Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cholesterol The Natural Steroid Precursor

In today's society the fear of eating cholesterol is rampant. Drug companies have cashed in on this mass hysteria and now 1 out of every 3 people are taking cholesterol lowering medications. This is abhorable! Cholesterol is not the bad guy. In fact, cholesterol is a precursor to testosterone and most of it synthetic derivatives. Cholesterol is converted into the precursor pregnenolone, which is converted into three additional intermediate molecules, 17-hydroxypregnenolone--Dehydroepiandrostreone--Androstenediol. The ultimate result of this conversion sequence is Testosterone. Testosterone is one the anabolic agents associated with protein synthesis and muscle growth. Testosterone, once produced, does not have a long life span in the body. Testosterone is absorbed in the prostate, seminal vesicles, kidneys, skeletal muscle, liver, and binding factors such as plasma proteins albumin and sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). So as you can there are many pathways that testosterone can be diverted to. Natural testosterone last life span of ten to twenty minutes. This is why athletes and body builders take injectable testosterone. They can keep testosterone processing in the blood for hours. For the natural person, however, we must figure out ways to boost testosterone by staying within healthy and safe parameters.

To keep seeing changes in the muscle it is important to eat and exercise correctly to increase the natural production of testosterone. Women have less testosterone then men and find it harder to metabolize off excess fat. They are taught that cardiovascular exercise ONLY is the way to burning off fat. They don't activate enough testosterone in their body because most women are afraid of eating food, let alone cholesterol. When in fact most women should be eating good cholesterol because it is the precursor to hormone production. Hormones help regulate all the systems of the body. Imbalances in hormones only produce dysfunction to the regulatory systems of the body. Hence the reason why so many people are over fat. They are told to reduce their cholesterol. They take medications to lower cholesterol. Now the body is being deprogrammed of its cholesterol manufacturing ability and this alters normal hormone production. There is a small population that actually needs cholesterol medication, but I don't feel that 1 out of every 3 people is necessary. I body build and when I got my cholesterol checked it was considered higher than the normal range (160 rather than 140). It is high because as a body builder I need the extra cholesterol to help support my testosterone levels so that I can activate and grow more muscle. How dumb would it be to take a drug to lower my cholesterol when I need it. Intense training warrants the need for more cholesterol. This is why eggs are a superior food. Because they carry enough good cholesterol to supply the damaged muscle tissue with fat, protein and cholesterol. Keeping the production of good cholesterol going throughout the day will boost the anabolic properties. It is not wise to exclude cholesterol from your nutrition intake. Take away cholesterol from the diet and your body will have adverse effects.

tags: cholesterol, apollo ohno, tiger woods, john mayer, bono, U2, the boston Redsox, testosterone, steroids, hormones, fat loss, anabolic effect,

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Effect of Drinking Alcohol

Have you ever wondered why you can't lose the fat around the abdominal area. It sits around the abs like a fat belt. One of the reasons for this is because of cortisol build up in the omentum as a result of drinking alcohol.

In order to live you have to have Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy compound that is produced in the mitochondria of a cell. The more ATP you develop the more energy you have. The more energy equates for greater fat burning. Exercise can increase the number and size of mitochondria in muscle cells. Drinking alcohol producing weight gain. Alcohol destroys mitochondria's. Therefore, destroying the energy of the body. The result is stored fat. Abdominal fat is a result of damaged energy processing in the body and cortisol build up. By avoiding alcohol you can drop excess fat from the visceral area. Alcohol is a valueless compound that only causes inflammatory reactions in the human body.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Lose Weight

Here is the skinny on losing fat. First of all I must say I get annoyed when the media, saturday morning infomercials, and the general population of America talk about LOSING WEIGHT. This is ignorant and inaccurate. People are so fixated to the stupid scale that they become obsessed with numbers. This is bogus! I am not going to live my life standing on a thing that tells me how much I weigh. And that becomes the measure of fitness. Come on folks, this is ridiculous!!!

