Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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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.

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%.

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.

YOUR CELL PHONE’S IMPACT ON EXERCISE


It’s easy to see how texting or talking on a cell phone during exercise could reduce the impact of the effort. A study published in the journals Computers in Human Behavior and Performance Enhancement & Health suggests multi-tasking with your phone can also have a negative effect on balance.

Researchers had 45 college students text, talk and listen to music on their cell phones while exercising. Texting reduced postural stability by 45%. Talking reduced this measurement of balance by 19%, but just using the phone to listen to music has no impact on balance.

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.

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.

 

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.

MEAL FREQUENCY IMPACTS DIET QUALITY



Most people sit down to 3 standard meals a day, but many active adults chasing fitness and physique goals divide those eating occasions into smaller, more frequent meals. An Australian study published in The Journal of Nutrition looks into associations between meal frequency including snacking and the nutritional quality of your diet.

Analyzing data from 5,242 adults who provided 24-hour food consumption recalls for the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, researchers found that a higher frequency of eating occasions was associated with better food variety along with greater consumption of fruit and dairy options. More frequent snacking was associated with higher consumption of added sugars. Read today’s Performance Blog to see how portion size impacts satiety.

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.

TAPERING FOR POWERLIFTING COMPETITION


In the weeks leading up to a competition, many athletes reduce their training intensity and volume. When to start and how much to cut back is a matter of debate. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers these tips from open-class Croatian power lifting champions.

Most athletes reduced training volume in steps, reaching a 50% reduction between 8 and 5 days prior to the event. Training frequency was also cut in half in the week before competition, limiting the work to competition specific movements and equipment. This helped competitors maintain strength while reducing fatigue.

ENERGY DRINKS FOR 5K PERFORMANCE


Most studies on the performance enhancing benefits of caffeine are done with experienced athletes. A new one published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research uses recreational runners and popular caffeine-containing energy drinks. Let’s see how much time it cut off their 5K effort.

Thirteen men and 8 women in their early 20s consumed a 500 ml energy drink or non-caffeinated sugar-free placebo an hour before running 5 km on a treadmill. Subjects switched drinks and repeated the race 7 days later. There were no differences in rate of perceived effort, but the energy drink helped runners finish an average of 10 seconds faster.

 

TIMING MATTERS WITH MUSCLES ADAPTATIONS


 

Your body has a circadian clock that reacts to the time of day, and researchers from Northwestern University theorized that muscle tissue might work this way. This is because muscle cells operate more efficiently during the hours you are normally awake. The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Researchers had lab mice exercise at different times of day. Their muscles turned on genes that help with the adaptation to exercise at night, which is not surprising since mice are nocturnal. Although they can’t say for sure what time of day humans might be able to get the most out of exercise, it’s likely to be at some point between sunrise and sunset. Further research might bring a more conclusive answer.

Read more at Optimum Nutrition

REST PERIOD FOR ACTIVATING SPRINT SPEED



Elite soccer athletes trying to get an edge on reaching the ball sometimes try to trigger postactivation potentiation. The rest period after running 20-meter sprints with 30% body weight assistance is typically around 4 minutes. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at the impact of over-speed sprints with a shorter rest period.

Twenty four female soccer players were tested for sprint speed before performing 5 separate training sessions. Each session started with a dynamic warm up followed by a 20-meter sprint using 30% body weigh assistance. They waited 30-seconds, 1, 2 or 4 minutes before running a no body weight sprint. The first 5-meter split of that sprint was fastest after 1 or 2 minutes of rest and worked best for highly trained athletes.

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TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR METABOLISM


Your metabolism is always running, even while you’re asleep. Its rate is determined largely by your genetics. A thermogenic like caffeine or chili extract can temporarily increase the rate, but long-term alterations require lifestyle changes. That’s what a news release from the Texas A&M School of Public Health suggests.

Because muscle burns more calories than body fat, weight training can help increase muscle mass and metabolism. Hydration is also important, and eating right is another productive change you can make, getting more leafy vegetables into your diet and not skipping breakfast. You also need to get enough sleep because your metabolism can’t run efficiently without the right amount, usually defined as between 7 and 8 hours.

WATER VS. COCONUT WATER FOR HYDRATION



Losing just 2% of your body weight in fluids can have a negative impact on performance. Realizing the importance of hydration for competitive athletes, a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism put plain water up against coconut water to see which worked best.

Ten male volunteers in their 20s cycled on a stationary bike for an hour drinking 250 ml of water or coconut water every 15 minutes. Then they competed in a 10 km time trial. They could drink as much as they wanted during the last 5 minutes of the sub-maximal ride and the time trial.

There weren’t any significant differences between rate of perceived exertion, feeling of fullness, rating of thirst or time trial performance. The only real difference was subjects assigned coconut water drank less compared to the plain water group.

STATIC STRETCHING REDUCES VERTICAL JUMP


If you play a sport where jump height is important, here’s a tip for your warm up: avoid old school against the joint static stretching. According to a study published in Medicina Dello Sport, the effort can reduce squat jump, countermovement jump and vertical jumping ability.

Researchers had 42 athletes and 18 recreationally active adults participate in a low-intensity aerobic warm up for 8 minutes. Some added 6 stretching exercises for lower limb extensor, flexor and adductor muscles, holding each stretch for 20 seconds. Those who did static stretching showed impaired jump height compared to non-stretching subjects.

How Much Water Do You Really Need?



Water is important. It makes up approximately 60% of your body weight. How much you need on a daily basis is a matter of debate. The Institute of Medicine recommends about 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men. Then there’s the 8 x 8 rule where you drink a total of eight 8 ounce glasses. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers a very simple strategy: Drink when you are thirsty.

Researchers from the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Australia’s Monash University had volunteers drink large amounts of water after exercise, when they were thirsty, later in the day and when they weren’t thirsty. Using MRI scans, they determined that drinking water later in the day when subjects were not thirsty was three times more difficult compared to drinking water after exercise. Listen to your body and drink when thirsty.

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.

MEAL FREQUENCY IMPACTS DIET QUALITY



Most people sit down to 3 standard meals a day, but many active adults chasing fitness and physique goals divide those eating occasions into smaller, more frequent meals. An Australian study published in The Journal of Nutrition looks into associations between meal frequency including snacking and the nutritional quality of your diet.

Analyzing data from 5,242 adults who provided 24-hour food consumption recalls for the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, researchers found that a higher frequency of eating occasions was associated with better food variety along with greater consumption of fruit and dairy options. More frequent snacking was associated with higher consumption of added sugars. Read today’s Performance Blog to see how portion size impacts satiety.

HOW MUCH SALT IS TOO MUCH?



