5 Reasons To Use Nitric Oxide Supplements

BSN N.O.-Xplode 2.0

Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule that acts in many tissues to regulate a diverse range of physiological and cellular processes. It’s role was first discovered by several groups who were attempting to identify the agent responsible for promoting blood vessel relaxation and regulating vascular tone.

This agent was termed endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF), and was initially assumed to be a protein like most other signaling molecules. The discovery that EDRF was in fact nitric oxide – a highly reactive gas – has led to an explosion of interest in this field, resulted in over 60,000 papers published in the last ten years and won the Nobel prize in 1998.

Nitric oxide has now been demonstrated to play a role in a variety of biological processes including neurotransmission, immune defense, the regulation of cell death and cell motility.

Wondering if nitric oxide supplements will benefit you? Here are 5 reasons to take a nitric oxide supplement:

Continue reading 5 Reasons To Use Nitric Oxide Supplements



  • 5 g of Micronized Free-Form Amino Acids
  • Beta-Alanine
  • 100 mg of Caffeine from Green Tea
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Green Coffee Extract
  • 10 Calories
  • Zero Fat & Sugar


  • Essential Amino Acid Delivery
  • Nitric Oxide Production
  • Muscle Recovery Acceleration
  • Improved Energy and Focus
Essential Amino Energy


Protein Blend For Optimal Aminos

Whey protein digests rapidly and micellar casein takes a lot longer to be broken down into its amino acid subcomponents. Both types of protein have their place in the supplementation strategies of hard-training adults, but a study presented at Experimental Biology 2012 suggests an alternative.

Researchers found that a protein shake composed of 50% casein, 25% soy isolates and 25% whey isolates prolonged the delivery of amino acids when consumed post-workout. Analyzing the response on 19 young recreationally active adults, they found that this custom protein blend provided a constant supply of amino acids for the longest period of time.

True Strength Moment: Whether this blend produces similar results for older athletes or active adults who engage in different types of exercise is unknown. Recreating the formula is easy enough for anyone with an electric blender or shaker cup to experiment with. But don’t stop there. Go to OptimumSmoothie.com and surf an extensive database of free protein smoothie recipes.


Fish Oil Improves Muscle Function

Fats get a bad rap most of the time, especially during those last few months of Spring which is beach body crunch time. But not all fat is bad. Your body actually needs essential fatty acids for a wide range of metabolic functions, and a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has potentially uncovered an interesting side benefit.

Researchers recruited 45 women in their 60s and assigned them to a strength training program. Some of these volunteers consumed 2 grams of fish oil per day for 90 days or 150 days before the training program started. The rest didn’t supplement with fish oil at all. While all subjects realized benefits from strength training, those who supplemented achieved the greatest increases in muscle strength and functional capacity.

True Strength Moment: Researchers theorized that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil might have a role in the cellular function of muscles. Whether fish oil supplementation can have the same impact on younger adults isn’t known, but if you aren’t getting enough cold water fish in your diet, you might want to see what supplemental fish oil can do for your weight training program.

Related Product

Enteric Coated Fish Oil Softgels

Fish Oils contain long-chain fatty acids, with equally long names like docosahexenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA are essential fats that cannot be made by your body. So, consuming them through foods like salmon and supplements such as the ON Fish Oil Softgels is the only way to get DHA and EPA. Better yet, our Fish Oil Softgels are enteric coated, which means that you get all of the benefits of fish oils without the fishy aftertaste that you might encounter without this special coating.


  • HEART-HEALTHY Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Long-Chain EPA & DHA Oils
  • Easier-To-Swallow Softgels
Enteric Coated Fish Oil Softgels

Protein – The Ultimate Muscle-Building Food

This protein-packed powerhouse has benefits beyond great taste.

Muscle Gain & Weight Loss

Lean beef is a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids necessary for building and maintaining muscle mass.

A 3-oz serving of T-bone steak contains 22 grams of protein-which, if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, can help you stave off hunger and feel fuller for longer.

A study conducted by Australia’s national science agency found that overweight and obese men using a high-protein diet (with lean red meat) reduced ab fat more effectively than those on a high-carb plan.


