Well, the results are in from my little trial of dieting, with an ECA stack (ephedrine, caffiene, and aspirin) and without, are in. Each trial was 4 weeks in length and I decided to try dieting without ECA to see the true effectiveness of the supplement and to gauge the results based on side effects (moodiness, sleeplessness, elevated heart rate, energy crashes, etc.) versus the effectiveness, to calculate it's overall worth in the world of supplementation. I have dieted on ECA before and have always had decent results, but I had always assumed that the the losses I had achieved were more attributed to the appetite suppressing properties (as a food addict my diet was horrible otherwise), than the metabolic enhancing properties.
Trial 1: While using ECA I was able to keep a fairly strict diet during the week, but Saturdays and Sundays were pretty bad, as I would rarely drink less than 2 days a weekend and eat plenty of rich foods). I still managed to lose a maximum of 18lbs (203 down to 185) in a 4 week period. After losing this weight I looked pretty good, but felt dehydrated and was quite weak (by about 5-10lbs on all compound movements), and though I looked bigger due to the increased definition, I was a bit smaller under the scrupulous eyes of the tape measure as well.
Trial 2: I have finally gotten to a point in my life were fitness is important enough that I am able to sacrifice the alcohol and rich foods (it's amasing how much more qauntity you can eat when the calories come from good sources) without the need for an appetite suppresant, thus the decision for this little "test" of sorts. This last 4 weeks has been sort of a "control" period where the diet has remained good regardless of any supplementation, to see if the losses were attributed to what I ate (or didn't eat as it were) while on ECA, or due to the actual increased metabolism it created. I have still had a cheat day each weekend (gotta have a beer or two at the MMCM), but the diet has remained really good by most standards. In 4 weeks I have gone from 197 lbs down to 192 lbs (a loss of 5lbs for the non-math majors out there
), but have seen an increase of strength by about 5% over the month's time. That would lead me calculate an actual loss of maybe 6 or 7 lbs with a gain of 1 or 2lbs to make total losses 5lbs.
To sum it up, ECA is quite effective at multiplying fat loss by upping your metabolism, but this can also be at a loss of size and strength to do it in such a short period of time. My thought is that if you are on a specific time-line diet such as contest prep, an upcoming vacation in Maui, anniversary, reunion, etc, ECA is a good way to help things along (still gotta watch that diet though). However, if you are looking into the long term and still want to grow I'd recommend the slow and natural process because it's ironically the quicker way to reach your long-term goals. In the next 4 weeks I am going to keep the diet as is and again introduce ECA in small doses to see what kind of effects it has on strength when calories aren't being reduced. My hope is that strength will keep rising due to the extra little "pick-me-up" as the body-fat drops ever so slightly quicker due to the kick in my metabolism. Ether way, I'll keep you posted.