Metformin and Rapamycin for Life Extension

ageing coupleCould a diabetes drug really be the first life extension drug? And it’s been under our noses the whole time. What’s even more sweetly ironic is that sufferers of diabetes might be the first generation to live 15 years longer than the rest of us.

OK, I’ll back up a bit and get some real perspective on this news but it’s just too exciting. There are scientific virginities being taken all over the place with this latest news. Metformin – a drug which has been used with success to treat Type 2 Diabetes for years – is to become the first drug to be tested on humans for the ability to extend life/slow ageing (however you want to look at it). It’s also the first of it’s kind to move to full and comprehensive human trials so quickly.

In fact, the researchers think the first human trial involving 3000 people in their 70s will go on for 5 years. If significant results are achieved then watch out; century-long lifespans could be a regular thing. The FDA are uncharacteristically enthusiastic about it as well – perhaps there’s some old crones in the agency who pepped up a bit on hearing the potential!!

The only stumbling block at the moment is the $50 million funding they need but the scientists aren’t too bothered about this because they know it won’t be a tough sell to potential creditors.

They are also saying that depending on the outcome, it won’t be the elderly generation who benefit the most. Getting the meds in to the younger population will have an even larger impact later on in their life.

A Very Brief Intro to Life Extension

DNALife Extension or lifespan expansion has been viewed by pharmaceutical authorities as something like black magic would be by you or me.

The suggested methods haven’t exactly helped, with unenjoyable lifestyles like near-starvation (calorie restriction) diets and intense procedures such as gene modification leading the way. What’s the point in living longer if it’s miserable.

Also any potential drug trials are usually hampered by the negative side effects and thrown out before they even get out of the rat lab.

Metformin is different because it already has an abundance of safety data from the years of use as an anti-diabetic drug.

On top of this, the mild side effects of nausea and diarrhoea can be mitigated easily by gradual dose increase and taking it with meals.

How Might Metformin Extend Life?

It seems too good to be true, but the distinct lack of negative side-effects coupled with the dual benefits of anti-diabetes and lifespan expansion are exactly what the experts think this might be. And a 15% addition to life at that! Imagine what you could do with an extra decade or even 15 years before you get to the ‘old age’ part of life!

The exact mechanism by which Metformin might do this is unclear, because it acts on cells in many ways. However, the prevailing theory is one that links it to its already-proven anti-diabetic actions. The yway it works for Type 2 sufferers is by limiting the quantity of glucose manufactured by the liver.

This may actually – on a cellular level at least – be the same as calorie restriction without the discomfort of a restriction diet. When calories are restricted, animal (and human) cells switch to energy-saving mode, which down the line translates to longer lifespan. Like those energy-saver light bulbs!

What about Rapamycin?

scientistMetformin is not the only drug with potential anti-ageing benefits. You may already have heard the word ‘rapamycin’ in the context of mTOR (or read about it in our mTOR article) and you’ll know that the mammalian target of rapamycin – mTOR – pathway is heavily involved in muscle growth and bone development.

The rather unimaginative name however indicates that mTOR is simply the receptor of rapamycin.

Rapamycin itself is used as an immune system suppressor drug for post organ transplant – so the organ in not rejected – but at lower doses it may also mimic the calorie restriction mechanism that Metformin seems likely to.

Everolimus by Novartis

Pharmaceutical mega company Novartis already have a promising drug called Everolimus which acts similarly to Rapamycin. It successfully increased elderly subjects’ response to a flu vaccine and in the meantime showed promise for slowing the decay of the human immune system with age.

Exciting Times

There seems to be a snowball effect in the pharmaceutical industry at present with respect to anti-ageing drugs. It is exciting to see it being taken completely seriously for a change. Keep your ear to the ground for the next big breakthrough in this field.

Check out this article on how Anti-Ageing can tie to Human Growth Hormone

Getting More from your Workouts

Bench PressTime is a precious thing for most people, especially those with kids and jobs. A lot of new Dads are particularly prone to the notion that the new arrival – as happy a time as it is – spells the end of any regular gym routine. It doesn’t have to be like that, but there might be some alterations to the program that are necessary to keep hitting the gym and fulfilling the DAD job.

The other scenario is not quite the same, and more along the lines of fitting additional training into the same amount of time to elicit improved gains – without additional fatigue or risk of injury.

Either way, this is about saving time, to (1) get more done in the same duration, or (2) get the same workout done quicker.

How can you do this? You can start with set design.

Playing with Sets

SquatHow often do you see someone pushing or pulling out a quality set and then resting for the appropriate time before cranking out another?

It’s not wrong to do this, but if time is of the essence, that minute or two spent recovering the main muscle or muscle group being used just feels like a waste.

With different styles of sets it’s easy to keep more of a rhythm going – and more time spent actually exercising – instead of spending half the workout texting on the cellphone while waiting to complete another set.

Supersets vs Compound Sets

Compound sets are actually a big mass-builder but they don’t necessarily save time in a workout. They involve doing back to back sets without rest, just like supersets, except the same muscle or muscle group is hit in the process. Compound sets increase fatigue levels and don’t make use of the rest time needed in between. Supersets however, are a way to maximize training load within the same time as the usual workout.

Supersets

Supersets are back-to-back sets, but involve working opposing muscles alternately, thereby filling the rest period while NOT increasing the fatigue levels to individual muscles.

Examples of supersets would be bicep curls and tricep extensions. Another might be bench press and barbell rows.

The good news is that in the same space of time you can work out two muscle groups. The even better news is that it can improve strength gains in both muscle groups faster than it would over the normal course of cycling the exercises.

Cluster Sets

Kettle Bell SquatIf strength is your main goal, then cluster sets are an excellent way to generate greater force within the same period of time as the regular sets. In a cluster set you’d replace a strength set of 6 reps with a ‘cluster’ of mini-sets of 2 reps each (like 2,2,2). The rest in between the 2 reps only has to be 15-20 seconds.

