Category Archives: Fitness & Training

Rep Duration for Maximizing Muscle Growth


You can really dig down deep into the details when planning a workout, including timing how long each rep should last. But sometimes going with your intuition is a better approach.

Consider the findings of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Twelve men with weight training experience did a pair of high-intensity workouts. One involved 3 sets at a self-determined pace. The other 3 sets were timed as 2-seconds for the concentric and 2-seconds as the eccentric part of each rep. Self-determined rep speed resulted in greater volume and muscle activation.

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Muscle Gains for Different Protein Powder


What’s the right amount of protein for reaching your goals? It depends on the goal, of course. If you’re an aspiring female physique competitor, a study recently published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism offers interesting insight.

Seventeen women in their early 20s participated in an 8-week resistance training program. During this period, some subjects consumed 2.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight each day while others consumed 0.9 grams per kg of body weight on a daily basis.

Subjects on the higher protein diet gained an average of 4.6 pounds of lean mass while losing about 2.4 pounds of body fat. Subjects on the lower protein diet gained an average of 1.3 pounds of lean mass while shedding about 1.5 pounds of fat.

All subjects realized increases in strength with no differences between groups.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PERCEIVED EXERTION & ENERGY EXPENDITURE


Perception versus reality. An interesting study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compares how subjects rated the difficult of their training with the number of calories the effort actually burned.

Nine active college aged men performed a circuit of 15 reps at 10 different weight training stations using 40% of their one rep max. Then they ran on a treadmill at a speed that would equal the heart rate they reached while circuit training.

Although they burned an average of 168 calories during the circuit training workout compared to 244 calories while treadmill running, subjects rated the circuit training effort a more difficult 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 compared to the much lower 4 rating they gave treadmill running.

Via OptimumNutrition.com

PUTTING THE SPIN ON FOOD CHOICES


You’ve been told to eat your fruits and vegetables since childhood. That hasn’t stopped many adults from at least partially ignoring the advice. A Stanford University study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that when vegetables are described in exciting terms consumption increases.

On different days, beets, green beans and carrots were described in different ways at the university cafeteria. They were always prepared the same way. Indulgent phrases like “Sweet Sizzlin’ Green Beans” and “Twisted Citrus Glazed Carrots” had 25% more people choosing that vegetable compared to basic descriptions like beans and carrots. Indulgent descriptions also increased the amount of vegetables consumed by 23%.

BEST CARDIO SESSION FOR NEWBIES


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When you’re just starting out on a fitness journey, it’s not unusual to experience muscle aches for a couple days after your first few workouts. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) can also impact people who’ve taken a few weeks off or are pushing hard to reach an ambitious goal.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compares the muscle soreness after-effects of low-volume High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and continuous exercise on untrained adult male subjects.

On separate occasions, 15 men completed 10 minute-long sets at 90% of maximum velocity with minute-long rest intervals at 30% of velocity and 20 minutes of continuous exercise at 60% of maximum velocity. All experienced mild DOMS 24-hours after their exercise session, with no differences between HIIT and continuous effort.

EFFECTS OF DEHYDRATION ON PERFORMANCE


It has been estimated that being dehydrated can have a negative impact on exercise performance. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at how fluid loss amounting to 2% of your body weight can impact steady state cycling.

On separate occasions, 9 recreationally active men cycled for 40 minutes at a steady pace. During one session, they were adequately hydrated. The following day they cycled in a dehydrated state. Subjects reported greater rates of perceived exertion and lower feelings of recovery during and after the dehydrated stage. Blood levels of lactate were also greater when dehydrated.

Traditional Pushups Vs Suspended/Elevated Pushups


In terms of form, there might be a right way and a wrong way to do a certain exercise, but there will also be variations that have the potential benefit some active adults more than others. Consider this study recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Sixty-nine active and inactive female volunteers did a set of 3 traditional push-ups followed by another set of 3 suspended push ups. While the traditional push ups resulted in higher levels of triceps muscle activation in gymnasts and inactive subjects, soccer players experienced higher levels of triceps activation with suspended push ups.

Have You Ever Heard of Contrast Training ?


Contrast training works the same muscle groups with both  resistance and power movements. Think following a set on the bench press with medicine ball throws or doing squat jumps after barbell squats. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests this type of training is more beneficial to athletes with lower strength to power ratio.

Researchers had 22 rugby players perform 2 sets of squat jumps using 30% of one rep max (1RM) after 6 reps of half squats using 85% of 1RM. They found that peak power enhancement was not related to 1RM, but was negatively correlated to your power to strength ratio. Performance enhancements from contrast training are more likely when there’s a lower ratio between baseline peak power and 1RM half squat strength.

STRETCHING TO IMPROVE RANGE OF MOTION


All kinds of athletes use stretching to help improve flexibility and extend range of motion. There are a couple of ways to perform this type of exercise, and a study published in theInternational Journal of Sports Medicine offers suggestions for getting the most out of the practice.

In a review of papers that included 23 articles, researchers found that all stretching protocols improved range of motion over a long-term period, but that static stretching was superior to ballistic and PNF techniques. In another finding, optimal range of motion results were obtained not during a single session, but over time with sessions 5 days a week lasting at least 5 minutes weekly.

Activity Perception Based on Where You Live


How physically active do you think you are? According to research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the accuracy of your assessment may be influenced by where you live. Not just the weather, but the country.

Researchers tracked the physical activity levels of 540 Americans, 748 Dutch subjects and 254 from England for 7 days. All subjects were over the age of 18 and asked to rate their physical activity levels on a scale of 1 to 5. They also wore activity trackers.

Dutch and English subjects were slightly more likely to rate toward the middle of the scale, while Americans tended toward the extremes: very active to inactive. In reality, Americans were much less active compared to the Europeans with the percentage of subjects considered inactive nearly twice that of Dutch subjects.

According to fitness tracker data, 60% of subjects from the United States were inactive compared to 42% of the Dutch and 32% of the English. Subjects from all of these countries became less active as they aged.

Six Ways To Work Out Wrist Strength



If you use your hands to compete in your sport, having greater strength and control might give you the edge you’re looking for. Consider the findings of study on 6 weeks of wrist training published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Subjects were tested before, at 2-week intervals during, and after completing the program. Wrist joints were worked in 6 directions: Flexion, extension, pronation, supination, radial deviation and ulnar deviation. Subjects showed a decrease in motor control errors after 2 weeks of training. Maximum wrist strength increased in all 6 directions after 4 weeks.

Quads Strength Development Tip


Dynamic or high-speed training is one way to increase muscular strength. This type of training is typically done with lower resistance and a higher rep range, but a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness give you a different approach to consider.

Thirty active men participated in a 12 week high-speed strength training program. Some used 40% of their one rep max (1RM) while other lifted 80% of their 1RM. Compared to measurements taken before the program began, the low-resistance high-rep protocol improved maximal concentric quad strength an average of 23.3%. Subjects using the high-resistance low-rep routine realized an average 41.8% improvement in strength.