For decades, experts have warned that too much salt in the diet can contribute to high blood pressure. A 25-year study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology offers more incentives for paying closer attention.

The American Heart Association estimates the average American’s daily salt consumption at 3,400 mg a day, a lot of it coming from processed food. The recommended daily limit for salt is 2,400 mg.

Researchers calculated that a person consuming 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day, which is the equivalent of 3,600 mg, might increase their odds of early death by 12% just by adding an additional half teaspoon. Subjects who consumed less than 1 teaspoon per day, about 2,300 mg of salt, had a 25% lower chance of premature death.

Banana Protein Pancakes


RECIPE: BANANA PROTEIN PANCAKES

Directions:

  • Using a handheld blender or food processor, blend all ingredients together.
  • Fry on a nonstick pan further non-sticked with some butter, coconut oil, or low-calorie cooking spray.
  • Top with honey, maple syrup, nut butter, coconut oil, or chopped fruit.

Macros per one whole stack of pancakes: 477 kcal, 35 g protein, 45 g carbs (of which 7 g is fibre) and 16 g fat.

RESISTANCE WORKOUT PLANNING TIPS



People who train with weights almost every day typically plan a spit into their workouts to avoid training the same muscle groups on consecutive days. Is this really necessary? A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness compares the effects of consecutive whole body training to working all muscle groups on non-consecutive days.

Researchers assigned 11 recreationally active men to train on 3 non-consecutive days each week and 10 others to train 3 days in a row. Compared to measurements taken before the 7-week intervention, both groups gained significant amounts of leg press and bench press strength along with arm and chest size. There were no real differences between groups.
Read more at  Optimum Nutrition’s Blog (Link)

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.

WORKOUTS FOR BUILDING STRENGTH



Depending on the goal you’re working toward, there are a number of different ways to structure a weight training workout. If you’re looking for a new program to change up a stale routine, consider the findings of a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

In random order, 34 men with weight training experienced were assigned to use a specific workout twice a week for 6 weeks. The strength workout was 4 sets of 6 reps using 85% of one rep max (1RM) with 900 seconds of total rest. The hypertrophy workout was 5 sets of 10 reps using 70% 1RM with 360 seconds rest. Cluster 1 consisted of 4 sets of 6/1 reps using 85% of 1RM with 1,400 seconds rest and cluster 2 was 4 sets of 6/1 reps using 90% of 1RM with 1,400 seconds of rest.

Compared to measurements taken before the intervention, the strength workout improved 1RM by an average of 12% and the cluster 2 routine racked up 13% more 1RM strength. These programs also provided more time under tension and greater impulse generation. For comparison, 1RM strength gains were 8% with the hypertrophy workout.

WHEY & CASEIN CUT FOOD INTAKE



Protein helps rebuild muscle tissue from the breakdown of intense training. Rapidly digesting whey protein is popular post-workout to kick-start the recovery process, and slowly digesting casein can help keep the process going throughout the night while you sleep. An interesting study published in The Journal of Nutrition shows how both of these dairy proteins might help reduce caloric intake.

Researchers fed obese lab rats a high-fat control diet for 8 weeks before assigning them to an experimental diet. Some got whey protein where 26% of the calories came from whey with another 14% from egg white. Casein consuming rats got 26% of their calories from casein and another 14% from egg white. Another group got a combination where 13% of calories came from whey, 13% from casein and 14% from egg white.

Food intake decreased by 17% to 37% during the first 2 weeks of a whey or casein protein diet. Fat mass was reduced by 21% to 28% with whey and between 17% and 33% with casein. The decrease in caloric intake was 18% to 34% during the first 4 days of the whey plus casein diet, and remained 30% on the 28th day of the protein diet.

PROTEIN SYNTHESIS VARIES BY PERSON


As discussed in yesterday’s post, everyone’s a little unique in terms of how the body responds to diet and exercise. For some insight into how excess body fat might impact your transformation efforts, consider this study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers fed 10 normal weight, 10 overweight and 10 obese subjects 170 grams of lean pork containing 36 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat before collecting blood and muscle biopsy samples. Normal weight subjects showed a greater muscle protein synthesis response compared to overweight and obese subjects. This might contribute to a buildup of fat mass for those who already have more then they should.
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

RIGHT LOAD FOR FAILURE TRAINING


“Go heavy or go home.” Think old school bodybuilder saying is it based on real science or bro science? There’s only one way to find out. A study recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology put it to the test with 49 experienced male weight lifters

Subjects were assigned to 12 weeks of whole body resistance training. Some worked with 30% to 50% of their one rep max (1RM) banging out 20 to 25 reps per set. Others used a heavier load of 75% to 90% of 1RM for between 8 and 12 reps per set. All sets were performed to failure.

After the training period, 1RM increased for both groups with the only difference being the bench press where low reps increased 1RM by 14 kg while high reps produced only a 9 kg increase on average. There were no differences in muscle hypertrophy or the post-workout hormonal response to exercise.
Read more at http://www.optimumnutrition.com/en_US/news#yzFkeTKCYUWJMi8u.99

OPTIMAL AMINO ACIDS AFTER ENDURANCE


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Protein and amino acid requirements are established using a method known as indicator amino acid oxidation. To find out the amount of amino acids needed to maximize whole body protein synthesis after endurance exercise, researchers applied this tool to lab rats. Findings were published in The Journal of Nutrition.

After dividing the rodents into trained and untrained groups, researchers had their 4-legged subjects run a treadmill for an hour 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Immediately after running, the optimal amino acid intake for trained rats was 26.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Inactive rats only needed 15 grams of amino acids per kg of body weight to maximize protein synthesis, and trained rats at rest could get by with 13.3 grams. Humans aren’t rats, of course. What this research suggests is exercise increases your need for amino acids.

via @optimumnutrition

HIGH-LOAD VARIABLE RESISTANCE TRAINING


There’s a mindset in the weight room that more is better. This generalization holds up for the most part when you’re talking about progressive resistance. But what about when you’re using bands for power training? A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at high-load variable resistance as a part of a periodized training program.

Seven college basketball players added 30% of their one rep max (1RM) as band tension one weight room session per week. Another 7 continued their traditional periodized weight training program. Compared to the control group, subjects using bands realized significant increases in rate of power development as well as 1RM bench press, squat and deadlift. They also showed greater gains in muscle mass, 3RM clean and vertical jump height.