The overall force which can be applied is bigger due to the mini-rests, meaning the muscle growth stimulus is also bigger. The duration of the workout is still the same, however, making this a prime example of getting more out of the time spent exercising.

Staggered Sets

If supersets are back-to-back sets of opposing muscle groups then staggered sets are back-to-back sets of unrelated muscle groups, where one is a main lift and the second is a minor lift.

An example of this would be if Military Press is the primary then it might be immediately followed by Calf Raises. The calf raises won’t interfere with the shoulders’ development or fatigue levels by reducing the capability of completing the main lift.

Warm-Up Sets

Inclined bench5 minutes well spent at the beginning of your workout might be warm-up versions of the main lifts that will go into the next 30 minutes (or whatever) instead of 5 minutes on a cardio machine. Not to discourage cardio, but it doesn’t prep the muscles for serious lifting, and cardio should be done after the weights.

Another good reason for always doing warm-up lifts is to add overall volume to your training. As volume is basically the total resistance moved (i.e. weight x reps x sets) then the warm-up lifts contribute to the total.

An example of a good warm up is using the bar only and completing the movement, e.g. squats, with 3 quick succession sets of 10 reps. Fatiguing the muscles is not the plan during the warm-up sets though.

Effort Level

pull downStrength and muscle-building is not accomplished with a hell-for-leather pace in the gym, and the rest periods between sets are really only required for the recovery of the muscle in order to generate the same or similar force in subsequent sets.

Filling those rest periods or at least utilizing the set time more efficiently can lead to muscle growth and strength gains that possibly were otherwise not accessible. And, all in the same or less time as the original workout lasted.

Have fun incorporating these set designs into your workouts.

Further Reading

Try this article: Bulking Up – Where To Start

Cortisol – The Catabolic Hormone and How To Reduce It

muscular man torsoCortisol is bad news for muscle. It is a catabolic hormone, exerting the opposite effect of the principal anabolic hormone testosterone. We do however need cortisol for a few important functions, but we don’t want too much of it. As with most aspects of the human endocrine and metabolic system, it’s just another juggling act.

There are things we can do to control our levels of cortisol, which we will cover later, but first it’s best to know your enemy.

Tipping the Scales

cholesterol balanceWhen it really comes down to it, muscle growth and fat loss are about balance. Energy in versus energy out via our nutritional intake is a huge balancing factor in both. Training versus rest and recovery is another. If you could zoom into the body on a more microscopic bio-chemical scale, you’d see a maelstrom of reactions too numerous to count.

Every hormone is released by a chain of processes and then controlled and maintained by others. The fates of two of our principal anabolic hormones – testosterone and growth hormone – start out in the brain’s pituitary gland, with the hypothalamus acting as the master controller.

Insulin is another vital growth hormone as it transports sugar from the bloodstream into the muscle tissue for energy, along with amino acids for use as both a source of direct energy and protein synthesis.

The convoluted series of reactions that occur just for these three hormones to do their job doesn’t make us appear to be the evolved specimens we think we are. Nonetheless, those three are the anabolic hormones and are thus a bodybuilder’s best friends.

Enter Cortisol

Equally important to bodybuilders is the hormone Cortisol, aka the stress hormone, aka the catabolic hormone.

You can see Cortisol has a bad review straight out the box, but what does it do that’s so evil?

The adrenal glands release cortisol during times of:

  • high physical stress
  • high mental stress
  • high body temperature

NOTE: Cortisol is also released first thing in the morning, which can be mitigated with a nutritional breakfast and some light exercise. Working out on an empty stomach however might just make things worse!

DB pressOn its release it goes about reducing protein synthesis, it converts protein to glucose and arrests the growth of tissue. In essence, it is the opposite of the three anabolic hormones described above, in that it actually breaks tissue down, including muscle tissue.

So, why for pity’s sake do we have a stupid hormone like that kicking around our system?

The answer is – we need cortisol; it balances blood sugar levels during stressful times, and it manages our body’s inflammatory responses to physical stimuli. It’s called the stress hormone for a reason: because it’s important to have a certain level of Cortisol during times of stress.

What we don’t want is too much of it.

Doesn’t Exercise Cause All of That Stress?

Physical stress, check. Mental stress, check. High temperature, erm, check. Yeah, doesn’t exercise cause a massive release of cortisol? And if I exercise in the morning, it looks like I’m totally screwed!!

Hold on, it’s not that simple, obviously, otherwise there wouldn’t be any muscle-bound tanks walking around the gym. Sure, exercise causes a cortisol response, but in the long term it actually negates its effect.

Provided the exercise sessions of both aerobic and weight training are kept to 30 to 45 minutes (for the hard working part of the session), the endorphin release will counter the cortisol release. Yes, endorphin – endogenous morphine basically. It helps de-stress, elevate mood and manage pain. So, even though a catabolic state is achieved immediately following exercise, good nutrition and our natural (endogenous) response will mitigate it.

Also, resistance weight training stimulates the release of the anabolic hormones, which further offset the cortisol release. Nutrition and rest on top of this will in fact put the body back into an anabolic state – and voila! Muscle growth.

How Can You Limit Cortisol Release?

Like we said, it’s excess cortisol that’s the issue, and there are things we can do to offset that – or prevent it to a degree. We’ve covered exercise, and sort of mentioned nutrition but we can expand a bit.

Nutrition

bulk nutritionThis isn’t just for the guys. You need to listen up too ladies (er…read up), because you are the worst for this. Excess cortisol is not only bad for business in the muscle growth department but it will slow fat loss as well. Shock horror, right!

So, all you gals thinking it’s good to get out of bed, skip breakfast, and exercise like a demon “because it’ll just burn pure fat” are wrong wrong wrong. You need a breakfast with both carbs and protein involved in order to get insulin to work as quickly as possible, and stop the early-bird cortisol release that’s kicking the crud out of your muscle growth, and even turning it to belly-wobbling sugar.

