suggestions, which, most of the time, are wrong). Select 35% CFM Whey Isolate, 10% Hydrolyzed 1400, 15% PeptoPro and 40% Heliogen Casein. This blend balances cost with growth potential as gathered from the research. Skip through the next few steps until reaching “Flavors and Additives”. Pick a flavor and sweetener (I suggest Splenda) and skip the additives. On the next step, choose the number of pounds to order and add to the cart for purchase.

At TrueProtein, in the main navigation go Products » Formulas » Custom Solutions. Select 40% Micellar Casein, 10% Hydrolyzed Whey Protein High Grade, 15% Hydrolyzed Casein, and 35% Whey Protein Isolate (CFM). Here, the blend is cheaper, but doesn’t taste as good (swapping hydrolyzed casein for PeptoPro fixes the taste, but raises the price). Follow the rest of the steps accordingly.

Blend Two:

Using the steps as above for Protein factory, create a blend of 40% Hydrolyzed 1400, 10% Hydrolyzed 520 and 50% Bio-Fresh Whey Isolate.

For TrueProtein, follow the steps above to create this mixture: 50% Whey Protein Isolate Microfiltrated, 40% Hydrolyzed Whey Protein High Grade and 10% Hydrolyzed Whey Isolate Ultra Grade.

Additives:, unfortunately, does not sell pure leucine powder, where as does. But, on the other hand, ProteinFactory sells a rice-derived carb powder that’s nearly pure glucose, a product they call rilose and the best you can do from TrueProtein is maltodextrin. The two are somewhat equivalent. Both companies do sell creatine monohydrate. I’m annoyed that I can’t find one place that carries everything, but annoyance is no reason to forgo what I need.


With the science available right now, this is the optimal solution for muscle growth and even the prevention of muscle loss while adhering to a weight-reducing diet or the muscle loss associated with aging, which doesn’t have to be normal. And I don’t care what magic product is out there that combines hydrolyzed this and hydrolyzed that, enough sugar per serving to give a donkey a diabetic seizure and the newest creatine kre-alkabullshit, it cannot be better than what I recommend above (well, casein hydrolysates may hold some as-of-yet undiscovered benefits—I’ll keep you posted). Think about it: supplement companies tell stories about discovering magic compounds in their labs, compounds that a trillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry would kill to discover, companies that hire the most brilliant minds in the world; supplement companies hire advertisers and graphic designers. Do you think their products really work as advertised, or does their advertising work as promised?

(P.S. If enough people request via the comments a full and cited version of this post with more detail, I’m willing to write one up.)

  • Deborah Kaplan

    I’m all for the cited version!
    Alex at Protein factory has put together 2 different formulas for me. Should I tweak these?
    Before/After: CFM Whey Isolate 4.00
    super plasma 0.25
    Hydrolized 1400 0.75
    I take this before and within 1 minute after my workout.

    Formula2 nightime: IPI prtoein isolate 5.20
    super plasma protein 0.40
    bio-fresh whey 2.40
    aminogen 8.0

    the first formula was for 5lbs
    2nd one was for 8lbs

    I’m not sure what the % are.
    I’ve actually put in cooconut oil into my diet, 10grams, 5 before my workout since I do long cardio,and 5 grms before bed with 40 grams of the formula 2, along with some nuts. I’m sleeping better and have filled out some.

    What suggestions would you make regarding the protein.
    I though about getting the carbs you mentioned.

    Your blog is great. You’re a great writer keifer. I’m just starting. You’re inspiring. It takes me so long to get my thoughts coherently down on paper. Like 2 hours for a paragraph! I hope it get’s easier.
    I’m writing a newsletter for my wellness program at Wheel of Justice bike shop. People are contributing to it. Let me know if you’d like to do a blurb for the mom’s and dad’s out there on Sugar or something and we can promote your book with a link.

    Moving forward…


    • Kiefer


      The first formula is okay for pre and post workout, although taking it a minute after lifting is actually wasteful. Maximum muscle growth in response to resistance training doesn’t occur for 2 hours after lifting; whey isolate and hydrolysate spike within an hour and are almost gone within 2 hours–at just the time when you’re body needs it to grow! So I suggest waiting until thirty minutes to an hour after your workout to take the first blend.

      The second formula is okay, but not something I would use. Blend 1, which I present in the article, is far superior, especially for night use. Use the rest of what you have, then trade up to Blends 1 and 2.

      I’m definitely down for a blurb! Let me know. And don’t worry, the writing gets easier: the more you do it, the easier it gets, like anything else.