Power Training Tip


Highly competitive team sports athletes are always looking for an edge. In terms of explosive performance, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tried out a power training routine that has the potential to improve rate of force development by about 9.7%.

Seventeen male athletes in their early 20s did 5 sets of 4 jump squats using 40% of their 1 rep max. They got 3 minutes of rest between sets. Compared to a control condition where subjects rested before testing, power training improved countermovement jump performance by an average of 5.1% and increased reactive strength by 10.7%. These improvements peaked at 24 hours after the power training session.

GAIN STRENGTH FROM TAKING TIME OFF


Experienced weight room warriors understand the value of allowing enough time for muscle recovery. How would taking 3 to 5 days off impact your path to greater gains? If your goals include getting stronger, a study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research suggests short periods of no weight training can be beneficial.

Eight men with resistance training experience took part in a pair of 4-week strength training programs. They took 3.5 or 5.5 days off after the second 4-week session. Compared to tests taken before the first program started, countermovement jump height and isometic bench press peak force were greater after both periods away from the gym. Scientists theorized these improvements might have been the result of decreased neuromuscular fatigue.

Fast Or Slow Protein For Recovery


Milk contains both whey and casein protein. Whey digests faster while casein is thicker and more slowly digesting. How to put them to best use is a matter of debate, and a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism weighs in with new research on both proteins, including a mix of the two.

A group of 31 men with weight room experience took part in a 9-week resistance training program. After each training session, subjects consumed 20 grams of whey protein, 20 grams of casein protein or 20 grams of protein consisting of equal parts whey and casein.

Although there was greater availability of the BCAA leucine after consuming whey compared to casein or the protein blend, muscle size and strength gains were similar across all 3 post-workout protein shakes after 9 weeks of training.

5 WAYS TO BOOST RECOVERY


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!

1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!

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.

2. GET 6 TO 8 HOURS OF SLEEP EACH NIGHT

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.

3. VARY YOUR TRAINING INTENSITY AND TAKE TIME OFF

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!

4. MAKE PROTEIN A PRIORITY!

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!

5. UTILIZE SUPPLEMENTS

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.

CHAMPION POWERLIFTER TAPERING TACTICS



Many types of athletes alter their training in the run-up to a big event. This reduction in training is often referred to as tapering. If you’re a competitive powerlifter, consider the findings of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research which explores the tapering practices of Croatian open-class champions.
Researchers interviewed 10 successful powerlifters. On average, these athletes decreased training volume by around 50% using a step or exponential approach while maintained or increasing training intensity which peaked about 5 to 8 days before competition. During the final week, training frequency was reduced by about 50% with the final session 2 or 3 days before competition.

Taper strategies were identical for the squat, bench press and deadlift. The idea is to maintain strength while reducing fatigue. Nutritional intake, foam rolling and static stretching all received extra attention during the taper.

Pumping Iron for Metabolic Health


Endurance training improves metabolic health by promoting the development of new blood vessels. Resistance training builds muscle, and a study recently published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests the effort can also leads to small vascular adaptations.

Researchers assigned 36 males in their early 20s to a 12-week resistance training program. Some received protein supplements while others got a placebo. Weight training increased muscle fibers, with greater gains seen in the protein supplementing group.

After the second week of training, the capillary to muscle fiber ratio increased significantly, suggesting blood vessel development took place along with muscle growth.

 

Males Vs Females for Muscle Endurance



A physically fit man is typically stronger than women of the same level fitness, but women have the upper hand when it comes to muscle endurance. Consider the findings of a study from the University of British Columbia conducted in collaboration with the University of Guelph and University of Oregon. 

Researchers had 8 men and 9 women matched for their levels of fitness flex their foot against an array of sensors 200 times as fast as they could. The speed, power and torque of their movements were recorded along with fatigue. Male subjects were faster and more powerful, but also fatigued more quickly than female subjects.

Make Your Arms Pop!


Platinum 100% Whey - Justin Robbins

By: Saquan Mitchell, MuscleTech Ambassador

One of the first body parts that gets noticed are your arms. While arms are a relatively small muscle group in the body, they are the most coveted. The arm consists of two major muscles: the biceps brachii and the triceps brachii. When training arms, most people tend to forget about the triceps and focus on the biceps. However, without the triceps development, massive arms are not possible.

Here are some of the best exercises to target these muscle groups and develop your arms.

Best Exercises for Biceps

Exercise Sets/Reps
Barbell Curls 3 x 12
Spider Curls 3 x 8-12
Hammer Curls 4 x 10-15
Alternating Dumbbell Curls 3 x 10 (slow and controlled)
Chin-Ups 3 sets until failure

 

Best Exercises for Triceps

Exercise Sets/Reps
Dips 4 x 8-12
Triceps Rope Pulldowns 4 x 8-12
Skullcrushers 4 x 10 (heavy)
Triceps Pushdown Machine 3 sets until failure (superset with tricep kickbacks, light weight)

 

For each exercise try to increase the weight you are using for every workout by 1 to 5 pounds. At the same time, make sure you are able to maintain near-perfect form. Work on decreasing your rest breaks between sets on your higher volume sets. This will force your body to become more efficient at utilizing fuel. If you follow these steps, work hard, eat right, use the right supplements and sleep well, you will have massive arms in no time!

Platinum 100% Creatine Want that extra arm pump? Compliment this workout with Platinum 100% Creatine! Creatine acts as a phosphate donor pool to hard-working muscles, allowing you to train harder, for longer. That means real gains in size and strength that can’t go unnoticed!

HIIT Triggers the Release of Endorphins 



You’ve probably heard the term runner’s high. It’s usually associated with long distance running. The release of endorphins in the brain is behind this effect. A new study conducted at the University of Turku shows that endorphins are also released during High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). 

Using positron emission tomography, researchers determined that HIIT significantly increased the release of endorphins compared to a steady state moderate intensity 1-hour run. Scientists theorized this might help your body compensate for the physical and emotional stress of intense exercise.

Nutrition’s Role in Muscle Building



Hitting the weight room is only one aspect of the muscle building process. You also have to take rest and nutrition into consideration. A study recently published in The Journal of Nutrition helps illustrate nutrition’s importance for maintaining and building lean mass.

 

Twenty-four healthy older men were given a drink containing 21 grams of leucine-enriched whey protein, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fat and 800 IU vitamin D each morning before breakfast for 6 weeks. Some received a placebo.

 

Rates of protein synthesis were higher for subjects receiving the whey and vitamin D supplement compared to those who got the placebo. The supplemented group also gained more lean mass.

 

Building Muscular Size, Strength and Endurance 



 You’ll find active adults with a variety of different goals working in the weight room to develop bigger muscles. If you’re in the game to get stronger, you might be interested in the findings of a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
 

Thirty-eight volunteers with no weight training experience took part in an 8-week program that included chest press and leg extension exercises. Some did a high-volume protocol involving 4 sets of reps to failure using their 8 to 12 rep max (RM). Others conducted a simple 1RM test where subjects attempted up to 5 maximal reps. 