Red meat provides the majority of zinc for most Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The high levels of zinc in red meat help ward off illness – and researchers believe zinc can reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms.

“Red meat also supplies vitamin B12,” says Jim White, R.D., a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association.

“This helps the body make DNA and keeps nerve and red blood cells healthy.”


A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants who incorporated lean beef into their everyday diet experienced a 10% reduction in their LDL (bad) cholesterol.


The zinc in beef is essential for testosterone production – which helps boost sex drive – and can help reduce blood prolactin levels.

Prolactin is a brain chemical responsible for the refractory period: the amount of time it takes for you to get it back up for Rounds 2 and 3. Less prolactin, less recovery time, better you in the sack.


One of the best mass-building exercises is the deadlift. The act of hoisting a weight off the floor and standing up with it recruits the muscles in your legs and back, which include the most powerful groups in your body. Just like with the squat, tremendous resistance can be utilized. That’s why these exercises are included as two of the three lifts in powerlifting competition.

Any movement that recruits several muscle groups at once requires great care to be taken, and the deadlift is no exception. Because your lower back with be focal point of the exercise, there’s a risk of muscle strain or even injury if you don’t maintain proper form.

To begin the deadlift, position your feet shoulder width apart and bend the knees with your back straight. Grab the bar with your hands positioned just outside of your stance. You can use an overhand grip with both hands or grab the bar with one hand over and the other under to better secure the bar.



Weight Loss Slows Metabolism

You might think that losing weight increases your metabolic rate, but a study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests the opposite is true. Researchers found that a decrease in metabolic rate was proportional with weight loss, which helps explain weight regain in approximately 95% of people who are initially successful at dropping some pounds. Here’s the good news: combining exercise with a low-fat diet helps preserve muscle mass which prevents this decrease in metabolic rate.

True Strength Moment: Your metabolic rate helps determine the number of calories you burn. When it slows down, you aren’t able to burn up as many calories which makes it more difficult to keep your weight from creeping back up. Exercise seems to be the answer, building muscle mass to increase your metabolism while also enhancing your strength and physical appearance.


Exercise makes a big difference in how good we look and feel, but food choices also weigh very heavily into the equation. Most people will tell you they try to eat healthy, and the effort starts with the foods we take home from the grocery. Here’s a good shopping list of what to look for when you go to the store.



Fighting Allergies With Cardio

Exercise probably isn’t the first task that comes to mind when you’ve got the sniffles from seasonal allergies, but a study published in theInternational Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that aerobic conditioning might help reduce airway inflammation associated with allergies. It worked for lab mice!

True Strength Moment: Researchers trained these mice on a treadmill before and during allergic sensitization. The effects helped reduce the effects of airway inflammation while suppressing production of allergen-specific compounds. How cardio works on human allergies is unknown, but there’s no denying that regular exercise provides a wide range of benefits.

Expert Guide: BCAA Supplements

This Guide Teaches You:

  • What BCAAs are, and how they impact performance and muscle building.
  • Why leucine, isoleucine, and valine are essential and must be obtained through diet.
  • How studies back the effectiveness of BCAAs upon improving performance.
  • How BCAAs positively impact testosterone levels when taken pre-workout.
  • The benefits of supplementing with BCAAs during fat loss.
  • The recommended daily BCAAs dosage.

Continue reading Expert Guide: BCAA Supplements

Increase Blood Flow to Your Muscles Nitric Oxide

 Xpand Xtreme Pump

What is nitric oxide?

Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule that acts in many tissues to regulate a diverse range of physiological and cellular processes. It’s role was first discovered by several groups who were attempting to identify the agent responsible for promoting blood vessel relaxation and regulating vascular tone.

This agent was termed endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF), and was initially assumed to be a protein like most other signaling molecules. The discovery that EDRF was in fact nitric oxide – a highly reactive gas – has led to an explosion of interest in this field, resulted in over 60,000 papers published in the last ten years and won the Nobel prize in 1998.

Nitric oxide has now been demonstrated to play a role in a variety of biological processes including neurotransmission, immune defense, the regulation of cell death and cell motility.

What does nitric oxide do?

