Nutritional based articles straight from cutandjacked.com's specialist writers
Flip through any fitness magazine, and what’s the first thing you see? Flashy ads, featuring models with ripped physiques, claiming all their results are from uber-powerful fat demolishing power matrix pills. These fat burners have varying degrees of effectiveness, and most are plagued by what I call “overcomplication disorder” - they have two or three known effective ingredients, like caffeine, green tea, or yohimbe. The rest is a proprietary blend of all kinds of long chemical names, and super-scientific explanations of how they work, designed to sell the product. What if there was a simple supplement that had one ingredient, and actually did work? Good news; there is.
Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is quickly gaining popularity as a type of natural “fat burner.” It is not a thermogenic supplement like many other fat burners on the market, it simply helps your body become more efficient at processing and storing dietary fat intake. In very simple terms, CLA helps prevent your body from storing extra fat by interfering with the chemical that adipose cells, or fat cells use to absorb and store excess fat. Studies show that CLA also helps the body use stored fat for energy while increasing lean body mass. It doesn’t directly burn fat cells on it’s own, but it encourages the body to burn fat with a proper caloric deficit and exercise, and prevents your body from absorbing fat and forming new fat cells.
Many double-blind clinical studies have been performed on CLA, where half of a given group was given a placebo, and half was given CLA supplementation. All of these studies showed the same thing: those on CLA showed decrease body fat, although not necessarily decreased weight, and increased lean body mass. The only adverse effect found was some minor gastrointestinal bloating and discomfort. This varies person to person, and is often not a big enough problem to steer people away from CLA.
These studies show that a person with a clean diet and exercise can expect to increase fat loss over a long period of time with CLA supplementation. The shortest clinical study showed that users began to see results of CLA supplementation after twelve weeks; this is not an overnight fat burner. However, given all of the above information, CLA seems like a healthy and extremely effective supplement for those looking to burn fat and increase lean body mass without using any harsh stimulants.
This may not be a miracle pill, or a quick fix, but if something quick and natural can help increase lean body mass while decreasing fat mass, that can hardly be considered a bad thing. CLA isn’t too expensive either, so if you’re the type that loves supplements, this is a great one to consider!
Written by: Matt Dustin, NASM-CPT
References: Guallier JM, Halse J, Hoivik HO, Hoye K, Syverstsen C, Nurminiemi M, Hassfeld C, Einerhand A, O’Shea M, Gudmundsen O. Six months supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid induces regional-specific fat mass decreases in overweight and obese. 2007 Mar;(3):550-60. PMID: 17313718
Guallier JM, Halse J, Hoye K, Kristiansen K, Fagertun H, Vik H, Gudmundsen O. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for 1 y reduces body fat mass in healthy overweight humans. 2004 Jun;79(6):1118-25. PMID: 15159244
Lots of people are trying to eat better,... trim off some extra pounds gained over the holidays, or get beach-ready for a moment in the sun. Eating better is hard, and many people get frustrated, fall short or give up. Here are some key ways to make your eat better stick.
1. Set goals - It starts by having clear and realistic goals. Write a list of things you want to change about your diet. Also incorporate goals that you may have regarding your body and plan your diet around those goals. I recommend setting present goals, short term, and long term goals. If you try and do everything all at once you can be overwhelmed and want to quit. Take it one goal at a time if need be, and one day at a time, this isn’t a race. You may also want to write reasons why you want to make a change in your eating habits. You might share your goals with others who will help you meet them. You can put your goals where others can see them “on the fridge, at work” to motivate you to work harder. This will also get others behind you and involved in your new routine. As you achieve your goals, check them off. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and add excitement leading to your next goal.
2. Have Realistic expectations- Any diet plan needs to work with you and not against you. You need to be realistic when setting up the parameters of your new diet. Your plan needs to work for you and your situation. It needs to fit your schedule and your budget. If you don’t follow your budget, your cooking costs will get too high and you will have to withdraw from the diet you set up. If you don’t cook for your schedule and your eating times you will find yourself without food and scrambling to find a healthy choice. So be realistic with time, and give yourself extra time to prepare food, or have food pre-packed. Also know that obstacles can and will come into your path from time to time to derail you and your progress, so don’t think that everything will be easy and will just happen. This takes work.
3. Be Proactive - Make a list of healthy foods you enjoy, and what foods you can take with you to work, in the car, school, etc. You can create entire menus revolving around where you will be at what time of the day. Never give yourself an excuse to not have something available for you to eat, no matter where you are when you are supposed to have a meal. Always keep healthy foods on hand. If you don’t you will probably eat whatever is available at the time whether it be fast food, office treats, etc. This can throw off a diet plan and get you in the habit of making bad food choices and eat whatever is fast and convenient. Know where you will be at what time of the day, when you are open to cook, to eat, to shop for groceries, and plan accordingly. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
4. Consistency is key - Most people respond well to consistency. Make a plan and stick to it. Try to eat at around the same times daily and keep to the same portion size and caloric intake.. Your body will recognize this pattern and in turn keep your metabolism burning and your energy levels will stay high. You will feel better, and get in a healthy routine. It is easy to sabotage yourself by grabbing nasty snacks to meet uncontrolled cravings. The time you spend on planning and consistency is a true investment that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
5. Be flexible - Of course, even the best plans fall short at times. Life can sometimes get the best of all of us. Sometimes your eating routines need to change. Where you can, try to plan ahead for these events and have items on hand you can take with you when you’re in a rush or are eating out. Example: Bag of almonds, protein bars and shakes, fresh fruit. Also educate yourself on nutrition through the internet, books, and magazines. You can use this knowledge to help you improvise and find foods that are compatible with your diet, for example if you are out with friends or stuck with no time to cook. Find items that are less time consuming that you can take with you in a pinch.