Although muscle size and endurance increased more for subjects in the high-volume training group, increases in 1RM strength were about the same for both groups.

Burning Calories After Workout



Your calorie burning efforts during exercise don’t end when you step off the treadmill or stop pedaling a stationary bike. The process continues with elevated resting energy expenditure. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise examines the extended calorie burning effects of moderate intensity continuous aerobic exercise and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Researchers assigned 33 untrained female subjects to 8 to 16 weeks of moderate intensity steady state exercise at 50% of capacity or HIIIT with bouts reaching 84% of exercise capacity. Then they completed a single session. Calorie burning measurements were taken for 23 hours with controlled food intake.
Subjects burned 64 calories more than they would have without exercise after a session of moderate intensity cardio and 103 calories more after interval training. Resting energy expenditure was increased for around 22 hours after both forms of exercise. The effect is nullified when you don’t train for more than 60 hours.

Calories Burned After Weight Training


Resistance training builds muscle and can also burn calories. Not just while working out, but also by increasing your resting metabolic rate. This resting rate typically makes up the majority of the day’s total energy expenditure. A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness compares the effects of training with a light to moderate load and heavy load weight training. 
Eighteen overweight women in their 30s did high reps with low to moderate weight or a linear periodization of 3 to 6, 8 to 10 and 13 to 15 reps with heavy weight. Both groups trained 3 days each week for 12 weeks. Resting metabolic rate increased by around 8.5% with low to moderate resistance and 10.5% with a heavy load. Interestingly, only 62% of subjects stuck to the light to moderate load workouts while there was 93% adherence to heavy weight training.

Strength vs Endurance Performance



People who love to lift typically don’t look forward to cardio day. That’s also the trend among runners and cyclists on the days they set aside for strength training. A study from the University of Utah looks into this separation of performance traits using lab mice.
 

Researchers observed how effectively some mice protected their territory by fighting off other mice. They also measured the running efficiency of mice using a treadmill.

Rodents that were successful fighters burned more oxygen while running compared to less successful fighters. Although there weren’t significant differences in body mass between runners and fighters, scientists theorized there might be small physiological differences.

 

How to Stretch Sprinting Performance



You might have heard that stretching can have a negative impact on physical performance. Does this happen with all types of stretching, and how long does the effect last? A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness offers insight into these questions.
 

Over the course of 3 days, researchers had 12 male taekwondo athletes sprint 20 meters before and after 3 types of stretching exercises: static, ballistic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Sprint times increased after all types of stretching, and the effect lasted for 15 to 20 minutes with static and PNF techniques. Sprint times recovered after only 5 minutes with ballistic stretching.

 

Time Needed to Recover from Supersets 



As a general rule, you should allow at least 48 hours for each muscle group to recover from weight training. Exercising different muscles on different days is one way to work around this schedule, but a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests super sets might require a different approach. 

Twenty-five physically active men performed 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps max on 4 different exercises: 2 targeting the legs and 2 for the shoulders. Some did super sets while other subjects separated these exercises. Super sets generated higher muscle activity as well as markers of muscle damage. Researchers concluded that 5 days was not enough time for complete muscle recovery.

Dynamic stretching and range of motion



Track and field athletes have a couple different options for warming up before training or competition. One popular protocol involves dynamic stretching, and a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine recently tested its potential on 12 healthy volunteers.
 

Subjects applied four 30-second sets of dynamic stretching to ankle joints. Measurements taken before and after the warm up showed increased range of motion immediately after stretching. The effect lasted for 15 minutes without changing the mechanical properties of muscle tendons.

Comparing Compound Pull Movements


 To get in more days of training and allow adequate time for recovery, weight lifters often split their workouts between upper and lower body muscle groups. You can also split training sessions between pushing and pulling movements. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance compared the force production characteristics of three pulling compound movements.

Researchers had 16 men with weight room experience stand on a force plate while doing reps of the hang power clean, jump shrug and hang high pull. They found that jump shrugs produced the highest relative peak force and greatest rate of force development. Jump shrugs also produce different force-time characteristics during the final stage of the movement.

Variable vs Traditional Weight Training


 If strength and power are important to success in your sport, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research might be of interest. The paper compares the effects of 6 weeks of bench press training with or without the use of elastic bands.
 

Twice a week, 16 youth league rugby players took part in strength and power development training. Some used elastic bands to deliver 20% of the load on the bench press. Velocity and power were measured at 35%, 45%, 65%, 75%, and 85% of one rep max (1RM) before and after the program.

 

Both groups increased velocity and power. Variable resistance training with bands produced greater increases in bench press 1RM. Increases in velocity and power were greater at heavier loads for the variable training group compared to lighter loads, where there were smaller differences between groups.

Hormone Response to Weight Training


 Your body’s response to a session of weight training will vary by a number of factors. Some you have control over. Others you don’t. A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness suggests whole body resistance training in the morning might produce a different hormonal response compared to afternoon or evening training sessions. 

On separate occasions, 10 men with weight room experience trained at 7 AM, 1 PM and 5 PM. Workouts consisted of 6 upper and 6 lower body exercises for 3 sets of 10 reps. Blood samples were collected before training, 3 minutes after finishing and 48 hours later. Hormone production increased after all workouts. Testosterone was highest before the morning training session, and only the morning workout decreased cortisol and the increased the testosterone/cortisol ratio for up to 48 hours. This might create a more favorable environment for muscle adaptation.

Recreational vs Trained Subjects



 Some research studies use weekend warriors as subjects. They usually call them recreationally active. Other studies use subjects with significant weight room experience. They are typically referred to as trained.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research measured the validity of a classic fatigue test from the 1970s that used recreationally active men. It found that fast-twitch muscle fibers used for short bursts of strength, like sprinting and weight lifting, were associated with quicker quadriceps fatigue.

In a reexamination of this finding, 15 trained men in their early 20s performed maximum knee extensions to calculate peak torque and quadriceps fatigue after 30 and 50 reps. Peak torque in the trained men was 46% greater than the recreationally active subjects. Quad fatigue ranged from 53% to 72% with no relationship between muscle fiber type.

WHAT IS HYDROLYZED WHEY PROTEIN?


When you hydrolyze a protein, you break larger pieces down into smaller pieces. What might this process offer active adults who incorporate hydrolyzed whey into their supplementation strategy? A study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition offers some interesting findings.

Researchers gave 56 men with weight training experience a 30 gram serving of whey protein concentrate or hydrolyzed whey concentrate twice daily for 8 weeks. During this time, subjects performed 2 upper body training sessions and 2 lower body training sessions each week.

After the training period, upper body one rep max (1RM) increased 4% to 7% and lower body 1RM increased 24% to 35% with no significant differences between groups. Subjects who got hydrolyzed whey concentrate lost an average of 6% body fat. Subjects who received a carbohydrate placebo gained around 4.4% body fat.

