Dan John - Mass Made Simple

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
Anybody run this program before? I am just finished training day 4 (about a week and a half) in of the program. So far following it by the book, eating more than normal and taking protein powder before bed. I don't plan on doing creatine which is recommended in the 4th week, but plan to do as much by the book as possible.

It's the first true attempt at hypertrophy for me really ever, other than when I was in high school/university and didn't know anything other than the muscle group split/half squats days.
 

vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
I’ve done MMS Lite before for the squat element as off season training and enjoyed it. Why not do the creative? Most people respond favorably. For more discussion, try Dan John’s forum.
 

LukeV

More than 300 posts
Haven't done the program but Creatine is one of those few supplements that actually does what it is supposed to do and is very cheap. It is very arguable that everyone should be using it
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Haven't done the program but Creatine is one of those few supplements that actually does what it is supposed to do and is very cheap. It is very arguable that everyone should be using it
For what purpose should everyone be using it?

-S-
 

IonRod

Triple-Digit Post Count
For what purpose should everyone be using it?

-S-
I would not go so far as to say that everybody should be using it. However, due to the numerous high-quality and long-term safety profile studies done with creatine, I see only two reasons when it should not be recommended to people who exercise: indigestion (some studies showed this, although if one reads the cases it looks like this side effect was dose-dependant) or being a non-responder (about 1/3 of subjects were deemed non-responders).

Otherwise, this is the gist of it:
Creatine can help with exercise performance by rapidly producing energy during activity. Creatine may also provide cognitive benefits.
Creatine Supplement - Unbiased Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@IonRod, I still don't get it - what does it do for me that merely picking up heavy things and putting them down again won't? I've heard it makes you retain water.

-S-
 

KenKennedy

Double-Digit Post Count
@Steve Freides Creatine is the molecule that is used for providing energy through the CrP (creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine) pathway. So it helps with alactic energy production at the cellular level. Apparently, providing the body with an easy source allows the body to store more. That is not the case with all molecules that the body uses. If you eat well, it isn't strictly necessary, but the research seems pretty conclusive that it helps a lot of athletes. I don't take it because I don't need one more supplement.
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
I've decided against it because I'm no professional seeking quick gain, in nothing more than a friendly competition with work colleagues about muscle gain. Also interested from a professional standpoint of course as well. I have nothing against creatine, but it's more cost effective to just lift weights and eat. I'm taking protein powder just because I want to try to replicate as much of the program as I can. I've never taken it before, as I've never felt I needed it. Even now, I don't necessarily think that it is better than getting protein from whole food sources (from an economical standpoint, the price of powder was similar to whole food sources to be negligible in the decision) but I didn't want to change the program too much from what it is as written.
 

Anna C

> 6k Posts
Elite Certified Instructor
what does it do for me that merely picking up heavy things and putting them down again won't?
My understanding is this, @Steve Freides -- it allows you to do more in training, and that means training is more effective.

For example, without creatine supplementation, let's say your deadlift 5 RM is 320 lb and your deadlift 1RM is 360 lb.

Now you start creatine supplementation. Your 1RM won't magically go up, but your 5RM might increase. For example, you might be able to do 6 reps at 320, or likewise, 5 reps at 330. Your muscles have more creatine available for "alactic" fuel. Your training performance gets a boost. Therefore you stimulate a greater strength adaptation; your training becomes more effective.

I used it from Apr 2018 - Feb 2019, the normal 5g/day. Other than helping me in training (maybe), I can't tell when I'm taking it and when I'm not, although my weight on the scale went up a few pounds when I started it and went down a few pounds when I stopped. I started it when my barbell training got hard, and I stopped it when I changed my programming here recently to kettlebell and bodyweight. I think I would have to experiment again with barbell training to know if I'm a non-responder... I sort of suspect that I am, but I'm not sure... it might have helped me. Before taking it, I reasearched it for myself enough to be completely comfortable taking it, and I didn't see any downsides. So my opinion is that it's worth a try for any serious strength athlete, but ultimately might not be worth the time, effort, cost (not much), or perceived risk to some people.
 

ali

> 1k Posts
Aside from the muscle atp aspect of creatine there's some interesting stuff about its role within the cns.system particularly at synaptic junctions...supplying atp, quickly and efficiently.. ..