6. Don’t be so hard on yourself - Nobody is perfect all the time. If you mess up, miss a few meals, or even have a bad couple of days, just pick yourself up and get back on track. You’re doing this for you, and the added stress of not living up to your own expectations can lead to a total diet derailment. Being healthy and eating healthy does not mean you can’t enjoy foods not on your meal plan. So don’t be so hard on yourself. YOU CAN DO IT!
7. Stick with your plan - It takes time to develop healthy behaviors. After about a month of eating better consistently, you will have developed a habit. You will find that everything you initially may have had a hard time doing becomes more effortless and be a normal part of your day to day life.
8. Have fun - Eating right takes dedication, commitment and sacrifice. Don’t stress yourself out over small bumps in the road. You have the power to change any negative into a positive, and you have the choice to have a positive outlook regarding any situation you find yourself in. Find fun ways to keep yourself motivated. Get friends and family involved. Set challenges at home, with friends, or at work to start eating healthier. Take the time to cook and try new and interesting recipes. You are making change for the better, so why not make it enjoyable.
9. Give yourself praise - You are not a dog so don’t reward yourself with treats. Realize that changing your eating habits can be a daunting task for anyone. Just think how long you have had your current habits and know that changing those habits will not happen overnight, but with time. Congratulate yourself on any healthy changes you make, you deserve the praise. Praise builds confidence and makes you feel good about the healthy choices you are making, and in turn help keep you on your path to betterment.
10. Don’t rush into this - People always start with the best of intentions and will try and do everything at once. They get overwhelmed and quit before they really even started. Small changes add up and can make a huge difference. Work on one thing at a time and keep adding to it. Before you know it you will have many healthy habits that incorporate together to make a healthy lifestyle and a healthier and happier you.
11. Focus on the journey and not the destination - To live a healthy lifestyle is never easy. In order to enjoy this lifestyle with all the ups and downs, we must enjoy the process and the journey on the way to our destination. Once we hit our destination we immediately look to the next mountain top and we either want more, or worst case scenario we think that we have accomplished all we need to and we relax on all of the things that got us there in the first place. Take pride in small victories along the way, they add up.
12. Measure Success and Set New Goals: Making successful changes means measuring your progress towards your goals and recognizing your accomplishments. As you meet short-term goals, you can plan the next steps with more confidence. Constantly re-strategizing your goals takes long-term visualization. That long-term vision needs to be broken down into doable steps.
By: Brandan Fokken
Bodybuilding.com Sponsored Athlete
'Bulking up’ is a term I'm not overly keen on as it’s generally something done by competitive bodybuilders. Most of us aren't competing and knowing full well that you will gain a load of fat but are prepared after that to follow a prolonged (12-20+ weeks) and VERY strict diet isn’t what most of us want.
This approach has 2 purposes, it means that you’re guaranteed an excess of both good and bad (which when you've been eating chicken and broccoli six times a day for 20 weeks is a nice psychological break) calories. The key being to consume enough nutrients that the maximum amount of energy can be exerted in the gym and the maximum amount of protein can be turned over as new muscle tissue, it’s a very unstructured way to do it but works ok for most.
The trade off as a bodybuilder during this process is that the caloric surplus overflows and a whole heap of body fat is gained as well as the muscle tissue. During the dieting process if done well and intelligently the ratio of fat: muscle loss ends up favorable and a bigger leaner physique is the product! Not always though as muscle loss at some level will always occur with such harsh dieting.
The two hormonal states you will have heard me talk about before are Anabolic (Regenerative) and Catabolic (Degenerative) in muscles case it builds or it wastes it. The balance of these 2 groups of hormones dictates protein turnover and ultimately lean tissue gain.
Data gathered by the New England Journal of Medicine found that a 69kg sedentary male turns over about 280g of protein daily. About 30% of this is generally what is accepted as ‘muscle protein’. Within the course of a year this person gained and also lost half of his bodyweight in muscle without lifting a weight but the metabolic processes at play meant his net profit was zero (See my ‘MANAGING YOUR LOSSES’ seminar on you tube).
Taking into consideration all metabolic factors and using myself as an example.
At 100kg can potentially create 399g of new muscle tissue a day!!! Studies have shown however the controlled catabolic process of training destroys 80% of the induced anabolism (growth).
If we look at this statistically: My potential results over a year of eating and training perfectly.
Basal (Resting) Protein Synthesis = 50kg
Gains from training = 27.5kg
Total Gain = 77.5kg of muscle.
Tissue lost from Basal Catabolism = 50kg
Tissue lost due to training induced catabolism =22kg
Total Muscle Lost = 72kg
Muscular Gain = 5.5kg
SO IF WE CONSIDER THE DIFFERENTIAL IN ANABOLIC AND CATABOLIC HORMONES BETWEEN MALES AND FEMALES THIS WOULD EQUATE TO ABOUT A MAXIMUM OF 2.35kg FOR A FEMALE. THE FEAR THAT BUILDING AN EXCESS OF MUSCLE TISSUE IS CRAZY.
