Muscle Sport Magazine

PROTEINS AND AMINOS: A Winning Combination for ANY Weightlifting Goal

By Michael Kaycheck – Want to gain mass? Looking to rip up? Increase strength? Whatever the goal, if your vehicle is to get to any of these destinations, then the fuel for your tank are proteins and aminos. “Who the f**k is this guy?” you might ask. I’m not gonna fluff this article. I’ll get right to it but I’ll give you a quick idea of who this guy is.


I started at about 13 years old “back in the day” with a cheap set of sand weights doing ridiculous sets that undoubtedly did more damage for my growing body than good. I lifted those sand filled weights until they bled said sand. Then at 15, we were allowed to use my friend’s father’s Dan Laurie and Lou Ferrigno iron weights in the asbestos-filled basement storage room that we called “our gym.”


Then I thought weight training in high school was the ultimate until I joined my first hardcore old school lifting gym in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn – the sacred BATH BEACH. I was awed by the monsters staggering in the basement free weight room. And then more and more gyms and I must have eaten, drank, ingested every (over the counter) supplement available from Joe Weider products, read every muscle magazine and tried every lifting technique faster than they could turn them out.


In my mid-20s, I got a little smarter about nutrition and incorporated that into my lifting. Then in my 30s, I broke down and introduced cardio as part of my lifting routine. So here I am at 45, certified to train (not that it means a whole bunch) and I’m still hittin’- and lovin’- the iron. So what are my qualifications? I’m just another gym rat sharing his first-hand experience. Some borrowed, some I’ve come up with on my own. But if we share knowledge, if we try things and pick out what works for us, then the better the results and the more interesting it keeps this racket. So here it goes:




I have read in multiple articles that for mass building, the formula is now between 1.5 and 2 grams of protein per body pound. I range in the 230’s. Sometimes higher in the winter, lower in the summer. That’s a full time job! If you have to work, you don’t have the time to get that in. Well, whatever your weight, try your best to get at least 1 gram. This also covers those who are looking to maintain a decent amount of mass as they define. Even those just going for pure cuts; shoot for 1G per pound because chances are, in your busy personal life, you aren’t going to get that everyday anyway. And you still want your muscles to be a good size and hard as you make your skin paper thing.


In any event, the consumption of protein is a must. My friends, it works, it truly does. The way to do it is to ingest some sort of protein serving every 2-3 hours. I know it’s tough. It’s also tough when you just ate and aren’t ready to eat again. But if you alternate from solid meals to shakes, it makes it a little easier. Example: one thing I sometimes do is have a turkey and (5-6) egg white sandwich on a whole wheat bagel a little while before the gym. I figure 7G’s per white, so at 5, that’s 35. Figure another 15-20G’s from the turkey. The bagel helps my energy level for the fuel needed to lift. (Oh yeah, there’s coffee in there too. Caffeine IS your friend, just don’t dog it.)


So about a half hour after that, I mosey to the gym, stretch, cardio (if it’s a cardio day) then lift. Now after that, ESPECIALLY if there was no cardio involved (as that will truly raise metabolism which will create hunger), I might not be so eager to eat. So I have a protein shake (50G’s). I prefer whey, as it assimilates quickly. This serves as a benefit because: A- it gets the proteins to your body post-workout faster, and B- you will be ready to take another round of protein within 2-3 hours of the post-workout serving, as the liquid digests quicker than a solid food. So off the bat, there’s 100G’s before my day starts. (I train early in the AM.)


Next serving will be a solid meal followed by another shake. I’m not going to get into which brand is better than which. A lot of that you have to experiment for yourself, as everyone’s system is different. But I do recommend the whey for the aforementioned reasons (combining the consumption order with solid foods). I don’t need to recommend what solid foods. You dumbbells (and I say that affectionately) know what’s high in protein. I will say when you start this and you feel you can’t eat any more as the day progresses, then maybe do two shakes in a row. Maybe in your solid meal, skip any carbs – bread, veggies, etc. Carbs add to that bloated and full feeling. Just eat the steak, just the chicken cutlet, tuna from a bowl, etc. Dudes (and dudettes) I STARTED this eating adaptation one summer in June. It was a hot one and I forced myself. But I gotta say, I became used to it. And as you grow, your body will WANT those extra building blocks. You will be craving protein.

Now, for desert. ESPECIALLY for those looking for mass; the nighttime proteins. Get your hands on some. I suggest casein (again, the name brand is up to you. I know what I like). Here’s the logic – and it makes perfect sense. Let’s say you weigh 200lbs and are trying for AT LEAST 200G’s. Remember “THEY” say (whoever the f**k they is) 1.5 to 2 for mass. Well, you don’t have enough time to consume all this protein. What the hell are you supposed to do, wake up extra early just to eat protein? I’m not gonna do that! BBBUUUTTT….. You COULD eat WHILE you’re sleeping!