      • Andrew Shaddeau

        Do I consume the Protein shakes with all my meals or separately?
        Can get away with using one blend?

  • brian carroll

    awesome! I want more. very good isnt the word.

  • grof

    Great info, I might order some of this stuff and see what can it do.
    I think I have to read this article 2-3 times more to chew everything.
    Does it work if you in twenties or in fifties, will talk to you soon.

    • Kiefer


      The formula’s won’t work the same for someone who’s 50 over someone who’s 20, but, then again, there’s really nothing a 50 year old can do to get gains like they could have in their twenties. The formulas, however, maximize your potential no matter what your age.

  • Rob

    I was just about to buy

    Metabolic Drive®
    Super Protein Shake

    Do you think I am better off buying a customer made blend with the Micellar Casein in it?



    • Kiefer

      Hey Rob,

      You’re definitely better off with the blend. It has a better absorption curve for maintaining peak amino acid levels. Also, the addition of the leucine in the formula I recommend will top out your growth potential.


  • Matt


    If you were to have just one blend, due to cost constraints, would you use blend #1? Or something different.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Kiefer


      If I could only use one blend, honestly, I’d go with Blend 2. It’s cheaper, and if you’re willing to down a scoop’s worth every few hours, it’ll perform well under all situations. Blend 1 isn’t really cut out as a post-workout muscle builder, but Blend 2 can keep amino acid levels spiked all day long if you ingest it every couple of hours.

  • Brett

    Sorry if this is a dumb question…For the first blend you say to consume every 2-3 hours…how many meals of actual food should you be eating a day? Should the shake be combined with a meal, or inbetween?

  • Rob


    It appears I can’t add say Creatine or Carbs without taking away from the mix of 100%. So do you add Leucine and Creatine separate and just buy 100% bottles of them? Do your recommend the same site for Pure Leucine?



    • Kiefer


      That’s correct, I buy bottles of 100% creatine and leucine and add the two separately. I get everything from except for the leucine, which I buy from (only because ProteinFactory doesn’t carry pure leucine).

  • Ryan

    Great article Kiefer. I just got some whey and casein hydrolysate so I’ll start this routine today. Thanks for all your advice.

  • Kiefer


    Looks like a great product. I’ll have to try it out.

  • kelsey brewer

    I have been experimenting for the last 10 days shooting for 30 to 60 days.
    I have been taking in 400-450gr
    of natures best isopure.
    My strength, density, and recovery are truly going through the roof.(just in 10 days) I am only an intermediate lifter, benching 370 DL 565+
    If people can absorb only (insert number) grams per hour, per lb of body weight , etc etc, then why are BIG Guys like Kai Green and Branch Warren eating so much?
    Kai Green on one of his interviews said most people (even in the industry) dog him for EATING 10 LBS OF FISH A DAY!!!
    there is something to eating more protein than necessary, while some might say its a waste I say its a waste not to have it on hand when your body wants it. Look what the freaks are eating then look at how big your average magazine readers and there 1 gr per lb of bodyweight. Dont forget there is 454 gr in one lb.

    • Kiefer

      With regards to Kelsey,

      Most blog authors are nice when someone writes what appears to be an I’m-smarter-than-you comment and start by responding with, “You misunderstand me.” I’m not a nice guy.

      First of all, Kelsey, when you say experiment, do you mean that you held all variables constant for at least 60 days prior to adding 400g of protein per day (by all variables I mean sleep duration, timing, calories, workout schedule, workout routine, alcohol consumption, activity level, ratios of macronutrients and micronutrients, …) and now, holding all those same quantities constant, you are adding 400g and charting your quantitative measures of recovery with blood assays and muscle biopsies and body fat measurements based on something respectable like DEXA? My guess is no, which makes your first statement about your 10 day miracle body transformation from the addition of 400g/day of Isopure a bit, how shall I say, suspect–i.e. your comment is meaningless as it stands.

      Now, have you ever hung out with a professional bodybuilder for a day, or a professional anybody? I have. I’ve seen how they eat and it’s nothing like what I read in the magazines. If I had to venture a guess based on the current state of molecular biology and genetics, I would say that, yes, the fact remains that everyone produces only a certain amount of enzymes for processing anything: carbs, protein or fat. The key difference is what the cellular machinery can do once bathed in those nutrients. It’s no different than the double-muscled Belgian Blue who eats a diet identical to a normal cow, but ends up with twice the amount of muscle and ridiculously low amounts of body fat. The key is in the genes, not the diet–at least at that point.

