Olympia Bound Top IFBB Pro Steve Kuclo – How to Take Supplements for Success
Rising IFBB pro-contender Steve Kuclo is not your average bodybuilding champion. Aside from his prodigious physique – which in 2014 secured him his first top-ten Olympia finish and has made him one to watch at this year’s event – the muscular Texan maintains such a punishing schedule inside and outside the gym that it is surprising he has the energy to further flesh-out his densely-muscled body much less the capacity to fully recover from his brutally demanding training sessions.
A firefighter and paramedic with the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department, Kuclo works long hours in a role that is both strenuous and disruptive to the recuperative needs of an ever-growing pro bodybuilding standout such as he. He must therefore be extra vigilant in the dietary department. Any nutritional deficiencies could seriously derail his muscle building efforts and jeopardize his quest to make the coveted top-six at his next Olympia outing.
For Kuclo, nutritional supplementation is not only important: it is an essential part of his plan for pro bodybuilding domination. While some pro champs with less demanding lifestyles and more time to recover and grow may claim to rigidly adhere to extensive supplementation, in reality they are not entirely diligent. Kuclo cannot afford to skimp on the sups. The convenience, nutritional consistency and quality nutrients his extensive supplement stack – courtesy of market-leader ALLMAX Nutrition – provides gives the 2013 Dallas Europa champion a training edge he would not otherwise achieve.
After a 24-hour high-paced shift with the Fire-Rescue Department, Kuclo admits to encountering high levels of exhaustion; before hitting the gym he often finds himself “hurting and needing an extra boost.” Irrespective of any whole foods he may have consumed in the hours leading up to each workout, Kuclo would not even consider training without the additional energy boost his favorite pre-workout products provide.
His “ultimate favorite” pre-workout is H-Vol, a stimulant-free high-potency formula which provides “great pumps” and is loaded with specifically-selected strength and endurance optimizing ingredients. Kuclo’s exhaustive schedule often sees him training late at night. A stimulant-based product is not a good choice at this time as it may limit restful sleep post-workout.
For when ultra-hard late-night training in itself precludes growth-inducing slumber, Kuclo uses ALLMAX ZMA, a power-packed product proven to promote mental relaxation, significantly increase testosterone levels, relax weary muscles and increase muscle strength. “ZMA helps before bed to shut the nervous system down, help me to relax and get better sleep,” says the champ.
When training earlier in the day, and for times when his energy is extra low, Kuclo enjoys the invigorating benefits of Razor8, a stimulant-based pre workout, which he often combines with H-Vol to maximize the effects of each. For sustained workout intensity, whole foods nutrition in macronutrient form is a must and the most effective way to load up on quality carbohydrates – the preferred training fuel for muscle building – is with CARBION+, a six-carb complex with an advanced carb utilization blend to ensure maximum absorption and product effectiveness.
Kuclo uses CARBION+ pre, during and post workout – often mixed with H-Vol pre-workout to intensify the most sluggish of sessions and added to supplemental protein and amino acids post workout to maximize his recovery rate. Says Kuclo: “this product helps to boost energy nutritionally through increased caloric consumption, to help fuel my workouts and enhance muscle pumps. It’s a good product to have occasionally when I’m dieting and my energy levels are low.” During the offseason,
Kuclo doubles and even triples his CARBION+ intake – up to three scoops pre
and post workout; this provides a hefty 75 grams of rapidly absorbed carbs per serving with no energy-draining sugars. “It mixes great and tastes great,” reports Kuclo, who weighs over 280lbs outside of competition and competes at a skin-stretching 265. A volume trainer, Kuclo requires a steady supply of blood to his working muscles to flush waste products and provide fuel. His muscles must also be resistance to fatigue that is a natural consequence of his hardcore sessions.
To achieve both of these objectives he supplements with MUSCLEPRIME, a muscle building, fat burning pre-workout that features, among its many performance ingredients, Beta-alanine and citrulline NO factor to support his long, intensive workouts. “Pre workout supplementation helps with my pumps in the gym to increase the blood volume of my muscles,” says Kuclo.
“I take a volume-style training approach so the more blood I can get into the muscle, the more I can gain from my workouts.”
Advanced pre and intra-workout supplementation allows Kuclo to train with sufficient energy to progressively overload his muscles with massive weights and high intensity – the essential spark needed to prompt greater muscle growth. Such growth can only be achieved, however, through massive quantities of high-grade protein – over one gram per pound of bodyweight for the man many consider to be pro bodybuilding’s next big star. “My favorite proteins are the isolates ISOFLEX and ISONATURAL, both whey-based with no carbs, sugars or fats,” explains Kuclo.