I am amazed at how marketing works in our country. I could go on television and tell all the secrets about losing FAT and there would be no one watching. But the minute I started talking about losing weight then half of America would be watching and signing up for whatever secret product I was selling. I could be selling lawn chairs telling people that lying on them would help you lose WEIGHT. I could get a couple of hot chicks in bikini's to lay on them, and America would buy it. Just because I use the words LOSE WEIGHT. I give seminars on nutrition and fitness at my gym on a regular basis. As an experiment I put up sign that read " Learn the secrets to FAT LOSS". No one signed up for the seminar. Then I changed it to "Learn the secrets to WEIGHT LOSS, within a day I had close to 50 sign ups. It is all about the wording. I get embarrassed by the stupidity of this country sometimes.

Here is why I get irate.

First we all have a required set point of weight that our body is designed to stay close to throughout our adult life. This set point is written in our DNA and cannot be changed unless we alter our DNA, which can happen.

Second, we have billions and billions of cells that replicate and die off every second of our life. Cells are the essence of our being. Our DNA coding is based on keeping the cells replicating and providing the necessary network of physiology to keep all the tissues in our body alive and working. There is a certain amount of fat, muscle, bone, water, that the body must have to sustain life. This is known as our body composition. Knowing the healthy parameters of your body composition will decipher what your true set point is supposed to be.

The set point is the weight that your body is supposed to be throughout your adult life. There are small increases and decreases during life. But for the most part we maintain close to our set point most of our life. The set point is designed in the DNA. If we didn't have this written code in our DNA then we would keep growing and growing and growing. There would be no regulation to our cellular make up. Our DNA was designed to limit our size. I will never be seven feet tall weighing at 300 pounds, no matter how much try. My DNA make up simply won't allow it. However, we can alter the DNA if we damage the cellular replication cycle. People who gain an excessive amount of weight after the age of 25 have altered their DNA because they have damaged the physiological and hormonal sequence of the DNA to keep their body at their respectable set point. They have forced their body to go beyond what is normal. When the body exceeds the set point beyond a significant amount of weight it is hard to ever get back to the original set point. Over time the DNA will be reprogrammed to try to remedy the excessive weight gain and try to get the body back to its original size. However, this becomes damaging when the weight gain becomes a chronic event. At this point the body will re-establish a new set point to try to keep up with the vital nutrient exchange system and cellular demand. This is why some folks who are over weight and/or obese can maintain a certain weight even when they are carrying the added weight. I call this set point override. Again the body will do everything it can to avoid the excessive weight gain, but if the person continues to force added weight on the body it will continue to damage the set point and it will over ride the DNA and this will force another "faulty" set point at a higher weight. This becomes very dangerous.

This is why steroid users have a tough time staying big. They start out at their normal set point and then they take steroids. The steroids force the DNA to keep producing a greater than normal cellular hypertrophy. The person puts on a tremendous amount of muscle. This amount of muscle is consider foreign to the person's own DNA. The DNA is trying to get the person's muscle size back to its normal level but the steroids over ride this and forces the DNA to reconfigure its coding to support the added muscle size. If a steroid user goes on one cycle and sees added muscle size and then comes off the cycle, they will go right back to their original set point. The damage has not effected the DNA to this point. But if the person goes on many cycles then they take the risk of damaging the DNA forever. Long time steroid users are usually in terrible condition and have many damaging side effects to their vital organs and health. They have over ridden their DNA to the point where the DNA can longer support normal cellular functions. The regular homeostatic processes of hormones, and cellular physiology are beyond repair forcing the organs to become dysfunctional.

You don't have to be on steroids to have a damaging effect to your physiological systems. Adhering to WHACKED OUT insufficient, stupid nutrition practices and exercise routines will cause the same problem over time as taking steroids.

If you LOSE WEIGHT this is what happens. Let's say your body's DNA is coded for you to be 150 pounds 22% body fat, 78% lean body mass, respectively. You're a female and when you are 25 years old you notice that your body is 150 pounds at 22% body fat. The reason 25 is a magic number is because this is the age of the body's full maturation and development. Hormones are at their peak, the body composition is established, peak reproductive sensitivity. So, now the woman gets on the scale and starts to cry because she weighs 150 pounds. This freaks her out and she automatically goes into an obsessive compulsive sequence to LOSE WEIGHT. In her mind she believes that she should weigh 118 pounds because that is what the bimbos with their skimpy bikinis on the front of the magazines weigh. So now this lady goes into a total psychological tailspin. She subscribes to all the fads and products out there that supposively help TO LOSE WEIGHT. She is a sucka for all the hoopla. You could go to her bedroom and look under bed and she all the purchases of worthless weight loss devices. She is even taught by some ignorant college educated bafoon that all she has to do is EAT LESS AND EXERCISE MORE. Who ever teaches this approach should be tar and feathered.