      And finally, if all you took away from this post was a perceived flaw in my assessment of reality and nothing else, I feel sorry for you. Enjoy your Isopure.

  • Scott

    Thanks for all this great info. (the video wasn’t bad either) It’s not even 9am here on the east Coast and I have already learned something today that is valuable to me. At my age (42), I don’t like to waste time and articles like this go a long way towards making sure that the hard work in the gym sticks. Thanks.

  • kelsey

    thank you for the quick response.
    Let me say that I Appreciate someone that takes time to help me understand something that I am ignorant of.
    (the belgium blue concept)
    When i said experiment It is not the purest form of the word. I used it loosely.
    And no there was no “miracle transformation” for the record.
    But i will say I have lifted for 14 years continuously and I know my body/strength/recovery very well.
    I know what I can reasonably pull, push, squat on any day and I know what rep ranges are achievable for me on a vast number of box heights/boards/number of chains/ bands/depending on my hydration level/rest/calorie intake for the day/ pre WO supplementation/ whether I had a hard day at work / the wifes mad at me /list goes on.
    So in saying that me 13+ days on 400-600gr with food/isopure protein I have seen signif. differences.
    I havent DL in 3 months and I just step in my gym and pull an all time 20 lb PR?
    somethings up.
    And I am almost to a point of muscle density that I have never been before.

    If you are correct in saying that everyone can only absorb so much protein (which I cannot say your not correct with any research data) then why don’t fat peoples ability to digest food in general stay the same as they gain. we know with weight gain their capacity increases. there stomach stretches, doe their intestines, and in turn other organs, other digestive organs?
    What do autopsies show concerning these ones? Maybe they are bigger, maybe the belgium blues’ are too due to genetics.
    On a youtube video I heard Kai Greens voice say he was eating 10 lbs of fish a day.
    I do agree you cannot believe everything you read but I heard this.(it still might be embellished but the idea remains the same.)

    In 1997 I met Greg Kovaks and he was eating 10k calories a day and probably had nothing but food and pills in his hip pack that he was wearing, that dude was huge! 355 @ 10 %bf

    How can one truly know
    how much protein individually we each can digest?

    An experiment with a regulated amount of intake then a quantative stool measurement?

    I am in search of the truth on this matter and not wanting to be smart or whatever.

    I will know more as time goes on with my uncontrolled experiment.
    All I know is in that video Kai was benching 500 for crazy reps and for me, I doesn’t make any sense to me that I will ever get to a fraction of that strength measuring little amounts of protein.


  • kelsey

    for the record
    there is nothing to ejoy about mango peach isopure.

  • Scotty

    I got the link to your blog on Brian Carrol’s EFS blog.

    Did you find any sources showing that there is a limit on protein digestion for a single meal?

    I’m not an expert in anything, but it just seems that our ‘caveman’ ancestors probably ate huge and infrequent meals, like after a killing a deer or something. So it makes me think that we would actually be able to digest large amounts of protein. It also doesn’t make sense (to me) that the body would waste food it already has in its stomach, no? I mean in an evolutionary sense (I think)

    It is also likely that our ‘caveman’ homeboys were really strong and big.

    If I’m a total idiot, sorry, please take it easy on me.

    Just a little confused,


    Oh and I enjoyed the article.

    pshhh, maybe I’ll just tell you a bit about me in-case you have some advise. um, I’m 23, goals are all strength related. but I’m bringing my weight down, getting fat didn’t really help my lifts as much as I hoped. At my highest I was 320lb I’m currently 275, so I lost 45lb since November last year. Diet is 1lb very lean ground beef, 1lb pork tenderloin fat trimmed, 5 egg omelet with some little bit of cheese. salad mixed greens and mixed nuts, balsamic dressing. so usually 3 meals a day, no protein shakes, numerous glasses of milk, skim, maybe 1 liter, and some medium snaking like rice crackers or a banana or…beam and coke.

    To go from my diet to your diet would be a bit ‘too much too soon’, but should I maybe add a shake or two in there? or maybe divide up my meals so I eat 1 lb of meat in two meals? And do two smaller omelets? I’m just a little concerned about losing too much muscle as my bf% continues to drop. Oh and I don’t use pharmaceuticals,

    Please be kind, and help a brother out!


    • Kiefer

      Why is everyone so obsessed with pounding down as much protein as humanly possibly? This, obviously requires a blog post…

    • Kiefer


      I’m going to address your caveman questions in a new post, along with protein requirements and digestibility, as per Kelsey’s questions. I hope to get this cleared up and get everyone the info they need and want; plus, they’re common questions.