Nitric oxide has now become an extremely popular bodybuilding supplement. Nitric oxide is the muscle’s “cell-signaling” molecule responsible for blood flow (hemodilation), oxygen delivery, glucose uptake, muscle velocity, power output, and muscle growth.

Taking nitric oxide supplements has been shown to increase blood flow to the muscles. This is perfect for bodybuilders, who need the maximum amount of nutrients to be delivered to the muscles when they’re under stress. Many users of nitric oxide also report an increased “pump” during training  when supplementing with nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide also affects the endocrine system. It affects the release of the gonadotroptin releasing hormone, as well as the release of adrenaline from the adrenal medulla.

Nitric oxide dosages and side effects:

The main ingredient of nitric oxide supplements is the amino acid arginine. Taking too much arginine may lead to a feeling of tiredness or weakness, diarrhea and nausea. No clear dosage guidelines have been set for supplementing with arginine, so you must assess your own tolerance levels.

Here’s how you assess your tolerance: You take a small dosage for 1 week, assess the effects and results, then adjust your dosage accordingly. Using this method will minimize side effects and help you to find your optimal dose. Each nitric oxide supplement comes with clear instructions about dosages.

Nitric oxide supplements:

Nitric oxide has been using in bodybuilding supplements since 1996. It’s available in both pill and powder form. Pure nitric oxide is usually found in pill form. Pre-workout nitric oxide based products have now become very popular. These products contain nitric oxide as well as vitamins, stimulants, creatine and vitamins. These new nitric oxide powders are now the most popular way to take NO2.

The Case for Casein


This milk-based protein should be in every weight trainer’s diet!

Unless you’re able to shovel enough protein packed foods down your gullet each day, you’re probably going to need some assistance maintaining optimum levels of this vital nutrient. That’s because protein provides the body with essential amino acids that serve as essential building blocks for the formation of new muscle.

While whey is still the big kid on the block when it comes to protein supplements, there’s the other milk-based protein that should be in every weight trainer’s diet. It’s called casein, and it continues to gain popularity as a superior protein supplement for enhancing muscle growth, and recovery.

Caseins are phosphorus-containing proteins and make up approximately 80% of the protein in cow’s milk, with the remaining 20% coming from whey proteins. Along with having an exceptional amino acid profile, casein’s delayed protein absorption benefits make it a must for your weight training goals.

Building Muscle:

Muscle growth increases when a balance is sustained between protein synthesis and protein breakdown. To add muscle faster and more efficiently, your goal should be to increase protein synthesis while decreasing protein breakdown. Since casein is a muscle-sparing protein that is released in the bloodstream at a slow rate, it has a minimal effect on protein synthesis. However, it has a powerful effect on reducing protein breakdown, which makes it a highly potent muscle building supplement when taken at the right times.

A Baylor University study, found that men who drank a casein protein shake (mixed with whey) during a 10-week span gained considerably greater muscle mass than those who consumed a whey protein shake without casein.

Muscle Recovery:

While quickly digested whey protein is ideal immediately before and after your workout to help refuel recovering muscles, it’s not recommended for consumption at bedtime when your body typically goes without food for hours. A slow releasing protein will be much more beneficial to muscle repair and re-growth during your sleeping hours. Casein is exactly that – a slow digesting protein that takes 3-4 hours to reach peak levels in blood amino acids and protein synthesis, and 7 hours to become fully absorbed. And because casein also makes you feel less full than whey, it offers a great, between-meal protein snack.

To maximize the effects of casein protein supplementation, be sure to select one that contains micellar casein (the slowest-digesting casein you can buy). Take 30-40 grams right before going to bed each night. After workouts, try adding 10-20 grams of casein to your whey protein. Finally, use 30-40 grams of casein in any protein shakes you drink between meals.

Five Things You Need to Know About Oatmeal


Get the breakdown on this highly recommended pre-workout food.

1. Oatmeal comes in several varieties: Steel-cut oats are chopped oat groats and are the least processed; rolled (or old-fashioned) oats are steamed and rolled flat; instant oats are precooked and dried, and often contain added sugar.