GOLD STANDARD 100% WHEY


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THE TRUE STRENGTH OF WHEY

Whey Protein Isolates (WPI) are the purest form of whey protein that currently exists. WPIs are costly to use, but rate among the best proteins that money can buy. That’s why they’re the first ingredient you read on the Gold Standard 100% Whey™ label. By using WPI as the primary ingredient along with premium ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate (WPC), we’re able to pack 24 grams of protein into every serving to support your muscle building needs after training. ON’s attention to detail also extends to mixability. This superior quality powder has been instantized to mix easily using a shaker cup or just a glass and spoon. There’s no doubt that this is the standard by which all other whey proteins are measured.

  • Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) Main Ingredient
  • Whey Protein Microfractions from Whey Protein Isolates & Ultra-Filtered Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Over 4 Grams of Glutamine & Glutamic Acid in Each Serving
  • More Than 5 Grams of the Naturally Occurring Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine in Each Serving
  • The “Gold Standard” for Protein Quality

 

THE PRE-WORKOUT FOR ANAEROBIC POWER



There have been many studies measuring the effects of caffeine on exercise performance. Quite a few used runners and cyclists as subjects. New research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition investigates whether this popular sports nutrition formula helps with anaerobic power and strength.

On 4 occasions separated by a week, 13 male subjects used a medicine ball to determine upper body explosive power, did vertical jumps to gauge lower body explosive power, had their one rep max on the bench press calculated and completed a Wingate anaerobic power test.

When they used a pre-workout 20 minutes before testing, there were significant improvements in anaerobic peak and mean power compared to no supplement and placebo conditions. According to this study, strength and power were not improved with caffeine.

WHEY VERSUS SOY PROTEIN



Some people have digestive issues with dairy proteins. Like whey and casein, soy is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids. Because it is plant-based, soy doesn’t contain the lactose found in cow’s milk, which is the source of both whey and casein protein. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutritioninvestigates the hormonal impact on resistance trained men.

Ten weight lifters in their early 20s consumed 20 grams of whey protein isolate or soy protein isolate every morning for 2 weeks. Afterward, they did 6 sets of squats for 10 reps each using 80% of their one rep max. There was a lower testosterone response to exercise in the soy group. Also, whey protein tended to blunt production of catabolic cortisol during recovery.

SECRET INGREDIENT FOR WEIGHT LOSS



What can you consume to promote weight loss? It’s not a pill or a powder. It isn’t even sold in stores. In fact, it’s pretty much free. According to a University of Michigan study published in the Annuals of Family Medicine water might be the key.

Although the association between hydration and weight isn’t crystal clear, an analysis of 9,528 adults who participated in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed obese people were more likely to be inadequately hydrated.

Their higher body mass index elevates water intake requirements. Researchers theorized obese individuals might be behaving like they’re hungry when they are thirsty. Read today’s Performance Blog for weight management research on meal timing.

Keep Protein Your Priority


You don’t have to count every single calorie and micronutrient to look great.
But protein consumption is the bedrock of any formidable physique, and it will pay off big time if you know yours and keep it dialed in.

“I’ve had great results by always getting at least a gram of protein for every gram of lean mass on my body,” many of you says. “I’m around 220 pounds and about 5-6 percent body fat, so I want to get at least 210 grams of protein each day. When I’m trying to add muscle, I dial it up even higher, as high as 300-310 grams a day.”This prescription may sound familiar, but very few people actually achieve it on a daily basis.

Track your protein intake for a few days to get an honest assessment of how much you’re getting, and adjust accordingly. Come what may, make hitting your number a priority.

HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU NEED?


Hard charging adults who train with intensity in the weight room and cover long distances running or cycling have greater hydration need than less active people. How much more isn’t well documented, and a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has interesting findings for those who carry around a gallon jug.

Researchers measured the daily fluid intake of 35 healthy males for a week before increasing their intake of water or water and other beverages by 22%. Those other options included no calorie soda and orange juice. But their 24-hour hydration status didn’t change over that time period regardless of beverages consumed. The basic rule of thumb is to drink when thirsty.

BARBELL VS. HEX BAR DEADLIFTS



You’ve probably done deadlifts with a standard Olympic barbell, and you might have tried the same exercise with a hex bar. No doubt you noticed a difference between these different types of gym apparatus, and a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research breaks it down to help you plan more effective workouts.

Twenty males with deadlifting experience were assessed for one rep max (1RM) before performing 3 reps at 65% and 85% of 1RM using each type of barbell on separate occasions. Although there were no significant differences in 1RM values, subjects achieved significantly greater peak force, power and velocity using the hex bar. That might make it a more effective tool for maximizing those aspects of athletic performance.

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.

CARDIO DAY CAN HELP BEAT CHRONIC STRESS


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Many people have to deal with the daily stresses of jobs, school studies and other situations. Constant stress can impact blood vessel health by decreasing your body’s capacity for nitric oxide induced vaso-relaxation. New research presented at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting in San Diego suggests regular cardio exercise can help reduce some negative aspects of everyday stress.

Scientists subjected lab rats to unpredictable episodes of mild stress. Some exercised on a treadmill for 8 weeks while others were inactive. The stressed fit rats showed the greatest maximal blood vessel dilation (90%) compared to the inactive stressed rats (78%). For comparison, a control group of non-stressed rats achieved a rate of 83% dilation.

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%

SLEEP BETTER ON A HIGH PROTEIN WEIGHT LOSS DIET



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On a high-protein weight loss diet, you’re likely to retain more muscle mass while losing weight. That’s why it’s the preferred diet of bodybuilders in a cutting phase. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests high-protein dieting might also come with a side benefit of improved sleep quality.

Purdue University researchers put half a group of 44 overweight volunteers on a weight loss diet with a normal protein content of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. The rest were put on a high-protein weight loss diet with 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Subjects in the high-protein group reported better sleep quality after 3 and 4 months of dieting. Sound sleep supports muscle recovery.

WALKING BURNS MORE CALORIES THAN YOU THINK


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People trying to shed a few pounds will take the stairs instead of the elevator, and that ups the daily amount of calories burned. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests the amount is probably more than two generally accepted calculations estimate.

Researchers from Southern Methodist University developed a new way to estimate the energy expenditure of walking that takes into account body weight, walking uphill and walking while carrying a load. Compared to the 40+ year old formulas, which tended to under estimate energy expenditure, this new method more accurately predicts calories burned for 97% of subjects.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY NOW LEADS TO BONE DENSITY LATER


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Participating in high-impact exercise during your teenage and early adult years helps build muscle and burn body fat. You’ve got to stay in the game to keep your muscle mass up and keep body fat in check.

But a study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health suggests regular conditioning and strength training during and following your school years might have a longer-lasting effect. Analyzing the physical histories of 203 male subjects between the ages of 30 and 65, researchers found that exercise associated bone loading during adolescence and young adulthood contributed to greater bone density later in life. Didn’t go out for high school sports? You can still build up muscle and bone density by hitting the gym in middle age.