She ends up joining a gym and exercising on a treadmill for hours. Thinking that running will give her the body of her dreams. She is told that weight training will make her a huge behemoth and that she should avoid it like the plague. So she continues running, and running. RUN FORREST RUN! She ends up eating no more than 500 calories a day and exercising every day for hours. Because this is the advice the BAFOON at the gym gave her. EXERCISE MORE ,EAT LESS!!!

Now after six months this woman gets on the scale and low and behold she has LOST WEIGHT--YIPPEEE! Gabriel's Trumpet sounds off from the heavens above. It is a glorious day! This woman got down to 125 pounds she lost 25 pounds. Being proud of her accomplishment she goes to the gym and they measure her body fat percentage. She now has a body fat percentage of 33%. Eleven percent greater than when she started her obsessive weight loss. Her body is soft and doughy looking. But she doesn't care because she LOST WEIGHT-YIPPPPEEEE! And that is all she wanted to do. Little does she know that her inaccurate plan actually has compromised her DNA makeup and now puts it in a damaging effect. This is because she has forced her body to go way below her set point. She manipulated her physiological systems by avoiding to adhere to the laws that govern proper fat metabolism. She didn't metabolize off fat in fact she stored more. Before she weighed 150 pounds at 22% body fat and 78% lean body mass. Now she weighs 125 at 33% body fat.

22% Fat= 33 pounds of body fat
78% lean body mass( muscle, organs, bone, water)= 117 pounds

35% fat= 43.75 pounds of body fat
65%= 81.25 pounds of muscle

and Lost 35.75 pounds of muscle

This is AMERICA folks!!!! This is what the goal is for most American's "I JUST HAVE TO LOSE WEIGHT" . They are so naive to realize that what they are losing is muscle and not fat. In fact, now this woman is considered morbidity obese. OBESITY IS becoming the number one epidemic in America. All fueled by American's desire to lose weight. That is awesome. I love living in the land known as the FATTEST country in the world. Thank you television and all media affiliates for making this country the fattest place on Earth. With your LOSE WEIGHT campaign. ATTA BOY!!!

Rather than in God We Trust we should say IN WEIGHT LOSS we trust. Give me a break!!!

Keeping a healthy body composition is the key to it all. The ratio between fat and muscle is the only factor that you need to worry yourself about. If you get to a healthy body composition. females 22-28% is considered the healthy range, for men 4-22% is considered normal. Anything above the normal ranges becomes a health risk. The more body fat you have the harder the systems have to work to keep you alive. However, we need fat in the body to help the systems work effectively.

So, if your body composition is 22% at 150 pounds then that is considered your set point and that is the weight your body is designed to be. Forcing unnecessary weight loss only perpetuates damage to the regulatory systems of the body and can damage the DNA sequence.

Now if your body fat falls outside of the norm let's say 29-35% you need to metabolize off the excess fat to get down to the healthy norms.

This is where exercise comes into play. Exercise is only a metabolic booster. It heats the body up. Once the muscles are hot they become permeable. When they are more permeable they can metabolize off fat.

This is the hard part for PEOPLE TO SWALLOW. The KEY TO LOSING FAT IS TO ACTIVATE AND SUSTAIN MUSCLE TISSUE. You never want to lose muscle tissue. Muscle tissue is the engine of the body and it is the only way for fat to be metabolized from the body . When you exercise you increase muscle activation. In order to keep up with the anabolic properties of muscle tissue (rebuild, repair) you have to eat MORE FOOD. Nutrients are a huge part of metabolizing off fat because nutrients support the muscle tissue. Fat can only be metabolized through muscle tissue. So, it only makes sense that the more muscle you activate the more food you need to take in to support the repair and re-growth of the muscle. The more muscle you activate and utilize the more fat is metabolized. This is what it is all about.

If you eat less and exercise more, you lose the ability to repair muscle tissue. Therefore, the fat burning mechanism is inhibited. This will over time only result in loss of muscle tissue. You are not taking in enough nutrients to sustain the muscle activity. Muscle tissue doesn't get repaired. Fat loss impaired. Your body becomes soft and doughy. You store fat.