As a side note I still get ‘I want to build muscle but not too much’ an awful lot in consults…I’m not worried and you shouldn’t be either. Now take someone who isn't prepared to stick to a diet as strict and rigid as this for the time it takes (that's 95% of us). We don’t want to be contest ready and we certainly don't want to go through the hell a competitive bodybuilder goes through to get rid of that excess fat. So there are therefore 2 strategies. The one above which is just to relentlessly consume calories or there is a more intelligent approach.
Just to summarize. To build mass effectively we must:
1. Consume an excess of total calories.
2. Increase Anabolic hormones and decrease catabolic hormones.
3. Increase Protein and nutrient turnover.
4. Work on increasing the number of motor units recruited within muscle tissue.
5. Volumize the cells within muscle tissue.
I will put these in a logical order for you to work through.
MACRONUTRIENT SPLITS, BODYTYPE AND INSULIN MANAGEMENT
Insulin is the master hormone, it governs pretty much every other hormone in some way and management of it is critical if muscular gain or fat loss is your priority.
Insulin has the ability to increase the uptake of protein into cells, as well as increasing anabolic (Building/Regenerative) processes it can also help decrease catabolic (degenerative) processes. To make insulin work for us depends on the individual but fundamentally it involves consuming carbs and protein together. Insulin then under the right environment and at the right levels triggers anabolism and delivers the amino acids for protein synthesis (Muscle adaptation).
Managing Insulin is all about the diet and what we’re looking for is a small spike in most cases, enough to drive those nutrients into tissue, the spike I will talk about later in the article.
The only meal as a note that requires a rapid and high spike in insulin is the post workout. During a workout we have damaged tissue and driven blood sugar down. This needs a reactive spike to bring blood sugar and insulin levels back to baseline and also drive amino acids to repair the damaged cells. Utilizing a post workout carb and protein drink is critical as this speeds up the absorption. Irrelevant of the makeup of an individual I would in almost ALL cases recommend a 2:1 ratio of carbs and protein post workout. This being based on 0.8g/kg and 0.4/kg respectively and on total bodyweight. This strategy also activates the powerful stimulator of muscle growth IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor -1)
The human body is in a constant state of protein turnover. Anything that is cellular is constantly being degradation or breakdown. Insufficient consumption of protein means that the body remains in a state of degeneration stealing amino acids from non-critical to maintain critical function. Protein has a large amount of factors as to its turnover rate, hormones, diet and training to name but a few. When we influence Insulin and any other anabolic hormone positively that number goes UP!
Now the great thing about proteins AND fats is that both of them if required can be converted to glycogen and used as a fuel source. If we fall short of either nutrient however the same cannot be said of Carbs. Our key therefore is to build a diet around an elevated baseline of protein and at minimum a baseline of fats if mass building is our intention. When dieting this protein intake may go up further as the body tends to oxidize amino acids as an energy source.
There have been countless studies on optimal intake but some of the best results have been shown when purely mass building at 1.6-1.8g/lb. of bodyweight. (12)
We then need to consider the quality of this protein. Protein is determined by two markers the Biological Value (BV) and the protein-digestibility amino acid score (PCDAAS).
Now the issue we have with this table is that a high percentage of Westerners have trouble digesting products with lactose in them. If you cant digest something you CANNOT absorb it.
SO FAR… We have an intake that looks like this assuming an 80kg (176lb) athlete:
PROTEIN (176 x 1.8) 1267 k/cal 316g of Protein coming from high-ranking protein sources.
I’ve covered in a previous article (FORM OVER PERFORMANCE) body types and what a useful tool they are for a basic assessment of dietary requirements. Adjustments will always need to be made however it gives a great start point.
We have three distinct body types characterized by certain traits and dietary considerations. These STILL stand true even when in a mass building phase.
If we refer back to the point about Insulin, an Ectomorph would need a HIGHER % of carbs with more frequent feedings (2-2.5 hrs.) to get a suitable insulin response and to prevent their high Thyroid output metabolizing muscle tissue as fuel. This means that a smaller amount of fats would be used to amass the total calories. Ectomorphs need to manage stress and minimize the use of stimulants if muscle mass is their intention. Pre workouts need to be approached sensibly. Consumption of food is often their biggest challenge.
The hardest part for an Ectomorph or what we 'know' as a hard gainer is the fact that the digestive system is slow and can only deal with a small amount of food at a time. This coupled with the high metabolic rate means the classical ectomorph will lose almost as much tissue in a year as they gain. To get the volume of required nutrients you need to move towards the broken down form of food and supplements more. Liquid such as whey and oils and suitable meal replacement drinks can fill in the gaps for an ectomorph in an easily digestible format. Supplementing with greens supplements when required aswell. The fine line and trial and error here is to keep digestive turnover at an efficient rate.
Mesomorphs remain the athletes of the bunch with a high dominance in anabolic hormones and very efficient metabolic systems. Care still must be taken to ensure optimal composition.
Again with reference to Insulin management an endomorph needs considerably less carbs per feeding than an ectomorph would in order to get a similar insulin response. Endomorphs need to monitor total calories more than Ectomorphs as they will have a tendency to over consume…and what better excuse than ‘I’m in a BULKING PHASE’. They have a lower Thyroid (Essentially the over-eating failsafe) output.
Note: People often ask how I personally turnover tissue on such a low level of carbs? It's because THIS is my natural body type and I need very little carbs to get a suitable Insulin response.
Now if you're not prepared to pay someone to do this for you and you want to do it successfully, guess what you have some homework to do.
