Congratulations Steve Konopka! Named 2006 Team MVP
Steve Konopka is currently a professional football player for the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football Team. He plays DE and OL measuring 6'5 at a weight of 290 lbs. He has acquired NFL experience with the New York Giants in 1999. Graduated from Central Connecticut State in 1998 with a degree in Exercise Science. Konopka is co-author of The Lean Mass Program and Critical Ripped Program. Kono was voted team lineman of the year for 2005.
"Kono" is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to supplements. He'll most likely know the answer to your question right off the top of his head, without having to look it up. If you have a question regarding supplements, stacks, or training feel free to visit "Kono's Corner" in the Muscle Forum to ask him a question. Best of the forum QnA will be archived in this section.
*Weight Training-Supplement Questions & Answers
The Truth - Only ask if you're ready to hear the answer. Raw & uncut!
Q: I recently had my cholesterol levels checked. My total cholesterol level was 225 and my LDL was 155. What do they mean and what can I do lower them?
Kono's Answer: Your doctor should have given you a recommendation and an explanation with your results. I'll give you a vague description that can help you but you should contact your doctor to get a professional opinion.
First off Blood cholesterol level is a big factor in your chances of getting heart disease. When your blood cholesterol levels are elevated so are your chances for having a heart attack and developing heart disease. Everyone should have their cholesterol levels checked about every 5 years. The test is called lipoprotein profile and it gives you info on your:
HDL (good cholesterol) stops cholesterol from building up in the arteries.
LDL ( bad cholesterol) this is the main source of buildup in the arteries as well as blockage.
Triglycerides - a form of fat in your blood.
Total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dl are desirable anything above 240 mg/dl is high and a risk factor. In between 200- 240 is borderline and should be lowered.
HDL protects your heart against disease, so the higher the number the better. Any number for HDL less than 40 mg/dl is a risk factor. Levels of 60 mg/dl or more will help lower your risks for heart disease.
LDL, which can clog your arteries must have levels below 100 mg/dl to be in the optimal range. With levels of 160 mg/dl or greater you are considered in the high range and a risk factor. Levels in between should be lowered as much as possible till you reach your optimum level.
Triglycerides are fats in the blood stream and can contribute to heart disease. Anything higher than 150 mg/dl is considered borderline high and over 200 mg/dl is high, both should be lowered.
Different factors in cholesterol are diet, exercise and weight. Stay away from saturated fats and cholesterol. Losing weight especially fat helps lower your LDL. Exercise is a key factor because it lowers your LDL (the bad) and raises your HDL (the good). Both of your scores are in the borderline high range. They are not real high so with a little effort they can be lowered to optimal levels. Try lowering your saturated fat intake and get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 4 days a week minimum.
My name is Tim and I'm a 20-year-old sophomore in
college. I've been lifting weights for almost 2 years now but I've found that I can't seem to increase my bench press. I'm 175 lbs but I
can only max out at 205lbs. With the summer coming up, I am
committed to working out religiously. I would appreciate it if you
could give me some overall tips on what muscles groups to work out
on each day, and maybe how to increase my bench press. Also, is
working out 6 days a week rather then 4 worth the time; will that
help me increase my strength. Thank You.
Tim what's up? First off anytime you can bench more than your body weight
your doing all right. The main muscle groups involved in benching are
pectorals, (obviously) shoulders mainly front delts, Triceps and back. Form
is another key once you get heavier and heavier it becomes more of a role.
But to start off find where you are the weakest in you bench. Meaning once
you fatigue in a set are you having trouble locking out which would mean
you need more work on your tris or is it the mid range and you just need a
little spot before locking it out. If that is the case your front delts seem
to be the weak link.
For boosting my bench when I maxed out I would do
weighted dips, which are a great upper body strengthener especially for the
tris. If you can't do dips yet do cross bench dips or get a spotter till you
work your way up. Seated front military press is great for adding power for
your shoulders. Finally for back, yes back is involved in benching mostly on
the negative for stability I would do some barbell rows. Stay away from
chest machine exercises. A lot of people who get frustrated with their bench
start doing the machines so they can do more weight. The machines will
actually start to weaken your bench because your stabilizer muscles are not
getting worked when you use the machines. So when you go back to benching
you're off balance and wasting a lot of strength and energy stabilizing the
bar! If you are really serious about your bench get one of our custom-made
bench programs. It will give you a step-by-step custom program to blow your
max through the roof! Good luck let me know how you do!