MAXIMIZING YOUR RATE OF FAT OXIDATION


We’re all a little different in terms of physiology. That’s why some people have an easier time building muscle and losing fat compared to others. In addition to these individual differences, what we eat can have an impact on the maximal rate of fat oxidation during exercise. Consider the findings of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers used indirect calorimetry to determine the maximal fat oxidation rates of 305 healthy adult subjects. The average maximal rate of fat oxidation was 0.55 grams per minute. After analyzing dietary intake in the 4 days leading up to testing, they found carbohydrate consumption had a negative association with fat oxidation and fat consumption had a positive association. The variability was around 2.6%.

CARDIOVASCULAR RESPONSE TO WEIGHT TRAINING


It goes without saying that pushing heavy stacks of plates is going to have an effect on your heart rate and blood pressure. And it makes sense that the impact will vary between upper and lower body exercises as well as for unilateral and bilateral movements. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at these differences using 15 men with weight room experience.

Subjects performed 3 sets of 10 reps biceps curls, barbell rows and knee extensions using 80% of their 10 rep max. Each exercise was performed bilaterally, unilaterally and with alternating limbs. Heart rate and blood pressure increased significantly from pre- to post-workout. There was a greater cardiovascular response for upper body exercises compared to lower body movements and for bilateral compared to unilateral.

REST INTERVALS FOR FAILURE TRAINING


You’ve no doubt heard the legendary weight room proclamation, ‘Go heavy or go home’. In fact, lifting heavy isn’t the only way to build muscle size and strength. So now the question becomes what’s the ideal rest interval for low-load failure training? A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine attempts to find an answer.

Fourteen subjects performed reps to failure on different exercises using 40% of their one rep max. Some rested 30 seconds between sets while others rested 150 seconds. All of these volunteers trained twice weekly.

After 8 weeks, triceps size increased an average of 9.8% for the short rest group and 10.6% for subjects who rested longer. Thigh size increased 5.7% with short rest and 8.3% with the longer rest interval. Bench press one rep max increased 9.9% with short rest and 6.5% with a longer interval. Squat one rep max increased 5.2% with short rest and 5.4% with the longer interval.

IN-SEASON UPHILL SPRINT TRAINING


If you’re a team sport athlete already competing in your season, a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness might be of interest to you. The findings will give you some idea of the performance enhancements that are possible with a short duration uphill sprint training program.

Researchers had 14 college aged male soccer players run a 3 KM time trial. They also performed agility and intermittent recovery tests. Half of these subjects were assigned to an experimental protocol where they ran 10 sets of 10-second sprints up a 7% incline with a minute of rest between sets. These intervals were added to their regular in-season training twice weekly for 6 weeks.

Compared to measurements taken before starting the uphill sprint program, agility improved by around 3% and there was a 10% average improvement in strength. Time trial performance was around 4% faster after uphill sprints, and oxygen consumption improved by an average of 3%.

BETWEEN SETS REST FOR POWER TRAINING


Resting too long between sets can reduce the effectiveness of your power development workout. It’s also an easy way to annoy people waiting their turn on the equipment. If you’re not sure how to plan this element of your weight training, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers some guidelines to consider.

The peak power output of 18 men and 20 women was used to group subjects by strength. Then all subjects did 5 sets of bench throws for 8 reps using 40% of their 1 rep max. Factoring in reported rates of perceived exertion, ability to maintain power output and muscle soreness 48 hours after training, stronger subjects only needed 2 minutes of between sets rest while weaker subjects required 3 minutes.

PACING A 4-MINUTE TIME TRIAL


Pacing a marathon is going to be a lot different from the way you’d approach a 4-minute run. For those who compete in shorter-distance track events, a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance offers some practical pacing advice.

On separate occasions, researchers had 5 male and 5 female recreational runners compete in a series of 4-minute time trials on a motor-driven treadmill. Although there were no significant differences between events, with the distance covered ranging from 1,137 meters to 1,090 meters, the best performances tended to begin with aggressive pacing during the first 2 minutes.

FITNESS LEVEL, IRON STATUS & GPA


Being a fit female with normal iron levels can make a difference of 0.34 in your grade point average (GPA). That could be enough to bump you up one letter grade. The study conducted by Penn State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was published in The Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers analyzed data on 105 female college students with an average GPA of 3.68. Subjects who were fit and had the highest levels of stored iron tended to have higher grades than unfit subjects with iron deficiency. Consider that iron helps transport oxygen in the blood. Iron deficiency has also been associated with fatigue and a reduced capacity for work.

HIGH INTENSITY POWER TRAINING WORKOUT


Many athletes can enhance playing performance with greater power, and there’s more than one way to develop this attribute. Consider a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that compared traditional power training to a high-intensity power training circuit.

Twenty-nine healthy men in their early 20s trained 3 times a week for 6 weeks. The traditional power training group did 3 to 5 sets per exercise with 90 seconds of rest between sets. The high-intensity group did a short circuit with 15 seconds of rest between exercises.

Both groups significantly increased power as measured by countermovement jumps, power load bench press performance and the Wingate test. But only subjects in the high-intensity group realized an increase in maximal aerobic speed.

INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL FOCUS ON FORM


Maybe your personal trainer tells you to use a wider grip on the barbell. That’s an internal focus. If they instructed you to place your hands closer to the weight room’s walls, the focus would be external. The instructions are the same, but a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests the outcomes might be different.

On separate occasions, researchers directed 8 male and 4 female competitive athletes to perform the snatch for 3 reps using 80% of their one rep max. When the focus was internal, subjects increased elbow velocity. Internal focus also tended to make subjects squat too soon. Barbell velocity increased when external focus was used.

BCAAS BOOST POST-WORKOUT POWER


The Branched Chain Amino Acids are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. They are sometimes included as components of intra-workout supplements because they can help spare muscle tissue during extended training. A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness tested their ability to attenuate decreases in power production after strength training.

Researchers assessed the countermovement jumping and seated shot put throwing performance of 11 men with weight room experience. Some were given 20 grams of BCAAs while others received a placebo before and after a session of compound barbell exercises. Although there were no differences in muscle soreness 24 hours after training, BCAAs did help reduce typical decrements in functional power a day after the workout.

HIIT IMPROVEMENTS AT ANY AGE


Engaging in regular High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an effective way to improve your level of fitness while promoting cardiovascular health. A new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests there are no age barriers to the benefits of HIIT.

Researchers recruited 72 men and 22 women between the ages of 20 and 70 years old. All exercised the typical amount for their age bracket, and all subjects performed supervised HIIT workouts with a targeted intensity of 90% to 95% of maximum heart rate 3 times a week.

Compared to before the 8-week intervention began, all age groups experienced between 9% and 13% increases in maximal oxygen consumption, an indicator of fitness. These improvements were not significantly different between age groups.

DISTANCE BOOSTS RUNNING EFFICIENCY



Running is a popular type of endurance exercise, and a study from Liverpool John Moores University suggests runners who typically put in high mileage experience different benefits compared to active adults who run about one third of that distance. Findings were published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Researchers measured thigh muscle activity and calculated knee joint motion in runners with at least 6 months of experience who typically ran 9 miles a week or more than 27. They found that longer distance runners showed less thigh muscle activity, higher knee stiffness and spring like tendon action compared to shorter distance runners. The difference in muscle activity increased with speed. This might reduce energy expenditure with faster running.

