Biohacking Muscle Growth: How To Maximize Anabolism & Muscle Hypertrophy Using Targeted Delivery Of Nutrients To Muscle Tissue During Exercise, With Professional Bodybuilder Milos Sarcev.

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Biohacking, Fitness, Nutrition, Podcast, Supplements

It's time to take a deep dive into all things pre-, post-, and during-workout nutrition to maximize recovery, anabolism, muscle hypertrophy, and much more with Milos Sarcev — one of the top bodybuilders of all time.

Milos was born on January 17, 1964 in Novi Sad, Serbia (former Yugoslavia), grew up in Bečej, and at an early age got involved in numerous sporting activities—participating in judo, karate, swimming, soccer, and basketball tournaments as a teenager. At the age of 17, he was introduced to weightlifting and immediately fell in love with bodybuilding. Four years later, he started competing, entered and won his province title (Mr. Vojvodina), his republic title (Mr. Serbia), and finally national title (Mr. Yugoslavia) before going on to compete on the international scene (Mr. Europe and Mr. Universe). He won the 1989 Amateur Mr. Universe competition and started competing as a professional in the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB).

Milos studied nutritional technology at the University of Novi Sad and moved to the USA in 1987 to pursue his bodybuilding career. In 1989 he won the Amateur Mr. Universe title, in 1991 became an IFBB professional bodybuilder, competing in over 110 bodybuilding shows worldwide (72 of which were IFBB professional competitions), and qualified for the Mr. Olympia contest for 10 consecutive years in the hardest era of bodybuilding (1990s).

After his competitive career, Milos became known for coaching/advising numerous professional athletes and Olympic medalists. He took a part in famous BALCO Labs “Project World Record” as a nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach for Tim Montgomery—creating the fastest man alive by breaking the World Record on the 100-meter sprint (9.77 seconds) after less than 9 months of coaching. As a bodybuilding coach, he advised over 100 IFBB professional bodybuilders, of which 36 qualified for the most prestigious Mr. Olympia competition. He is a renowned international nutritional expert and speaker; professional trainer; and strength, conditioning, and contest preparation consultant with over 35 years of firsthand industry experience.

Milos has become one of the most prominent authorities on nutrition and the human body as relates to athletic performance, earning him the industry moniker “The Mind.” He is considered to be one of the most influential bodybuilders in history, pioneering the usage of specific intra-workout nutritional sports supplementation through his Hyperemia Advantage System, which revolutionized the whole sports supplementation industry. Milos' methods of training and hormonal manipulation for achieving a hyper-anabolic state and maximal hypertrophy are now accepted by millions around the world.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-The background on Milos' interest on muscle growth…6:25

  • Milos' father, a doctor of science in neuro-psychiatry, asked questions on how to build muscle (anabolic) vs. tearing it down (catabolic)
    • “If you take a sledgehammer to a room over and over, can you keep building it up…”
  • Increased blood flow to the muscle will result in up to 70% more muscle fibers in a muscle you're training
  • At rest, 10% blood in the muscles
  • Trigger anabolic hormones that will enhance insulin levels
  • Pharmaceutical grade essential amino acids (EAAs), combined with dextrose resulted in nearly instant and impressive results (prescription was needed to get EAAs in the '80s)
  • Was accused of taking anabolic steroids at competitions when competing
  • Regulation of Increased Blood Flow (Hyperemia) to Muscles During Exercise: A Hierarchy of Competing Physiological Needs
  • 3-4 ml of blood per minute to in 100 g of muscles during normal rested state
  • During exercise, this increases to 100-200 ml of blood per minute in 100 g muscles

-Milos' ideas and theories put into real-world practice…16:00

  • Milos published a “magic workout drink” recipe in Flex Magazine in 2001
  • Created his first pre-, intra-, and post-workout supplementation in 2006
  • Introducing these supplements, allowed pro bodybuilders to gain muscle when it was thought they could gain no more muscle
  • Use of vasodilatory (vessel widening) substances in the supplements to increase the delivery
  • BFR training limits hyperemia during exercise, then a cell “swelling”
  • BFR training is contradictory to Milos' philosophy; has used it to supplement “giant set” rotations in the past
  • EAAs, glucose, electrolytes (Thorne Catalyte or a pinch of salt) always bioavailable
  • Taking glucose immediately after training restores glycogen in the muscles
  • Intra-workout supplementation maintains glucose and amino acid levels between sets, making them available for re-uptake