Plus – as if you need a plus – the food will give you all the more energy to give ‘em hell in the gym or wherever you do your thing.

Relax

Easier said than done, but it’s one of the prime suspects in the case of cortisol release. Physical and/or mental stress will do it. The two together – pfff, forget it!!!

There’s things you can do though:

  • DO NOT OVERTRAIN: Your heart’s in the right place but it’s not thinking straight. Engage brain and take time off. Training is only the stimulus, it’s not the growth and improvement; that happens at night when you are asleep, or when you’re flicking through TV channels trying to avoid re-runs of Friends, or when you’re eating a whopping chicken salad with tomato juice on the side. Train, adapt, grow, improve. NOT train, train, train train…
  • DO NOT FLIP-OUT: each time you get mad or worry or overreact to something, it chips away at you with a little squirt of cortisol. It’s a whole different skill to relax during really high pressure or seriously bad events but it’s the little things you can learn to control. Like, does it really matter if the dog chewed your Kanye album? (blessing in disguise if you ask us but whatever).

Coffee

too much coffeeThis sort of goes hand in hand with stress management and even the next topic – sleep. More than one cup a day can elevate your cortisol levels. It can also interrupt sleep, which is possibly the more serious knock-on effect, as sleep is when we really become physical champions.

Paradoxically, caffeine can trigger cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP) activity, which may further stimulate both fat-burning and anabolic hormone release. It’s a head-scratcher basically, so don’t get too stressed if you’re dragging knuckles and need a second cup.

Get it? don’t get too stressed…

Sleep

muscle building sleepAt the risk of sounding repetitive, growing muscle, getting stronger and becoming fitter, all really happens at night, especially when you are in a deep sleep. This is not REM sleep, where your eyes are fluttering, you’re dreaming of flying, and mumbling gibberish.

No, we’re talking deep, slow-wave sleep. The more you get at night, the less you’ll get stung by cortisol in the morning.

Supplement

Growth Hormone booster pillThere’s a few different supplements which help restrict excess cortisol release. Most of the Growth Hormone Boosters have some sort of natural cortisol reducer, as well as being packed with other compounds which encourage the natural release of anabolic hormones. There’s more:

  • Glutamine supplementation is supposed to provide cortisol with plasma glutamine so it doesn’t have to strip muscle to get at it.
  • Vitamin C on a daily basis has been shown to reduce cortisol levels
  • GH Boosters of course. We’d be remiss if we didn’t tout the benefits of natural Growth Hormone Boosting supplements. Click here to read about the best ones.

As you can see, Cortisol is a classic case of more is not necessarily better. You can also see there are some simple things you can do every day to limit the release of this catabolic hormone.

Further Reading

  1. Bulking Up Nutrition
  2. Bulking Up Training
  3. 5 Superfoods You Need

Bulking Up: Diet & Nutrition – Where To Start

Generally speaking there’s three different approaches to bulk-cycle nutrition. There’s the ‘anything goes’ camp; the ‘squeaky clean’ camp, and the ‘somewhere in between’ camp.

Anything Goes – The Dirty Bulk

BurgerYou might have heard of IIFYM – i.e. If It Fits Your Macros. The Macronutrients, as you already know, are protein, carbohydrate and fat. The IIFYM guys eat pretty much anything as long is it fits in with their macro ratio – of about 40/40/20 (Protein/Carbs/Fats).

This kind of bulking diet can be called a ‘Dirty Bulk’. It’s basically a calorie-fest, with less attention paid to healthy eating and more emphasis on getting the energy in whatever form to increase the overall mass. Some people are going to do a very tight cutting cycle after the bulk so they decide it’s okay to let it go a bit in the meantime. Others aren’t going to go clean at all!

The problem is that yo-yoing between dirty and clean or just staying dirty is not very good for general health. This is especially the case for people who limit their cardio-vascular training during the bulk phase. What’s even more unfortunate about a dirty bulk is that it will take longer to achieve the desired goal, because more of the mass will be adipose (fat) tissue and not muscle.

Add to that the extra effort it will take to work off the the fat mass when it comes to a strength/cut cycle and you can see the proud IIFYM people might just be barking up the wrong tree.

Squeaky Clean

Vitamins in foodWeight Lifter + Obsessive Compulsive Disorder = Excellent Nutrition + Great Physique. That sounds like I’m saying that this is the only way to go to achieve your goals. It’s not.

Personally I have tried calorie-counting and sticking to a strict and clean diet, but I just can’t do it. If that sounds like defeat then I assure you that it isn’t. People are just different. I enjoy some luxuries in life and usually – when it comes to food and drink – they are of the decadent, bad-for-you, kind. It’s all about moderation, in my opinion.

However…there are those who can eliminate 95% or more of the junk food/alcohol/fizzy drink etc. and even eat the right things at the right times. And go full organic.

If you’re one of them, perfect! Go for it, because you will always be able to reach your body composition goals faster with that dedication.

Be careful though – you must enjoy it, otherwise sooner or later, you will drop it.

Somewhere In Between

I think most people fall in to this camp; those that are serious about their objective, but understand there is more to life as well will have a good overall balance, and might even be the ones who keep it up. If you want to be an olympian, world champion, or generally elite, then this isn’t for you and you will need to go squeaky clean. In fact, any serious level of competition will mean that as well.

For the mere mortals, somewhere-in-between approach seems to work just fine. It’s a sliding scale but most people can comfortably sit closer to the cleaner end of it than they thought possible.

The Macronutrients

bulk nutritionIf you eat something, it’s either Carbohydrate, Protein or Fat. All of the energy stored within a gram of each can be measured in calories. Carbs and protein have 4 calories per gram, and Fat is denser with 9 calories per gram.

There’s no simple way to determine exactly how much you need, but there are ways of getting close, and of course a lot of it has to do with your desired outcome. This is about bulking, so there’s one thing you can be certain of:

To add mass you need to consume more energy than you use. Basically, you need to eat more calories than you burn during the day, and the energy becomes stored as body tissue – muscle, fat etc. That’s where a cleaner bulking diet will be advantageous, as your body will build muscle more efficiently with a better quality diet. Eating more calories than you expend is the easy part.

