Barbell vs Machine Deadlifts

Using machines can make weight training safer, especially when you don’t have a training partner to use as your spotter. Of course, the movement won’t be exactly the same as using the traditional barbell. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared traditional deadlifts to a walk-in style deadlift machine. 

Subjects performed conventional barbell deadlifts using a pronated grip and tried both ball of foot and toe alignment in the deadlift machine. Although the walk-in machine allowed a more upright trunk angle, potentially reducing stress on the lower back, it also shifted muscle activity away from the glutes to the knees.

Post Workout Protein vs Carbs

 After strength training, a whey protein shake can help kick-start muscle recovery. When you get done with a run, carbohydrates help replace the energy your body used to fuel the effort. A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism looks at how both nutrients affect fat oxidation.

Twelve recreationally active women took part in an incremental 23 minute bike ride where the effort ranged from 30% to 80% of maximal oxygen consumption. Then they exercised for an hour at 75% of capacity. After this workout, subjects received 20 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbohydrates or a placebo.

Whole body fat oxidation doubled during the second trial and the rate of fat oxidation while subjects were at rest wasn’t significantly different between protein and placebo conditions. Carbohydrate consumption did reduce the increase in fat oxidation after exercise.


Recovery can be defined as the process of returning to a normal state of health, mind or strength. Although a great workout may only take about an hour or less, our bodies feel the effects anywhere from 24 to 48 hours afterwards. Whether you’re trying to boost your recovery from a workout or just your day-to-day life, here are a few things to consider!


The first line of defense is pretty straightforward, and that’s water! Most of us would like to think we’re drinking enough water throughout the day, although that’s not always the case. Ideally, the average active person should be drinking anywhere from 3 to 9 liters of water a day, and sometimes even more! Our muscles are made up of over 70% water, and without proper hydration, protein synthesis can be slowed drastically. One way to take note of your hydration levels is to check the color of your urine. Ensure the color is a light yellow to clear yellow. Getting into the habit of tracking water is crucial and will help control your mental and physical fatigue during the day.


Now some of you live very busy lives. If you’re not at work, you may be at home spending some quality time with family or friends. You may have to tackle other day-to-day tasks that simply have to be done. Regardless of how busy life can be, we can’t forget about a good night’s rest. During your time asleep, the body is allowed its biggest opportunity for mental and physical recovery. Your body simply cannot perform when it hasn’t had the proper rest. Whether it is a little nap throughout the day or being strict with an earlier bed time, do your best to ensure you are getting a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night, and be certain to make sleep a priority.


This brings us to another method that some find hard to follow when on a strict training regime, and that is varying your training intensity and even taking some time off from the gym. Remember, your full-on, hardcore training can be very taxing to your nervous system and your joints. Taking a break once in a while can do your body some real good! This is easily applied after a few weeks of hard training in the gym. During these previous weeks of intense training, your body may also have been exposed to a lack of rest, hydration and other recovery essentials, leading to decreased gym performance and slower recovery time outside of the gym. Taking a good five days off from lifting weights every six to eight weeks will allow your body to play catch up in all forms of recovery, refreshing your joints and your central nervous system. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel the first time back at it!


As the saying goes, you are what you eat! What you choose to fuel your body with before and after a workout will dictate your performance in the gym, as well as your recovery outside the gym. Make sure you are consuming the right amount of protein – at least 1g per pound of bodyweight. Pre- and post-workout nutrition can vary depending on the time of day the workout is taking place, but the majority of your protein and carbohydrate intake should be consumed in and around your weightlifting workouts. NITRO-TECH® 100% WHEY GOLD is a great way to ensure you’re consuming enough protein each day to fuel protein synthesis and muscle recovery. It’s powered by whey peptides, and the science shows that whey peptides can promote rapid recovery from exercise and even support an insulinogenic response for improved nutrient delivery! This means you are getting an ultra-pure, rapidly absorbed and quickly digested protein that allows you to recover faster, build more lean muscle mass and get better results from your training sessions!