Using what we have above and the baseline of protein that we determined we have now come to a position that gives us the following for three different body types all at 80kg all intent on building mass.
As you can see the Ectomorph is consuming a larger number of calories due to the faster metabolic rate. The Endomorph due to the lower carb tolerance consumes a lower amount of carbs than the other two types.
If you take the post workout away from these figures you’re left with what should be spread over 6-8 meals in the case of the Ectomorph and 5-6 in the case of both the Meso and Endo. On non-training days hit the calories the same but adjust each meal to account for what the post workout lost.
Lean mass building whilst maintaining a good level of body fat can be done but minor adjustments must be made. If after 7-10 days weight is not increasing positively increase total calories by 150-200 per day. The same can be said if body fat is creeping up either decrease calories or introduce some low level fuel work (Walking, XT etc.) at a controlled level.
It must also be understood that management of Insulin improves the leaner someone gets so in most cases the level of carbs CAN go up as someone get leaner as they manage it better.
If we refer back to the initial points:
The use of BCAAs during training is once again something I will re-iterate, read my past articles for more info but these are a few of the finer points.
• It helps to regulate and promote protein synthesis and reduce degradation.
• It helps with the anabolic/catabolic hormone ratio
• Raises Growth hormone and Insulin during a workout.
It has been shown that there is a worldwide prevalence in Zinc deficiency and also that is plays a large role in modulating testosterone levels.
Now we have a two-pronged attack whilst training. We have one, which will increase Testosterone production, and one that will enhance Growth hormone production. When looking at gaining size it would be wise to incorporate BOTH into your workout plans.
Evidence has shown us that using large compound movements performed with high intensity and a moderate volume will increase serum testosterone levels. Utilizing heavy loads in excess of 85% 1RM with multiple sets/exercises with short rest periods (30-60s).
To increase Growth Hormone levels lower percentages of weights would be used (65-75% 1RM) and higher reps (8-12). This combined with multiple sets will increase lactate production and in response an elevation in Growth Hormone levels.
In both cases utilizing big, multiple joint movements will illicit the greatest response.
Written by: Phil Learney - Facebook Fan Page
Open a magazine and just look at not only the amount of supplement ads but all the different types of supplements on the market. It is no wonder that bodybuilders are always researching the latest information on the newest supplements and how and when to use them. It can be difficult to sift through all of the info and find which ones really do work and which ones may be a waste of your time. How do you know which supplements are worth your hard-earned money? How do you determine which ones to try and which ones should be a staple in your quest for the ultimate physique? Well, set your chicken, rice and broccoli aside for a moment as I will tell you which supplements should be a part of your foundation program and which you should give an honest chance.
This list will be structured by level of importance and how much relevance it has to your bodybuilding goals for muscle mass growth. It is also considering that you have a sound bodybuilding-friendly diet consisting of plenty of whole proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats eaten in small frequent meals (five to seven) spread throughout the day. Supplements are just that-they are for supplementing or adding to already good eating habits. If you are not practicing those habits then supplements will not come to your rescue. If so, then enjoy your forthcoming gains!
Whey protein is the granddaddy of supplements and is a must in your mass seeking arsenal. As a fast digesting protein, it is ideal for pre and post workout nutrition and extremely convenient. Rich in Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine, whey is invaluable as a fast-acting muscle booster to help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to muscle repair and growth.
Try taking 20 grams with complex carbs about 30 to 60 minutes before training and 40 grams with 60 to 80 grams of simple carbs immediately after training. Taking whey before training will set up an anabolic environment in the muscles and taking it after training will enable whey to be more readily absorbed by the muscle tissue. This will bookend your efforts in the gym so you will leave no stone unturned on your pursuit of the most effective recovery.
Also, when choosing a whey protein product make sure it is low in carbs and fat. Carbs and fat slow digestion down a bit. Post workout you want protein to rapidly enter the muscles, which can slow digestion down a bit when you need it most post workout. Some products include protein enzymes to help with digestion. If you have digestion problems with whey try a product with enzymes included, it may do just the trick and allow you to easily digest this “must have” supplement.
If you have never heard of creatine, then welcome to earth. Touted by athletes and researchers as one of the most effective supplements ever created, creatine has grown quite a powerful reputation. Heavily researched and widely used, athletes from all disciplines have sworn creatine’s effectiveness with readily apparent and fast-acting results. This supplement is another “must.”
As it gets converted to creatine phosphate in the muscles it creates a very anabolic environment in the tissue allowing more protein synthesis to occur. This “superhydration” of fluid in the muscle cells allows more nutrients to help repair and grow tissue. Try taking 3-5 grams pre and post workout with your whey shakes. Again, the pre workout dose will prime the muscles so they will be ready for the intense training to come and the post workout dose will enable the muscles to shuttle in creatine at a quick rate so the tissue will be topped off for the next session.
Some people claim creatine bloats their stomachs and/or intestinal area. If this is the case, it may not be digesting properly or completely. Creatine monohydrate may only be partially absorbing in the intestines but some may still be sitting outside of the intestinal walls. This causes that area to attract water and therefore a bloat in the lower G.I. tract. You are in luck. Creatine ethyl ester is a form of creatine that has been developed to be absorbed even more effectively. Creatine ethyl ester is broken down more readily for easier digestion. For you that means less bloat and more effective digestion of creatine to where it needs to go for growth and repair.