2. Slow-digesting carbs offer long-lasting energy when eaten before workouts. Blend 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 scoop whey protein and 11/2 cups water to make an easy all-in-one pre-workout shake.

3. One serving (1/2 cup) of cooked steel-cut oats has 150 calories, 5 g protein, 27 g carbs, 2 g fat and 4 g fiber. One serving (1 cup) of cooked rolled oats has an extra gram of fat. One packet of plain instant oats has 100 calories, 4 g protein, 19 g carbs, 2 g fat and 3 g fiber.

4. You can cook steel-cut oats quickly. In a large microwave-safe bowl combine 1/2 cup steel-cut oats, 1/2 cup 1% milk and 1/2 cup water. Microwave for four minutes, stir and cook for two more minutes.

5.You can substitute oats for bread crumbs in just about any recipe. Finely chop oats with a knife or food processor, then add them to ground beef to make meatballs or meatloaf, or use them to bread fish or chicken fillets.

Smart Hunger Control! – Muscle Milk Light, Now Available in All Branches

Smart Hunger Control!

Hungry, but don’t want to spoil your next meal? Want a convenient snack to-go, but watching your calories? Muscle Milk Light Bars deliver the same phenomenal taste as our Genuine Muscle Milk Bars, but with 43% fewer calories. Each bar is packed with 15 grams of high-quality protein, complex and simple carbohydrates for stable energy levels, and contains NO lactose!

Muscle Milk Light Bars are ideal when you want a nutritious, convenient snack to tide you over between meals. They are also the perfect calorie control snack for weight management programs. Muscle Milk Light Bars deliver the satisfying taste and healthy, sustained energy of Muscle Milk in two delicious flavors to make your taste buds happy: Chocolate Peanut Caramel and Vanilla Toffee Crunch.

Benefits of Muscle Milk Light Bars:

  • Premium Protein Blend: 15 grams of high-quality protein
  • Zero Tolerance: Zero lactose
  • Amazing Taste: Same Muscle Milk flavor-rich indulgence!

Five Things You Should Know About Walnuts

Think you know everything about this superfood? Think again!

1) Even though there are 21 species of walnut trees, the nuts you’ll find in your grocery store are most likely Persian or common walnuts, but in America they’re often called English walnuts. Confusing matters further, the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan has the largest walnut-tree forests in the world.

2) One ounce of walnuts, or about 14 halves, has 185 calories, 4 grams of protein and carbs, 2 grams of fiber and 18 grams of fat. Of those 18 fat grams, 2 grams are saturated, 3 grams are monounsaturated and the rest is polyunsaturated.

3)Walnuts are the only nut that contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. That means they’re good for not only cardiovascular health but also building muscle and losing fat.

4) Lightly toasted walnuts make an excellent addition to a number of dishes. Toss them in salads, add them to green beans sautéed in olive oil or sprinkle them on Greek yogurt. Alternatively, invest in some walnut oil. It’s expensive and not ideal for cooking (high temperatures degrade its flavor and nutrient profile), but it makes a great base for salad dressings.

5) Walnuts’ fat content makes them prone to rotting. Store shelled nuts in the freezer or fridge to improve their longevity.

“Sustained Energy in Every Bite!” – Muscle Milk Now Available

“Sustained Energy in Every Bite!”

Mouth-Watering Muscle Milk® Bars are loaded with 25 grams of high-quality, muscle-sustaining protein consisting of milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, milk protein concentrate, and sodium caseinate. Muscle Milk Bars are also lactose free, so there is no question you’re getting a nutritious snack when you are on the go and time is tight.

Whether you need a boost before you hit the gym or a nutritious snack at work, Muscle Milk Bars deliver the satisfying taste and healthy, sustained energy of Genuine Muscle Milk in two delicious flavors to make your taste buds happy: Chocolate Peanut Caramel and Vanilla Toffee Crunch.


  • Premium Protein Blend: 25 grams of sustained release protein blend consisting of milk, casein, and whey.
  • Zero Tolerance: Zero lactose
  • Amazing Taste: Same Muscle Milk flavor-rich indulgence!

Low Sugar Promax Protein Bars – Now Available in All Branches

Protein For the People.