In my book DIET EARTH. I discuss this process further and really hit on the points that explain why YOU HAVE TO EAT TO LOSE FAT. If you ever wanted to know the truth about nutrition then I think you will like this book. It is the no-nonsense truth about how the body works. I have completed it and am just waiting for the publisher to finish up with printing it out.

The Bottom Line: Eat To Lose FAT. STAY OFF THE STUPID SCALE. MAINTAIN YOUR SET POINT. BE Happy with your life and your body. Stop being so fixated on WEIGHT.

tags: weight loss, fat loss, scales, protein, body building, muscle mass, nutrition, amino acids, Tiger Woods, olympics, apollo ohno, bodie miller, red sox,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brown Fat: The Lost Thermogenic Aid

When we are born our body composition is 90% fat. Though it is very cute and soft when a baby has that much fat. The fat provides insulation and helps regulate the babies temperature. Inside the body there are grape like clusters of fat that are grouped together around the vital organs and heart. More is found in the thoracic region of the body. This fat is known as brown fat. Unlike white adipose fat, brown fat has a cluster of capillary beds attached to them providing blood and nutrients. They have mitochondria allowing for oxidation. Brown fat is believed to be a primal fuel system that helped keep primitive man warm during the cold months. When the baby develops more muscle brown fats burning ability reduces. We wear many layers of clothes and this provides the body with heat reducing the use of brown fat even more. Remember as a kid your mother would always tell you to put your coat on before going outside. Little did mom know that the body was utilizing its brown fat storage to keep the body warm. Sometimes when my kids are playing I can feel the heat radiate from their body. It is more pronounced behind the neck down toward the mid thoracic region where brown fat is more concentrated. Their brown fat is fired on.

As we get older we tend to turn the heat up in the house when we are cold or put on more layers of clothing. This only dampens the brown fat effect. You can restart the brown fat phenomenon by keeping the thermostat down to a cooler temperature in the house and wear less clothing, a tee shirt rather than a sweater. The body will begin to realize that there is a need to heat up internally and brown fat will start up. Actually it is very healthy to keep the temperature cooler rather than hotter. The body burns more calories when it is trying to warm itself up. Brown fat actually oxidizes adipose fat. Brown fat is a primal fuel system but can still be useful today if you activate it. It is just another way to burn off excess fat without losing muscle.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Body Types Dictate How Much Muscle Your Body Can Have

Why is it easier for some people to lose fat and stay lean and others struggle? The answer is because of muscle type (slow twitch and fast twitch) distribution and body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph). \

There are two types of muscle fiber, slow twitch and fast twitch. Slow twitch fibers are oxidative. Meaning that they consume a large concentration of myoglobin and can produce long lasting endurance properties. Fast twitch are non-oxidative and are designed for short burst of powerful energy. These are the fibers that are responsible for increased size of muscle. We all have both types of slow and fast twitch fibers. However, the distribution is different among everyone. For example, a person might have a higher concentration of fast twitch fibers in their legs and have a higher concentration of slow twitch fibers in their upper body. This person would tend gain more body fat on the legs than the upper body. People who have a hard time trying to put on weight could be higher in slow twitch fibers throughout the body. They are great at endurance activities because of the oxidative properties but not good at building size of the muscle.

Another factor that determines leanness vs. overweight is body type. There are three distinct body types. ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. The ectomorph person is skinny and has small muscle mass. These are folks are best at long enduring activities like running, cycling, swimming. They have a tough time putting on fat and muscle. Because they have so much oxidative properties they are burning too much to sustain large quantities of muscle. These guys in bodybuilding circles are known as the hard gainer. On the other end of the spectrum are the endomorphs these folks are the ones that have a tough time losing body fat. They can carry large amounts of muscle tissue. They are mostly made up of fast twitch fibers. They don't have the oxidative properties to burn off high percentages of fat. They end up storing large quantities of fat. They will always struggle with their body fat.

The mesomorphic body build has the best of both worlds. They usually have an equal distribution of fast twitch and slow twitch fibers. They are the gifted ones. These folks have a nice distribution of fast twitch and slow twitch fibers. Many mesomorphs have well defined muscle. These lucky folks don't even have to train to look good. Many guys that I know in bodybuilding hardly train at all, they just have great genetics and are naturally muscular. Women who are mesomorphs tend are well defined and in some cases some women don't like the muscular look. But muscle keeps the body looking young and strong.

