"Natural Freak" Eric Broser is fast becoming one of the bigger names in the natural bodybuilding realm. Not only is he the creator of the Power, Rep Range, Shock (PRRS) training system, but Eric is also the Internet marketing manager for All American EFX supplements - a supplement line made by naturals for natural bodybuilders. For more information on Eric Broser, PRRS training and AAEFX supplements, please visit the following links:
Muscle & Strength: Tell me about your background. When did you start lifting and what training styles have you tried over the years?
Eric Broser: I started lifting when I was 16 years old. At the time I weighed in at 125 lbs at a height of just under 6 feet tall. I was literal skin and bones to say the least...and although I was athletic, I was not strong. Bench pressing just the bar at that time was a challenge for me for a set of 10 (almost sad to say, lol). After expressing an interest in bodybuilding to my father, he helped me set up a gym in my basement with a decent amount of equipment...certainly all a beginner would need to get himself going.
My best friend, Mitchell, had the same desire as I did to get BIG and POWERFUL, so the two of us would meet 4-5 days per week at my house for 2-hour-long iron pumping sessions (usually followed by a meal of eggs, pancakes and a milkshake!). Over those first few years we certainly tried all styles of lifting including Heavy Duty, Intensity or Insanity, Bulgarian Burst, Gironda-style, Schwarzenegger-style, Mentzer-style, and everything in between. However, at the time, big Bertil Fox was our favorite bodybuilder, and once we saw his first video, we spent quite a bit of time training in HIS style...heavy and somewhat sloppy (although I don't say that to discredit him as he was once of the most massive bodybuilders of all time).
Later on is when I started to truly become a "bodybuilding-scientist" and began to formulate my own method for building muscle.
Muscle & Strength: At some point you began to experiment with what is now the PRRS training system. Can you tell us about the evolution and development of this system, and some of the things you learned along they way that help forge it into its current state?
Eric Broser: The PRRS Training System evolved simply because it "had to!" After busting my butt in the gym for almost ten years I realized that my physical transformation had come to a halt. Yes I was pretty darn big at 230 lbs, and pretty darn strong as well, but I refused to believe that I had already exhausted my genetic potential. I had also taken the opportunity to look at the many people I saw in the gym training hard day after day, year after year, and I noticed something rather disturbing...nobody was really progressing anymore.
This made me start to think...I mean really think. I decided to go back and research all of my training logs from the day I started lifting until the present time. I wanted to discover at what points I made my greatest progress, and see if I noticed some type of pattern. I also reread several of my college texts and looked into dozens of studies that had to do with muscle hypertrophy, the central nervous system, hormones, immune function, sports psychology, etc...anything that I felt could assist me in unlocking the mystery of human physiology.
What I slowly began to realize is just how complex and amazing the human body is. We were "built" to survive and adapt, and to do so with the greatest possible efficiency. Change is not something our systems prefer, so adding new muscle is not something high on its "priority list." And although it is our very ability to adapt that allows us to add muscle as the result of intense weight training, this very same ability makes it harder and harder to continue to do so as time passes. And this is again because the human body seeks out homeostasis, not change or chaos. Thus, over time our system learns to better and better deal with the training stress we place upon it so that it can handle it without changing!
After reviewing my training logs I noticed that my biggest spurts of bodyweight gain/muscle growth occurred during periods of time that I made the greatest alternations to my training program! In the first few years all I needed to do to progress was to continue getting stronger, but eventually this led to diminishing returns. After some time it seemed that it took unique types of stimuli to re-ignite the growth process...not just a steady increase in weights lifted. Coupled with the information I gathered through my further research into the human physiology, I understood what direction I needed to take to break free from stagnation! That is when PRRS was born.
Muscle & Strength: How soon can a trainee start using PRRS? Is it a system for intermediate lifters, or can beginners with - say - 6 months under their belts use PRRS to amplify their progress?