Promax LS Bar

  • Only 9 grams of Sugar
  • 11 – 14 grams of Fiber
  • 18 grams of Muscle Building Protein
  • No artificial sweeteners, preservatives or flavors
  • 18 Vitamins, Minerals & Antioxidants
  • Certified kosher
  • Gluten free

When To Use.

  • As a workout aid
  • Use 30-60 minutes before exercise or within 30 minutes after your workout for post-exercise recovery
  • Meal Replacement
  • On-the-go snack

Who We Are.

At Promax we have a passion for GREAT TASTING ENERGY BARS, WITH SOLID NUTRITION. That means great taste, texture and eatability combined with a macro nutrient balance that can fuel your workout and your multi-faceted life. We care about what goes into people’s mouths and bodies, so we are as careful about what we DON’T put into our bars as what we do.

Promax LS Lower Sugar Energy Bars have 18 grams of complete, high quality protein, only 9 grams of sugar, are an excellent source of fiber, and contain stevia, an all natural non-nutritive sweetener. Promax LS is also gluten-free, vegetarian, and contains no artificial sweeteners or animal bi-products. The ingredients work in conjunction with one another. While together they elicit a low glycemic response, there are sufficient carbohydrates to help transport the proteins into the body’s cells. The fiber complements the reduced sugar and a significant amount of protein to help produce lasting satiety. Soluble corn fiber has been shown to be well tolerated in the body.

All the proteins in Promax Energy Bars (soy, whey, and milk casein) are complete proteins, which contain all nine amino acids that are the building blocks of every structure in our body and have the highest Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) of 1. The Promax protein blend incorporates fast (whey), intermediate (soy) and slow (casein) digesting proteins to extend the anabolic window to optimize lean body mass gains.

Stevia is used in Promax LS as a natural non-nutritive sweetener to make the bar taste great while containing only 9 grams of sugar. It is a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin, and aspartame. Stevia is a plant native to portions of northeastern Paraguay. Its leaves contain glycosides which account for its incredible sweetness, and have been used to sweeten foods and beverages for more than 200 years.

•Promax bars contain no gluten.
Promax Bars are certified Gluten-Free by the GFCO (Gluten-Free Certifying Organization). Strict standards have been set in the manufacturing facility to ensure no cross-contamination of surfaces, ingredients or finished products.

•Promax Bars are Maltitol Free.
Maltitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute in many bars which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Additionally, some forms of maltitol have been shown to have a high glycemic index equivalent to honey and only one less calorie per gram than sugar.

•Promax bars are Gelatin Free.
Gelatin, typically made from the byproducts of the meat and leather industries, is an incomplete protein source. It lacks the amino acid, tryptophan, and contains only a small amount of methionine. Because of this, gelatin cannot be used as efficiently by your body as a complete protein such as whey or soy.


  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate
  • Mocha Latte
  • Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Promote Your Roadmap Vascularity And Get Explosive Workouts with SuperPump

SuperPump 250

In the pre-workout category, SuperPump250® is our reigning king of dramatic effects. Consider all this with the additional effects of explosive energy and acute mental focus, and you’re left with seemingly very little to consider.*

  1. SuperPump250Clinically Tested by an Independent Lab
  2. Support Increases in Lean Mass & Strength*
  3. Stimulates Roadmap Vascularity*
  4. Promote Explosive Energy & Acute Mental Focus*

On Training Days, depending on your individual needs, take 1 to 3 scoops of SuperPump250 (using 4 to 6 oz of water per scoop), drink about 30 to 45 minutes before training and get ready to see and feel the raw power of one of the most sought after products in sports nutrition today.

On Non-Training days, take 1 or 2 scoops of SuperPump250 either in the morning or around the same time you would on the days you weight train.

Whey Protein Isolate, Is It Important,and Why?

The Best Time To Consume WPI Is Just Before And Just After A Workout.

Whey is a type of protein found in milk. It is digested and absorbed into the body very fast which has led to people suggesting its use in acute states of muscle catabolism.

What Is Whey protein?

Whey is a type of protein found in milk. It is digested and absorbed into the body very fast which has led to people suggesting its use in acute states of muscle catabolism, e.g. after a workout or upon waking in the morning.