“What?” You’re saying. Yes, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin E are essential to the body when you are undergoing intense training. Sure, they don’t sound like the latest supplement breakthroughs, but the body produces free radicals which can circulate and cause damage. Antioxidant vitamins C and E can help combat these free radicals and strengthen the immune system, which means a healthier recovery ability and better gains. ZMA helps with increasing Insulin Growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and testosterone-potent hormones to help you along your quest for a more massive physique.
These two categories are what I call foundation supplements. You won’t instantly feel them working like creatine or caffeine, but they are of utmost importance regarding the body’s general health and wellbeing. If the body is not in a healthy state to begin with, how can it possibly build any muscle tissue? ZMA and antioxidants help maintain a healthy foundation so you are able to build upon it.
Take 500 mg of vitamin C and 200 to 400 IU of vitamin E with your first whole food post workout meal. Before bed take a ZMA supplement providing around 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium, and 10 mg of B6.
Another great protein product which, with the right timing, can be used to your advantage is casein. Casein is a slow digesting protein for those times when you need a longer lasting supply of amino acids in the bloodstream. It can be taken before bedtime with some healthy fats such as flax oil or natural peanut butter to have steady release of protein. Since it digests slower, casein is also ideal for when you need a convenient protein shake at any time during the day when you are unable to eat solid food. The steady flow of nutrients will allow your body to keep feeding, supplying those muscles with what they need. 20 grams of casein is great to add to your post workout shake of whey, creatine and simple carbs.
Another unglamorous supplement is glutamine which is a very abundant amino acid in the muscle tissue. Although not “sexy,” glutamine has a host of unbeatable benefits such as helping muscles take up glycogen after a workout, maintaining immune function, and increasing growth hormone levels. It can also delay fatigue so you can workout harder longer and keep you out of that dreaded catabolic state. If your system is in short supply of glutamine it will actually steal it from muscle tissue, so can you think of any reason not to supplement with it?
Try 10 grams pre and post workout to help combat the fatigue factor and give the recovery process a head start. Again, glutamine may not be a jolt of energy or enable you to instantly have strength gains, but in the long run you won’t be sorry. As another “foundation” supplement glutamine works behind the scenes to help other processes happen.
Here are a few more supplements that may or may not work for you so just remember to try them one at a time. If you were to take all of them at once how would you know which ones worked?
Maltodextrins are carbs that are easily digestible. They made from natural corn starch which is cooked, and then acid and/or enzymes are used to break down the starch. Maltodextrin is a great carb addition to a whey or casein shake. This “weight gainer shake” is a convenient way to get some serious calories into your diet without the added sugar.
Vitargo is a high molecular weight, sugar free carbohydrate which is perfect for your post workout shake. It can produce the same insulin spike after training as sugar without the unwanted effects. Combined with creatine and whey protein, vitargo is a great way to add carbs while staying on a low sugar diet.
Arginine readily converts to nitric oxide (NO) in the body. By dilating blood vessels, arginine allows more nutrients such as amino acids and glucose into the muscle cells. With more nutrients and fluid in the muscle more protein synthesis can occur. Try 3 grams upon waking, pre workout, and before bed.
Tribulus Terrestris: As a testosterone booster tribulus terrestris can also increase nerve activity in the muscle cells allowing for more powerful workouts. Take 300-500 mg before training.
Carnosine allows muscle to contract more forcefully and for longer periods of time. In addition it can delay fatigue so you can last longer with greater intensity in the gym. Try 1-2 grams before workouts.
So there you have it; five must have supplements with a few to take to the lab (gym) and try for yourself. Remember to always use caution when taking any supplement and always ask a medical professional if you feel you have any health concerns. With a sound bodybuilding diet, hard training, and a few strategically taken key supplements you can build one impressive physique without confusion.
By Brad Borland, M.A., CSCS workoutlab.net
Muscle pumps in the gym is the most satisfying feeling for gym-goers. This blood rush into the muscle cells giving you the pumped up look also contributes so much to muscle growth factors.
Besides it has extremely motivating and inspiring effects. A good pump in the gym is one of the biggest reasons that will lead to muscle growth, along with proper post training nutrition and supplementation. But before we get to that lets talk about behind the scenes of what really goes on in the body for the skin tearing pumps to occur:
Here is what occurs during the pump in the muscle cells:
* The release of Nitric Oxide.
*Relaxed Endothelial cells.
*Expanding of Blood Vessels.
*Enhanced Blood Flow.
*With increased blood flow, testosterone, Growth hormone, amino acids,
insulin-like growth factor gets delivered to the muscle cells.
*As a result, more blood flow allows for more anabolic
nutrients to feed your muscles.
* Try to use plateau breaking techniques such as double/triple drop sets, triple add sets, giant sets, negatives, FST-7 style training etc… which activates all your muscle fibers to achieve maximum blood flow.
* Take Pre workout supplements such as NO (L-arginine) and creatine based supplements with GLYCERIN (see clinical study below about Glycerin).
* Take caffeine for pre-workout which lets the supplements work even more efficiently as well as boost strength and power output (fat burning products include caffeine).
* Immediately take your whey protein along with some simple carbs post workout to feed the muscle cells.
*Drink plenty of water.
Scientists in Brazil conducted an 8 week study where athletes were given 3 grams of L-Arginine along with 1 gr. Of Vitamin C. After the 8 weeks athletes experienced a significant increase in lean muscle mass and strength levels.
CLINICAL RESEARCH GLYCERIN:
Glycerin is the is a part of triglycerides that is not stored as fat and is converted into glucose by the liver and used as fuel. It is commonly used as a sugar replacement in protein bars but does not spike your blood sugar levels.