We all have different characteristics of the different body types. There are some people that might be in the middle of the ecto and meso body type. And people that in the middle of the meso and endo. Overall, body type and fiber type distribution dictates how much fat you can metabolize and how much muscle you can develop. Not everyone can develop defined massive muscles and not everyone can run a marathon. Knowing what you are will help you know how to train appropriately. I design programs for all body types. If you are interested in knowing what exercise sequence would be best for you please visit and send me your question (contact us). I would be more than happy to help you.

tags: body fat, muscle, steroids, anabolic effect, ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph, health, vince gironda, joe weider, strength training.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What is Hypertrophy? How Does The Muscle Cell Increase In Size

What does it take to build muscle? We often hear about hypertrophy and building mass. But what does that actually mean. What part of the muscle cell is responsible for increases in strength and muscle size? Well here is the answer. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and myofibrillar hypertrophy. I will try to explain it in the easiest way I can.

The muscle cell is made up of fibers, that are comprised of myofibrals, which are comprised of myofillaments-actin and myosin. However, there are other components to the cell that help make up the contractile machinery of the muscle fiber volume. A muscle cell has organelles (tiny structures that work synergistically to metabolize metabolites). In order to produce more volume of the cell it is important to develop the sacoplasmic machinery that produces greater energy. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell and is where ATP is manufactured. Aerobic and anaerobic enzymes play a part in the breakdown of triglycerides and glucose. Depending on the type of training and the intensity triglycerides and glucose can be broken down and transported to the mitochondria through a process known as oxidative phosphorylation. These enzymes can grow over time as a result of training. As the enzymes grow, glycogen storage inside the muscle cell also increases. The mitochondria can increase in number and size making it more efficient at metabolizing and producing greater amounts of ATP. The sarcoplasmic fluid concentrations increase in the cell and between cells increase. This process is known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is simply the increase in the oxidative and glycolytic processes and machinery of the cell. Though this hypertrophy produces some increase in cell size it isn’t the main factor in developing overall strength and size. Improving the cellular mechanisms of metabolism is the first step in creating greater muscle size because as the enzymes and oxidative properties improve, so is the ability to produce greater energy to help with the neural drive of the contraction. Performing 12 repetitions against a sub-maximal load produces more sarcoplasmic hypertrophy than performing fewer reps at maximal loads.

The true increase in muscle size depends on myofibrallar hypertrophy. The myofibral houses myofillaments; actin and myosin. Actin and myosin are also known as sarcomeres. Sacromeres are responsible for increased size and strength. When a load is presented to the muscle the actin and myosin crossbridges are influenced. If the intensity or trauma is great enough the crossbridges become damaged. This damaging effect causes structural damage to the plasma membrane allowing calcium ions to infiltrate into the muscle cell disrupting the intracellular balance. When calcium ions are higher than normal inside the cell enzymes known as calpains are activated to remove fragments of easily releaseable myofilaments. Also, to help with the removal of fragments is a protein known as ubiquitin. This episode attracts granulocytes known as neutrophils (phagocytes). Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cells. They show up when tissue or cells become inflammed or damaged. During this event of de-fragmentation within the cell, neutrophils increase in number. They help clear up free radicals and debris released by calcium-mediated release developed by ingulfing them. Monocytes also attract to cell trauma and are there to help support the immune system once neutrophils demise after a day or two. Monocytes release macrophages and dendritic cells from the spleen. Monocytes help release the toxins that have built up in the cell.

Once the phagocytic stage runs its course the cell is more vulnerable. Lysosomal proteases, free radicals, and other by products breakdown the damaged fibers. Macrophages are important in rebuilding the interior matrix of a muscle fiber. Without proper involvement of macrophages the repair of muscle is compromised.

Now proper nutrient exchange is needed to re-establish the configuration of the muscle cell. During the recovery process muscle cell regenerates and becomes more stronger and enduring, depending on the activity, to allow for greater effort during the next exercise bout. Here is how the growth cycle works.