Q:hey kono, sry i haven't talked much lately. busy :(. Anyways just curious, what do you take as far as supplements go? - Joey Demmons
What's up? My supplement list is very big with a lot of different phases. It
also varies on weather Im to heavy during the season or if I get to light. I
stay around 295 during the season at about 15% b.f. Not a bodybuilder but
pretty lean. If I go over 300lbs I change my diet up a little and will bring
in an extra dose of fat burners. If I drop below 290 I add calories through
shakes such as myo-drive by SAN nutrition. Do not think you need to go and
buy everything I list to get results either. Remember I have endorsements and
sponsors. The supplements that I buy on my own are also a tax write off
because it is my profession. I will go into greater detail on my supplement
program in my column in the near future. Here is a quick list.
That is about it for during the season, most is geared towards recovery and
maintaining good health. In the off-season it changes a little. Look back in
the next month or so for a detailed list of brands, timing and dosages!
Sup Kono, I'm a pretty lean guy measuring 6', i just started weight lifting a
couple of weeks back how can i gain weight in the shortest possible time.
My heart is beating at 82 beats per minute. is there any cause for alarm?
Kono's Answer: To increase your weight you must take in more calories than you are burning.
Try to get them from good sources of food like oatmeal, pasta and lean cuts
of meat. Stay away from saturated fats and simple sugars they will just add
fat. Try eating at the same times each day. In your training use compound
exercises instead of isolation exercises. Stick with the basics like bench,
squats, dead lifts and rows.
For supplements try a creatine supplement like
kre-alkalyn and a mrp for adding good calories. We offer a LEAN MASS program
which is a detailed program for training, supplements and nutrition all
geared towards packing on slabs of muscle. As for your heart rate I do not
now your age so that will have a factor in it as well. But I'm assuming that
is your resting heart rate which would make it kind of high in my opinion
especially when you tell me you are a pretty lean guy. There are a lot of
factors how ever in your heart rate such as cardio vascular shape,
hereditary, caffeine, stress and something as simple as being hot and
dehydrated. Check with your doctor. GOOD LUCK - KONO
I'm an ex-college football player looking to stay in shape with a
desk job. I work out every night from about 6:00-7:30 six days a
week. I'm trying to find a happy medium between lifting and
running. I want to keep my weight down but keep some definition.
As of now i'm 6'2" 220lb with a 225 bench rep of 29. I would like to
keep my strength , but I realize that is not as important since my
ball days are over. If you can recommend a workout programs & some
healthy supplements I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for your
Kono's Answer: Jim, whats going on? That's great that you still want to stay in shape I
know so many guys from my college team that let their bodies go to hell. By
the way that's a great rep out count at your weight! If your going to train
six days a week try weights three days and cardio for three. Alternate every
other day cardio and weights and do abs with cardio. Keep your reps in the
10-15 range and 3-4 sets per exercise. Stay with the free weights that will
help keep your muscle while trying to stay lean. For supplements a protein
powder is deffinetly a big help when trying to get lean. Take in at least 1-
1.5 grams of protein per lb. of bodyweight. Creatine would be another choice
since you do want to maintain your strength. Try the new kre-alkalyn it is
much better than the old monohydrate version. Kre-alkalyn will not make you
retain water or give you that bloated look just good strength.
Good luck and keep me posted on your results!
HI, i came across your website and i am intrested in getting started
on a suplement cycle. I have used them in the past unsucesfully, but i want to give them another shot before i resort to steroids. Right
now I am rather thin at 6'0 and 175 lbs, and my goal is to hit about
190 within the next 5 months. Right now my main goal is to get bulkier, but not add too much fat either. If you could please help me
figure out a supplement schedule I would greatly apreciate it. Sorry
for the long e mail. Nathanial H
Nathaniel, what's up? Sorry it took so long to reply I have been swamped!
There are a lot of supplements that will help you obtain your goals you just
need to be consistent with them and your diet and training! First off lower
your reps in your training stay with 6-10 reps per set. Bump up your carbs.
but keep you sugar intake to a minimum. Stay with low glycemic carbs. like
oatmeal, whole grain breads, yams, pasta's and brown rice. Get 1.5 grams of
protein per pound of body weight and 4 grams of carbs. per pound of
bodyweight. Keep your fat intake low about 10% of your total calories.