Research has proven that glycerin (also known as glycerol) taken with creatine for 7 days hydrated the muscle cells 50% more than normal and also brought more water into the blood vessels causing more vascularity.
Take 10 grams of glycerin with 20 grams of creatine for maximum results about 50-60 minutes pre- workout…
Pre Workout Supplements: Protein Shake with added BCAA’s, creatine,
Arginine (for NO production),
Training Technique: Triple Drop Set:
Exercise 1: Flat Bench Press
* Sets: 3, * Repetitions: 6 reps with 245, 6 reps with 225, and 6 reps with 205 lbs (have a spotter drop the weight allowing you only with little rest in between every 6 rep)
Exercise 2: Incline Hammer Strength Chest Press
* Sets: 3, * Repetition: 8 reps with high weight 8 reps with medium
8 reps with lot to moderate weight
Exercise 3: Cable chest fly
* Sets: 3 * Repetition Range: 12 reps with high weight 12 reps with medium weight
12 reps with low to medium weight
After this last set you should already have the skin tearing pump effects.
Chocolate Whey & Casein Protein mix with added BCAA’s, creatine with glycerol
and Arginine, Grenade Fat Burner for Caffeine!!!
Training with the right techniques combined with proper nutrition and supplementation, you can now achieve full and rounded muscles!
Written by: Melih F. Cologlu ACPT
Team Grenade Athlete
It seems to me like we are always hearing about the latest and greatest “superfood.” Whether it’s acai berries, kale, pomegranate juice, or the cure-all grapefruit diet, there is always some “healthy” new trend, which at first sounds great, but then research goes on to prove that it was definitely over-rated. Sure, acai berries are great for you, and are loaded with antioxidants, which have proven health benefits. But will these magical berries help you lose weight, cleanse your digestive system, reduce skin wrinkles and help you live forever? Nope. They are just another healthy fruit. It’s hard to have faith in the new trends and superfoods, which seem to pop up every few months.
That being said, there is one healthy trend that is backed by research, and I feel hasn’t received enough exposure. By now, most of us know that healthy fats are good for all sorts of things in the body, such as lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and reducing the risk of heart disease, along with tons of other benefits. I know plenty of people who cook with olive oil, eat extra salmon, and take fish oil capsules every day. This is all good and well, however, the majority of people don’t include macadamia nut oil in their daily diets, which would be a pretty good substitute for olive oil or flaxseed oil.
Here are some benefits of using macadamia nut oil, which I recommend you use instead of olive oil (in certain cases).
Macadamia nut oil has higher levels of monounsaturated fat than olive or flaxseed oil, two popular alternatives. As far as healthy fats go, this is one of the best kinds for us. It has 11 grams per tablespoon, compared to 9.8 grams in olive oil.
Oleic acid has been shown to reduce inflammation, boost memory power, increase testosterone, and reduce symptoms of asthma. It is also one of the good cholesterol sources, as it helps lower LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol).
Trans fat is bad right? Well, macadamia has less of it than olive oil. Per tablespoon it has 120 calories, the same as extra virgin olive oil, however it has zero trans fat and only 0.3 grams of polyunsaturated fat, compared to the 1.4 grams in olive oil. Trans fat is never a good thing, so anytime we can remove it from our diet, we should.
Macadamia nut oil typically has a smoke point about 40 degrees higher than olive oil. This means you can cook it at a higher temperature without burning out the good fats and benefits associated with them. I suggest using macadamia nut oil instead of olive oil when cooking with frying pans or greasing baking pans.
It might have a bit of a bitter aftertaste, but going down it tastes like macadamia nuts! I have tried drinking olive oil, fish oil, and flaxseed oil plain, and all three almost brought my lunch back up. Disgusting. I probably wouldn’t substitute macadamia nut oil if I was baking with a recipe that called for olive oil, simply because the nutty flavor could potentially throw things off. I would however substitute it for greasing pots and pans, and using on salad.
Now I’m not saying you should drink macadamia oil plain, but it tastes great on salads or in oatmeal as a healthy fat; it gives your food a nice “nutty” flavor. Try a salad with lettuce, a little bit of feta cheese, and a few shaved pecans with plain macadamia nut oil for dressing... healthy and delicious! Balsamic vinegar and olive oil seems to be a pretty standard “healthy” dressing, but I would definitely recommend trying plain macadamia nut oil instead. Not only do you save yourself from consuming the sugars found in balsamic vinegar, but also it’s easier to mix and tastes much better. It’s also good in oatmeal, with a little brown sugar or sugar free maple syrup. It gives it a nice nutty taste.
There is only one minor catch, it can be a little tricky to find at your local grocery store. I usually get mine at Whole Foods, but I have seen it at “regular” grocery stores as well, and supplement stores. If you really can’t find any I would go ahead and order some online, it’s cheap and definitely worth a try.
There it is folks, macadamia nut oil, the super-fat. I believe it should be added to the cooking arsenal of anyone serious about getting healthy, in fact I hardly ever buy olive oil anymore. Worst-case scenario, you spend a little money, try the oil, and if you don’t like it then the bottle sits with all the other condiments you don’t use or need. Best case, you love it, start consuming it regularly, and get fantastic health benefits!
Note: most of the benefits aren’t things you will necessarily “feel.” The fact that it is high in monounsaturated fat and oleic acid is great, and these two things will bring a whole host of benefits. Just enjoy the taste, and trust that your body is running smoother with this oil.