Once your sleep, nutrition and hydration are consistent, you will see a large improvement in your overall recovery. This is the time when supplementation becomes most effective. A protein powder is one of the simplest ways to take advantage of the anabolic window post-workout. Aim to consume anywhere from 25g to 50g of protein immediately post-workout, followed by a high-protein and high-carbohydrate post-workout meal, about an hour afterwards. Also, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) should be consumed during your workouts. Take 2 scoops of Amino Build® Next Gen (my favorite is Icy Rocket Freeze™ flavor!), mix it in a water bottle with cold water and sip on it throughout your training session. This powerful amino formula contains a researched 4g dose of leucine to jump-start protein synthesis and has even been shown to boost strength! Overall, supplements are simple and effective way to fuel the body on top of a solid, consistent diet and training regimen. When all of these recovery essentials are used in unison, you will be surprised how much your body can accomplish! When your body is well rested, you can work hard and train harder! Now, let’s work!

One Month to a Bigger, Badder Chest

Chest training serves several purposes—aside from starting off your weekly gym schedule, of course. It makes crucial big muscles stronger, adds size that makes your whole upper body look more impressive, and ensures that any shirt looks like you’re wearing a full suit of armor underneath it!

Here’s what it doesn’t have to be: complicated! Do this workout once a week for the next month and watch the gains pour in! Don’t forget to take before pics—you’ll want to see the proof of your efforts once you finish your chest transformation!

Continue reading One Month to a Bigger, Badder Chest

Muscle Fatigue On Leg Day

It’s not unusual for weight room regulars to look forward to their turn on the bench press. Squats are another story. A study recently published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests recovering from a leg day workout might not be the same as when your work upper body muscle groups.

A dozen healthy young males performed 5 sets of 2-minute maximal voluntary contractions using knee extensor muscles. They got 8 minutes of rest between sets. On another day, they did the same workout using elbow flexors.

The average decrease in a subject’s ability to contract muscles was 12% greater after training leg muscles. White total fatigue was greater on legs, peripheral fatigue was greatest when working the elbows.


HIIT is not for Everyone

With High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), busy adults can get a good workout in about half the time it takes with steady state cardio. That’s an attractive benefit, especially when you consider how many people say they just don’t have time to exercise. New research from Iowa State University suggests the intensity aspect of HIIT can be a drawback.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, only 3.2% of American adults meet the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week moderate-intensity activity. The World Health Organization recommends a total of 150 minutes of exercise each week


Convincing less active adults to step up their game with HIIT sounds great until you consider research published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology. The study compared subjects who started with vigorous exercise and then decreased intensity with subjects who took the typical approach of starting out slow and gradually increasing intensity. The intensity increasing group went into each session remembering a negative experience while the group that decreased training intensity expected to feel good after future workouts.

Black Tea Boosts Weight Loss

There’s been quite a bit of research on the benefits of green tea. Now a new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests the polyphenols found in black tea might also help with weight management.
In lab mice, green tea polyphenols are absorbed into blood and tissue. But black tea polyphenols are too large to be absorbed in the small intestine. Instead, they stimulate the growth of gut bacteria that alters energy metabolism.

Researchers found that both green and black tea polyphenols promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in rodents. With both types of tea, they found more digestive system bacteria associated with lean body mass and less associated with obesity.

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Protein Availability in Cooked Meat

Some people like a rare steak while others want theirs well done. The protein in that meat doesn’t really change, but a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that cooking can influence the bioavailability of amino acids for older adults. 

On separate occasions, 10 volunteers between the ages of 70 and 82 consumed beef containing 30 grams of protein. For one meal, the meat was cooked at 135 degrees for 5 minutes which is considered rare. The next time, it was cooked at 194 degrees for 30 minutes.

After eating, there was a lower concentration of amino acids in blood with the rare cut compared to the well-done preparation. This was associated with decreased protein synthesis. This effect isn’t the same with younger individuals where the degree of cooking doesn’t really alter amino acid bioavailability.