6 Health Benefits of Cold Weather


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Now that the thermostat is dropping and sweater weather has arrived (or is at least well on its way in many geographical areas), let’s try to look on the bright side. Cold weather, believe it or not, has quite a number of positives in the form of health benefits. Read on to learn how the cold can actually help you feel better!

Continue reading 6 Health Benefits of Cold Weather

HIIT MORE ENJOYABLE FOR NEWBIES



If you’re just getting back to the gym after an extended time away or decided to make a commitment to regular exercise for the first time, a McMaster University study published in the journal PLOS ONE suggests choosing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) over moderate intensity steady-state effort.

Researchers had young inactive subjects take on an exercise program consisting of HIIT or moderate intensity steady state effort. The enjoyment for both groups was about the same when the programs started. After subjects gained strength and increased their level of fitness, the enjoyment of HIIT workouts increased while the experience of subjects doing the lower intensity routine ranged from unchanged to less enjoyable.

RUNNING DECREASES JOINT INFLAMMATION



It’s not unusual for your muscles to ache a day or two after a demanding run. Inflammation is usually associated with that type of soreness. But new research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology suggests running actually has an anti-inflammatory impact on leg muscle joints.

Researchers from Brigham Young University measured markers of inflammation in the knee joint fluid of healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. These markers remained the same on non-running days, but decreased after 30 minutes of running. This anti-inflammatory environment might benefit long-term joint health.

SQUATS WITH UPPER & LOWER INSTABILITY


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Getting in your sets of squats while standing on a balance trainer is one way to change up a stale leg day routine. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research take this practice to another level by adding an unstable barbell to the mix and testing it against lower body instability and traditional squats.

Wired to record activity in various muscle groups, 10 male volunteers performed squats while standing on a balance trainer, using a water-filled barbell and with a traditional barbell. Upper body instability reduced erector spinae muscle activation 1.5 times and increased abdominal activation 2.8 times compared to traditional squats. Lower body instability increased muscle activity in the gastrocnemius, biceps femoris, and quadriceps muscles.

BEST WAY TO REST BETWEEN SETS


How long you rest between sets of weight training exercises can have an impact on how much you’re able to lift. There’s a similar correlation with work capacity during CrossFit style workouts. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, what you do during that rest interval can also make a difference.

Five male and 10 female volunteers participated in a varied workout involving both strength and endurance exercise. On 3 separate occasions, subjects rested by lying on the floor, sitting on a bench or walking on a treadmill. Both passive rest strategies (lying and sitting) significantly improved exercise work rate and physiological recovery.

 

BARBELL VS. MACHINE DEADLIFT


Deadlifts are slated into many leg day routines. The exercise is excellent for developing lower body muscle size and strength. Because of the importance of deadlift form, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared traditional barbell deadlifts to two types of walk-in deadlift machines using both experienced and inexperienced subjects.

At the start of the lift, trunk angle for conventional deadlifts was 23.7 degrees compared to 29.9 and 32.4 degrees, which is significantly more upright. Knee angle was more flexed with machines, but muscle activity in the glutes was lower with machines shifting work to knees. So while machines can help reduce stress on your lower back, the added stress on knees might keep this option from being considered a long-term solution.

 

EFFECTS OF LATE NIGHT WORKOUTS


Exercise activates signaling between hypothalamus region of your brain and your pituitary and adrenal glands. But what happens when the only time you have available to work out is late at night? A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness analyzed the effects using 20 male medical students.

According to sleep diaries kept by subjects, and saliva samples taken the morning after a 90 minute late night football match, there was no impact on sleep quality or cortisol response, but the 9:30 PM timing of exercise did alter hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal signaling the following day.

N.O. BOOSTS YOUR BENCH PRESS


Nitrates and other nitric oxide supporting ingredients are popular components of many sports nutrition supplements. What can they do for your weight room workout? A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research put nitrates to the test using a dozen recreationally active men on the bench press.

Some subjects were given 400 mg of nitrate while others got a placebo before performing 3 sets to failure using 60% of their one rep max. All got 2 minutes of rest between sets. Even though there were no real differences in ratings of perceived exertion or lactate buildup, nitrate supplementing subjects did significantly more reps to failure and lifted a greater total amount of weight.

EATING OATS CAN REDUCE CHOLESTEROL



Back in 1963, researchers found that substituting while bread with bread containing 140 grams of rolled oats lowered LDL cholesterol. Now a meta-analysis of 58 controlled trials published online in the British Journal of Nutrition attempts to get more specific on the cardiovascular benefits of eating oat fiber.

Analyzing the diets of 4,000 subjects from around the world, researchers estimated that daily supplementation with 3.5 grams of beta-glucan fiber from oat could lower LDL cholesterol by an average of 4.2%. Working some into your diet isn’t likely to tip the scale too much. One cup of cooked oat bran amounts to just 88 calories.

FEWER CARBS CUTS INSULIN RESISTANCE



Insulin sensitivity is a condition where insulin can’t effectively regulate blood levels of the glucose the cells in your body use for energy and other functions. Since a couple hours of moderate intensity exercise actually increase blood sugar levels, a University of Michigan study published in the journal PLOS ONE looks into the impact of diet.

Thirty two healthy women were fed meals where either 30% or 60% of the calories came from carbohydrates. After the 3rd meal, subjects in the low carb group showed a 30% reduction in insulin resistance. There was no reduction in the higher carb group, and the amount of carbs they consumed was within the range of Department of Health and Human Services recommendations…

LOSE WEIGHT & BOOST TESTOSTERONE


Low levels of testosterone can lead to fatigue as well as decreased muscle and bone mass. Fortunately, your body’s natural production of this hormone can be altered through diet and exercise. A study presented at the Integrative Biology of Exercise 7 meeting in Phoenix, Arizona measured the effect of 12 weeks of aerobic exercise on 16 normal eight and 28 overweight men.

Researchers had subjects walk or jog for between 40 and 60 minutes per session performed 1 to 3 days per week. At the end of the program, overweight subjects had lost weight and significantly increased testosterone levels. Results were best in subjects who exercised vigorously. Normal weight subjects did not see such a dramatic testosterone increase.

OPTIMIZING POST-WORKOUT GLYCOGEN RESYNTHESIS


Your body’s preferred fuel source for short bursts of intense effort is muscle glycogen. Consuming carbohydrates after exercise can help replace the glycogen used during a weight training workout, and a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology provides insight into how you can optimize the process.

During the first 4 hours following exercise, glycogen resynthesis can be stimulated with 1 gram of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. So the carbohydrate consumption target for a 150 pound athlete would be around 68 grams. How you eat carbohydrates throughout the rest of the day should be geared toward meeting the demands of tomorrow’s training or competition.

How Much Protein Should You Consume Post-Workout?


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New research reveals just how much protein you need after a workout to optimize muscle building.