      As far as your diet: man, I gotta tell you, it’s a bit of a mess, but not unsalvageable. Dump the ‘Beam and Coke while you’re losing weight, as alcohol is the most powerful testosterone suppressor known. If you’re losing weight and having ‘Beam and Coke on a regular basis, you’re accelerating muscle loss. Skip breakfast and get your three meals in at, say 11am, 3pm and 7pm. Keep the nuts under control–a handful is about 200 calories. If you can afford to, I’d highly recommend 20 grams of Whey Isolate (or Blend 1) first thing in the morning (your new breakfast).

      That’s all the advice I can really afford to give in the comments. Good luck.

      Keep up with the blog, because I’m starting a series on how to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time…a plan that actually works.

  • Rob


    Ok I bought my blends.

    Why are PeptoPro and SuperPlasma so expensive? Are they that much better?



    • Kiefer

      The PeptoPro may be an extra-ordinary protein, but the jury is currently out on that one. There’s only one study that uses casein hydrolysate during a weight-reducing diet and the results are nothing exciting, but there’s still a lot of unexplored roles for which it may be well suited. As far as the cost of PeptoPro, I would say the extra cost is due to the processing required to remove the bitter taste of straight casein hydrolysate, which, again, is wretched.

      The SuperPlasma protein is pure speculation. I can’t find any reliable information about it, and I have yet to uncover any research. For now, I’d save my money. But I will try to get in contact with the CEO of ProteinFactory and get the scoop on this one.

  • kelsey

    kiefer, you dont have to respond or post to the last comments, I need to go train more.
    You can respond via email if you would like.

    I don’t want to start anything like alot of these WEB idiots argue over.


  • brian carroll


    I will comment about the video of kai’s pressing.. In the video he is doing reps on the bench with 500lb, WITH the help of his spotter- UP RIGHT-rowing the weight WITH KAI HELPING,LOL. How is this impressive to you? I wouldnt listen to anyone who would call that benching!!

    On a more serious note- you skipping the dead for 3 months, totally throws off any kind of reasoning that the super dose of protein, actually helped you hit a PR.

    At the level of which you are pulling,(sub 600 deadlifters)lifters actually can skip pulling for months, and come back and match or beat their best- its just what I see all of the time. Now, when the weights start to reach the high 6’s,7’s, 8’s etc- the whole game changes, and you have to really be on your game and be ready to hold that much weight in your hands and have to be CNS primed and prepared for it. I know I cant just walk up to 825lb dead- after a layoff of 3 months, and expect to even budge it off the ground, with out snapping something off- no matter what I have been eating, drinking or licking.

    Speaking of CNS, you dont mention your training style at all. The 20lb PR could be as simple as your CNS being rested and/or ready to handle some weight. Again, you just starting to deadlift again,SO it is about as new to your body/CNS as your jug of protein-protein-a day protocol. Shoot, maybe its your TRAINING THAT has been much improved,and you are one of those guys who benefit from only deadlifting 1x a month(or less)and make gains.

    Too many variables in your new found sucess. Who’s to say that you wouldnt have the same results with 250 grams a day? Have you tried that amount before? What was your intake before this? 50 grams? 100? I dont follow your reasoning for such an amount.

    I will let kiefer take it from here, but I’m assuming you got the link from my log on elite, so I thought I would chime in.


  • scotty

    no resources then?

  • Ryan


    I really enjoyed the read, I got linked here from Brian’s log on EFS and your blog is now bookmarked. Im currently a student working towards my bachelor’s and master’s in Diet and Exercise, and to see an article written with a seemingly large basis in scientific research is really refreshing. This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to read as much as I can get my hands on related to macronutrient intake. I agree totally that we have blown a lot of things out of proportion trying to eat 300+ grams of protein a day, 400-500+ grams of carbs a day, all based on articles and advice from people who do things like partner assisted benching. A great sign to people who are new to educating themselves on this type of thing, if the author quotes sources or offers their sources, and those sources are scientific experiments carried out in world class nutrition and physiology/kinesiology labs, that information has much more credibility than say person A ate 1000 grams of super duper whey isolate magic pixy dust protein and put 1000lbs on their bench. I look forward to your upcoming articles, keep up the good work, your doing a lot of people a favor with your work.