Eric Broser: When I first developed PRRS and brought it to the masses my intention was for it be used primarily by intermediate and advanced lifters. However, over time I began receiving more and more inquiries from novice bodybuilders eager to get on my program, so I realized I needed to come up with a way that they could use PRRS efficiently. In my opinion, the most important aspect of training for beginning bodybuilders is to learn proper form on the basic exercises and to get stronger in each of them in a progressive manner.
Thus, when a newer lifter comes to me wanting to try PRRS I tell him/her to leave out the SHOCK week for the first 6 months or so and focus just on POWER and REP RANGE. Then, I have them run through their cycles as such: P/P/RR/P/RR/P/RR/P/P/Rest week. This gives them a good foundation to work from, and provides a nice balance of variety, but without getting into techniques that are not yet necessary for beginners.
Muscle & Strength: Do you recommend a specific eating and supplementation approach for newer lifters training with the Power and Rep Range cycles? Should they eat the same over both the Power and Rep Range phases, and any specific eating guidelines you advise to maximize gains and recovery?
Eric Broser: For newer lifters I do not recommend unique eating patterns from Power to Rep Range week, however, this is something I do employ with more experienced trainees. I have written a few articles about how I suggest changing the macronutrient ratios week to week, with protein levels remaining steady and percentages of carbohydrates and fats being altered somewhat to better fit the specific training demands of each training week.
As for specific guidelines, this is something that is tough to generalize amongst all lifters, as each individual has a specific metabolism, constitution, recovery ability, hormonal makeup, insulin sensitivity, etc. That said, I will make a few recommendations that is somewhat universal to those looking to maximize their gains in mass and strength.
- Eat 6-8 meals per day spread 2-3 hours apart.
- Eat at least 1.25, and up to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily.
- Focus the majority of carbohydrate ingestion around breakfast, and the pre and post training meals - with the post meal having the highest content.
- Eat a variety of protein sources...meat, chicken, fish, eggs, whey, casein...in order to take advantage of the unique amino acid content of each.
- Eat some form of protein and fats before bed in order to remain in an anabolic state while asleep.
- Include healthy fats in the diet such as natural peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, fish oils, avocados, etc.
Muscle & Strength: Tell me about your relationship with AAEFX supplements. How long have you been with team AAEFX, and what separates AAEFX supplements from other brands?
Eric Broser: I joined the AAEFX team in April of 2009 after meeting with President, Brian Andrews and Flex Wheeler at the Arnold Classic that year. I had always known about AAEFX and had been using their Kre-Alkalyn brand creatine with awesome results, but never really considered them as an option as far as a company to work with...not for any particular reason, mind you...they just were never on my "radar." However, while we were sitting there and talking I began to see something very different about these guys. Their words, attitude and direction were filled with so much honesty, integrity and passion that I immediately wanted to become a part it...and I let them know. So, over the next few weeks, I continued to speak with Brian, Flex, and the rest of the "inner circle" at EFX and we decided to join forces...and I think we were all truly thrilled to do so.
There are so many things that separate AAEFX that they would take up too much space. I will point out, however, that what is most impressive about this company is what goes into making their products. The amount of care they take in using the finest raw materials, the most expensive and comprehensive testing methods, and the best manufacturing equipment available is truly staggering. They want their products to be the most pure, effective and tested safe of any in the world. Their manufacturing facility in Billings, Montana is absolutely mind-boggling. It is run with the "tightness" of the Pentagon (LOL) and works above the standard of most pharmaceutical companies! The consumer can always rest assured that any product that comes out of All American Pharmaceutical is the most potent, effective and safest of its kind.
In addition, AAEFX is the only company that uses 100% drug free athletes to represent their products. And this is not just "talk," but is backed up with random drug testing of each and every one of us at any time they say so. If any EFX athlete refuses to take, or fails, a randomly assigned test then he or she is immediately fired. Some of us are drug free for life, and others are former users that have chosen to switch to the natural way of life. It is quite obvious to everyone that although most sponsored IFBB pros might utilize some of the products their company makes, that their level of development has nothing to do with them. At EFX all we use to gain an advantage is EFX products...that is it! And we feel that is how it should be done in this industry.
For more about what makes AAEFX such a special company I recommend you go to their website and read up on them.