The conundrum surrounding post-workout nutrition isn’t so much about what to eat as much as how much to eat. You and I both know protein needs to be a priority following a workout, but the jury is still out on how much protein is needed to maximize muscle growth and repair.

 

Fortunately, new research has shed some light on the matter. A study published in Physiology Reports sought to determine the impact of two different post-workout protein portions following exercise.[1] Furthermore, it also sought to determine how varying amounts of protein post-workout influenced individuals with significantly different amounts of lean body mass.

Subjects were split into four groups as follows:

  1. Low Lean Body Mass (LLBM), 20 grams of whey protein
  2. Low Lean Body Mass (LLBM), 40 grams of whey protein
  3. High Lean Body Mass (HLBM), 20 grams of whey protein
  4. High Lean Body Mass (HLBM), 40 grams of whey protein

Each group received their protein following two total-body workouts.

Researchers observed a 20 percent greater uptick in post-training muscle-protein synthesis in subjects consuming 40 grams of whey protein compared to those consuming 20 grams. What didn’t make much difference was whether the subjects had low or high lean body mass.

As long as they had the higher amount of protein, they tended to experience a greater degree of muscle- protein synthesis.

How To Eat 40 Grams Of Protein Post-Workout

Although this study was small and the first of its kind, the results suggest that striving to consume 40 grams of protein post-workout is the way to go if you want to add muscle, regardless of your size. The authors speculate that this is especially true if you follow a total-body training style.

That’s because more muscle breakdown is occurring throughout the body compared to a single-body-part split. “Speculate” is the operative word, though. Single-body-part splits were not included in this study.

Rather than having to face two monstrous chicken breasts after your workout, consider one of these seven muscle-building meal combinations to meet your post-workout protein quota!

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt + 1 scoop whey protein + 1/2 cup blueberries = 43 g protein
  • 6 oz. salmon fillet + 1 cup quinoa + 1 cup broccoli = 45 g protein
  • 4-oz. can albacore tuna + 1/2 cup canned navy beans + 2 cups baby spinach + 1 cup cherry tomatoes = 43 g protein
  • 1 cup cottage cheese + 4 tbsp hemp seeds + 1 cup chopped pineapple = 42 g protein
  • 6 oz. chicken breast + 1 cup brown rice + 2 cups baby kale = 42 g protein
  • 6 oz. sirloin steak + 1 medium sweet potato + 2 tbsp pesto = 40 g protein
  • 1 cup low-fat milk + 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt + 1 scoop whey protein powder + 1 tbsp almond butter + 1 frozen banana = 44 g protein
References
  1. Macnaughton, L. S., Wardle, S. L., Witard, O. C., McGlory, C., Hamilton, D. L., Jeromson, S., … & Tipton, K. D. (2016). The response of muscle protein synthesis following whole‐body resistance exercise is greater following 40 g than 20 g of ingested whey protein. Physiological Reports4(15), e12893.

Continue reading How Much Protein Should You Consume Post-Workout?

INTERVAL TRAINING FOR SWIMMERS



You can sprint intervals, cycle in intervals, even incorporate resistance into your interval training. For those who want to try something new and different, a study published in the Journal of Sports and Conditioning Research looks at what you can achieve from interval training in an Olympic sized pool.

Scientists assigned 24 former competitive swimmers to swim freestyle intervals at 50 meter or 100 meter distances. The 50 meter swimmers did 12 to 16 bouts with 15 seconds of rest between each. The 100 meter swimmers did 6 to 8 bouts and got 30 seconds in between.

After 8 weeks of training, both interval distances improved 100 meter and 400 meter swimming performance with increased stroke length and greater maximal aerobic speed. There were no significant differences between groups, and 50 meter sprint times remained unchanged.

LOSE BODY FAT & KEEP MUSCLE


When you’re cutting calories, you’re likely to lose weight. But some of that weight is going to come from lost muscle mass rather than body fat. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests a tactic that can help preserve muscle mass while trying to shed body fat.

Researchers put overweight inactive women on a calorie restricted diet, enrolled them in an endurance exercise program or both protocols for just over 16 weeks. Calories were reduced by 10% to 20% and endurance exercise amounted to 7.4 hours a week for the exercise only group or 4.4 hours per week for the exercising calorie cutters.

All groups ended up losing around 7% of their original body weight, and the calorie restriction group lost about 2% muscle mass. The calorie reducing exercise group only lost around 1% muscle mass and the exercise only group didn’t lose any.
Read more at Optimum Nutrition’s Blog (Visit Blog)

How To Beat 8 Hours of Sitting


Back in 1953, researchers discovered that London bus drivers had a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease than conductors working the same bus. It was the difference between sitting all day and moving around. A new study published in The Lancet looks into the level of exercise needed to negate the effects of driving to work and sitting at a desk 8 hours a day.

Scientists analyzed 16 studies involving more than 1 million adult subjects and grouped them by level of daily exercise. They found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day was enough to make up for the risk created by being inactive for more than 8 hours a day.

via @optimumnutrition

BOREDOM BOOSTS FAT & SUGAR CRAVINGS



Need another reason to keep active? Research from the University of Central Lancashire suggests you’re more likely to reach for unhealthy food choices after completing or boring task. Not only does boredom influence decisions about food quality, it also seems to play a role in the quantity consumed.

Forty-five subjects snacked while watching either boring or funny videos. By weighing treat bowls after the video viewing, researchers determined how many healthy and unhealthy snacks were consumed. They theorized that boredom leaves you with low levels of the feel-good brain chemical dopamine, so we compensate by eating sugar and fat to stimulate its release. Going for a run might be a better alternative.

PROTEIN RECOMMENDATIONS MIGHT BE TOO LOW


Gold Standard 100% Whey

The estimated average requirement for protein is an amount experts believe will meet the needs of half the population. That number is increased by around 20% to determine the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) which is currently 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that value might be too low.

Researchers analyzed the protein intakes of 6 older men on 7 separate occasions using diets where daily protein intake ranged from 0.2 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. After analysis, they determined that a good RDA for those and younger subjects would be in the range of 0.94 and 1.24 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. That’s about 30% more than current estimates.

CARB LOADING CAN BE HARD ON YOUR HEART


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Bodybuilders have been known to carb cycle during a diet, increasing carbohydrate intake on certain days to trick their metabolism into not slowing down so much from caloric restriction. Endurance athletes like to load up on carbs before long distance race events, and a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) suggests going overboard with carb loading might be hard on your heart.

Researchers from Vanderbilt and the University of Alabama Birmingham gave 33 subjects a 264 calorie carbohydrate shake. This high-carb load suppressed the heart’s production of a hormone called ANP by 25% over several hours. Because ANP helps rid your body of excess salt and reduces blood pressure, restricting this process can contribute to salt retention and hypertension.

LONG-TERM CALORIE CUTTING HAS ITS RISKS


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Cutting down for summer or a physique contest is one thing. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute in Jena, Germany found that cutting calories long-term can have both positive and negative consequences, as a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicinesuggests.