-The substances Milos uses alongside EAAs during training…29:45


-Proper timing and dosage of supplementation before and during a workout…37:15

  • Pre-Workout (around 30-45 minutes before)
  • During Workout
  • EAAs are far superior to branch chain amino acids (BCAAs)
    • 9 EAAs the body cannot manufacture that are needed to complete protein synthesis
    • 3 EAAs in BCAAs (incomplete essentials)
  • Insulin can be the best friend or worst enemy, depending on the type of training you're doing
    • Bodybuilders who want to get anabolic and hypertrophic boost insulin

-How Milos structures his diet for optimal training…42:00

-Why supplementation during the workout is necessary…45:45

  • Risk of hyperglycemia
  • Glucose will make its way to the bloodstream regardless of how hypertonic the drink may be
  • “A gram of practice can bear more weight than a ton of theory”
  • Ben Pakulski – “challenge everything you know”
  • If gastric emptying is delayed completely, it can be inhibited completely

-How post-workout supplement differs from the pre-, and during-workout…49:15

  • Post-workout shake (an hour after the workout) to complete the hyper-anabolic state; continue to deliver sufficient amount of protein to ensure muscle protein synthesis; continue to deliver carbohydrate to replenish glycogen, both in the liver and muscles
  • Further spiking insulin after the workout will be detrimental to protein synthesis and glycogen repletion
  • Practice trumps theory
  • The post-workout anabolic window is essential

-Milos' carnosine strategy…54:05

-What Milos' training looked like during his peak vs. now…57:10

  • Myofibril hypertrophy – stimulating the muscles by lifting heavy weights to cause trauma to the individual muscle fibers; overcompensation that would increase the volume and density of the injured myofibrils
  • Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy – occurs when the sarcoplasmic fluid (ATP, glycogen, creatine, water) volume increases; adds muscle volume but not functional mass
  • Increasing strength isn't the primary goal of a bodybuilder; the size of the muscle is
  • The human body is not designed to withstand the rigors of bodybuilding
  • Replenishment, restoration, etc.; supply nutrients while training
  • Myofibril stimulus via two exercises; heavy weight, progressive overload
  • Warm-up properly, prevent catabolism as much as possible
  • First exercise, do muscle-centric movements, not movement-centric
    • Go slow eccentrically, lowering with muscle contraction lengthening, pausing, squeezing your way up; don't explode
  • Second set, progressive overload (gradually more weight)
    • Do slow eccentric, slow concentric
  • Third set, further load more weight;
    • Go slow eccentrically, explosively concentrically; go for that power movement
  • Fourth set, go all out
  • Slow concentric during warm-up is essential; feel your muscles; squeeze your muscles; not only tension but maximal tension, what Ben Pakulski calls muscle intelligence

-Why essential amino acids are so…essential…1:10:05

  • EAAs – No. 1, most important nutritional supplement; regular protein (fish, chicken, turkey, beef) intake to get EAA

Milos' actual training – Body split workouts, warm-up, and exercise selection:

  1. I always begin my workout with 10 minutes of cardio, then move to leg extensions to further warm up my muscles, tendons, and ligaments. I take three seconds to raise the weight, two seconds to hold it at the top, and three seconds to complete the negative. Although I don't advocate locking out your knees on squats, lunges, and leg presses, I do recommend fully contracting your quads on leg extensions, and this requires a momentary locking-out of the knee joint.
  2. I now move to what I consider the king of all exercises: barbell squats. Even though I've already warmed up my quads with leg extensions, I still do two warm-up sets of 10 squats to warm up my hips, glutes, lower back, and calves before my three heavy working sets. My descending speed is still slow, about three seconds, but since squats are a building motion, the ascending motion is more explosive. A lot of people make the mistake of stopping between reps and resting when doing squats, but you must keep continual tension on your muscles for maximal results, and this is achieved by continual motion.
  3. Next come leg presses. I alternate from week to week between the unilateral and two-leg versions. I see so many people doing 1,000-pound 1-inch leg presses. That won't help you develop anything. For both single- and double-leg, I advocate a full range of motion.
  4. I finish off with hack squats. On two-legged leg press days, I perform the standard three sets of 10, with my feet and knees close together to hit the outer sweep of my quads. On the unilateral days, I do my infamous triple drop set. I've made more than 100 people throw up doing this, and I myself have thrown up on several occasions. You begin with a weight with which you can get only 5-6 reps, then drop it down and do another 10, drop it again, and go for 10-15. But the trick is this: Do these as slowly as possible. Five seconds to go down, pause two seconds at the bottom, and five seconds to go back up. If you finish this without being sick, you didn't do it right.
  5. I used to think I could train legs all at once, but my hams were always lagging because I was exhausted from quad training. So these days, I train quads and hams separately, giving each its own day once a week to ensure complete development.
THE ROUTINE
EXERCISESETSREPS
Unilateral Leg Extensions315, 12, 10
Barbell Squats5*10, 10, 8, 6, 5
Unilateral Leg Press310, 10, 8
-OR-
Leg Press (both legs)**310
Hack Squat***310
* First 2 sets are warm-up
** Alternate weekly between unilateral and two-legged leg presses
*** On unilateral leg press weeks, do a triple drop set instead of three straight sets of hack squats
TRAINING SPLIT
DAYBODY PARTSTRAINED
1ChestAbs
2QuadsCalves
3ShouldersTraps
4Back
5Arms
6HamsCalves, Abs
7OFF
Trains abs every day at the end of routine for three months during contest prep

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Milos Sarcev:

– Additional Supplements:

– Gear:

– Articles:

Ben's Interview With Ben Pakulski

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Milos or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question


29 thoughts on “Biohacking Muscle Growth: How To Maximize Anabolism & Muscle Hypertrophy Using Targeted Delivery Of Nutrients To Muscle Tissue During Exercise, With Professional Bodybuilder Milos Sarcev.

  1. Neal says:

    I’m a firm believer in using all of these supplements peri workout, however I’m wondering if some of the dosing is excessive. For example he’s suggesting upwards of 20 grams of creatine on workout days. I know 20g can be recommended sometimes for a loading phase, but should that much be taken on a consistent basis? Especially when maintenance is just about 5 grams to keep the muscles saturated?

  2. Alex says:

    How would you alter the supplememt protocol for a StongFirst style strength training regime. i.e. reps < 5, long rest periods, pure focus on myofibrillar hypertrophy? Just EAAs and skip the sugar?

  3. Carlos says:

    Fantastic interview and I am have put this workout stack together, I just finished my first training day with it.

    It tastes SO BAD I am desperately asking everyone for recommendations to improve the taste. Some points:

    – Currently using Original Vitargo (unflavoured)

    – Currently using Pure Whey (unflavoured)

    – Currently using a pinch of himalayan salt

    Does anyone have a recommendation of how to substitue any (or all) of these three options to improve overall flavour?

    Many thanks in advance!

    1. dean says:

      I flavor it with tulsi basil/cinnamon basil I mince up from the garden and a spike of fresh lemon and or peppermint (im a fan of the dilation). curious if this effects the metabolism of the aminos at all? any thoughts or add ons

      1. Carlos says:

        thanks for the tips! I actually replaced the Original (unflavored) Vitargo with Fruit Punch Vitargo, the Unflavored Whey with Vanilla Whey and the Himalayan Salt with SiS GO Energy Powder Orange. I didn’t know what to expect but the resulting flavour of both the during and post were very pleasant so I am onto a winner :D
        The pre-workout is still not as good as the other two but still way better than originally just with the Orange energy powder.

  4. Brett says:

    Just wondering how much water everyone is putting in the pre and post work out drinks if you have tryed it??

  5. Guy says:

    Hey any suggestion (for the gluten sensitive) on a comparable product to Vitargo that isn’t derived from barley? They say it’s under 20 ppm on their website, but still would like a product that isn’t derived from any gluten containing grains. Thanks!

    1. 3Carb is a great alternative that Dr. Andy Galpin has talked about before. https://3fu3l.com/products/3carb

  6. Oolong_T says:

    What about the use of honey as pre and post workout carb? And if honey works how much should i take?