For supplements I would use a creatine supplement like kre-alkalyn by sci-
fit, CEX by vpx , cellmass by bsn or vitargo cgl by nutrex. A good meal
replacement will help or protein supplement. Pro-complex by Optimum
nutrition or myoplex are good choices. I think the best bang for your buck
is Myo-drive by SAN nutrition. It has creatine, glutamine, 60 grams of
protein, hmb and plenty of carbs. One shake a day after working out and on
off days split it in two. It is definetly worth the money for gaining lean
mass. The supplement regimen for you depends on the amount of money you can
spend. I could tell you to take 20 items to take or just 2 depending on you
budget we will start at order of importance and most effective. Give me a
shout back if you need more help when you have a budget. But for now start
with the diet and training suggestions I made. The diet is the most
important part of any goal when changing your physique.
Kono I'm writing to find out how to add more fiber to my diet. I realize
how important it is to obtain the physique I want. I have tried the powder
mixes my parents use and I can't stand the taste and the hassle. What can I
eat that will help me get the right amount of fiber?
Thanks Peter Seers
Pete, Im glad to see you realize the importance of fiber. It is a vital
nutrient in numerous activities in your body. Oatmeal contains 4 grams of
fiber in 1/2 cup. My trick to get enough fiber which is around 35 grams per
day is using Mission brand carb balance whole wheat burrito sized wraps.They
have 0 cholesterol 31grams of carbs and whopping 21grams from fiber! They
also have 8 grams of protein. Another item I use to switch it up is
Fleischer's carb trimmer bagels. They have 27 grams of carbs 15 from fiber.
A bagel with breakfast and a turkey wrap for lunch you're all set.
I am currently bulking and i use a mrp called primo max. This gets
me about 40grams per serving. I was wondering if this is the right thing to use or should i just be using protein shakes rather than a mrp. Tnx Luke
What's up? I haven't heard of the mrp primo max but meal replacements can
be a big help for easy added calories. The best weight gainer product in my
opinion is MyoDrive by san nutrition. It has 60 grams of protein, 12 grams
of glutamine, creatine, hmb and basically everything you need to pack on
solid muscle. It looks expensive at first but if you add up all the
ingredients seperatly it's cheaper and more convenient because its all in
one shake. If this is to pricey stick with your mrp and add some creatine.
Remember when bulking have 1.5-2 grams of protein per lb. of bodyweight and
3grams of carbs. per lb. of bodyweight. Still eat as clean as possible
staying away from sugars and saturated fats. KONO
Hey Kono. I'm 21 years old and I've been lifting for about four
years now consistently. I've been getting more and more serious and
I wanted your opinion on supplements. I've got/taken protein,
creatine, multi-vitamins and flax seed oil. I hit a rut and wanted
to try something a little more serious so I took M1-T and liked that
but now its illegal. With the ban on prohormones, is there anything
out there that is legal and relatively safe that will generate
quicker results? Or have you had any success with something that is
stronger than something like creatine or NO2? Thanx a lot I
appreciate it. Colin M
Hey what's going on? Congrats on your consistency, that is the most important
thing in the world when you want to get results. I see you have the
foundation supplements taken care of so stay strict with them. I wasn't a
big fan of the pro-hormones so I'm not to sad to see them go. Try taking a
different form of creatine besides the monohydrate form, such as kre-alkalyn
or the esterfied versions. They will give you the strength increase but
without the water retention. Losing the water retention will give your
physique a more defined look and show off your hard earned muscles better!
As for a no2 product my clients and myself as well have had success with
blitz cycle by FIZOGEN, no explode by BSN, and Trac by MHP to name a few. I
think adding an no product and changing your creatine will give you some nice
changes that you are looking for. Also go over you training routine and
revamp it! If you really want a challenge try our lean mass program or
critical ripped program for some real results. GOOD LUCK
What's up Steve,
My name is Nick and I'm currently a senior in high school. I
play QB and was a three year starter in high school and i'll be
playing football next year at school. I've been lifting seriously
for about 3 years now and i currently cycle creatine, but i was
wondering what your opinion about NO2 is. I know most of the
biology behind it but i wanted to know what your opinion is about
it's long-term effects on the heart, if any. From reading a lot of
stuff and being a future Pre-Med student i understand that while
taking NO2 there are many positives on how it effects the heart and
other organs. But, i'm a little weary on the effect that it has
long-term on these organs. If the body gets used to having
supplemental levels of NO2, then what happens when the blood vessels
all of a sudden constrict again to their normal size when someone
stops taking it--one would think to have very high blood pressure.