Protein

ProteinYou can’t talk about building muscle mass without covering protein. It’s not everything though, as you will already know, and a lot of people – especially men – put so much emphasis on protein, because it is the ‘building blocks of muscle’ that they forget about the importance of the other macros.

Protein is however vital, there’s no doubt about it. This macro should make up about 35% to 40% of your daily calorie intake. The precise amount in grams is not possible to calculate. Even experts on nutrition can only come up with a basic range because the myriad factors that affect the body’s response and metabolic functions don’t allow for such accuracy on the input level.

Also, said experts don’t always agree. Somewhere in the region of 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight is a safe bet. Some pros think even 2 grams per pound on the big workout days is effective for keeping a positive anabolic environment.

Most packaged foods will have the quantity of protein on the label, which makes it easier for you to do some rough calculations for your meals. There are many foods that won’t tell you exactly, and that’s okay too, as you will find many many sources on the web to help you with how much protein is in your eggs, beef, chicken, cheese, spinach, chick peas, lentils, bread and so on. In fact, this Wiki page is a good place to start; it works by grams of protein per 100 grams food weight.

Carbohydrate

HIT trainingCarb rich foods are where you’ll get the lion share of the fuel for conversion into energy to lift weight and cook off some serious love-handle on the treadmill or cross trainer. They should, like protein, take up 35% to 40% of your overall calorie intake.

Again, similar to protein. About 1.5 grams per pound bodyweight is good and then about 2 grams per pound on your workout days.

Carbohydrates are essentially sugars, ranging from very simple to complex. They are further complicated by their categorization as low, medium or high on the Glycemic Index. The lower down on the GI, the slower the speed and impact by which they spike your blood sugar levels. For the most part, it is best to stay in the low to medium end of the spectrum, with fruits, oatmeal, and other complex carbs.

There are however two times a day when simple, high GI carbs are useful: (1) first thing in the morning after waking up, and (2) immediately after a workout. If you like jelly sweets like gummy bears then you are in luck, because some reliable sources suggest eating about 30 of them after a heavy workout!

Here’s another Wiki on the Glycemic Index

And here’s a good table for amount of Carbs per serving of some foods.

High carb food intake should be limited in the late afternoon and evening, with protein and fats taking up the brunt of the load. Of course, leafy and coloured vegetables (non-starchy) can be eaten by the plate load with dinner.

Fat

CheeseFat’s got a bad rep, but it’s getting better thanks to some of the more vocal celebrity nutritionists and dominant websites out there. “Good” fats will provide a source of valuable energy, keep anabolic hormones elevated, as well as fulfill countless metabolic obligations throughout your system. Somewhere between 20% to 30% of your total daily calories should come from fat.

Find a nut butter you like – peanut is good – cook with olive oil, and use it in salad dressings, eat lean oily fish, and enjoy your eggs. These are the omega-3 fats that everyone talks about and they are really healthy and a good source of available energy, unlike some other fats.

Aim for a ratio of 3:1 with omega-3 to omega-6 respecitvely. Omega-6 (polyunsaturated) fats are also a necessary part of your diet but obviously to a lesser extent. Three times less in fact.

Avoid trans-fats like the plague, but a little saturated fat in moderation is ok. The American Heart association says about 5% to 6% of your total daily intake can be from saturated fats. I know of some people who think you can go way higher, and that saturated fats should be taken off the watch-list altogether (especially after the dietary cholesterol debacle), but until there are more definitive answers on this topic, I’d err on the side of caution.

Here’s a table with fat quantities of food. Go easy on the tartar sauce!

Calories

So you’ve got a ratio of protein:carbs:fats, but how much should you actually eat in a day to bulk up? – Well, again, the answer is not easy because of individual dynamics that affect the number.

The basic diet of an average 180 lb male, who is in the gym 4 days lifting weight, should be around 3000 to 3200 calories using the per-pound values and the ratios above. Using 3200, that’s about:

  • 1150 calories Protein (~288 grams)
  • 1100 calories Carbohydrate (~275 grams)
  • 950 calories Fat (~106 grams)

Base metabolic rate will vary between people, as will genetic dispositions and quite a few other factors. The point is, you will have to find out through a little trial and error what the best quantities are for you and your goals.

On training days, your protein and carbs will likely be a little higher from taking on pre/during/post-workout drinks and shakes.

Garbage In – Garbage Out

Eating fast food and junk during what is essentially an athletic endeavour is counterintuitive. Whatever you put in to this is what you will get out of it. Fuel yourself with quality food at the right ratios and at the right times and you will get to each milestone that you set for yourself that much more quickly and painlessly. That said, there is nothing wrong with a treat here and there, provided you can control yourself and know when to put the stuff back in the cupboard, or walk away from the donut stand, or whatever.

blueberriesI haven’t ranted on about going organic because it’s unfair to guilt-trip people into spending that much more money on their groceries. If you can do some but not all, then there are a few fresh products that are better to prioritize than others when it comes to buying organic. Thick skinned fruits and vegetables like bananas aren’t really a problem because the pesticides and other chemicals don’t penetrate to the fleshy bit that you eat. Wash everything – fruits, vegetables – the lot.

Otherwise, get choosy. The following are good to prioritize if you are on a budget as they are the most susceptible:

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery

Supplements

supplement capsulesSupplements can be a great addition to the bulking nutrition plan. Everything from protein shakes, amino acids and creatine to hormone boosters and stimulants can help.

On this site, we have reviewed many growth hormone boosters and other anabolic hormone boosters and testosterone boosters.

Click to see our Highest Rated Product reviews

Conclusion

What I haven’t done is design meal plans. The reason is simple: when you give example meal plans, some people stick to them rigidly and don’t eat anything else. Be inventive and look for things to make, as the same meal over and over will get just as boring as the same workout over and over.