Essentially whey protein with fat and carbohydrate (lactose) removed so that less than 90% of the product is composed of protein (i.e. less than 90g out of every 100g). Hydrolysed whey protein is where peptides are further broken down to make absorption faster.

What Does It Do?

There are a variety of benefits of consuming whey protein, these include:

    • Fighting cancer (more precisely oxidant stress, as cysteine can be used to make glutathione to counter free radicals).
    • Diabetes sugar control: the proteins may delay glucose absorption, and satiate the individual so they may have lower portion sizes.
    • Helping infants grow and preventing disease (these are based on the fact breast-milk contains whey, the same effects are not seen with formula milk containing whey).
    • Changes in body composition and muscular strength.

Caffeine isn’t just for waking up

Feel Even Better About Winning

Caffeine isn’t just for waking up. For recreational and elite athletes, it’s one of the most popular performance supplements. A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior tested caffeine’s effect on 16 endurance trained athletes and recreationally active men.

Because so many studies have tested caffeine during steady-state exercise, researchers designed this study around race performance. Just before competing in a 10 km time trial, subjects were given either a placebo or a drink containing 5 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight (350 mg for someone weighing 154 lbs). After several trials separated by at least 48 hours for recovery, those who had a caffeinated beverage reported feeling more pleasure than discomfort compared to placebo. Caffeine also enhanced race performance up to 2%. The effect was strongest in well-trained athletes.

True Strength Moment: Getting to the finish line 2% faster is a huge advantage for the professional cyclist. It might not make that much of a difference to someone who’s just trying to stay in great shape, but being able to enjoy the challenge that much more certainly has its advantages. We suggest testing your performance with a lower dose. Start with maybe 100 mg of caffeine, which represents about what you’d get from a strong cup of coffee. You can work your way up from there if you think it’s necessary.


Optimen: Complete Mens Multivitamin

Opti-Men is a complete Nutrient Optimization System, providing the ultimate in performance supplementation. With more than 75 distinct ingredients, Opti-Men lays a solid foundation for everyday health, performance, and vitality.

Five Performance Blends:

Amino-Blend Contains 8 key free-form acids (including Arginine, Glutamine, and BCAAs), the building blocks of lean muscle growth and development.

Viri-Blend Contains 8 exotic botanicals and marine concentrates designed to enhance your male edge.

Phyto-Blend Contains over 20 antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetable concentrates to help combat free radicals.

Enzy-Blend Contains 4 specific enzymes for enhanced nutrition digestion and absorption.

Opti-Blend Comprehensive nutritional coverage with 25 vitamins and essential minerals with an emphasis on antioxidants and B-vitamins.

Find out more at: optimen.com


  • 350+ Milligrams B-Complex Vitamins
  • Free-Form AMINO ACIDS
  • Botanical Extracts
  • Fruit and Vegetable PHYTOCOMPLEX
  • Digestive enzymes
  • HIGH-POTENCY vitamins & minerals
Opti-Men (Men's Multiple)


If you’re a fan of reusable shopping totes because they’re eco-friendly and help save natural resources, keep in mind that these nylon bags need to be washed out regularly. According to a survey conducted by the Home Food Safely program, only 1 in 6 Americans put soap and water to work on the bacteria these totes often carry. That’s just 15% of the people who use them.

True Strength Moment: Don’t let your commitment to eating clean get in the way of shopping green. Every year, 48 million Americans are affected by foodborne pathogens like salmonella, listeria and E. coli. In addition to the hazards of food cross-contamination, transporting raw meats and unwashed fruits and vegetables in these totes can leave behind lingering bacteria that has the potential to contaminate future grocery store or farm stand purchases. Throw that tote in the washing machine or hand wash it weekly in hot soapy water.


Summer’s fast approaching and many of us are closely watching our diet, working overtime to lose any extra fat we accumulated over the winter. Swimsuit season will soon be here, so now is the time to lean up.

It’s not unusual for fit, healthy people to be more conscious of carbohydrates than any other macronutrient. Overeating carbs can definitely pile on the body fat. This is especially true of simple sugars found in candy, cookies, cakes, processed food, soda and fruit juices. But even complex carbs like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are often eliminated or severely cut back on during a cutting phase.