Thanks in advance for your time. -Nick
Nick my pre-med friend, your question is a tough one but I'll give it a
shot. It is true that when taking an N.O. product it effects all your blood
vessels in your body not just the ones in your muscle that you want pumped
up. When taking these products you only get their benefits for 3-5 hours and
some even less than that no matter what the company tells you. When the
effects wear off your blood vessels go back to their normal range of output
and constriction. The same as if you ran a marathon you will have increased
blood flow throughout your body for a short time. Long term effects? I'm not
sure I haven't heard of anything as of yet. If I do hear of something my
readers will know as soon as I do, as with any info on the safety or
benefits of any supplements. The only negatives I have heard of with N.O.
products is the increase in free radicals in the blood stream. Which is
hypothesized to lead to free radical induced DNA damage. Taking a multi
vitamin containing antioxidants would help prevent this. By the way I have
yet to see or hear any scientific evidence to support this so don't get to
worried, like I said it was just hypothesized that this could happen.
Hope I helped you out a little. KONO
Kono, my question is with dieting down. Every time I lean down for the
summer I tend to get sick and so run down that I end up not being able to
train for a week or so and lose about three weeks of hard work. I kill
myself to get my abs in and everything really defined. I'm 205lb usually and
summer time I get down to 190lb. My abs are still visible at 205 just not as
ripped all over as I want be in the summer. What should I change or do
differently, are there any supplements I should take? I take a tight fat
burner by san and some whey protein.
Jim what's up? First off congrats on those abs anyone over 180lbs with a
ripped 6 pack is doin it in my book especially if they have muscle
everywhere else too. But your symptoms are a clear case of over training. It
seems to me, that since you are always pretty lean you don't start early
enough in your cut down phase. So you are probably doing too much training,
cardio and cut your calories too much to rush to the beach for the honeys.
Your body cannot recover from the onslaught of constant dieting and
training. So as a defense mechanism your body shuts down and forces you to
One thing you can do to try to avoid this is start your lean down phase
a few weeks earlier. If you start to hit the beaches mid june give yourself
10 weeks to get where you want to be. Maybe start the at the end of March or early
April. With this amount of time you'll also have a lot more
fullness in your muscles, so they are not flat and deflated. They will have
that pumped look all the time which makes you look that much more
Sleep is another thing that is often over-looked by people. Especially younger
people who train, hit the beach than hit the club all night and do it again
the next day. Trust me I have been there! Sleep is even more important for
recovery when you are dieting down. You have less calories to burn as energy
so you get fatigued easier. I recommend at least 8 hours when you are
dieting down and 7 hours when you're training hard but not restricting your
calories. Remember naps are great as well, just not too long or late in the
evening which may disrupt your normal sleep pattern.
Finally supplements. Get enough protein. 2 grams per pound of bodyweight
when your dieting. Cut your calories from carbs and bad fats never from
protein. Make sure you have a multi-vit. everyday and added vit. c. Stay
hydrated, your body starts to loose performance even when you are only a little
bit dehydrated. Finally glutamine for recovery and immune system support. 15
to 20 grams a day will help with recovery from a rigorous training schedule.
To take all the guess work out of dieting down try our ripped program.
Everything in it is designed for what you're looking for, a six pack with
striated delts and veins in your arms!
Good luck KONO
I have been lifting for about 4 years now. Right now I'm 19, max
bench is 350, and my body weight is 160. I was wondering if this is
a good 1 rep max for somebody of my age and weight. I'm all natural,
I've never taken any type of suppliments. I want to continue
increasing my bench while keeping my weight low. Do you have any
suggestions on how I can do this? I know a lot of people that take
suppliments, protien, etc. I have been tempted to try suppliments
but lack any knowledge about whichs ones would help me the most.
This is off topic but just out of curiosity how much do you weigh
and what's your 1 rep max for bench? Troy
What's up Troy? Hey if your max is really 350 at a 160lbs and you have been
training for only 4 years you have a career a head of you in benching. I
think you already know that, that is a great bench. But if you have been
lifting in a cave your whole life let me be the first to tell you that's a
great bench! Supplements will help you recover faster and certain
supplements such as creatine will help increase your strength. With your
little experience in lifting I think the proper program would make a big
jump in your max. Our bench press program would ensure that. Also with a lot
of beginners they overtrain which would halt your strength. Make sure to get
enough protein for recovery. Your post workout shake should have 40 grams of
protein and 10 grams creatine with at least 40 grams of simple carbs. This
will increase strength and ensure recovery in conjunction with a proper
diet. As for my bench my best ever was 465LB at 290. I haven't benched for
about five years now because I use more sport specific exercises for my
training such as dumbbell incline, hammer strength jammer and push press. Since I don't bench right now I'm not sure what my max is. But keep us up to date on your max especially when you break 500lb!
I am 6'0 and 213. I'd need to be about 190 to get cut up.