A few years back, scientists were able to extend the lifespans of worms, fruit flies and lab rats through caloric restriction. Sometimes they lived 50% longer than normal. More recently, tests on mice showed that 30% food restriction slowed the aging of stem cells while reducing production of blood cell lymphocytes used for immune defense up to 75%

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START YOUR DAY WITH PROTEIN


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Got a busy day ahead of you? Fuel up with a healthy breakfast and make sure you get a fair share of protein. A study on obese and normal weight children published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests protein at breakfast can increase both energy expenditure and fat oxidation.

Some subjects were fed a breakfast with a macro-nutrient distribution of 21% protein, 52% carbohydrates and 29% fat while others sat down to a meal of 4% protein, 67% carbohydrates and 29% fat. The average rate of fat oxidation for all subjects was 16% higher with the high-protein breakfast, and overweight children burned more energy in the 4 hours following the high-protein meal.

True Strength Moment: Because approximately 1 out of 3 children between the ages of 2 and 19 are considered obese, this is important research. Subjects also reported a greater feeling of fullness after the high-protein breakfast, even though all subjects consumed about the same amount of food at a buffet later in the day.

SUPPLEMENTS THAT AID MUSCLE GAIN


       Optimum Nutrition BCAA 1000 Caps   Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder       Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

When training for muscle gain we push our bodies to places they haven’t been before. The structure of our routine changes – weights increase and the intensity of workouts increases too.

We understand that in order to build muscle and size we must create a stimulus that challenges us, causing our muscle fibres to breakdown, repair and adapt (grow). Training within our comfort zone will only allow us to maintain our existing level of strength and fitness. By placing more demand on our bodies, it becomes paramount that we are eating the correct foods and taking the right supplements to promote the process of recovery.

Continue reading SUPPLEMENTS THAT AID MUSCLE GAIN

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BREAKING DOWN YOUR AMINO ACIDS


aminoEnergy-stack
Active adults who train intensely typically choose complete proteins containing all of the Essential Amino Acids to kick-start recovery. A new study from the University of East Anglia found a correlation between regular consumption of 7 amino acids from meat, fish, dairy, beans, lentils, broccoli and spinach, and cardiovascular health.

Examining data on 2,000 normal weight women in the TwinsUKregistry, researchers found evidence that higher consumption of these amino acids might be associated with lower blood pressure and less arterial stiffness.

True Strength Moment: The 7 amino acids singled out in this research were arginine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, leucine and tyrosine. An interesting mix of Essential, Conditionally Essential and Non-Essential amino acids.

Everybody wants a lean, muscular physique. Like anything worth having, wanting it isn’t enough. You have to commit to a rigorous diet and training program that will tax your strength mentally as well as physically. To help you satisfy both of these demands, ON’s Essential Amino Energy combines a powerful ratio of rapidly absorbed free-form amino acids with natural energizers and N.O. boosting ingredients to help you reach your next level – including muscle-building BCAAs and arginine to help support intense, vascular pumps.* At 10 calories per serving, it’ll make a big impression without denting your diet. Mix up Essential Amino Energy anytime you want to dial up mental focus, physical energy N.O. production, and recovery support.*

Free Form Amino Acids for Rapid Uptake*
Essential Amino Acids including BCAAs
Supports Recovery Before, During, & After Exercise*
Train Longer & Harder with Beta-Alanine*
Natural Energizers*
Supports Nitric Oxide Synthesis*
Only 10 Calories and 0 Grams of Sugar per Serving
Mixes Easily

RISKS OF HIGHLY REFINED CARBS


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Consuming a lot of white bread, white rice and sugar sweetened soft drinks can go to your waistline, and research from Columbia University Medical Center suggests it can also weigh heavily on your mood. Analyzing data from 70,000 older women who participated in the National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study between 1994 and 1998, researchers found that consuming highly processed carbohydrates can elevate the risk of depression.

True Strength Moment: Highly refined carbohydrates elevate blood sugar levels. If the level gets high enough, your body releases hormones to try and reduce blood sugars. This hormonal response can have an impact on mood and fatigue. For a tip on potentially lifespan extending foods, read today’s Performance Blog at ABBperformance.com

CREATINE & BONE MINERAL DENSITY



Most active adults supplement creatine to build muscle size, strength and power. Numerous studies have shown creatine monohydrate to support these goals, and research recently published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercisesuggests the ingredient might also support bone mineral density in older adults.

Forty-seven older women supplemented with 0.1 gram of creatine per kg of body weight or a placebo while training with weights 3 days each week. After a year, subjects who used creatine showed a reduced rate of lost bone mineral density and greater bone bending strength compared to placebo.

In addition to improved bone health, subjects who supplemented with creatine increased bench press strength by an average of 64% compared to 34% for subjects who were given a placebo.

Carnitine Boosts Stamina


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Carnitine is synthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Many active adults use it in supplemental form, but its impact on exercise performance isn’t well understood. Research published in the journal Cell Metabolism shows how this popular ingredient works with an enzyme called carnitine acetyltransferase, or CrAT, to increase muscle stamina in mice.

Scientists created a group of mice with CrAT deficiency in skeletal muscle. Compared to normal rodents they tired of exercise earlier. Then both groups were supplemented with carnitine. As expected, there was no change in the CrAT deficient mice. But the normal mice showed an even greater tolerance for exercise.

True Strength Moment: Researchers think that carnitine works with the CrAT enzyme to optimize muscle energy metabolism in mice. How or even if this mechanism works in a similar way for humans is unknown.