    1. Nick Urban says:

      Honey is great! Less blood glucose drop compared to dextrose or maltodextrin. How much you use depends on the intensity of the workout.

  7. Zack says:

    Is Dextrose just as effective as Vitargo? The overall cost is really making me lean towards the former. If there’s a possible gut issue with the dextrose, that would definitely be a deciding factor for me.

    Thanks!

    1. Nick Urban says:

      Go for raw, local honey instead. Protects the immune system/gut from exercise-induced stress instead of damaging it. Also, less rebound hypoglycemia.

  8. Jesse says:

    Just WOW! Total game changer in my work out and state of being after implementing a couple of the gems from this episode. Huge Blessings to this Ben and Milos, Growing you get by the day☝️

  9. Kyle says:

    Is there a stim-free, pre-workout supplement that includes all of the ingredients listed?

  10. Rafael says:

    Very interesting podcast, thanks a lot !

    Would a similar protocol and formulas be valid for endurance sports?

    1. Nick says:

      Beta-alanine becomes more important, as do EAAs, a clean carb source (raw, local honey), ketones/MCT, and electrolytes. Endurance athletes should also pay more attention to gut health so things like glutamine & colostrum are solid.

  11. Vincent Robert says:

    Hello Ben!
    Do you know is the carbs in Vitargo is cyclique dextrine? Do you know about cyclique dextrine? Is it damaging for your gut? Or your health?
    Thanks to answer my question!

  12. Berend says:

    Great episode i follow Ben Pakulski’s programs for many years. I use 10g eaa’s pre 5 g bcaa’ s intra and 10g eaa’s, 5 g bcaa’s and 5 g creatine post workout. I get a lot of pimpels om my shoulders while i use a lab tester plant bases unflavored version. Do i use to much or do i have Some allergic response?

  13. Ollie says:

    “Further spiking insulin after the workout will be detrimental to protein synthesis”

    So is This saying post workout carbs are in necessary??

  14. Connor, your biggest fan says:

    How does L-alanine compare to beta alanine?

    1. Connor, your biggest fan says:

      I’ve been cyclic keto only eating carbs in the evening and exercising mainly fasted for the last 3 years since I first heard you lecture when you mentioned it on JRE; recently I have been eating more and lifting heavier more often trying to put on muscle, so now I am very intrigued with all I learned today. I’ve been using small amounts of EAAs and creatine and recently started using whey protein post workouts. I’ve tried to go with the minimum affective dose since my first fascination with health from the four hour body, I just ordered dextrose to add to my list, I can’t quite afford to buy all of the various cool sounding things that he listed in his pre/intra/post workout shakes. Besides EAA creatine dextrose salt and whey, what would be the next two or three most useful supplements that I should add in? Between glutamine, arginine, beta alanine, citruline, leucine, Ect..? I know the eaas have leucine already but I know it’s important for mtor? I don’t know what’s priority on my budget. I need the recipe for the koolaide that I should drink lol. Thank you and God bless you

      1. Connor says:

        How does l-carnitine compare to acytl carnitine? Or carnitine tartate?

  15. Gwenn says:

    Hey loved this! What would the measurement be for dextrose in place of vitargo? Thank you for all of the nutritional breakdown

    1. A says:

      Similar question. D-Ribose rather than Vitargo? Loved the episode and am already implementing the increase in EAA/aminos.

  16. Jeff D. says:

    I have a mild reaction to whey protein and have decided to avoid it. I don’t have a problem with casein. Is there a substitute for the whey post-workout?

    1. Nick says:

      EAAs with extra leucine added. I’d look up the amino profile of whey and try to replicate that.

      Plant-based proteins tend to lack the ideal post-workout ratios.

  17. Steve B says:

    Love this episode Ben. It confirms my pre, intra, and post supplement routine during workout days. Thanks for the knowledge Milos. I have always been a fan of yours.

    Milos – What are your thoughts on using HBCD instead of Vitargo? I use HBCD and I’m curious if this works just as good as Vitargo?

  18. Raymond Loera says:

    what about the use of colostrum?

    1. Yeah but that's not really during or after workout. It's more of a morning/evening gut/immune support compound.

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