Written by Matt Dustin
HIIT (high intensity interval training) will not only help you shred your body fat faster than endurance cardio, it’s going to help you hold onto more of that hard earned muscle mass as your cutting as well. It’s the old analogy of the sprinter and the marathon runner. Look how they train and look at their body types. Marathon runners train at a steady pace for long amounts of time while sprinters train by going as hard as they can for a short amount of time followed by a recovery period to get the heart rate back down and then they go hard again. Marathon runners generally have less muscle and more body fat while sprinters have low body fat and hold an impressive amount of muscle mass. Fat burning is a strategy of hours not minutes and interval training will keep your metabolism burning fat for hours after your done while endurance training allows you to come back to normal minutes after being finished.
I have two favorite routines I use for my HIIT training when I need to get my abs ripped for a photo shoot or a competition.
30/30 – 30 seconds fast followed by a 30 second rest interval, repeat. This can really be done on any cardio machine or even on foot outside. My choice is usually the stairmill or stair climber. Start by setting the machine to it’s slowest setting and just go through the motions for the first 30 seconds. Then at the 30 second mark, ramp up the speed to as fast as you can handle for 30 seconds. It should be at speed that makes you struggle to get 30 seconds. After 30 seconds bring the speed back down to super slow and focus on catching your breath, calming your heart rate, and getting your legs back under you during this short 30 second rest. Repeat.
10 second incline sprints, 50 sec rest – Set the treadmill to a 15 degree incline and while straddling the belt, crank the speed up to a speed that’s going to make you struggle to run at for 10 seconds. When the treadmill hits the 1 minute mark, carefully step on to the front middle of the belt holding yourself with your hands until you get your stride, then pump your arms and sprint for 10 seconds. After 10 seconds lift yourself up and straddle the belt. You need to be running at a speed fast enough that you wouldn’t be able to run for 12 or 15 seconds. For the next 50 seconds, just standing there catch your breath, calm your heart rate, and get your legs back. At the 2 minute mark, get back on for another interval.
You only have to do 10-15 minutes of either of those routines at the end of a weight workout to kick start that resting metabolism for hours and hours after you’re done. If you can go much longer, you didn’t go hard enough during speed intervals.
You get all of your daily calories from either fats, proteins, or carbs. The body needs all of these to function properly and when one of them is absent you’re going to crave it like there’s no tomorrow! In the ideal diet, you can incorporate all 3 three of the macros while shredding fat and hanging onto muscle mass. I even put on 4 lbs of muscle in the last month while dieting down to a shredded 3.6% bf for my last show. These principles will also allow you to have more energy and not go brain dead while dieting. When I write a diet for myself or a client I get much more specific about percentages of carbs at certain times but for the general population these rules of thumb will work.
Protein should be the constant. Get about 40 grams (25 for women) every 2- 3 hours that your awake. For fats and carbs, don't mix them in the same meal. You need both but when having them together you increase the chance of storing bodyfat. Eat all carbs in 3 meals, breakfast, pre workout, and post workout. Guys take about 50 grams in each meal and ladies get 30. In all other meals add good fats. I use flax seed oil. Take spoonful of flax down with the 40 grams of protein your eating.
If I only have a couple of weeks to get ripped I have a couple of carb rotations that I go to but I don’t like to do those for more than 2-3 weeks.
The number one reason why people stray from their diet plan is that the good food they know they should be eating isn’t immediately available and when they find themselves starving in the middle of the afternoon they turn to a quick fix and shove down the first thing they can get their hands on. Often you’ll find that you may be craving a cheeseburger and ice cream but once you’ve eaten that healthy, scheduled meal that craving goes away. You must have meals planned and prepared before leaving the house for the day. Know exactly what you’re going to eat and when you’re going to eat it and stick to the plan. This means making a habit of cooking all food, getting them into individual containers and taking them with you.
Whatever you do, if you screw up and have an unplanned cheat meal or miss meal, get right back on track with the next meal. Too often I see people throw their whole day away because they messed up one on meal.
If you’ve built all that muscle mass by lifting heavy in the 6-10 rep range don’t suddenly cut the weights in half and start doing sets of 20 with the hopes of burning more fat. Your muscles became that size because they had to get accustomed to moving heavy weight, if they don’t have to move that heavy weight anymore they will decrease in size. Heavy training will also do a number on your EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) which keeps the resting metabolism elevated, allowing you to burn fat for hours after a workout.
You’ve heard it a million times and I’m going to tell you again. Drink water throughout the entire day! Muscles are made of up of approximately 75% water and they don’t get hydrated through chicken breast and salad. Keeping hydration levels up has a number of benefits. If dieting water is going to help keep your appetite in control and also have a positive effect on resting metabolism as your body works to process all that water. It’s also going to help hydrate your muscles, which in turn keeps ATP (your muscles energy source) levels high. I add a BCAA supplement to my water a couple of times a day. Not only does this add a little flavor to that bland water, it also helps support lean muscle mass while cutting. ROCK SOLID NUTRITION makes a product called “MUSCLE PUNCH” that combines a healthy dose of BCAA’s with arginine to pump them into your muscles and taurine for a little mental clarity, and who doesn’t need more of that when their dieting! You can find that at rocksolidsupps.com. I recommend the strawberry margarita ☺. Drink 1-2 gallons of water a day depending on your size.