HIIT FOR TRIATHLON TRAINING


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With 3 different modes of endurance effort to train for, triathletes typically put in long hours of high-volume effort. As an alternative, a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness looks at what young triathletes can expect to achieve with 2 weeks of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

A dozen experienced competitors engaged in 18 HIIT sessions during the 2-week intervention which included swimming, cycling and running. 6-day blocks of training were separated by 1 day of recovery. Compared to assessments before the program began, peak oxygen uptake was significantly higher and mean power during sprints increased. 750 meter swim time improved by an average of 27 seconds and subjects cut an average of 151 seconds off their 20 km cycling time.

True Strength Moment: How was a short 2 weeks of HIIT able to produce such dramatic results? Researchers think it helped reduced muscle damage from longer, less intense training sessions. Maybe a change in your cardio day can boost performance. But don’t expect immediate improvements. Research posted on the Performance Blog shows that HIIT newbies respond differently than experienced practitioners.
via @optimumnutrition

BEST MACRONUTRIENT FOR SATIETY


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Satiety is a feeling of fullness, which can help you beat back the urge to snack. It’s easy to see how this quality can help you keep calories in check throughout the day. New research published inThe Journal of Nutrition looks at the best breakfast balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat for keeping your lunch under control.

Scientists had 36 adults consume a breakfast drink where 9%, 24% or 40% of the calories came from protein. These calorie-matched drinks had a carb to fat ratio of 1:0.4, 1:2 or 1:3.6. Based on appetite ratings and blood samples, subjects who had the 40% protein drink with a 1:3.6 ratio of carbs to fat consumed 12% fewer calories at lunch compared to subjects who drank 9% protein with a 1:0.4 ratio.

True Strength Moment: Appetite ratings decreased by around 13% with greater protein. So the macronutrient most people associate with muscle, might have the potential to keep you feeling full for longer so you can focus on fighting body fat.

Training To Failure


Training to Failure?

It’s an age-old question for bodybuilders. Go to failure on every set or leave reps in the tank?Failure, which is also known Momentary Muscular Fatigue, occurs when an individual can no longer perform another rep with proper form, forcing the lifter to stop or pause the set. The concept of training to failure is certainly not new to bodybuilding. However there is not one agreed upon training system where training to failure is approached the same way.

In the early 1970s the notion of training to failure was popularized by a number of well-known bodybuilders with the belief that training to the point of muscular failure was the necessary stimulus for maximum muscular growth.

Others however have pointed out that training to failure is not only unnecessary, but it may be counterproductive and show that outside of bodybuilding, powerlifters seldom train to failure and Olympic Lifters rarely ever take sets to the point of failure and are able to obtains large, strong and muscular physiques.

So should you train to failure? Well, the answer is not a simple “yes” or “no” and in fact it’s a bit of both.

Continue reading Training To Failure

NO MUSCLE BUILDING AGE LIMIT


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After age 40, people normally start to lose muscle mass and strength. But there are going to be those stubborn individuals who are determined to stand the test of time. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests they have an ally in protein.

Researchers gave 60 healthy adults in their early 60s a milk-based protein amounting to 0.17 grams per kg of body weight twice daily at breakfast and lunch for 24 weeks. Some received a placebo. Measurements taken after the program showed an increase in muscle mass with protein compared to a loss for the placebo group.

True Strength Moment: There was no mention of strength training in this research abstract, but hitting the weight room and refueling with protein is likely to help transform your body in positive ways – whether you’re in your 20s or older. To see what more frequent eating does for appetite suppression, check out today’s Performance Blog post.

BEST CARDIO FOR CALORIE BURNING


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You’ve probably heard that interval training can produce results similar to steady state running or cycling in about half the time. Depending on your goal, there are a couple different ways to approach this form of cardio. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compares what can be accomplished with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Sprint Interval Training (SIT).

On separate occasions, 4 active women and 8 men in their mid-20s did sprint intervals as 8 bouts of 30-second all-out pedaling on a stationary bike (SIT) or 8 minute-long sets of pedaling at 85% of capacity (HIIT). Oxygen consumption with higher but lactate buildup was lower with high-intensity intervals, allowing subjects to burn significantly more calories with a lower reported rate of perceived exertion.

True Strength Moment: Put this workout to the test to see if you can burn more calories on cardio day. And if weight loss is one of your goals, check out today’s Performance Blog post for some interesting research on dieting.

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POMEGRANATE-FUELED ENDURANCE


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Distance runners and cyclists looking for a new way to fuel endurance training might want to consider pomegranate juice. According to a study published online in the journal Nutrition, 22 days of consuming 200 ml of pomegranate juice can reduce oxidative stress from exercise.

Blood markers of oxidative stress remained at baseline for endurance athletes who got the juice, compared to the elevated levels in athletes who received a placebo. The pomegranate juice drinkers also showed small decreases in markers of inflammation.

True Strength Moment: 200 ml equals 6.7 fluid ounces, so were aren’t talking about a lot of juice per day. It’s important to note that the juice used in this study was made from not just the pomegranate fruit, but also the seeds and peel, which may have elevated the antioxidant effect.

TASTE OF SWEET IS HARD TO BEAT


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Humans are born preferring sweet tasting foods and drinks. That’s one of the reasons sugar is added to so many processed foods. Can this preference be altered by adhering to a reduced sugar diet? A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests short-term perceptions of sweetness won’t change long-term behaviors.

Researchers recruited healthy adults who consumed at least two sugar-sweetened beverages a day and put some on a diet that replaced 40% of their daily sugar consumption with proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates. After 3 months, they rated vanilla pudding and a raspberry beverage sweeter tasting than subjects who didn’t restrict sugar consumption. But their sweetness level preference remained the same.

True Strength Moment: These subjects who reduced their intake of sugar quickly returned to consuming their normal intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods. So, like adhering to a weight loss diet, you have to stick with the program if you want to see long-term results.

REP PAUSE VS. CONSTANT REPS


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If you put your mind to it, you can come up with several ways to perform reps for just about any resistance training exercise. One variation is pausing between reps on certain sets, and a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine shows how the effect it can have on workload.

Researchers had subjects perform 4 sets of knee extensions for 12 reps using 70% of their one rep max. Some did continuous reps while others paused either 5 seconds or 10 seconds during reps in the middle sets. Pausing increased systolic blood pressure and cardiac output more than constant reps, but subjects reported a lower rate of perceived exertion.

True Strength Moment: Despite an elevated cardiovascular response, pausing during middle sets makes the effort seem easier. Give this strategy a try to see what it does for your weight room workouts. And check today’s Performance Blog to see what all-out 200 meter swimming alters.