As mentioned previously the muscle cell is a network of organelles that work to sustain energy and protein production. These organelles are supported by a nuclei that helps with protein synthesis. Muscle cells have many nuclei to help support growth. If muscle cells didn't have the ability to increase the number of nuclei then the cell would be small and growth would be limited. The more nuclei available the greater the amount of protein produced. Actin and myosin are proteins and when they are broken down they must be regenerated. How do nuclei increase in muscle cells?

There are cells outside the muscle cells known as myogenic stem cells or myoblasts. When the need arises these myoblasts will donate their nuclei to the involved active muscle fiber. This process increases the number of nuclei giving rise to the myonuclei number. This process is not as simple as you may think. In order for this event to occur three things must take place, 1. myoblasts have to increase. When myoblasts increase this is known as proliferation. 2. They must configure into "similar" muscle cells. This is known as differentiation. 3. They must fuse with active muscle cells that need additional support.

During the recovery phase the muscle cell is in need of repair. The cells are weakened and in order to rebuild the tissue growth factors must be released to begin building the stronger matrix of the cell. Since all the micro work of cleaning the debris and fragments from the cell via phagocytize process is done, now it is time for greater help from growth factors and hormones to re-establish protein synthesis and nutrients exchange into the cell.

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), Fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and transforming growth factor- (TGF-Beta) are used to help the myoblasts proliferate (FGF), differentiate (IGF-1), and mediate (TGF). Growth factors can leave the intercellular level and permeate out into the surrounding area because of the increased permeability of the cell as a result of the damage. The end product is myoblasts fuse with other muscle cells and donate their nuclei, giving rise to muscle cell growth.

In order to sustain the protein synthesis of the muscle cell and to cause growth their must be enough IGF-1, growth hormone, testosterone and some prostaglandins present. Protein synthesis is directly linked to messenger RNA. Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a genetic coded substance that determines how much protein is to be synthesized. The nucleus of a cell, the control center, releases mRNA to the ribosome (an organelle that makes up proteins from amino acids). Under traumatic cellular damage the nucleus is believed to send additional mRNA in response to damage to the actin and myosin crossbridges. Amino acids are then released and begin to rebuild the protein. Seeing the amino acids are the building blocks of protein this only seems appropriate.

To help increase amino acid uptake are the following; 1. IGF-1, 2. Growth Hormone 3. Testosterone.

IGF-1: Acts similar to insulin promote anabolic effects in the human body. There are 2 types of IGF-1. 1. Paracrine IGF-1 produced in the liver and autocrine IGF-1 made in cells other than the liver. Paracrine travels throughout the body because it is released from the liver, whereas, autocrine remains localized and is only influence by cells in the surrounding area. Paracrine must be influenced by cell receptors outside the muscle cell in order to enter the muscle cell. Autocrine IGF-1 on the other hand doesn't have to wait for a receptor to signal its release, because it is already in the muscle cell. Autocrine IGF -1 responds to increased tensile forces. When both forms of IGF-1 are in the cell they interact with calcium-activated enzymes allowing for protein synthesis. One way to increase the production of IGF-1 to enter the muscle cell is to ingest fast acting glucose polymers after working out. The glucose will illicit an insulin charge. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that helps send fat, sugar and growth factors (IGF-1) into the cells.

During training the anterior pituitary gland secretes growth hormone. Growth hormone helps with the release of IGF-1 from the liver and muscle during recovery. Allowing for more protein synthesis. Prostaglandins also play a role in protein synthesis. During a contraction certain prostaglandins are released. PGE2 and PGF2-alpha are the two prostaglandins that are involved in the growth process of cell repair. PGE2 increases protein degradaton and cell proliferation and PGF2-Alpha increases protein synthesis.

The last growth component is testosterone. Everyone talks about testosterone but not everyone knows what testosterone actually helps muscle growth. I will now explain to you how testosterone works. Inside the muscle cell there are androgen receptors. These receptors will attract to free floating testosterone (not attached to protein) that enter through the muscle cell Bound testosterone, attached to a protein, is controlled by receptors outside of the muscle cell. The number of receptors dictate the amount of bounding testosterone. Once inside the cell testosterone goes to the nucleus and the protein synthesis cycle occurs. Testosterone is the greatest anabolic agent in the human body. It increases protein syntheses dramatically. it also helps increase myoblast sensitivity to IGF-1 and FGF. Ultimately, increasing myoblast proliferation and differentiation. Growth hormone and IGF-1 systemic output is also influence by testosterone. Seeing the testosterone is apparently the driving force for protein synthesis you can understand why bodybuilders and athletes are addicted to taking steroids to grow. When taking a synthetic form of testosterone protein synthesis can lasts hours during the day leading to greater muscle growth. Natural athletes and bodybuilders have only a small opportunity to create an anabolic effect allowing testosterone to boost protein synthesis. The body can only manufacture so much testosterone naturally. Guys that take testosterone, growth hormone and insulin have a tremendous advantage on the natural athlete. Protein synthesis stays on almost around the clock. The muscle tissue grows beyond natural levels. However, the side effects of taking these compounds is not worth it.