If you’re one of those dieters who feels like you just can’t get to a low level of body fat without cutting out all carbs, remember that carbohydrates do serve a purpose. They are the primary energy source when stored as glycogen in muscle cells. Glycogen fuels anaerobic workouts including weight lifting.

Try to schedule one high carb day at least once a week. That’s the day you’ll consume twice as many grams of carbs as a typical dieting day. It’s more than just a break from the routine. This increase in carbohydrates will help restore muscle glycogen levels and helps boost your metabolism, sending the body into fat-burning mode. A low carb diet followed for too long tends to slow down your metabolism. Increasing carbohydrate intake just once a week will work wonders for your beach body goal.


Pretty much anyone who’s made the effort to lose weight has a love/hate relationship with the bathroom scale. It ends up being more hate than love when the weight doesn’t come off as quickly or completely as expected. A surprising number of experts advise you to ignore the scale because what you weight doesn’t matter. What you look like is more important than any number of pounds.

One of the best ways to gauge your progress is objective feedback. Tools such as the scale, the tape measure and body fat calipers offer valuable information on the effectiveness of the training and nutrition plan you’re following.

Most physique changes occur over time. Losing fat is a slow process, especially when you’re trying to build or at least maintain muscle mass while getting leaner. That’s why a scale doesn’t tell the whole story. It measures only your total body weight. You may be losing muscle along with fat. It’s hard to gauge progress by a single number.

If you insist on weighing yourself every morning, keep in mind that weight fluctuates from day to day. Even those who follow a very strict diet will experience ups and downs in body weight. This is completely normal because your body doesn’t lose weight in a linear fashion.

It’s fine to weigh yourself every day, even more often if that serves as diet motivation. Try tracking your results over a weekly period instead of daily. Take measurements of your waist and hips every week and measure your body fat each month to make sure the diet plan you’re following is moving you in the right direction. If you’re losing 1-2 pounds a week and your waist size is gradually shrinking, you’re on the path to goal attainment.


For leg development, you have plenty of options. Some exercises are better for shaping while others are best suited to size and strength. If you’re one of those people with long, thin legs who have a tough time building upper thigh mass, I have a leg day routine for you.

One of the best approaches for bringing up hard to train muscle groups is to plan out supersets for those body parts. A superset combines one set each of 2 different exercises performed back to back without rest, and a popular method of supersetting is to pair a compound movement with an isolation exercise.

The vertical leg press is an outstanding compound exercise for training the upper thighs. Although finding one of these machines can be a challenge, the exercise can also be performed on a Smith Machine. Flat on your back, place your feet on the bar and press the weight up and down using your legs. Make sure you have a training partner nearby to help you rack the weight at the beginning and end of each set.

Immediately after finishing a set on the vertical leg press, stand up and begin the next exercise to complete the superset. The sissy squat is a great isolation movement specifically for the upper quadriceps. Gripping a support with one hand, let your upper body descend backwards with knees going forward while balancing on your toes. Think of doing the limbo standing still. The extreme stretch you’ll feel in your upper thighs will develop and isolate those hard to reach muscles.

Three sets of each exercise performed in superset fashion will help build and define those upper quads. Keep the repetitions high (10-15 reps) and perform each repetition slowly so you feel the muscles working. The development of these muscles contributes to the balance of your overall physique.


One of the most impressive bodybuilders I ever saw in person was Sergio Oliva, winner of the Mr. Olympia contest 3 times from 1967-1969. He defeated Arnold Schwarzenegger in his last Mr. Olympia victory, and many fans felt he should have beaten Arnold on several other occasions.

Sergio was impressive because of his outstanding proportions. He was so big, he almost looked like a cartoon character. Arms measuring 21 inches were accompanied by a massive chest, an expansive back, huge shoulders and thick traps. This incredible mass was topped off by a tiny 28 inch waist.

The first time I saw Sergio in person, I was blown away by his gigantic forearms. Although Sergio did not have big wrists, the thick muscles on his forearm looked like they were literally hanging off his arm. It made an immediate impression on me how important the forearm muscles are for creating a powerful looking physique.