With the mountains of protein Kuclo must consume daily, and the physically taxing nature of his occupation combined with regular taxing gym sessions, his proteins must be easily absorbed, rapidly assimilated, non-bloating, and of a high biological value (BV). ISOFLEX and ISONATURAL, both known for their perfect digestibility and high amino acid concentration, fit the bill nicely for Kuclo, for whom any degree of muscle catabolism could cost him precious gains and hard fought pro-show placements. “My favorite flavor for the ISOFLEX is peanut butter chocolate,” Kuclo says.
“I can’t imagine what a treat it’s going to be when it comes to dieting.”
A Stevia-sweetened protein, ISONATURAL provides Kuclo with additional taste options and no artificial additives. “I like mixing the vanilla flavor with certain fruity CARBION+ flavors,” he says. Since competitive bodybuilding began, the very best competitors have sought every natural anabolic advantage. One often overlooked factor the best and brightest of competitors will always address is micronutrient intake.
Rather than sift through countless bottles of a vast array of individual vitamins, minerals and co-factors, Kuclo chooses to supplement with VITASTACK, an all-in-one stack-pack featuring every important micronutrient critical to providing the best in anabolic support for athletes seeking to boost health and vitality.
Specifically designed for hard training athletes, each VITASTACK pack provides a precisely-apportioned serving of the vitamins, minerals, essential fats, skeletal-support factors – and much more – that bodybuilders need to significantly improve performance. Kuclo takes his pack each morning, right after breakfast.
“A big proponent” of getting the correct micronutrient balance, Kuclo says one pack a day is all you need for optimal health and recovery.
In addition to receiving a hefty complement of muscle-boosting aminos, leucine and glutamine from the regular inclusion of ISOFLEX AND ISONATURAL, the lifetime-athlete Kuclo further saturates his muscles with more concentrated versions of these bodybuilding essentials to maximize his progress in the gym.
AMINOCORE branched-chain amino acids – a perfect 8,180mg ratio of BCAAs fortified with key B-vitamins and fatigue-fighting Alpha KIC – is taken throughout the day and, in particular, before, during/after workouts and in the morning and at night before bed. Like all ALLMAX products, AMINOCORE comes in a range of tantalizing flavors.
Kuclo’s favorite is blue raspberry.
ALLMAX’S ultra-concentrated brand of leucine is also taken by Kuclo to increase growth hormone levels naturally, boost immune function, synthesize nitric oxide (NO) to enhance muscle pumps, and encourage protein synthesis and muscle recovery. “I’ve also started to increase my glutamine intake and have noticed it helps with muscle fullness, energy and recovery,” says Kuclo. “Anybody who is training hard needs glutamine.” To increase protein synthesis and nitrogen retention, reduce muscle soreness, and maintain optimal immune function,
Kuclo uses ALLMAX’s patented 100% pure Japanese-grade glutamine exclusively.
To achieve the super-shredded conditioning he is known for Kuclo uses YOHIMBINE + RAUWOLSCINE to shut down fat storage and enhance the release of fatty acids from fat tissue. Says Kuclo: “YOHIMBINE is a great fat burner that I take before cardio and at night.” By locking onto specific fat cell receptors, yohimbine and rauwolscine – the ALLMAX formula being thousands of times more powerful than the herbal extracts from which they are isolated – synergistically reverse the fat storage process; rather than accumulating, fat is rapidly isolated and used for energy.
Though the above listed supplement stack may seem extensive, a regimented approach employing a complete arsenal of performance products has given Kuclo the edge he has been searching for as he prepares to crack the top six at this year’s Olympia. When ‘going easy’ on the sups his recovery and training energy suffer compared to when he diligently takes all of these products concurrently. “I am definitely more regimented and scheduled taking my supplements during the pre-contest period,” he says. “I tend to get a little lazy in the off-season and I definitely notice the difference when it comes to my training.
Kuclo’s desire to be the best bodybuilder in the world has driven him to take every advantage over the competition. He cites three reasons why supplementation is crucially important for his continued training progression.
- To help you reach optimal intensity levels in the gym, to improve performance and endurance.
- To help you achieve your fitness goals – from adding mass to shedding body fat.
- By supplementing your diet with certain vitamins/amino acids that you are unable to obtain with your dietary intake you’re better able recover and grow at a more effective rate.
” When it comes to achieving bodybuilding excellence there is no doubting supplementation’s role in boosting workout performance and providing the raw materials needed to translate training intensity into solid muscle gains.”