Generally I mix my cardio and weight training together, sometimes
both in the same day. I am not in the habit on going on streaks
with one or the other, except that I might lift for a few days with
no cardio. I am thinking about switching tactics and spending
something like 3 weeks lifting and then a hard week to slim down.
Since I am just working out for general sports performance and
aesthetics I have no finish line or event to work for. Can you
advise on an optimal cycle for mixing cardio and weight training?
Am I correct to switch from mixing them all together. I should note
that I eat pretty well but seem to be cursed with a low
metabolism...my RMR was measured at 1200.
Thanks! Jim D
Jim, switching just to weights or just cardio to lean up is not a good idea.
Lifting weights and cardio act together synergisticly to burn fat. In this
case 2 + 2 = 5! By adding muscle through weight training you burn more
calories, because the more muscle you have the more calories your body
burns. The more cardio you do the more calories you burn as well. When you
burn more calories than you take in you shed fat. Try hitting each 3 times a
week. Our critical ripped program will take all the guess work out of
leaning up! You will be amazed by week 5 of the program!
Kono, I am almost 6'2" 250lbs freshman in college. The first day I
got to college I benched 275 for 7, weighing in at 230lbs. Since
then, I ended up getting mono which put me in the hospital for 3
days and made me unable to lift for a month and 1/2. Right now, I am
unhappy at 250lbs. I have started training and lifting again but I
am struggling with cutting fat. There is a lot of fat in my stomach
due to the poor dieting at college. Are there any fat burners that
you can reccomend as well as a routine or diet for me to try to
shrink this stomach? Please can you help me with this, I dont know
who to go to. Thanks for your time. -Chris
Chris, Im glad to see you're feeling better. Eating at college is tough
especialy when you are trying to cut fat. For your belly fat you need to
burn more calories than you take in. No matter what media hype is behind any
product such as ab belts or ab swings or what ever they call them nothing
brings out your abs unless you burn the fat off of them first! So cardio and
diet should be your two best friends. Our critical ripped program is a
outstanding program for ripping up! It is totaly customized to your weight
and exercise level. As for fat burners my top picks are as following:
There are a lot of choices out there but these seem to produce the best
results in my experiences. There are a lot of single ingredient fat loss
agents that you can combine with these to have a great fat burning stack.
In January we will be putting out a supplement program just for fat burning!
It will contain stacks of supplements, dosages, timing and tips to get rid
of those holiday pounds and to get you ready for the summer. Well good luck!
Whats up Kono, im a highschool linebaker in fort worth texas. I
basically struggle with everything that there is with working out
and nutrition. i can play the game, but i need help with getting
bigger, stronger and faster, and since you are a successful pro-football
player, i figure that there isn't anyone better to ask for help
from. So what should i do in my situation, and what advice can you
give me? im not very tall, im only five seven maybe five eight,
which is the reason that i play outside, and only 190-195. and im
really not that strong. It would be awesome if you could help me out,
and thank you for taking the time to read this. John
John what's up? If you can play geneticaly you're alright. Genetics are the
only things you can't change. So for working out and nutrition it's all
mental. If you want to become a better football player you have to decide to
train and eat better. Every day you make a choice to either go to the gym or
the track or stay inside and play video games. You also can eat a big mac
value meal or order a grilled chicken salad with low-fat dressing and a diet
pepsi. These are things you need to mentaly say everyday you will do. With
training to get stronger you need to lift heavier weights with good form.
Stay with compound exercises such as Bench press, squats, hang cleans and
push press. These exercises are the foundation for a stong and explosive
football player. Once you get the propper form down keep your reps to 8-12.
Nutrition wise I say it all the time stay away from the evil duo fats and
sugars. Each have a place in your diet but for the most part cut them out.
Another key to muscle growth is protein without enough you can't build
muscle - period. I recommend 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Good luck and
keep us updated. Look for our new Critical diet programs coming soon. They
will include customized diet for your specific goals and weekly updates!
What effects do muscle relaxers have on weight lifting? Thanks for your time, Mary.
I'm not sure how they effect muscle growth and metabolism when taken long
term I'm sure it's different for everyone. I have used them in the past when
pre-scribed by my team doctor to help relieve muscle spasms or muscle
tightness but only when they were extreme, where deep tissue message and
normal therapy would not work. I was prescribed to use them at bed time and
they did not affect my strength or practicing capabilities the next day. So
short term use I didn't notice any loss of strength or speed. But with all
medications I would check with your doctor who prescribed them to you. If
your having problems loosening up or with muscle tightness try adding a
stretching routine and warm up thoroughly before exercising and a 10 minute
cool down after training might help.