Muscle & Strength: I'm taking AAEFX Kre-Alkalyn EFX Pro right now. I notice that about one hour after taking this product, I have rock solid clean energy and feel like I can keep ramming out sets. Can you tell us a bit more about this product, what it is, and if my experiences with it are "normal"?
Eric Broser: AAEFX KA Pro is a combination of our exclusive, award winning Kre Alkalyn, PH adjusted creatine and highly specialized tea extracts to give the user greater strength, increased energy and enhanced focus and concentration. Everyone knows just how amazing a supplement creatine is, and its effects are well documented both in the literature and anecdotally. However, some people either do not respond optimally to most forms of creatine, and/or they unfortunately suffer side effects like bloating, gas and stomach upset.
The main reason for this is that creatine can quickly degrade in the gut to a toxic by-product known as creatinine. Creatinine has no benefit whatsoever and instead causes negative effects in the user. The beauty of Kre Alkalyn is that it is PH adjusted and therefore resists degradation into creatinine, allowing it to be fully absorbed intact into the bloodstream, and then muscle cells. This means you can experience the full power that creatine has to offer its users.
In addition Kre Alkalyn Pro also contains the finest tea extracts in the world, meticulously extracted and blended in very specific combinations and ratios so that they provide a "clean," steady, comfortable stimulatory effect that lasts from the beginning to the very end of an intense workout. KA Pro was not designed to make the user jittery or anxious, but rather to provide a feeling of drive, focus, and concentration, with absolutely no crash as it dissipates.
Thus, the fact that you yourself are having such a great experience using KA Pro in your own workouts does not surprise me at all. Most users feel exactly as you do! Personally, I love the stuff, and will even take it to help me make it through a long work day, especially when I have writing deadlines!
Muscle & Strength: What's you're favorite AAEFX supplement? And can you provide us with am AAEFX supplement plan...
Eric Broser: Hmmm, that is a tough question my man! What is my favorite EFX supplement? Well, if I could only choose one it would likely be either Cell Rush or Kre Generator. Sorry, had to mention two of them! However, I am lucky enough to have the entire arsenal of EFX supplements at my disposal, and believe me, as a natural bodybuilder I take FULL advantage of that!
The following is a guideline that I created for what I have found to be the most efficient use of the AAEFX Flex Wheeler Signature Series when looking to maximize your progress in the gym. Note that I include beginner/intermediate and advanced use guide, as well as how I myself take the products....
- General Use: Take 1 capsule with pre and post workout meals.
- Advanced Use: On training days…Take 1 capsule with pre and post workout meals. On off days…Take 1 capsule with breakfast.
- General Use: Take 1 capsule 45 minutes before workout.
- Advanced Use: Take 1 capsule 30 minutes before breakfast, 45 minutes before weight training, and/or 30 minutes before a cardio session.
- General Use: On training days…Take 1 tbsp 30-45 minutes before workout. On off days…Take 1 tbsp in the evening.
- Advanced Use: On training days…Take 1 tbsp 30-45 minutes before workout and again immediately after workout. On off days…Take 1 tbsp in the evening.
- General Use: Take 1 tbsp three times per day 30-60 minutes before a meal.
- Advanced Use: On training days…Take 1 tbsp 30-60 minutes before breakfast, pre-training meal, post-training meal, and final meal. On off days…Take 1 tbsp 30-60 minutes before breakfast, and afternoon meal, and final meal.
- General Use: On training days…Take 1 tbsp immediately after workout. On off days…Take 1 tbsp in the evening.
- Advanced Use: On training days…Take 1 tbsp 30-45 minutes before workout and immediately after workout on an empty stomach. On off days…Take 1 tbsp 30 minutes before breakfast and again in the evening on an empty stomach.
- General Use: Take 1 tablet three times per day, morning, noon and evening 30 minutes before a meal (on training days take one of these servings 45 minutes before a workout).
- Advanced Use: On training days…Take 1 tablet 30 minutes before breakfast, pre-workout meal, post-workout meal, and final meal. On off days…Take 1 tablet 30 minutes before breakfast, and afternoon meal, and final meal.