GLUTAMINE HELPS WITH RECOVERY



Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle. It’s considered conditionally essential because your body can produce an adequate supply under normal conditions. But the weight room has a way of taking normal to the extreme. A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests glutamine might help with eccentric exercise recovery.

Sixteen subjects performed 8 sets of knee extensions for 10 reps using 125% of maximum force with 2 minutes of rest between sets. Some supplemented with 0.3 grams of glutamine per kg of body weight for 3 days while the rest got a maltodextrin placebo. Men using glutamine produced greater peak torque post-workout compared to placebo takers, and both men and women using glutamine reported lower levels of soreness 72 hours after training.

True Strength Moment: Glutamine appears to help accelerate recovery from eccentric exercise. Men seem to regain muscular force faster than women when using this supplement. For research on how different carbs power endurance exercise, read today’s Performance Blog post.

CASEIN SUPPRESSES TRIGLYCERIDES


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Whey and casein are both milk proteins, with whey the faster digesting and casein taking a longer amount of time to be absorbed. This separates them into unique usage occasions for different aspects of workout recovery. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests digestion rate isn’t the only area of differentiation between these dairy proteins.

Researchers incorporated each protein as 15% of the calories in a high-fat meal served to 10 healthy overweight men. Blood levels of glucose, amino acids and insulin weren’t very different after the meal, but post-meal triglycerides were reduced by around 20% with casein. The effect lasted for 6 hours.

True Strength Moment: It turns out that casein’s lower acidity compared to whey helps separate more protein from fat. With whey, protein tends to be suspended in fat globules known as chylomicrons which transport nutrients throughout the body.

HIGH-PROTEIN WITH HEAVY LIFTING


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To measure the effect of a high-protein diet and heavy weight lifting, researchers recruited 48 adults with resistance training experience and assigned them to a diet where they consumed either 2.3 grams or 3.4 grams of protein per kg of body weight daily. Findings were published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

All subjects tracked progress in a split-routine periodized heavy resistance training program along with dietary intake in a journal. They trained 5 days a week. After 8 weeks, the 2.3 gram per day group gained an average of 1.3 kg in body weight while subjects on the higher protein diet lost a small amount of body weight and more fat mass than lower protein subjects despite consuming significantly more calories. Improvements in one rep max strength, vertical jumps and pull ups were similar between groups.

True Strength Moment: If you weigh 180 pounds, you’d be consuming 188.5 grams of protein daily on the lower protein diet described in this study, and 278.8 grams per day on the higher protein diet. For some perspective, your average chicken breast yields about 30 grams of protein. It is possible to get much of a good thing.

GOOD VERSUS BAD PROTEINS


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Protein is the building block on muscle and other tissues. It’s the foundation of any bodybuilding or strength development goal. But the World Health Organization has some unkind words for certain proteins. A review of evidence by 22 scientists put processed meats in the same cancer risk category as tobacco smoking and asbestos. Their findings are published in The Lancet.

In addition to high biological value protein, red meat from cattle is a good source of B vitamins, iron and zinc. Researchers determined that risk increases with consumption, so they suggest red meat should be considered a once in a while food.

True Strength Moment: A healthy, balanced diet should include a variety of whole foods, which remain in as a close to their natural state as possible. Red meat falls into this category, and it’s up to you how often to put it on the menu. Processed meats like bacon, sausage and hot dogs are a different story.

إحزر و إربح


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BEST SQUAT FOR ELITE ATHLETES


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There’s a saying in the weight room that practitioners ought to go heavy or go home. But there’s more than one way to perform squats, and a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports attempts to nail down the most effective for elite athletes.

Researchers had 10 top-tier track and field athletes perform 10 sets of 5 squats on 3 separate occasions. The resistance was heavy, moderate or light. The highest rate of power was achieved with the lightest load, and greatest repetition impulse occurred with the heaviest weight. Although maximal voluntary contraction, rate of force development and peak twitch force deceased with all loads, the effect was more pronounced when using the heaviest weight. So to optimize strength and power development, go with a moderate load.

True Strength Moment: If you want to build muscle size, then going heavy is probably a good choice. For athletic performance, this might not be the best approach. Even if your training is more physique oriented, you probably ought to lighten the load every every once in a while. Just to change things up.

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.

Fast Facts about Fats and Oils


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Fat
is solid at room temperature; Oil is liquid.

Everyone needs some fat in their diet. Around 20-30% of daily calories.
A tablespoon of fat or oil has 120 calories! Or 250 calories per oz. or 9 calories per gram.

Vegetable Oil – from peanut, soya bean, sunflower, sesame, coconut, olive, and other vegetable oils
Animal Fat – lard (pig fat), fish oil, and butter. From fats in the milk, meat and under the skin of the animal
Hydrogenation – artificial process conversion of liquid vegetable oils to solid or semi-solid fats (as in margarine). turns unsaturated fat to saturated fat. Creates trans-fat. Increases the risk of heart disease. Very Bad.
Hydrogenated oil – vegetable oil that has been hydrogenated. Keep away.
Partially hydrogenated oil – vegetable oil that has been hydrogenated to some degree. Keep away as well.
Saturated fat – occurs naturally in animal fats, or artificially in vegetable oils when hydrogenated. Use in moderation – raises risk of heart disease
Monounsaturated fat – “good fat” – lowers bad blood cholesterol levels (LDL). May increase good cholesterol (HDL)
Polyunsaturated fat – “good fat” in moderation.
Trans-fat – “bad fat” created by artificial hydrogenation. Increases the risk of heart attack even in small quantities.
Cholesterol – found only in animal fats. Humans have cholesterol too, but it is mostly derived from saturated and trans-fats, not directly from animal cholesterol.
Omega-3 – polyunsaturated fat. Required in our diet. A quarter teaspoon a day. sources: leafy veggies, fish, fish oil, eggs, chicken.
Omega-6 – polyunsaturated fat. Required in our diet. sources: seed oils – soybean, safflower, sunflower or corn.
(Note: the right proportion between omega-6 and omega-3 intake is important. It should be 4:1, but in most western diets it is 10:1. That’s why we are all being encouraged to consume more omega-3.)
Omega-9 – polyunsaturated fat. good. sources: olive and nut oils.

Advanced:
Fatty acids – the building blocks of fat. The above terms refer to fatty acids (polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega-3 fatty acid, etc…)
Lipid – the scientific term for fat
Triglyceride – a combo of 3 fatty acids found in fat.