Some days you will be in a rush, and meal planning will go out the window. Be sure to have enough things that can be picked up, shoved in a bag and taken on the fly. Fruit, cans of tuna, protein bars, shake powder (and shaker cup), nuts etc.

Good luck, and don’t forget to take a look at our Bulking Up Training Article.

Bulking Up – Where to Start

free squatDo you want to get more muscle mass? Do you want to start bulking up? Maybe you are looking for a place to start, and with this simple outline and explanation, you might be able to get on the right track and not get bogged down with too much complication right now.

As well as this Bulking Cycle piece, we will also look at some Cut Cycle and Strength improvement work at some point, so look out for those articles in the future.

There is always a complicated way and a less complicated way to gain muscle. But there is no easy way – and anyone promising you can bulk up fast without any hard work is full of dark matter. By less complicated, I mean that you can dedicated most of your energy to lifting weights (the non-easy part) as opposed to following something convoluted which you will eventually get frustrated with and stop altogether.

This is for people starting out. One day, you will experiment with different exercises and more complex ideas, but it is my experience that most people get off on the right foot if they keep it simple from the get-go. Good structure needs a good foundation; and foundations are simple.

Let’s look at the foundation of building muscle mass.

The Key Areas to Building Muscle

1. Resistance Training
2. Diet and Nutrition
3. Recovery and Sleep

I’ll talk about each one individually in different posts. Even though they may seem obvious, too many people concentrate mainly on lifting weights and fall short of satisfying the other two areas by a long way.

We only work out to stimulate growth. The growth happens during our sleep, and the material to do it comes from nutrition. With inadequate levels of either, you will not get the results you want.

Resistance Training

Much of your gym time should be spent on the core lifts, which I will get to in a moment. There are other factors which you need to consider before ploughing ahead though:

Time

Too many young guys starting out spend a huge amount of time in the gym. There is a case to be made for doing double days (two workouts a day), but I can’t think of a good reason for someone – even in their first year of lifting – to do that.

Session length is an interesting subject too. Again, there are times when long hypertrophic workouts are beneficial, but as I said before, it is not necessary. You can achieve the same, if not more, from 45 minutes in the gym as opposed to 2 hours. Get in, get the job done, and start recovery and nutrition as soon as possible for it is in this period that you actually build muscle.

A lot of gym rats are there for the social aspect as much as doing anything about their body composition. Each to their own, but time spent talking can really eat into energy, motivation and your body’s response to training.

My Advice: If you are like me then you have a busy schedule with work, family and life. So, put in a hard working session and dig deep so you can get on with recovery and the all important growth aspect of a bulk phase.

Core Lifts

The core lifts are a topic of debate still. It’s generally accepted that the 3 absolutes – the trifecta of strength and resistance training if you will, are:

1. Squats
2. Deadlifts
3. Bench Press

I would like to add a 4th to that:

4. Military Press

Big shoulders are essential, if you want to look proportionate, but it goes beyond that. A while ago, the shoulder press was the press exercise. Shoulders – in my opinion (and many other people) – are far more important in terms of everyday strength utilization than the chest/pectoral muscles.

Big pecs look good but big shoulders will do more for you. That being said, I recognize the necessity of both movements in a bodybuilding regime.

Back to time: Each core lift is the basis of a workout for me, though I often put Bench Press, Military Press or Dead Lifts on the same day as Squats to create a 3 day program.

Twice in Eight

Having 3 days centred around the core lifts, you can take a rest day on the 4th. This allows for two cycles within a period of 8 days.

Twenty Minutes

Each core lift can occupy up to 20 minutes of your session (I’ll provide example workouts below). That means, you are done with the main sets in 20 minutes. It may not sound like a lot but honestly, it’s all the time in the world if you are putting high effort in and focusing on the work rate rather than chatting the minutes away.

After the first 20 minutes, the time can be reset for another 20 minutes. This time, you can go to the complimentary/support/satellite muscles that go well with main core lift muscle that you just worked on. Every combination known to man has been done, to success, so there really is no right and wrong here. Compound sets, super sets, drop sets and giant sets can all be used effectively to build mass. However, at the start, it might be worth it just to focus on the core lift and then the smaller muscles in the same group to encourage an overall balance.

Hypertrophy

There are two types of hypertrophic growth: Sarcoplasmic and Myofibrillar.

Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy is the increase of the sarcoplasmic fluid surrounding the muscle fibres. This means your muscles get bigger, but not necessarily stronger.

Myofibrillar Hypertrophy is the increase in density of the muscle fibre itself. This increases strength but not size to a huge degree.

When you lift weights, a mixture of the two types happens which is why you get stronger and bigger in time. You can however put emphasis on either one by adapting your workout. To build mass, you want to aim for 3 or 4 sets of 10-12 reps each. For legs, this can go to 15-20 rep sets.

Later on, you can hone strength a little more by increasing the weight, increasing the number of sets, but decreasing the rep count.

Rest Between Sets

Take about 60 to 90 seconds between sets to recover for the next one. Over time, recovery will get faster and you can experiment with more intense sessions with 30 to 60 second rest intervals between sets.

Cardio

Yes, you are building muscle mass and yes you are trying to gain, not necessarily lose, but cardio is still important. It will keep you healthy, and help burn some fat calories.

I would keep a strict 4 x 15 to 20 minute cardio sessions a week. Keep it medium effort for the most part, although there is a place for one intense session per week, or two intense sessions for some people. The cross-trainer, eliptical, treadmill and bike are all good options.

Example Workout Days

Day 1

This day is slightly longer because of combining squats with bench press. The bench can be replaced by the either one of the other core lifts.