How “Natural Freak,” Eric Broser uses the FWSS when in a high-intensity training phase:
- Training Days: 1 capsule upon awakening, and with pre and post workout meals.
- Off Days: 1 capsule upon awakening and 1 capsule with afternoon meal.
- Training Days: 1-2 tbsp 30 minutes before pre-workout meal and 1 tbsp immediately after workout.
- Off Days: 1 tbsp immediately upon awakening and 30 minutes before final meal.
- Training Days: 1 tbsp 30-60 minutes before each meal of the day.
- Off Days: 1 tbsp 30-60 minutes before meals 1, 3 and 6.
- Training Days: 1 tbsp immediately upon awakening, 30 minutes before pre-workout meal, immediately post workout, and 30 minutes before final meal.
- Off Days: 1 tbsp immediately upon awakening and 30 minutes before final meal.
- Training Days: 1 tablet immediately upon awakening, 2 tablets 30 minutes before pre and post workout meals.
- Off Days: 1 tablet immediately upon awakening, and 30 minutes before meals 3 and 5.
*In addition to the above I also use from the AAEFX "Core Series," V & M Elite, HBM Elite, Lean Fix and Kre Generator.
Muscle & Strength: What are some of your lifting accomplishments that you are most proud of? And do you have any lifts that frustrate you, and why?
Eric Broser: While I have never tried to be a powerlifter or be the strongest man in the world, I DID manage to lift some decent weights in my career as part of my bodybuilding training. What I will list below are some of what I would consider my "most impressive feats of strength," and they all occurred in my late 20's when I bulked up to about 265-270 lbs. However, by no means are they comparative to what some truly powerful men out there have lifted!
- Bench Press...500 X 1
- Incline Bench Press...405 X 2
- Dumbbell Bench Press...160'S X 12
- Dumbbell Flyes...110'S X 8
- Close Grip Bench Press...365 X 4
- Dumbbell Pullover...150 X 10
- Seated Military Press...315 X 2
- Seated Dumbbell Press...130'S X 6
- Power Upright Row...275 X 4
- Standing Barbell Curl...225 X 1, 205 X 6
- Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl...95'S X 3
- One Arm Dumbbell Row...150 X 20
- Standing Cheat Side Lateral...100'S X 8
- Leg Press...1200 X 8 DEEP REPS
- Incline Overhead Dumbbell Extension...150 X 8
- Deep Stiff Leg Deadlift...365 X 6
Lifts that always have frustrated me have been BB bent rows, BB squats (anytime I tried more than 405 my low back would go out), skull crushers, pullups, and a few others. That said, I never shied away from these exercises...I just excepted that they were never going to be "big lifts," and I made them more "isolatory" for bodybuilding purposes.
Muscle & Strength: Ok Eric, here's the scenario...180 pound beginning lifter. He wants to build muscle, but also wants to lose fat. How should he approach this? Build muscle then lose? Lose fat then build muscle? Other?
Eric Broser: As a beginner his body will be primed to build muscle, thus it is possible to gain lean mass while dropping body fat. The approach would likely be for a very basic lifting program, using mostly heavy, compound movements, but without too much volume. Cardio would be implemented to help burn fat, but not so much the body does not have enough energy in reserve to recover from weight workouts. As for the diet...calories would be slightly higher than "maintenance" but would put more emphasis on protein and healthy fats than too many carbohydrates.
The majority of carbs would be taken in with meal 1 and the post workout meal, with all other meals containing a greater amount of fats in the form of nuts, seeds, and oils like fish, flax and olive. These are also great meals to include salads and/or vegetables. If supplements were utilized they would be fairly simple: A good whey protein for post workout and a casein before bed. A combination of creatine and beta-alanine would be used to aid in the building of strength and the switching-on of important anabolic processes. A multivitamin/mineral could also be used to cover any missed micronutrients.
Gaining muscle while losing fat requires a much more meticulous approach, but it certainly can be done with dedication, discipline, and diligence!