  • kelsey brewer

    go to around 6.30 he gets 3 clean 4 is assisted.

    while his partner is touching the bar …. c’mon

    I have seen alot of crazy strong benchers throwing up some big weight with the spotters touching the bar, or chest of a squatter etc.
    that is a far cry from bent over rows.

    anyways I have learned alot from the posts of Brian C and Kief especially in your new one about smoke blowing and When Brian said something about training style improvement or maybe a rested CNS.
    You have given me much to think about.
    thank you guys

  • brian carroll

    I was obviously being sarcastic about the rows, but you saying ‘clean’ is just flat out wrong. No argument necessary. There is nothing clean about a guys hands on the bar-helping. Whether its .5lb or 95lb, its still helping. Kai is strong, but how strong? well, tell his boyfriend to get off the bar! JK, but I promise you the strength he does have and the way he looks(amazing)isnt from eating a whole family of salmon a day, its more like eating a whole growth kit and a bottle of insulin, a day. Add in some decent nutrition, great genetics, years of hard work and heavy training: theres your 300lb kai green.

    You may have seen a lot of crazy strong benchers/squatters lifting like that in your gym, but not in my gym, or in any meet that I lift in. Having your hands NEAR the bar, or having a spotters hands NEAR a squatters chest, during a lift of 1,000lb isnt the same as a having your friend help coax the bar up as you lift and say, “IT’S ALL YOU BRO”.

    Think of the opposite.. How much would it influence your lift if the spotter put his hands on the bar and just barely pushed AGAINST you. Ahh, you see now. Try it sometime. Its just the same when someone ever so slightly helps you with the lift full range. You cant put an exact poundage on it, but it can really help or hurt you.

    Anyway, no big deal. Glad to know that we helped you in some way. Best of luck in everything. Stay with about half of that amount of protein and your kidneys will thank you.

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  • Jensen

    First off, great article. Very informative.

    I have a quick question for you. I’m trying to order from and was wondering how you mix in the additives for the post training mix (#2). I’d like to get in the carbs, creatine, and leucine. Do you order them all separate or create a total mix with the protein and additives?

    Thanks again for the great article.

    • Kiefer

      Hey Jensen,

      I normally order the protein blend then order my creatine and leucine separately, as it makes the protein blends more versatile.

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  • Deborah Kaplan

    Thanks Kiefer.
    I’m just finishing up my old blends and have the new ones ready to go, along with the Rilose.
    As you know me well, I’m also an endurance freak. So when I said consuming the blend 1 within one minute, what I meant was after my cardio-run-spin-stairs- which is about 55minutes after my weight workout, which puts me at 3 hrs since my first meal (which is within 30 minutes upon waking, consists of blend 1 and some eggwhites, and ezekial toast, then off to gym within the hour) It’s then, right after that cardio, that I’m eating the blend and usually within about 10 minutes.
    Should I eat eggwhite omelette first and then 30 minutes later take blend 2?(since now I will change to new formula), or since it has actually been and hour since my actual weight training I can now consume the blend 2 immediatley after my cardio?
    I usually do my second cardio(swim workout) four of the five weekday evenings. Should I consume blend 2 30 minutes after this workout along with the Rilose again?
    but I’m enjoying my Japanese Yams!! 100grams after my wt/cardio workout A.M., and 100grms also after my swim workout. Would adding the Rilose after each of these workouts be too much carbs?
    Remember, you are talking to Deb, who has measured everything for the past 25 yrs. and has maintained a very precise workout regime pretty much down to the minutes worked out daily, with food consumption consistant depending on what day and what I’m training and how many minutes and at what intensity. On high intensity cardio days I would assume it’s ok to have a few more carbs. I’m also trying to get the weekends with more carbs and not so strict in the amounts. But remember, I don’t eat anything processed or any refined sugar. For all the readers out there who may be reading this, I really am a control! Except I that I haven’t had my blood work done for a very long time(I’ll take suggestions on what tests to get) I am my own controlled study.
    Without starting the new blend yet I changed from Ezekial bread to the 100grams of yams post workouts, and also recently added my blend 1 after my swim.(to be changed to your blend 2) I’m definately filling out in just 2 weeks. It’s not just me, but people in the gym have noticed. I’m thinking about Figure competition again.

    Your thoughts appreciated.

    And I’ll keep you posted on blurbing. Getting closer..


  • Dale

    What would you think of a post workout shake consisting of 2 scoops of afterglow and 2-3 scoops of Xtend? I am trying to make what I have right now fit some of your suggestions. Thank you for sharing your information.

    • Kiefer

      @Dale: From what you have to work with, what you’re suggesting will work.

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  • Clutch


    What are your thoughts on using casein hydrolysate (Biotest Mag10), 5gms leucine + glucose as a post-wo shake? I know the casein hydrolysate tastes wrecthed but I really don’t have a problem choking it down.