Over the years I have received numerous questions from men and women who have tried to lose weight by drastic measures in order to try and achieve the body shape they desire; including those who have essentially starved themselves for months, if not years.
When you cut your calories drastically it’s actually very restrictive on your body, and prevents your body from loosing fat. Your body goes into ‘starvation mode’ and starts protecting its fat stores making it very difficult to shift any weight! If you continue in this way your body will start using your muscle stores, and we know that the less muscle we have the fewer calories we require, all contributing to slowing your metabolism down!
So, without spending too much time on the science, I will give you a few suggestions on how you can start firing up a slow metabolism!
Firstly... as mentioned our metabolism is somewhat measured by how much muscle we have, generally if you have more muscle mass you will have a faster metabolism. Muscle also burns more calories than fat! So, a good first step would be to start a weight-training program. An intense weight training session can burn far more calories, and obviously engage many more muscles than what you would train if you were opting for a cardio workout only.
Try planning 5-6 meals per day, little and often. When I commence a competition diet the first changes I make to my regular diet are to begin splitting my meals up more throughout the day. Often during my diets I can eat up to 7- 8 times per day... every 2-3 hours depending where I am in my diet plan. You should never let yourself feel hungry, and eating every few hours will prevent this. Be mindful that if you do start eating like this you must exercise portion control with your food. I personally weigh my food so that I don’t make any mistakes. However you don’t have to be this strict about it. But keep in mind that portions should be small!
Eat breakfast!!!!! This is a sure fire way to kick-start your metabolism! I take on the majority of my carbohydrates during this meal, and add some protein. It’s normally my largest meal of the day and one I would never consider missing!
Eat more protein, it contributes to building muscle and will also help you feel full – which is a feeling that many people dislike about ‘diets’, that they never feel full! If you start eating protein with every meal you will definitely feel fuller for longer. Additionally it actually helps the body release the stored fat so that the body can use it as energy!
Be mindful of what you drink... Remember juices from concentrate, alcohol etc are all packed with calories. However a coffee in the morning can help increase your metabolism.
Try and take some time out to relax... increased stress levels give rise to cortisol, and too much can slow your metabolism. Stress can also cause cravings, and you might find yourself wanting to eat fatty and sugary foods.
Ensure you’re getting adequate sleep each night; sleep helps our bodies repair and grow. Some theory suggests that if you continually go without enough sleep your ability to process carbohydrates is lowered; your body will also struggle with the ability to function properly during the day meaning that it could struggle to burn calories if you’re trying to follow a diet.
If you were looking to speed up your fat loss my best tip would be to exercise on an empty stomach before breakfast. There is a huge body of research to support this tip but in short, upon waking from sleep your body is depleted of glycogen (energy stores), so in theory if you do some form of exercise before breakfast you can utilise your fat stores. This method seems to promote more effective weight loss, although I’ve read other theories that contest this. However if I recall each diet I’ve followed to compete I have always done some steady low impact exercise before breakfast and it certainly works for me!
Written By Louise Rogers, Website: louise-rogers.co.uk
Most competitors look at the week or two following a contest as a time to cheat and eat junk foods. This is actually wasting a very unique period of time where the body can be an anabolic machine. Muscle gains may still occur even with a higher fat diet, however, a higher level of fat tissue is also very likely to form. After dieting for 10-12 weeks, the body is extremely insulin sensitive., and insulin is the most anabolic hormone. So this is a time to keep good carbohydrate sources high, protein high and fat low in order to turn those workouts into muscle. Not to mention the strength levels are starting to skyrocket due to the increase in overall caloric intake.
The reasons of extreme pumps in the gym is a result of many different variables including muscle restoration due to water restoration and super compensation glycogen storage. However these factors causing the huge pumps during workouts following a competition brings in more nutrients into the muscle tissue which in return could result in solid muscle gains. Considering the huge pumps in the gym, the timing of taking in your protein shakes and other supplementation becomes even more crucial for optimum muscle recovery.
This window of opportunity is estimated as the 45 minutes following a training session. The unique qualities of this phase include the body’s need to replenish itself and its improved ability do to so. Ivy and Portman summarize the characteristics and goals of this phase as a shift from catabolism to anabolism. Enhancement of muscle blood flow, replenishment of glycogen stores repair and growth of tissue and reduction of muscle damage and bolstering of the immune system. Immediately following exercises, a myriad of factors create an environment for glycogen repletion and muscle tissue growth and repair. Thus anabolic hormonal increase.
As far as training intensity goes, at this stage it is recommended to use high volume training techniques. Using drop sets, super sets, DTP (Drastic Transformation Principle), and FST-7 style training technique etc… These techniques are mostly performed with moderate to moderately heavy weight and allow for a lot of blood to be pushed into the muscles, which help prevent injury. This makes the few weeks followed by a contest safer for the athlete since the body fat levels are still considerably low and the body is more susceptible to injury especially with the body being stronger due to caloric increase.
Post contest or post dieting (for those who do not compete)
*Increase good carb sources
*Avoid junk foods
*Keep fats fairly low
*Keep Protein High
*Make sure to immediately drink post workout shakes and take supplementation
*Use high volume lifting techniques
*Do not lift too heavy and remember your body fat levels are still low making injury more likely to occur
*Many research studies have been done on having more blood in muscles lets muscles use nutrients more efficiently so take advantage of this window!
During this phase add the most muscle tissue possible along with the
minimum fat tissue possible.
References: Ivy, J. & Portman, R. Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition. North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications Inc.
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