(PDF) Functions and effects of creatine in the central nervous system

If you eat well, recover well arguably there is no need to supplement. I'm firmly in that camp in general.
It's worth exploring creatine though. I've tried it and noticed nothing before but I revisited it and think that it certainly helps with recovery from sprinting, especially max speed. Again, not exactly controlled experiments, it could for other reasons too but iis role in the cns may help perhaps in explaining why sometimes there seems to be little effect for some....perhaps the creatine pool iis never really depleted to notice, or there is plenty of it about and plenty of amino acids to make some if absent in the diet. Lots of variables there.
It's cheap, safe, well researched and more research reveals that it has many uses alongside cellular atp supply.
It could well be that extra energy is coming from an efficient cns too. So it makes sense that, as we know strength has a huge neural component, the more involved the cns is the more likely it is to drained....thus creatine aids recovery of the cns making it more efficient to boot.
I'm currently not taking any. I will when I start sprinting again.....5g with a glass of milk.
I'm not totally convinced but in general my recovery is better with it than without but only with sprinting.
Water retention? Yes but only with loading. But not always. Again could be due to other things......chasing a pump, creatine loading....is it creatine or glycogen ? Dunno.
Never noticed but I only do 5g.
It's said we use 2-3 g a day doing normal daily stuff.
 

KenKennedy

Double-Digit Post Count
research reveals that it has many uses alongside cellular atp supply.
Do you have any examples of its use outside of ATP supply? Just curious. My background in biochemistry is pretty limited. Wikipedia says something about being a buffer, but at a cursory glance I didn't see where that was an important role for it. Are there other roles it plays?
 

LukeV

More than 300 posts
I supplement Creatine about 5g per day (heaped tea spoon) and the good news is I'm definitely stronger when using it, as measured by reps x weight. I just looked at some rough data and estimate the benefit to be somewhere around 3-5%, which is pretty amazing really. The bad news (if you care about this sort of thing) is that I'm about 2kg (4lb) heavier as well
 

ali

> 1k Posts
Do you have any examples of its use outside of ATP supply?
There's a link supplied. Examine.com has some more. Alex Leaf from examine.com has discussed some lesser known functions on various podcasts, so paraphrasing and summarising from memory, brain and cns especially at synaptic junctions and rather oddly cilia of the ear canal.
Who knew?
 

KenKennedy

Double-Digit Post Count
There's a link supplied. Examine.com has some more. Alex Leaf from examine.com has discussed some lesser known functions on various podcasts, so paraphrasing and summarising from memory, brain and cns especially at synaptic junctions and rather oddly cilia of the ear canal.
Who knew?
Thanks! I read a little more closely. I'm still not entirely sure I understand how they separated effects of ATP regeneration from other effects, but it was interesting to read.
 

ali

> 1k Posts
You and me both!
If creatine was marketed like a lot of supps with dodgy 'scientifically proven' claims to do this and that but with no actual science with a price tag beyond reason I wouldn't bother.
There's oodles of research....whether or not it is effective for everyone is a factor.
And it is safe and so very cheap. Pennies per serving.
 

IonRod

Triple-Digit Post Count
@Steve Freides , the community has provided the responses above, so I won't repeat it. If you want to check the evidence of its efficacy, I recommend the link in my previous post, it is both a cumulative summary and a comprehensive list of studies done with this supplement.

Anecdotally, when I started taking it the main thing I noticed was that my recovery between sets got faster. This allowed me to compress my training time in the gym and maybe allowed to maintain higher average intensity at a given volume in the session. I don't know if that improves my 1RM in a statistically significan matter, but the reduced training time is a good enough benefit for me to keep taking creatine considering its cost.
 

Oscar

> 1k Posts
About creatine: is if supposed to be taken during training and during competition? Or only during training?

For instance a powerlifter in a weight category. He will be heavier because of the creatine. Is he happy with this added weight? Is this added weight by creatine increasing his strength.? Or does he drop creatine reaching the meet to lose the weight?
 

Papa Georgio

More than 300 posts
Creatine??? I thought the main focus of Mass Made Simple was the PB&J sammiches.
Getting back to original post, I have not ran the program, but I've always been intrigued. I would be very interested to hear about real results from this program. I really respect Dan's work, but the high rep back squats seem to fly smack in the face of what's taught at strongfirst. But then again, strongfirst doesn't advocate building mass over strength.
 

vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
Creatine??? I thought the main focus of Mass Made Simple was the PB&J sammiches.
Getting back to original post, I have not ran the program, but I've always been intrigued. I would be very interested to hear about real results from this program. I really respect Dan's work, but the high rep back squats seem to fly smack in the face of what's taught at strongfirst. But then again, strongfirst doesn't advocate building mass over strength.
Yup, high rep back squats and PB&J. Simple, as in the title. Not easy. DJ recommends the program as a once a year thing for one purpose only, getting bigger, for those who need it. Maybe twice a year for certain folk. It’s an all out, but limited, assault. Based on a bunch of old skool high rep squat programs with a few DJ twists, like the complex.
 
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