TRADITIONAL & POLARIZED ENDURANCE


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Back in the day, endurance athletes used traditional threshold training encompassing both high volume and high intensity. This technique might work for novice athletes, but it only slightly improved the performance of highly trained runners and cyclists, and may contribute to overtraining. A study published in theJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research compares this program to polarized training.

Analyzing 5 studies, scientists put the traditional model up against an undulated non-linear periodization program where individuals limit time spent training at race pace by separating high-intensity workouts with one or more slow long-distance sessions. They found this new model superior to the old school approach for increasing aerobic endurance, especially when high-intensity sessions were performed as intervals.

True Strength Moment: There’s always a new way to train for performance improvement, and this one might help elite athletes keep on top of their game without overdoing it.

JUMP SQUATS FOR SPORT PERFORMANCE


Power and speed training can really add something to your team sports performance. There are more than a couple of ways to approach this challenge and squat jumps are an excellent option. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests it can be altered to achieve very different outcomes.

Twenty-four elite high school aged soccer players were assessed before and after 6 weeks of lower body power training 3 days a week. Some maximized the velocity of their jumps while other decreased velocity. Performance increased for both groups. The greatest gains in 1 rep max came with reduced velocity squats while the fastest 5 to 20 meter sprints resulted from increased velocity.

True Strength Moment: Now you have a couple different options for bringing up sticking points. Make adjustments depending on which areas of your game you need the most work.

EAT MORE OF THIS TO LOSE WEIGHT


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It isn’t very often you find a diet program encouraging people to eat more. Most adults on a weight loss diet are cutting their consumption of fat, carbohydrates or pretty much everything. A study published in the journal PLOS Medicine suggests a simple approach shown to be effective over a 24-year period.

Analyzing data from 133,468 American adults from the Nurse’s Health Study, Health Professional’s Follow Up Study and Nurse’s Health Study II, researchers determined that each extra daily serving of fruit was associated with about a quarter of a pound weight loss over 4 years. It was about the same for each extra serving of non-starchy vegetables.

True Strength Moment: The trick here is to choose your vegetables wisely. Where non-starchy vegetable consumption was associated with weight loss, consumption of starchy vegetables had the opposite effect. Over the same 4-year period, a 1.13 pound weight gain was estimated for pea consumption and just over 2 pounds would be gained by eating corn.

AMINOS & CAFFEINE BEAT THE HEAT


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No serious team sports athlete wants to get fatigued in the heat of the competition. If you’re preparing to take the field of a hot afternoon, the findings of a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism may be of interest.

Researchers had non-elite male team sports athletes take part in a simulated repeat-sprint test under hot, hypoxic conditions. On separate occasions, they got 3 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight, 14 grams of essential amino acids or a supplement containing both ingredients.

The caffeine and amino acid combination helped subjects keep pace with sprint performance more effectively than placebo or either of the single-ingredient supplements. It also helped reduce decreases in quadriceps activity and lower oxygenation in the brain’s frontal cortex

True Strength Moment: This study suggests that a combination of essential amino acids and caffeine might help driven competitors maintain their performance longer under less than ideal conditions. The best place to test this hypothesis would probably be during a demanding practice session.

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HIIT KETTLEBELLS VS. CYCLING


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There’s more than one way to do any style of workout. Consider high-intensity exercise, which typically includes running and cycling. Here’s what happens when you add kettlebells to the mix. If you’ve been shown how to use these handled weights, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Researchoffers an interesting workout to consider working into your routine.

Researchers had 8 male volunteers perform 12 minutes of kettlebell swings using a Tabata regimen of 5 minutes to warm up, 8 intervals of 20-second all-out effort with 10 seconds between sets and 2 minutes to cool down. For the next session, subjects did three 30-second sets of all out cycling with 4 minutes of recovery between sets. Oxygen consumption and calorie burning were both higher during kettlebell training.

True Strength Moment: Interval training with kettlebells appears to offer a great alternative to your typical cardio day options. You’d think the benefits of this type of training would be limited to younger, more physically fit adults. A post on today’s ABB Performance Blog suggests otherwise.

BEST LABEL SYSTEM FOR FOODS?



How often do you read the facts panels on packages of food and beverages you consume? If they were easier to understand, would you use them more often? The French High Council for Public Health believes a 5-color nutrition label is the most effective, and a study published in the journal Nutrients explains why.

Each product is rated on a scale of green, yellow, orange, pink and red, based on levels of calories, sugar, saturated fat, sodium, fiber, protein and amounts of fruits and vegetables per 100 grams. Basically, this system helps factor all those things into one simple color representing good, bad or somewhere in between.

A web-based questionnaire tested consumer responses to frozen fish, pizza, dairy, breakfast products and appetizers and found that people who typically make bad food decisions had a much easier time figuring out what was their most nutritionally sound choice with this 5-color system.

True Strength Moment: Understanding facts panels on various food products isn’t that difficult. But there is an online resource available to help you increase your experience on judging the quality and value of protein powders. Read ON’s Protein Report and apply this knowledge before your next purchase.

CALORIE COUNTING VS CLEAN EATING


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Low fat or low carb? There are numerous ways to pursue a diet. Whether you’re working hard to transform your body, or maintain the shape you’ve already achieved, research recently published in online journal Open Heart argues against counting calories. Instead, focus on the nutritional values of the foods you eat.

Because adherence to a low-calorie diet isn’t necessarily associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, the authors suggest boosting omega-3 intake by eating more cold water fish, olive oil and nuts. Fruits and vegetables obviously make good choices, but the experts warn against consumption of sugary drinks and fast food.

True Strength Moment: What these scientists are recommending is essentially a Mediterranean style diet containing healthy unsaturated fats. This diet is a lot easier to adhere to than counting calories, and it provides a balance of nutrients from a variety of fresh whole foods.

OMEGA-3 EPA & BACTERIA


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There are millions of bacteria in your digestive tract known collectively as microflora. Some people use probiotics as a way to promote a good balance of these organisms, and a study published in the journal Lipid Technology suggests omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) might help increase an immune signaling protein that promotes normal gut bacteria.

True Strength Moment: EPA is found in cold water fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna. Previous research published in theJournal of Functional Food found that omega-3 fatty acids encapsulated with probiotic bacteria can have a beneficial synergistic effect. Kind of a mini stack for your stomach.

HIGH-PROTEIN BREAKFAST BENEFITS


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Protein is the nutritional building block of muscle mass. It’s also been shown to help preserve muscle while you’re trying to lose weight. Ramping this macronutrient’s potential up a notch, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests high-protein breakfasts can help prevent body fat buildup in overweight teenagers.