    • Kiefer

      @Clutch: Good call on the wretchedness of casein hydrolysates (it’s the excessiv proline created from the enzymatic processes that produce the di- and tri-peptides). Assuming Biotest uses quality casein hydrolysate (I want to believe they do, but I’ve had a few rather poor experiences with their products and personnel), that would be a decent post-wo shake. Try to ensure getting enough glucose with it because the insulin spike from casein plus leucine after a workout can produce insulin levels on par with exogenous administration.

  • Clutch

    Kiefer: would it be beneficial to add whey Isolate or will the casein hydrolysates cover it? Also what is a good glucose source to add (Dextrose?)? Finally, when can we expect the series on gaining muscle while losing fat?

    Really appreciate all the advice and great info you provide.


  • Clutch

    Keifer: I also meant to ask, is grape juice a good source of carbs post-wo? I know it has fructose but I believe it’s also 50% glucose.


    • Kiefer

      @Clutch: I would consider adding the hydrolysates and eventually consider moving to pure (or aat least 50-60%) hydrolysates for post-workout. Ditch the grape juice. Fructose can lower insulin levels, ignite fat production and force other carbs to replenish glycogen reserves in the liver rather than in the muscles. Get a good pure maltodextrin or dextrose powder. I use Protein Factory’s rilose powder. You can find these powders in any nutrition store for dirt cheap. And don’t bother with the waxy maize; it’s primarily amylose, which shares several nasty features with fructose.

  • Clutch

    Kiefer: so the ideal PW shake (if taste wasn’t a concern) is 50/50 whey & casein hydrolysates + leucine & dextrose or malto?


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  • Blade

    Nice article, but I’m questioning the whole premise of keeping AA elevated all the time. Research shows that you get a refractory response with constant infusion or by ingesting protein too frequently, and as is suggested by Layne Norton here:
    you’re better off spacing meals 4-6hrs apart, possibly by “pulsing” EAA/BCAA in between meals as the rapid spike in levels is able to overcome the refractory response.
    As for hydrolysates, research actually indicates that slower proteins are better – or at least a mix of fast and slow. The rapid digestion and uptake of hydrolyzed casein and whey makes it unavailable to muscle:
    Would you change your recommendations based in light of this, or do you still think boluses of fast+slow proteins every 2-3hrs is a good idea? I’m thinking that the protocol you outline would give pretty much constantly elevated amino acid levels, no?

  • Kiefer

    @Blade: The first link you sent me containing the article by Layne Norton is great and I appreciate the new material. What he says has piqued my interest and I’ll be waiting for more results.

    The refractory effect is interesting but the data seems scant. Also, the articles sites many results obtained from untrained individuals and elderly women. Resistance training changes hormaonal and transcription factors and these differences are often gender-specific. To present results from elderly women is misleading, but it does raise an eyebrow and warrants further investigation. The bulk of evidence in resistance trained individuals suggests that FAA levels should be kept elevated as often as possible for maximum anabolic signaling.

    Also, he claims to show that you can attenuate the observed refractory response by eating carbs in conjunction with protein every three hours or so, which is exactly what most strength, power and physique athletes do when trying to grow.

    Right now, however, I’m not compelled to change my recommendations other than to do what everyone is doing already, having their protein shakes with their meals. I will be paying close attention to this line of research.

    As for Lyle’s assessment, he considers the one article within a narrow scope. When in a catabolic state, the body taps into splanchnic bed protein reserves first for amino acids. Replenishing these stores with fast acting proteins while ingesting slow acting proteins (as I recommend) seems sensible to me, and leaves FAA levels high enough to support peripheral growth.

    If this one study is as pivotal as Lyle presents, it would refute dozens of studies showing that the faster a protein can be absorbed into the blood stream, the greater the post-workout hypertrophy. If fast absorbing proteins can’t be used for skeletal muscle growth, then some other mechanism of action stemming from their ingestion still causes enhanced growth and warrants their use.

    Thanks for this material.

  • Blade

    I believe Layne Norton has done several follow-up studies with human subjects for his PhD, as of yet unpublished, so we will wait and see. If you’re interested do a search in one of his two Q&A threads over at musculardevelopment forums.

    Also, here’s a pretty good review on protein intake in athletes:

    Several points of interest there, both wrt fast vs. slow proteins, ingestion of carbs with EAA/BCAA immediately pre-WO should prevent gluconeogenesis AND improve MPS.