Exercise Sets Reps Time (minutes)
General Warm Up
Warm Up Set 5
Squats 3-4 15-20 15
Leg Press 3 15 5
Bench Press 3-4 10-12 15
Dips (bodyweight) 3 8-12 5
Triceps (skull crushers/extensions) 3-5 10-12 5-10
Cardio 15-20

Day 2

Exercise Sets Reps Time (minutes)
General Warm Up
Warm Up Set 5
Deadlift 3-5 10-12 20
Pull Ups 3 10-12 5
Seated Rows 3 10-12 5
Biceps (hammers/curls) 3-5 10-12 5-10
Core (plank etc) 3 1 (x3)
Cardio 15-20

Day 3

Exercise Sets Reps Time (minutes)
General Warm Up
Warm Up Set 5
Military Press 3-5 10-12 15-20
Side Raises 3 10-12 5
Bent over raises 3 10-12 5
Shrugs 3 10-12 5
Core (plank etc) 3 1 (x3)
Sit-Ups 3 10-12 5
Cardio 15

Day 4

REST

Conclusion

This article could go on forever. In future articles I will talk about the Nutrition and Recovery aspects of bulking. Until then, start basing your workouts around the simple core lifts. Don’t over-do it, but put the effort in to a compact session that allows for you to get on with life at the same time.

Lift safe, eat well, sleep sound.

Beware of Free Supplement Trial Scams

don't get scammedAs the saying goes – if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.

That’s a bit of a sweeping statement, but it might be something to keep in mind when you see these free supplement trials.

The websites promise so much from the product that it makes people intrigued just enough to read more.

When the offer of a free sample is glaring them right in the face then it sounds like a great opportunity to test this wonder product out.

Unfortunately, once someone enters their details in for the free sample, they might be committing to a whole lot more than they bargained for.

Many of these schemes still ask for credit card details for the free trial – why do they do that? It’s so that they can setup an auto-billing scheme whereby if the person does not cancel within a short period of time (10 days for example), the company charges the credit card, and usually an unreasonable amount like $90. And that’s only for the small ‘free sample’.

Thereafter, the auto-billing system will keep charging money to the credit card and sending the product automatically every month. The product is rarely worth the money spent on it, and cancelling it all down proves more difficult than it’s worth. Most people end up having to cancel their credit cards and cutting the scammers off at source.

Things To Look Out For

As with any scam, there are tell-tale signs that the scammer cannot help but show in plain view, while conducting their business. Like good illusionists, they will try and divert your attention from the real intentions of the trick, but if you look at it clearly and think about it all before being tempted to go for the free trial, you can see it for what it really is.

Prime Male

PRIME MALE – Top Test Booster

We’d never recommend a product if it was part of one of these free trial shams that seem to end up being the exact opposite of free.

Any product we might point you in the direction of has been used by us, so we can assure you of the validity of the company and the supplement itself.

An offer like – Buy 2 and Get 1 FREE – is another thing entirely. Those are the offers we want to see.

Click here to take a look at the best products reviewed

The Free Trial or Sample

Free Sample ImageThat’s the first thing you should expect. It’s true that there are some genuine free trials and samples with products, but it’s rare with dietary supplements, it has to be said.

Why would anyone ask for credit card details if it’s a free trial? If it’s truly free then there should be no need for this. In all honesty, what company in their right mind would send free product out from a website.

Perhaps face to face at a convention or something but there is no business sense in what they are doing…except there is, because the auto-billing scheme will turn them a massive profit.

Auto-Billing Scheme

Autobilling ScamThis is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s a real shame that it can even be considered legal. This isn’t like when you sign a contract for a cell phone or respectable magazine.

You expect to be billed for those things and you pay the fair market price for them.

What these companies do is tantamount to extortion, and they put it all in small print in the terms and conditions so that it isn’t obvious to the consumer.

They send you a “free trial” after you give them credit card details.

Then they will bill you a large sum every month and send you the product again and again, unless you cancel. If the item ships after you cancel then they will charge you a “re-stocking” fee to send it back to them, plus the postage and packaging. Also they will charge postage insurance separately.

The free trial system will be set up so that it is nearly impossible to cancel in time. Also, the phone lines for “customer support” are charged at high rates.

IF IT’S A FREE TRIAL, WHY DO THEY NEED YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION???

Exaggerated Product Claims

Some of these products – if they actually did what they claim – would be sold out constantly worldwide. The promise of massive muscles, fat-melting, energy, sex drive and everything else under the sun is too far-fetched.

And where’s the evidence to back it up except for lots of stock photos of models that anybody could get off the internet? At least a few ingredients listed would be something but then it might just look exactly like what it is, a regular dietary supplement.

Top Search Engine hits are Scam Sites

It says it all when you search the product name on the internet and the first sites to pop up are called things like PissedConsumer.com and RipOffReport.com.

This means so many people are reporting the product as a scam that these sites are ranking really high in the search engines.

Positive Reviews are Illegible

Scam GraphicIf you do find a positive review of the product somewhere then you will probably find the English is pretty awful.

That’s because the marketers that do want to promote the rubbish product are usually “not from round ‘ere”.

This isn’t a 100% signal because there are good writers trying to hawk these scam products as well but they are rarer.

Why The Need for Such Antics?

You have to ask yourself: if a product is that good, why would the manufacturers need to go to such lengths? Surely it should gain an excellent reputation all by itself. After all, the bodybuilding community is really good at getting the word out about quality products.

What Can You Do To Push Back?

Push BackThe first thing to do for yourself is ignore the “Risk Free Trials” – because they are anything but that.

Secondly, if you have been duped by one of these schemes then get in touch with the Better Business Bureau and ask for their help.

You can use this line on the phone to the scam company and they might offer you a refund.

Contesting the charge with your credit card company is probably the most common thing people do when they have been done by the scam. Visa, MasterCard and AMEX are usually very accommodating.

IF you feel you must order the free trial then try and use a pre-paid card that simply cannot be charged by them again afterwards. Some of the schemes recognize the pre-paid cards but if they do then avoid them like the plague.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Prime Male OrderEven if these companies weren’t trying to rip you off hideously, they probably don’t put anything but fillers and useless cheap nothing ingredients in their products anyway.