For 12 weeks, researchers had some overweight teens consume a normal amount of protein at breakfast by pouring milk over cereal. That was 13 grams. The high-protein group consumed 35 grams from eggs, dairy and lean pork. Not only did that breakfast help prevent body fat gains, but subjects reduced daily food intake and reported less hunger.

True Strength Moment: The study’s abstract didn’t mention anything about regular exercise, but 35 grams of protein at breakfast is a good way to start busy days.

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

EATING FOR CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH


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Endurance training whether running, cycling or swimming supports cardiovascular health while building your level of fitness. Now a study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests consuming certain amino acids can also make a difference.

Researchers examined the eating habits of 1,898 female twins between the ages of 18 and 75 registered in the TwinsUK database. Answers to food frequency questionnaires helped them calculate individual intake of arginine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, leucine and tyrosine from protein foods.

It was determined that higher protein intake and consumption of these 7 amino acids was associated with lower systolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure and pulse wave velocity which is a measurement of blood vessel stiffness.

True Strength Moment: These amino acids are found in meat, dairy and vegetable foods. In fact, higher consumption of amino acids from plant sources was associated with lower central blood pressure. Add this to the growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet.

DIET DISTRACTIONS DURING SUMMER


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You can see how school aged children with the summer off would watch more TV than usual. A study published in the Journal of School Health confirmed that assumption while also suggesting sugar consumption increases while vegetable eating decreases during the summer months.

Researchers collected data from 6,400 American school children ranging in age from first grade through the last year of high school between 2003 and 2008. An analysis showed they watched an average of 20 minutes more TV each day and drank 3 more ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages in summertime compared to the school year.

True Strength Moment: On a positive note, most kids got in 5 more minutes of exercise during summer vacation, with high school aged subjects participating in significantly more. But getting back to diet, do you pay close attention to what you’re eating June through August?

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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Omega 3S Might Fight Fatigue


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Many people supplement their diet with Omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fish. Whether or not you like seafood or supplement with Omega-3s, a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition should be of interest to any active adult chasing a physical performance or physique goals.

Thirty male athletes in their mid-20s who trained an average of 17 hours a week supplemented their diet with 5 ml of seal oil containing 375 mg of EPA and 510 mg of DHA, or an olive oil placebo, for 21 days. Before and after this period, subjects were assessed with a time trial race and maximum voluntary contractions. Omega-3 supplementation increased maximal isometric contractions while decreasing the reduction of powder during Wingate test performance.

True Strength Moment: Many dieters make the mistake of avoiding all fats when trying to lose weight. Because your body uses dietary fat for numerous metabolic functions, cutting this macronutrient completely out of your diet probably isn’t a realistic long-term solution. Instead trade saturated fats for unsaturated fats like Omega-3s.

via @optimumnutrition

CREATINE’S EFFECT ON OXIDATION



For all the good that exercise does, these benefits are balanced by muscle breakdown and oxidative stress. During recovery, muscles are rebuilt bigger and stronger with the help of amino acids from protein, and nutrients from a healthy, balanced diet can also counter the potentially damaging effects of free radicals. A study published in the journal Redox Report shows how creatine supplementation can suppress oxidation.

Researchers supplemented the diets of 32 lab rats with creatine monohydrate. Another 32 consumed their regular diet. All of the rodents performed weighted vertical jumps in water as their anaerobic exercise. Creatine supplementation inhibited the increase in blood markers of oxidation.

True Strength Moment: Regulars in the weight room typically supplement with creatine to help increase muscle size, strength and power. Whether this popular sports nutrition product’s antioxidant qualities carry over to humans is unknown.

via @optimumnutrition

DIFFERENT PROTEIN TIMING STRATEGY


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Many weight training adults drink a protein shake within an hour of completing their workout. The protein source is usually rapidly-digesting whey, which is a complete protein and a good source of naturally occurring BCAAs. This helps kick start the process known as protein synthesis, which plays an important role in exercise recovery.

What if you drank a protein shake right before bed instead? A study published in The Journal of Nutrition had 44 male subjects in their early 20s consume a supplement containing 27.5 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates every night before bed during a 12-week progressive resistance training program. Some subjects got a placebo instead.

Compared to measurements taken before the program began, both groups realized muscle size and strength gains, and the most significant improvements were seen in subjects who got the protein/carb shake before bed.

True Strength Moment: The study abstract didn’t mention any post-workout supplementation or what type of protein subjects consumed before bed. Since the time you spend sleeping is the longest your body goes without nutritional support, a slowly-digesting micellar casein protein might be better than whey for this usage occasion.

Via @optimumnutrition

Suggested Product: ON’s Casein

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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 )

VITAMIN E MATTERS FOR MUSCLES


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Many weight room regulars know their workouts result in exercise induced muscle damage. The repair of muscle tissue during the recovery phase is where size and strength gains are realized. Amino acids from protein play an important part in recovery, and a study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicineexplains vitamin E’s role.

According to researchers, without vitamin E the plasma membrane surrounding muscle cells wouldn’t properly repair itself. Every cell in your body has a plasma membrane, and vitamin E helps control not only the healing action, but what moves in and out.

True Strength Moment: The importance of the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates and fats is fairly well understood. This research suggests you shouldn’t underestimate the value of micronutrients in the form of vitamins and essential minerals.

via@optimumnutrition

MAXIMIZE LEG DAY POWER OUTPUT


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Plyometric depth jumps can help increase maximum power output in lower body muscles. This can be advantageous to athletes participating in a wide range of individual and team sports. Consider the findings of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research before selecting your drop height.

After testing 30 recreationally active college aged men for maximal muscle strength, scientists had them perform a series of depth jumps from 4.7 inches to 32.2 inches in height. Stronger subjects realized maximal power output on higher drops compared to weaker subjects. So if you’re really strong, work with a 24.4 inch platform, and if you’re new to the gym a 12.5 inch height might be a good place to start.

True Strength Moment: Because everyone’s a little different, you’ll want to experiment with what you can achieve using a range within each target height. Keep going higher as your training gradually progresses and your power output increases.

REASONS TO NOT SKIP MEALS


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When you notice you’re putting on a little unwanted weight, the impulse is to cut back on calories. For some, this might mean skipping a meal or fasting for a certain amount of time. A study on lab mice published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistrysuggests that might not be the best approach.

Some mice in the lab at The Ohio State University were allowed to eat whenever they wanted. Another group was only allowed to eat for around 4 hours each day. At first, this group only got half the calories of the eat anytime group, but after less than a week they were given the same amount of food – which they consumed in 4 hours. This turned initial weight loss into abdominal weight gain, and contributed to spikes and crashes of blood sugar.