    Chronic vs. acute effects of exercise points to an increased demand for amino acids to sustain MPS, so 40g should be a more prudent recommendation than 20g, see Wolfe’s review:

  • Blade

    Oh, and another one on meal frequency, this one was performed on high-level athletes – I know the head researcher Truls Raastad and he’s a pretty smart guy… One of the few studies with caloric surplus and experienced lifters. The participants were provided a specified diet, which was later controlled by daily recall btw.


    Hansen Oyvind, Fostervold Mathisen Therese, Raastad

    Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo,
    Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norway

    Human trials on the effect of meal frequency on body composition are scarce. Short-term studies show increased rate of protein synthesis immediately after intake of amino acids [1], and frequent meals are shown to aid in the preservation of lean body mass when dieting [2]. Consequently it could be hypothesised that in response to strength training, more frequent meals will give larger muscle mass accumulation and lower fat mass (FM) than fewer meals. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of 3 vs. 6meals per day on changes in body composition in young men and women performing strength training over 12 weeks. Men (n=33) and women (n=15) aged 21 to 35 with at least one year of previous strength training experience were randomly assigned to either a 6 meals a day group or a 3 meals a day group. The prescribed total dietary intake in both groups was equal and calculated to give a positive energy balance of approximately 1200 KJ/day, a protein intake of 1.5-1.7 g/kg/day and a carbohydrate intake of 5-7 g/kg/day. During the training period the dietary intake was controlled by repeated 24-hours recalls. All participants performed the same strength training program, training four times per week, giving each muscle group one heavy session and one light session per week. In the heavy sessions, training intensity varied between 10 and 3 RM sets, and 3-6 sets were performed in each exercise. Determination of body composition was performed with DEXA at the beginning of and immediately after the training period. A total of 16 men and 11 women completed the project. After multiple regression analysis the 3 meal group had a significant greater gain in lean body mass (LBM) than the 6 meal group when adjusted for gender and energy intake (p=0.04), when adjusted for gender and protein intake (p=0.03), and when adjusted for gender, protein intake, carbohydrate intake and fat intake* (p=0.01). (*: Fat intake in g/kg body weight/day showed significance on LBM, p=0.03). No significant differences in regional changes in LBM were observed, although there was a tendency towards a greater gain in the three meal group. There were no significant differences in change in fat mass (FM) between the groups, but a tendency towards a greater gain in the three meal group, 7.33% (-5.23, 19.90), p=0.24. The three meal group had a 2.87%(0.62, 5.12) larger weight gain than the six meal group, p=0.01.The participants had a 2.31% (0.83, 3.79), gain in bone mineral density of the spine during the twelve weeks of strength training, p<0.01, but there were no differences between the groups. In this study, three meals per day resulted in larger muscle gain from strength training than six meals per day over a period of twelve weeks. The reason why 3 meals a day was superior to 6 meals a day in this study needs further investigation. More long-term studies are needed to determine the optimal meal frequency for gain in LBM from strength training.

  • Kiefer

    @Blade: Thanks for the research. If you read my protein 2.0, I do recommend 40 grams (45 actually) post workout and 25 around each meal time (assuming the meal too contains adequate protein). So thanks for verifying my approach with your last link.

    I am also aware of the compensatory role of insulin during weight training to limit muscle protein breakdown, but it’s beens shown time and time again that muscle protein synthesis does not occur during training, regardless of pre-workout nutrition. There are ways to use carbs to accelerate fat burning during a workout, but not immediately pre-workout, that I know of.

  • crk

    I can only afford to take blend 1 three times per day. Would it be more beneficial to take them grouped together at some point in the day, like around lifting, or evenly spaced throughout the day?

  • Kiefer

    @Crk: If I could only take blend 1 three times per day, I would group it around my training in the following way: 1 scoop 30 minutes pre-workout; 2 scoops within 30 minutes post-workout. I feel that blunting the catabolic effect of training and accelerating the hypertrophic effect of training is more important than keeping FAA levels elevated all day.

  • 7jax

    I’m curious if you’ve read Thib’s latest “Pulse Feast” program, recently released on T-Nation. I noticed a lot of similrities between his recommendation for “pulsing” protein (casein hydrolysate) a few times before “feasting” post-workout, and your protein supplementation recommendations before carb back-loading. However, my question pertains to the key difference, specifically FAA levels. You recommend keeping FAA levels elevated througout the day, but Thibs stresses having a succession of peaks and valleys, that he purports to illicit a greater anabolic response.
    Do you know if there is any validity to this peak and valley method? Any comments on this would be appreciated.

  • 7jax

    Sorry, I just noticed that Blade asked a similar question. So now I’m wondering if you’ve looked deeper into this since your last post?