Anytime Anywhere – Amino Energy


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عشرون عاما من التميز والتقدم بدعمكم و تواصلكم المستمر زبائننا الأعزاء نحتفل اليوم بعيدنا العشرين على تأسيس الشركة الأولى للأغذية الرياضية وتاليا نبذة عن تأسيس الشركة
عندما بدأت قبل عشرون عاما من اليوم شركة الأولى للأغذية الرياضية بممارسة أعمالها داخل الأردن, وكانت الأولى في الأردن ومعظم دول الشرق الأوسط المتخصصة بالغذاء التكميلي للرياضيين
حيث كانت البداية بإستيراد نوعيات مختلفة من المكملات الغذائية للرياضين والعمل بمجال الجملة والبيع للنوادي الرياضية وفي عام 1998 تم إفتتاح أول فرع لبيع التجزئة في عمان/العبدلي-مجمع الفريد وأصبحت الشركة رسميا الوكيل الحصري لشركة اوبتيمم نيوترشن
(Optimum Nutrition) في معظم دول الشرق الاوسط وشمال افريقيا وانتشرت فروع الشركة في الاردن و لبنان والعراق ومصر وليبيا وتونس خلال السنوات اللاحقة
تقوم فلسفة الشركة الاولى للأغذية الرياضية على مبدأ بسيط ,نحن نبحث باستمرار عن أفضل المنتجات العالمية و التي تحتل تراتيب متقدمة في التصنيفات العالمية, و بعد تجربتها من قبل كادرنا المتخصص نقوم بشراء كميات كبيرة لنحصل على افضل الاسعار وفى اللحظة التى يصبح فيها سعر المنتج متناسبا مع مجموعة الفوائد والمزايا والتوقعات التى يقدمها المنتج للزبائن, نقوم بتقديم عروضنا التي يتم تصميمها وفق إحتياجات الزبائن و التى بدورها تحمل خصومات هائلة لصالح المستهلك
نعمل فى الأولى للأغذية الرياضية حاليا مع أربعة وعشرين شركة عالمية من أصل أكثر من خمسمائة شركة تعمل في هذا المجال , حيث يتم إختيار الشركات بعناية فائقة بعد دراسة وافية عن المنتج و تركيبتة و أراء آلاف المستخدمين له حول العالم من خلال الإنترنت و بتجربته فعليا من قبل طاقمنا و دراسته بقسم الدراسات والأبحاث المختص بهذه العملية الدقيقه
وفي اللحظة التي تفشل فيها أية شركة في تقديم منتجات ذات قيمة مميزة و مواصفات عالية , يتم التخلى عنها فورا وإستبدالها بواحدة من الشركات الناشئة و المميزة
ولان العنصر البشري مهم جدا في تقديم خدمة ما قبل البيع وللتعرف على احتياجات كل عميل بدقة فإن فريق الأولى للأغذية الرياضية يتم ايضا اختيارهم بعناية فائقة ويتم تدريبهم لفترة زمنية طويلة قبل السماح لهم بتقديم خدماتهم للزبائن ويخضعون لمعايير صارمة في التقييم للحفاظ على مستوى رفيع من الاداء
اننا ندين بهذا النجاح الكبير الذي وصلنا اليه الى زبائننا الكرام الذين ابدو ثقتهم الكبيرة بطريقة عملنا ودعمهم لنا منذ البداية كمزود رئيسي لكل احتياجاتهم سواء في الاردن او باقي دول المنطقة
( زبائننا الكرام … شكرا جزيلا لكم )

HOW LONG DOES RECOVERY TAKE?


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Gains aren’t made in the gym. That’s where muscle tissue is broken down. Size and strength is built up when your muscles recover from the breakdown of resistance training. So how long does this process take? A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Researchsuggests the duration might vary between exercises.

Sixteen men in their mid-20s with significant weight training experience performed 8 sets of preacher curls with one arm and seated rows with the other using 10 reps max resistance. Peak torque decreased 15.1% for multi-joint exercise and completely recovered 24 hours post-workout. The decrease was 26.8% after single-joint movements and peak torque remained 8.4% lower than pre-workout measurements 24 hours later. Delayed onset muscle soreness was also greater and took longer than 72 hours to recover for the single-joint movement.

True Strength Movement: This research shows the importance of changing up your training day to day. If you don’t give your muscles enough time to fully recover, you might be robbing yourself of some hard earned gains.

Via @optimumnutrition
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DOES FASTED CARDIO BURN MORE BODY FAT?


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Doing cardio on an empty stomach, usually first thing in the morning, is supposed to help you burn more body fat than eating before your run, ride or swim. But is this scientific fact or just another popular gym myth?

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition compared the effects on 20 young female subjects who adhered to a hypocaloric diet for a month. Half of these subjects put in an hour of steady state cardio exercise 3 days a week without eating since the previous evening. The other half eat breakfast before training. All adhered to a diet designed to burn more calories than consumed. At the end of the program, both groups lost weight and reduced fat mass.

Conclusion: There were no significant differences between groups. As long as you’re cutting calories, having a small, balanced meal before training might outweigh the benefits of not eating first.

SPEED + STRENGTH FOR THE WIN


Endurance runners aren’t a common sight in the weight room, and they typically don’t spend a lot of time working on sprinting speed, but a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiologysuggests a workout combining both elements might help improve race performance along with running economy.

Half a group of 21 male runners continued on with their normal endurance training while the rest took part in an 8-week intervention that added 30-second sprints and heavy resistance training to their workouts. Twice a week they lifted weights at 80% to 90% of their one rep max (1RM) and twice a week they sprinted in blocks of 30 seconds while reducing the time they spent on traditional endurance work by 42%.

After 4 weeks, the sprinting and weight training group cut around one and a half minutes off their 10K race time. There were no additional improvements in 10K performance after 8 weeks, but they did see quicker times in 1500 meter events. Compared to subjects who never changed their training, the experimental group finished about 15 seconds faster.

True Strength Moment: Whether it’s more than a minute shaved off a 44-minute event or cutting 15 seconds off a 5-minute race, taking your training to a place where others don’t can make all the difference.

THE WARM UP FOR SQUATTING MORE


The Warm Up For Squatting MoreEverybody keeps track of their fitness journey in one way or another. If your benchmark is setting a new personal best, and you’ve reached a sticking point on squat performance, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers a variable resistance warm up that might help you grind out a higher one rep max (1RM). 


After determining squat 1RM for 16 recreationally active men in their mid-20s, on separate occasions these subjects returned to perform 2 sets of 3 reps using 85% of their 1RM with free weights or banded free weights where band tension generated 35% of the load. 1RM squat was then tested 5 minutes after this short workout. Variable resistance significantly increased 1RM on the final lift. 

True Strength Moment: Band resistance potentiated maximal lift performance without changing knee angle or muscle activity. It only slowed the velocity of concentric and eccentric contractions. Give this technique a try to see if it can help boost your best effort on leg day.

Why are EFAs important for muscle growth?


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Essential fatty acids help facilitate muscle growth in a number of ways. One such way is through the formation of eicosanoids –molecules which exert control over bodily systems such as immunity and inflammation, and act as molecular messenger in the CNS (central nervous system). Eicosanoids can also be classified into prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes. Prostaglandins are of the most importance to muscle growth. They:

  • Increase sensitivity to insulin
  • Help maintain normal levels of testosterone – the primary, male androgen hormone
  • Increase the body’s secretion of growth hormone
  • Increase the synthesis of protein in muscle cells

These functions are critical to achieving muscle growth during intensive training. In addition, EFAs powerfully affect the formation of fat tissue and fat metabolism. All the Omega-3s increase the breakdown of body fat; they also encourage the body to burn stored fat as fuel.

Beyond the immediately apparent effects on muscle growth and body composition, essential fatty acids help reduce inflammation, heal injuries, speed recovery and strengthen the immune system (important when engaging in repetitive movement with heavy weights and physical exertion that can weaken immunity); and improve sleep, concentration, stamina, increase blood-oxygen levels and improve cardiovascular function (all of which lead to more effective and intense workouts).

Getting Enough

Research shows that to maximize muscle growth, decrease body fat and improve general health, men may consume between 3 and 3.5 grams of EFAs from all sources (food and supplements) daily; women may consume between 2.5 and 3 grams from all sources daily.

Sources

Essential fatty acids are found in foods and supplements. The downside of food sources is that many (fish and fully pastured – grass fed – cattle being exceptions) are higher in Omega-6 than Omega-3.

Supplementing with Optimum Nutrition’s Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oil remains the easiest way to get your daily recommended value of EFA’s.