True Strength Moment: Obviously, this binging and fasting cycle was counterproductive to weight loss and overall well-being. One of the Ohio State researchers suggested eating small meals throughout the day might be helpful for weight loss. It’s a strategy bodybuilders have practiced for decades.

20 Years of Excellence


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For two decades, MuscleTech has delivered industry defining product innovations that have helped athletes achieve their goals. The commitment to science is unprecedented and the quest to bring forward new innovation has only just begun. We take this landmark milestone to step back and reflect upon the millions who have trusted the brand to reach their end fitness goal.

Happy Birthday MuscleTech and cheers to 20 more years of excellence!

MuscleTech #muscletech #20years #anniversary #excellence #birthday #beirut #fitness #fit #birthday #supplements #firstnutritionlebanon #firstnutrition

DON’T TEXT ON THE TREADMILL


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It’s obvious why you shouldn’t text while driving a vehicle. The distraction could lead to an accident. New research from Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services suggests texting or talking on the phone while running the treadmill can limit potential fitness gains by reducing the intensity of exercise.

Researchers had 44 students participate in 4 separate half-hour treadmill sessions. During one, they had no access to a phone. While taking part in the others they either listened to music, talked or texted. Listening to music increased exercise time and intensity, as measured by heart rate, and talking made exercise seem more enjoyable while also reducing running speed. Texting reduced both speed and heart rate.

True Strength Moment: Previous studies have shown that music, especially tunes with a motivational beat, can help you keep at it longer and harder in the gym. This study shows how distractions like talking and texting can hold you back.

10 Superfoods for Athletes


10 Superfoods for Athletes

Legumes

Sometimes referred to as “the poor man’s meat,” legumes are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which can help keep blood sugar and energy levels stable. As far as plant foods go, most legumes are relatively high in protein and are a good source of slowly assimilating complex carbohydrates. This is great for providing a more stable and longer lasting supply of energy to working muscles. Add them to chilis, stews, and soups, or have them in your salad at lunch to stay full and satisfied well past the three-o’clock slump. Try kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and any of the other varieties you see on grocery store shelves.

Continue reading 10 Superfoods for Athletes

BREATHING & RANGE OF MOTION


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When you’re stretching out before training or competition, you probably aren’t thinking too much about breathing patterns. But a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests breathing might have an impact on muscle activity and joint range of motion.

Eighteen recreationally active men and women in their early 20s followed a number of different breathing patterns while stretching hamstring muscles. They included pre-stretch inhale and exhale, during stretch inhale and exhale, over-breathing (hyperventilating) and under-breathing (hypoventilation). Inhaling during the stretch and hypoventilating produced the lowest levels of muscle activity for both men and women, and increased range of motion in female subjects only.

True Strength Moment: This is an interesting study demonstrating how the different systems of your body can work together to produce outcomes. Depending on your sport and goals, you might want to experiment with these breathing strategies when warming up or cooling down.

GROW MUSCLES IN YOUR SLEEP


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We don’t have to tell you that building a muscular physique isn’t easy. It takes many trips to the weight room and meticulous attention to your diet. Then there’s the dilemma of which protein to use and when. A study published in The Journal of Nutritionillustrates the importance of nighttime protein.

Forty-four males in their early 20s took part in a 12-week resistance training program. Right before bed, half of them got a shake containing 27.5 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbohydrates and 0.1 gram of fat. The rest received a non-caloric placebo. The protein drinkers showed more significant improvements in strength along with a greater degree of type II muscle fiber growth.

True Strength Moment: Although the study abstract didn’t identify the type of protein used, a slower digesting micellar casein protein can deliver BCAAs to recovering muscles for up to 8 hours, making it a solid choice for those wanting to put this research to the test.

via @optimumnutrition

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CARDIO VS. IRON FOR WEIGHT LOSS


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Most health professionals will tell you that cutting calories and exercising regularly are the keys to weight loss success. Can you accomplish more by choosing endurance exercise over weight lifting? A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiologysuggests the choice might not matter that much.

Researchers had 96 obese men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 consume 30% fewer calories than they burned each day. They were then assigned to endurance training (running, elliptical work or cycling), weight training (shoulder press, squats, barbell row, biceps curl, lateral split, front split, bench press and French press), a combination of endurance and strength training or 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day in accordance with physical activity guidelines. Subjects not in the daily guidelines group trained 3 times a week at between 50% and 60% of exercise capacity.

True Strength Moment: After 22 weeks, researchers discovered that all participants lost significant amounts of weight and body fat, reduced body mass index and waist circumference, and increased muscle mass. This suggests it’s not so much what exercise you do, but making sure you do it regularly.
via@optimumnutrition

HOW FATTY FOODS EFFECT MUSCLES


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Eat clean for five days and eat whatever you want on the weekend. Some fit active people adhere to this approach. After all, what could possibly happen over the course of just a couple days? More than you might imagine according to a study recently published in the journal Obesity.

Researchers from the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences found that in just 5 days, a high-fat diet can change the way your muscles process glucose after a meal. Muscles make up about 30% of the average person’s body weight and play an important part in glucose metabolism. Levels of glucose in your bloodstream rise after a meal, and muscles help determine whether this carbohydrate energy is used or stored.

True Strength Moment: For some perspective, in a normal diet about 30% of the calories come from fat. In the diet researchers used for this study, subjects consumed about 55% of their calories from fat. Their overall caloric intake didn’t change from normal to high-fat eating, so be careful about how you distribute macronutrients at mealtime.

via @optimumnutrition #ON #optimumnutrition @team_on

Should You Take BCAAs for Muscle Growth?


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BCAAs are a collection of three amino acids with a side chain that is branched. They are leucine, isoleucine, and valine (usually in a 2:1:1 ratio).

Leucine itself is known to be an “anabolic factor” and signal for muscle protein synthesis, when calories or protein is low, this anabolic signal appears to help prevent muscle loss or even promote muscle gain. Naturally, it would make sense to take BCAAs. But your needs depend more on how much protein you’re eating during the day.

While BCAAs tend to be high in leucine, so are all complete protein sources. So whether you’re chugging down a protein shake or chomping on a steak, you’re taking in BCAAs and a pretty significant dose of leucine.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Most research on BCAAs compares the consumption of the magical three ingredients to low- or no-protein intake at all. In those scenarios, yes, you want to pump those BCAAs to help prevent muscle loss or even spark muscle gains.

If you’re eating your protein, the speed of absorption and the amino acid amounts take on secondary importance because if the total amount of protein you take in is on par with what your body needs to grow, then you’ll have everything your muscles need.

The exception to the rule occurs when you’re dieting or eating fewer calories.

Some research does suggest that taking in more BCAAs might help you preserve your muscle as you drop fat.