  • Kiefer

    I am looking deeper into this. It has definitely peaked my interest, but as of yet, I haven’t seen enough to refute or confirm that one or two large boluses of protein may be better than continuously high levels. I am looking, though.

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  • Brian

    I went to ProteinFactory and they actually have “Dangerously Hardcore Mix” D and H. I assume these are for similar purposes as what you posted, however they were different blends and this post was two years ago. Is what I saw on PF an update to your blend?

    • madbowler6

      I would LOVE an answer to this question, especially since I just ordered blend #2 from above (although I backed the two primary proteins down a bit so I could make the blend 15% rilose. I can never train in the AM and tend to eat relatively low carb, so I wanted a *little* help with insulin in my shake).

  • Jort Duijnker


    Legendary post, you are a fact-based, eloquent writer and I appreciate what you do more than I can express in a short comment. If you can provide a full and referenced version of this material I would love to read the underlying research. It sounds very exciting.

    It is a breath of fresh air and a trust-raising experience to have someone integrate scientific research with a no-bs presentation. Please keep doing what you’re doing. It is greatly appreciated. Those who don’t, well, I guess they’re just a learning experience away from understanding the value of facts-based dialog and their lack of understanding or ensuing comments do not change the value of what you do.

    Best, Jort

  • bigguysky

    Ok tell me if im just being dumb here. Kiefer, I thought you weren’t a big fan on powder doing most of your protocols like CBL and CNS besides post workout. From what i gathered from the article your saying ingest certain blends through out the whole day? As well as taking certain blends with each of your “whole food” meals?

  • moonshine71

    Hi there! Sorry for the newbie question, when do I take blend 2? please advice & thank you.

    • MassNERDerer

      Quoted from the article: “After lifting, ingest the second of your main blends. It’s 50% whey hydrolysate and 50% whey isolate.”. So it’s the post workout shake.

  • sarahs

    Can you please update this article since the websites have changed and now have more options than before, and the science may have been updated too? Thanks!

  • Jo

    So what brand would be good to use if you stay in Africa? Ordering online and bringing it in nearly doubles the price.

    • Justin

      I heard that the zebra milk protein makes your muscles grow and thrice the rate of cows milk.

    • Justin

      Seriously though, just try to investigate the quality of your protein, and that should tell you. Try to source a cheap brand from your local supplement dealers that fits your budget, but try to get something that is: fresh (hasn’t sat in a warehouse for years); is made from good quality milk (grass-fed is best); processed in good ways (minimal, cold-processing is best; cross-flow microfiltration whey isolate is probably best, ultra-filtration and micro-filtration is second best, ion-filtered is the lowest grade whey isolate; hydrolyzed products I don’t know as much about quality-control on, maybe just try to find a brand that does other products at a high quality standard and go with them, see how you feel after trying their products and how your body reacts).

  • stelbel

    Full, cited version of this post please!

  • Barkshark

    Ok, i basically am looking to burn as much fat and want to have small gains in the process. Exaxtly which brand of protein(s) should I buy and when do I take them and still be in the parameters of CNS? I am sorry if you covered it, but if you did it went over my head. I just got the gist that me taking a low carb Whey isolate was all kinds of wrong.

  • Frank Kuriakos

    Is there anything more resent then this? This is 4 years old.

  • Alma

    I tried to order Blend Two above from but Hydrolyzed Whey Isolate is not available. I emailed and got this response:

    Hydrolyzed whey proteins typically aren’t rated as “concentrates” or “isolates,” but
    by the percentage of hydrolysis that the materials undergo in breaking the protein particles down into smaller and easier-to-absorb di- and tri-peptides.

    Hydrolyzed Whey Protein is available. Should we substitute with that instead? Just go 50/50 Whey Isolate & Hydrolyzed Whey Protein?

  • Shawn Crane

    There hasn’t been any activity on this page for a while, and I’m not quite sure where to go for resources. I just bought Carb Backloading and had some questions.

    1) Has Kefir wrote any other information on protein supplementation that is a little more up to date?

    2) I see that ProteinFactory still exists, but is there still a way to make custom blends on their site? I saw that they had a blend called “Dangerously Hardcore Blend” but there was only one blend, and it’s protein breakdown wasn’t what was suggested in this article.

    3) I don’t see a site called TrueProtein and the link provided doesn’t work

    4) My last question is about

    The most recent material I see is two years old. Has Kefir moved on to projects elsewhere? Does he have a new site?

    Any information is helpful. Thanks!