After they’ve taken enough money then they’ll happily accept the slap on the wrist before they fire up another product under another name. Rinse and repeat.

Watch your backs guys. The devil is in the details.

There are some genuinely good supplements available, and the companies we recommend will never ask out you on an auto-billing scheme. You simply get what you order.

Click here to check out the recommended products

5 Superfoods you Need in your Life

SuperfoodsThere’s nothing to stop hype-mongerers labelling anything a superfood. That’s because ‘Superfoods’ as a technical designation is not really a thing. I’m not saying there aren’t super…foods out there, but the buzzword is just that, and nothing else.

The problem this creates is quite profound. If some product or other receives pseudo-superfood status, then health junkies – and health junky wannabies – will rush out and load up on the stuff without a second thought as to what it is doing for them or how much they should consume.

Take avocados for example. They are a really good source of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil. They also contain a bunch of vitamins; E, C, K, B5 and B6, not to mention folate and potassium. The fats help you absorb lots of other important fat-soluble vitamins as well as the ones in the avocado itself. They can even improve your immune system and reduce your risk of some deadly diseases. That’s all great! Eat an avocado a day as part of a salad, or throw it in a blender with your other smoothie stuff.

But don’t eat 5 a day, because that’s (a) expensive as hell, and (b) nearly 1000 calories.

So consume in moderation. Nothing is a fix-all panacea solution to health.

That said, here are some foods that should be considered for ‘Super’ status if ever there were any:

Turmeric (Curcumin)

Okay so I’m starting with a spice. And really, you could spend a day on the spice rack alone, extolling the health benefits of 50 different powders, barks and flakes.

But Turmeric, man-alive! Turmeric is good.

It’s anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-Alzheimer’s and it fights arthritis. Super, right!?

Scientists don’t know how much is ideal but you can start frying up some cabbage and adding turmeric, it makes it delicious. Adding black pepper will increase your absorption of this awesome ingredient.

Garlic

Garlic improves blood circulation, reduces blood pressure and maintains healthy cholesterol levels (i.e. lipoprotein levels…i.e. higher HDL and lower LDL). Garlic is also a powerful anti-oxidant by way of enhancing the activity of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione. It might even help keep away those nasty chest infections, not to mention the neighbourhood vampires.

Put 2 cloves of garlic a day in your meals and your immune system will thank you for it. If you are worried about garlic breath, remove the green core – that’s the smelly bit.

Berries

blueberriesBlueberries are probably the most well-known for their antioxidant anthocyanins but most dark berries are good sources as well. Anthocyanins may reduce damage to DNA caused by oxidation, free-radicals and stress.

The morning smoothie is a good place to cram a few dark berries in. If you can’t get hold of fresh ones every day then use the frozen ones. Blend them up with some spinach, kale, banana, avocado, nut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds and lemon juice. Yum!

Leafy Greens

You’ve heard it a million times in your life, that you should get a good portion of dark leafy greens every day. What many people don’t know is that they contain high levels of nitrates, which can serve as an excellent pre-workout snack.

Why? Vasodilation, that’s why. Leafy greens get you pumped in the gym.

About 45 minutes before you go to the gym, have a beetroot salad and enjoy the natural nitric-oxide boost.

Spirulina

This blue-green algae, rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, is also about 60% pure protein. The only downside is that it tastes pretty rough.

Again, whack it in the morning smoothies and mask its flavour with those dark berries and some lemon juice.

Conclusion

It doesn’t take much time to add these ‘Superfoods’ to your daily nutritional intake and they may just prove to have more than a health kick to them. You have to think ahead, these days. Some of the ingredients above might help future-proof you from some of life’s proverbial kicks in the teeth.

I’ll finish with a word of caution. After training is NOT the best time to load up on anti-oxidants. They interrupt the natural adaptations we need to make for improvement, muscle recovery and growth. Stick to your protein and carbs post-workout. Save the superfoods for first thing in the morning or in your other meals.

Other Articles of Interest

  1. Dietary Cholesterol New Status
  2. Importance of Sleep for Muscle Growth and more
  3. Sleep Supplements for Boosting GH
  4. Melatonin and Growth Hormone

Beauty Sleep – Pah! – Give Me Muscle Sleep

muscle building sleepIf you put in a really heavy session at the gym, when are you going to get the results and start building the muscle you worked hard for? Does it happen during the session itself? Is it when you relax afterwards and enjoy a protein shake?

Perhaps it’s later in the afternoon when you’re gobbling your sweet potato, beets, spinach and tuna salad?

The truth is, you’re breaking muscle down in the gym; essentially damaging yourself. If we thought exercise was the action and the reward in one then we’d soon learn the hard way. Do nothing but work out and you’d quickly waste away to nothing. Lifting weights doesn’t make you stronger, it stimulates growth called overcompensation.

Even during the hours after your workout, you are fighting catabolism more than you are building muscle per se. Catabolism is the continued breakdown of proteins that make up your muscle fibres. By eating and drinking the right things, and relaxing of course, this process is slowed and eventually stalled. Some of the best intra-workout supplements are so good because they don’t just fuel your workout, they help recovery by slowing catabolism afterwards.

Sleep

The real benefits from resistance training come while you are sleeping. In fact, the real benefits from all sorts of training are gained as you slumber. Your body and brain are machines, and machines need downtime to be effectively repaired and rebuilt. So, whether you’ve studied for an exam, rehearsed for a music recital, or done five sets of 8 on the deadlift that day, you are going to be better at those things after a good nights sleep.

If you seem to be getting nowhere – or not much improvement – from all your hard efforts in the gym or exercise setting then think about how much sleep you get regularly. I would say sleep is as important as diet and nutrition in the context of body composition and strength gains. You cannot survive without either for very long, and you cannot build muscle and shed fat effectively without them. If you have your diet and exercise figured out then it can only really be sleep.