Resistance training boosts testosterone and growth hormone levels. To develop bigger muscles it is important to activate more of the fast twitch fibers. The fast twitch have more actin/myosin filaments and generate the greatest tensile forces. Due to the damage that intense training provides the rebuilding process at the cellular level can take from 36-48 hours.

By knowing how to train correctly using the right amount of intensity will boost testosterone and growth hormone levels. Knowing how to do this separates the weekend certified personal trainer and the college degreed professional personal trainer.
If you need help designing a muscle building program please contact me at I would be glad to help you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

ATP and Fatty Acids

ATP- Adenosine Triphosphate
The energy source- Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the most immediate source of chemical energy for muscular activity. If you suddenly jumped two feet into the air from a standing start, the energy source would be ATP.

The energy available from ATP is very limited. If you ran 100 meters as fast as you could, you'd exhaust all of your ATP.

The usefulness of the ATP system lies in the rapid availability of energy -- rather than quantity. Only about 30 seconds of ATP is stored in the body.

ATP is stored in most cells, but, particularly in muscle cells. It is the most important anaerobic fuel source available. In fact, other forms of chemical energy, available from foods, must be transformed into ATP before they can be used by the muscle cells. ATP is the only source of fuel or energy the body accepts. Therefore, it is important to understand that all remaining fuel systems are simply re synthesizing and rebuilding ATP. There are two ways the body restores energy to ATP without the presence of oxygen.

Free Fatty Acids

Just as carbohydrate provides basic usable form of energy in the body (glucose), so does fat. This usable form of energy in the body is called Free Fatty Acids (FFA).

Fats taken through the diet are first digested to produce fatty acids. After the fatty acids are absorbed they are converted to triglycerides. Triglycerides are the stored form of FFA. Stores of triglycerides are found in the adipose(fat) tissue and in the skeletal muscles.

Early in the exercise the blood fatty acid concentration falls as the muscle begins to draw on the available fatty acids. But, if the exercise continues for more than a few minutes the hormone epinephrine is called into play. Epinephrine signals the fat cells to break apart their stored triglycerides and to liberate more fatty acids into the blood. After about 20 minutes of exercise the blood fatty acid concentration rises and surpasses the normal resiting concentration.

It is during this phase of sustained, sub maximal exercise-beyond 20 minutes- that the fat cells begin to shrink in size as they empty their lipid stores.

Darly Conant

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Co-Contractions For More Stimulation

This is something that I do with each contraction. I call it co-contracting. But before I get into telling what a co-contraction is, I want to give you a brief understanding of skeletal muscle. Every muscle has an origin and insertion. The origin of a muscle is the point at which it attaches to a bone (usually) or another muscle. The structure that the origin is attached to is not moved by the contraction of the muscle. The opposite end of the muscle is called the insertion. This definition means that there is a functional aspect to the definition of a muscle's origin and insertion. Both origin and insertion are important for understanding the physiological function of the muscle. It is important to know the origin and insertion of every muscle that you train. If you know where the tendons attach to the bone then you can get more out of the exercise. When I train I try to bring both tendons of the muscle as close together as possible. This will force the myofilaments (actin and myosin) to fully engage. During the lengthening of the muscle I get as much stretch as possible to active the stretch reflex. This allows the crossbridges to re-align and re-load. I call this cocking the muscle. Similar to cocking a gun. When a gun is cocked the hammer provides the power to ignite the bullet. It has to be forceful to cause tremendous power to project the bullet. When getting the muscle to stretch as much as you can will provide more power in the muscle. When stretching the muscle there is an increase in kinetic energy. ATP is released and is ready to provide energy for the contraction. If the muscle is not fully stretched before the contraction then some of the energy is lost and the contraction is not as full.