If you sleep anywhere from 5-8 hours, there’s a whole other round of time to get protein in your system. And what a great time – the shop is closed and all the workers are coming out to repair and fix everything from the daily workout. Casein gels in your stomach and releases slowly so you get a timely feed of protein into your system throughout the night and, as I said, at a real opportune time – your body is resting and repairing. You’ll wake up eager to go. One scoop is usually 25G’s. Personally I take a scoop, maybe a scoop and a quarter if it was a rough one. I use water. Milk bloated me and it made it difficult to sleep. Plus you also better leave the windows open if you’re using milk before bed!


So that’s the protein formula; whey all day for quick absorption combined with high protein foods. After all, we cannot live on shake alone. Casein (or alternative nighttime protein) before bed for the slow, steady protein feed.



Following the chain of command, proteins are the building blocks of muscle and amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. This is the way it goes and this is why I feel it’s such a winning combination – it’s the natural order of things.


Personally, I am fond of the free form aminos. I like the large variety of the amino spectrum. Okay, there are not as many milligrams. because there’s multiple aminos and little room, but if I want to increase my L-Arginine, then I’ll get a bottle of single amino (L-Arg). And many of the protein powders offer a dash of the major aminos, so you’re getting them in your shakes as well.


I have also taken BCAA (branch chain amino acids) DURING my workout. BCAA’s come highly recommended for muscle repair and energy. I know I’ve heard/read about BCAA’s immediately following a workout. I’m not sure if I’ve hear/read during, or it was just something I just started doing. But taking aminos during the workout (whether free form or BCAA) I found helps delay the crash and burn, especially on those days (oh, God, they’re getting far and few in between) when you’re on a roll and there doesn’t seem to be enough iron in the joint for you to lift.


But this game gets expensive. So if I can’t afford to buy BCAA separately that payday, then free form will do; it’s something. My philosophy on this nutrition formula is to keep some type of steady flow of nutrients running into the body. It’s always getting fresh material, repairing thicker, stronger, and shapelier. You can work the amino consumption in between the protein consumption, about an hour after a shake, an hour and a half to two hours after a meal. I’m not putting a timeline or meal description. That won’t help you. You will figure what works for you. I’m just gonna give you and idea of the order. So my flow will look something like this:




Round of Aminos


Solid Meal


Hit the Gym (round of aminos during)




Solid Meal


Round of Aminos


Nighttime Protein


Of course this isn’t in stone. Sometimes there’s an extra solid meal or shake, a protein bar instead, etc. We all have a lot of variables: work, school, home situation – it’s what works for YOU. I like this and don’t cycle it because proteins and aminos are natural. We need them anyway, just higher quantities because of what we do. And they are found in food groups. I take proteins and aminos religiously with no breaks. Yeah, I experiment with other things. NO2 boosters, creatine, etc. Those things I cycle. Protein and aminos? Gimme, gimme, gimme. And it works – no matter your age.


Feel free to use the following analogy: picture a construction site. That’s your body. The workers show up for the day to build. That’s you going to the gym. But if the trucks don’t show up with the bricks, the wood, the nails, the cement, etc… what are they gonna build with? That’s the protein and aminos. No matter WHAT you do in the gym, if you don’t feed the machine, you ain’t getting’ results.


As I mentioned earlier, you might have different goals (size, cuts, etc) and may want to tweak it, but this is an excellent fundamental. I pass it on. Do with it what you will.


Well, I hope you know where I’m coming from. I ain’t sellin’ anything, I’m no trainer. I’m just the gym rat in the gym next to you sharing his 32 years of lifting (both correctly and IN-correctly) tricks and experiences. I find this to be a game of sharing knowledge. Just two months ago, I saw a gym rat doing an abs routine that I never saw. I walked over to him, introduced myself and asked him where he felt it, how many times a week, etc. There’s no room for ego. Get your hands on any knowledge you can. I’d like to hear from you. Let us know if this was insightful, as I’d like to share some more. ALL my material is trial and error. So start gobbling your proteins and aminos and remember: you aren’t in competition with no one except YOURSELF.


Happy lifting!


Michael Kaycheck is a retired NYPD detective who has made the switch to an acting career on the big and small screens. He can be seen in films such as “Party Monster” (2003), “Saturn” (1999), “Requiem for a Dream” (2000), “Series 7: The Contenders” (2001) and more. Kaycheck has also taken a turn on television with parts on “The Good Wife,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “NYPD Blue” and others.

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