Here are two exercises you can add to your workout to help build massive forearms:

Reverse Preacher Curls – Preacher Curls are performed on an angled bench and are great for building up the lower area of your biceps. However, taking a reverse grip on the bar will put the focus on the extensor muscles (located on the top of your forearms). Use a moderate weight and an overhand grip on the barbell. Extend your arms all the way down before slowly curling the bar back to the top position. Three sets of 10-12 reps should work well toward your goals.

Dumbbell Wrist Curls – Doing wrist curls one arm at a time with a dumbbell really lets you focus on forearm muscles. You can support your arm on a bench or on your thigh while seated. Hold the working arm steady with your free arm and slowly curl the wrist up, flexing the flexor muscles (the muscles on the bottom of the forearm) at the top of the movement. As you return to the starting position, let the dumbbell roll down to the end of the fingers before slowly curling the weight back up. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps to fully develop those forearms.


Turning Reverse Evolution Around

It’s only been during the last 100 years or so that humans started becoming less active. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, our hunter-gatherer predecessors were long-distance endurance athletes. The study goes on to suggest that the so-called high that many runners experience after training is one way the body motivates us to engage in intense effort. Technically, runner’s high is created by signaling in the brain’s reward center.

For their research, scientists tested two animals known for endurance, humans and dogs, against ferrets, a mammal not known for exerting lots of physical activity. Exercise in dogs and people produced the expected brain chemical response. This did not happen after scientists coaxed the ferrets to exercise.

True Strength Moment: If you haven’t been to the gym or out for a run in quite some time, don’t expect to experience pleasurable post-workout feelings right away. The study points out that inactive people have to build up a certain level of conditioning before that can happen. Once you cross that threshold, you’ll be a little more motivated to keep your progress on track. For some tips on building up conditioning, read today’s Performance Blog post at ABBperformance.com


Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) is a natural hormone that has a growth-promoting effect on every cell in your body, particularly skeletal muscle. A study published in the journal Amino Acids examines whether your post-workout meal can influence the levels of this hormone released.

Researchers had 6 college-aged men complete a high intensity training routine before drinking a placebo, a carbohydrate beverage or a recovery beverage containing essential amino acids and carbohydrates. Although significant hormonal changes were seen in all 3 groups, significant increases in IGF-1 were realized with the essential amino acid + carbs beverage. What are you refueling with after a demanding session in the weight room? For an interesting study on leucine and citrulline, check out today’s Breaking News post at optimumnutrition.com


You’re always looking for something to take the monotony out of eating the staple bodybuilder foods. Of course, that treat can’t take anything away from your dialed-in diet. Here are a couple nuggets of useful information presented by food researchers at the American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego on March 25th.

According to Joe Vinson, PhD, popcorn provides more healthy polyphenols than fruits or vegetables while standing out as the only snack that’s 100% unprocessed whole grains. One serving provides 70% of the recommended daily intake for whole grains, and polyphenols have antioxidant qualities to help beat back the free radicals that can be released during intense exercise.

We don’t have to tell you about the dangers of loading this popular snack down with butter and salt, but we can recommend air-popping the kernels to cut in half the number of calories you’d get from microwaved or oil popped corn. With air-popping, you’ll also be trimming out a lot of the fat you’d typically get from oil popping or going with a pre-packaged microwave popcorn.


The Value Of After Work Effort

You’ve probably heard about the association between hours of TV watching and obesity. A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine takes the dangers of remaining seated more than 8 hours a day to a frightening new level. An analysis of self-reported data from 222,000 individuals age 45 and older suggests that the risk of death spikes after accumulating more than 11 hours of sitting per day. Inactive people who remained seated the longest nearly doubled their chance of dying within 3 years. The risk was just 15% higher for those who remained seated 8 to 11 hours per day.

True Strength Moment: While it isn’t very practical for office workers and students to insist on standing during meetings and lectures, what you do after putting in a full 8-hour day makes the real difference. Instead of heading home to hours of lounging on the couch, after sitting in front of a computer or blackboard for the majority of your day, head to the gym or get outside for some fresh air.