Now co-contracting. I experimented with changing the tempo and sequence of a muscle contraction and found that if I focused on contractig the muscle in addition to providing resistance to the muscle with weights that I could get a greater burn and pump. Here is how it works. Let's take a barbell and perform a bicep curl. Start with the bar on the thighs arms fully extended. Getting as much stretch as possible. Now before even lifting the bar contract the biceps as hard as possible. Try moving the bar up with just the biceps in total contraction without using the forearms, holding the bar lightly with the hands. Now begin curling the weight up. Still concentrating on the tightness of the biceps pulling in. Focus on bringing the tendons in closer. Now when you get to the complete end of the movement, contract the biceps as hard as you can, little pulses. Perform 4-8 of these small pulses. These are co-contractions. Because the muscle is already in a contracted position, you force more contractibility by just focusing on pumping the muscle more with hard small pulsating contractions. Bring the bar down and stop half way and perform more pulses (co-contractions) and then return to the fully extended position and perform 4-8 more co-contractions. You won't believe the pump you get. In fact, you will be taxing the muscle so much that it might be hard to finish a complete set of 12 reps. You might have to reduce the weight you normally use to do this. You can do this on all exercises. Co-contractions also engages a greater neural response eliciting more motor unit recruitment. Give it a try I am sure you will feel a huge difference in your muscles from doing co-contractions.

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Tags: muscle, nutrition, health, bodybuilding, steroids, anabolic methods, power lifting, vince gironda, lean body mass, bicep curl, contractions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Digestion of Starch

The digestion of starch in carbohydrates begins in the mouth and then continues in the small intestine. The main product of carbohydrate metabolism is glucose, or blood-sugar. In this form it enters our blood stream and first supplies the energy needs of our central nervous system. Any glucose not used immediately is stored in the liver or muscles as glycogen. The excess is converted to fat and stored throughout the body. Glycogen reserves are important because this is the primary fuel of hard working muscles, and supply of it is limited.

The body can store only a limited supply of glycogen: approximately 350 grams when the supply is at its peak. One-third of the amount is stored in the liver and the remainder in the muscles. Liver glycogen is available for immediate use. It is quickly converted into glucose when needed by the body. Muscles glycogen, however, does not have the necessary enzymes for this direct secretion into body fuel. It furnishes glucose indirectly. When the muscle contracts, glycogen is converted into Lactic Acid. The Lactic Acid is carried in the bloodstream to the liver and then converted into glycogen or glucose as needed by the body. For this reason, it does not reach the brain and nervous system as directly as liver glycogen.

The reserve of glycogen lasts 2-15 hours, depending on activity levels. Someone playing checkers can have enough to last most of the day. Body-builders in heavy training can use their entire supply of glycogen within 2-3 hours. The body will then switch to alternative, but, less efficient energy fuels. Muscle protein, for instance, can be converted by the liver into glucose in order to keep the brain and nerves supplied with fuel. However, this puts unnecessary stress on the liver. It also drains the supply of amino acids needed for building muscle and repairing the body.

Daryl Conant

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Not Eating Enough Food

Herein lies the problem with most conventional weight-loss programs. They are faulty in design for the very reasons just explained. Conventional diets lower the caloric intake below the basal metabolic rate to create a negative energy balance. This method will incur weight-loss, but it will be a result of muscle or lean mass loss (protein).

It's important to realize that when the calories drop below the minimal amount of energy required (BMR) to feed the nervous system, the body perceives starvation. When this occurs, not only does the body burn muscle to fuel its energy requirements, but while doing so, it is actually slowing down its metabolism. By ridding itself of muscle, the body is essentially ridding itself of metabolism.

This is where the fat storage occurs during dieting. While shedding muscle under this perceived state of starvation, the body will store whatever it Can as body-fat to protect itself. It also will respond to the threat of starvation by increasing the fat-depositing enzymes which will in turn store more fat.

The long term effects of dieting (especially without physical activity) will produce a negative effect on body-composition. A person who lowers calories below his or her BMR and loses muscle mass through dieting, will lower his or her metabolism. (Remember metabolism is directly proportional to the amount of lean muscle mass).

Daryl Conant

Tags: food, nutrition, body building, Vince Gironda, health, supplements, weight training, metabolic rate.