8 or 9 hours is optimal, but what average person with kids and a job can manage that? The answer is: it’s up to you. Everything is doable, it just takes a bit of readjusting.

How can you ensure a good night of deep sleep?

Melatonin (and light)

Melatonin is a hormone that we secrete naturally; it regulates sleep. It also triggers the largest release of growth hormone within the 24 hour period. Luckily, melatonin is available in supplement form and it can be used for a period of time to re-regulate sleep patterns if they have fallen out of whack.

blue light and sleepToo much bright light can upset the cyclic release of melatonin, specifically in the blue end of the spectrum. So if you look at computer screens, phone screens, or watch the TV right up until you go to bed, it may disrupt your sleep pattern.

Scientists say that warm red light is more effective for melatonin production. There are some programs like f.lux which dims your computer screen gradually and shifts it into the red as you get deeper into the evening. I write a lot at night and then read, sometimes on my phone, and I use programs that make the background black and the text white. That seems to help me too.

Click here to read more about Melatonin and Growth Hormone

Noise

Disruptive sound at night can not only keep us awake but increase our stress levels and adrenaline to the point that anger or alertness stops us from falling asleep, even after the source of noise disappears. Frustrating as it is, you can never shut your ears off like you can close your eyelids.

The solutions are still available though.

foam ear plugsEarplugs: if you can’t turn it off, block it. Simple and effective. The foam kind seem to work best because you can squish them up, put them in your ears and let them expand to block out a good level of decibels.

White Noise Makers: sometimes, even earplugs aren’t enough. They weren’t for me when I lived below some terrible neighbours. Use a white noise maker. There are apps for most smart phones which you can then plug into a speaker. White noise is that which spans a wide range of the spectrum and is constant, therefore flooding your audible senses and blocking other more variable and annoying sounds.

The combination of the two methods above helped me through some tough times, either when I was living in a noisy household, or below one. One piece of advice: remember to set a loud alarm!

Rhythm

The circadian rhythm is called that for a reason. Naturally, we are supposed to go to bed when the sun goes down and wake up when it rises. It made sense to the caveman, but modern-day society doesn’t really accommodate that behaviour too well. Imagine going to bed at 4pm in the depth of Winter (depending where you are in the world of course).

We can, however, create our own rhythms and going to bed at a specific time – or within an envelope of time – every night is one way we can induce our own sleep cycle. This is easier said than done, but there are always people who succeed at doing this, and don’t they always seem bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning? If those people irritate you, then you probably need more sleep!

Caffeine and Other Stimulants

too much coffeeWhich madman came up with the after-dinner coffee idea?

Great plan! Maybe we should put ice down our backs and endure some electro-shock therapy just before bedtime!

Do yourself a favour and don’t drink coffee or take anything else stimulatory within 4 or 5 hours of bed time.

If you can fall asleep after drinking coffee at night, then it’s a sign you drink too much coffee. Also, you think you are unaffected, but adenosine receptors are still being blocked, and you might not be getting the deepest most restful sleep you could otherwise.

Sleep Aids and Supplements

We did another article which covered this a little. If you want more specific advice on muscle-building sleep then click here.

Melatonin has already been mentioned as an effective sedative. Lemon balm is another, which also appears to calm an over-active mind.

Lavender is a non-sedative aid, the aroma of which reduces anxiety. You can get it in the form of oils (for your pillow), lip balms.

The lavender lip balms are really good. Rub some on the skin between your nose and your lip and let the calming smell help you drift off.

Conclusion

Order GH Advanced PlusThis website is concerned primarily with building muscle via endogenous hormone maximization. Sleep time is the best parts of the days to bank some serious muscle growth.

While you are out for the count and dreaming of being a champion mud-wrestler (or you know, whatever), your body is doing so much more than you can imagine.

After a good stretch of regular sleep, quality training and nutrition, the results will astound you.

Click here to read about GH Sleep Supplements

Injecting Growth Hormone: Healing or Cheating?

liquid hghOne minute, highly influential people, deeply involved in the NBA, with lots of money are calling for more research into synthetic human growth hormone use to assess its usefulness with respect to injury recovery. The next minute, the NFL is being governmentally railroaded into conducting random HGH testing on its players.

Some ex-sportsmen say as little as 10% of their colleagues are shooting growth hormone on a regular basis. Others have since admitted it’s more like half the roster. Old skeletons are coming out of the closet for certain baseball players; they say they ‘used’ in order to recover from injury faster, to get back on the field and get the hounds off their back, not to mention being back to doing what they love to do the most.

Allegations of cheating have been made against the same people. Performance Enhancing Drugs – peds – is a pervasive term that get thrown around pretty carelessly these days. Ask some scientists/doctors and they will tell you there isn’t much going to happen in the way of performance enhancement if you inject HGH. Others disagree.

And so the circus continues, ignorance being the major driving force unfortunately.

Player Down

NFL and growth hormonePlayers who are sidelined due to injury are a massive money drain for teams. Coaches, general managers, owners and even the players themselves are under a mountain of pressure to get back in the game before they become too much of a burden. So of course, if a substance is perceived to help you achieve that, surely the benefit outweighs the risk. Or perhaps the player doesn’t even get a choice in the matter. Who knows what goes on behind the closed doors of a pro-sports organization?

Andy Pettitte – recently retired pitcher for the NY Yankees – may have hung up the #46 jersey for the last time, but the legacy of HGH use won’t be so quickly laid to rest. He maintains that all he was doing back in 2002 was desperately trying to get back from an elbow injury; something that regularly takes down the top pitchers – the forces acting on that joint, so repetitively, day after day, are remarkable. It’s a wonder Major League pitchers aren’t boosting buckets of growth hormone every day if you think about it.

So why can’t this guy be left alone? All he cared about was getting back on the mound and doing his thing, or so he says. Others are calling it cheating.

Certainly the Senator John McCain thought so when he wrote to the NFL, expressing his disappointment that they had yet to commence their random HGH testing.

Human Growth Hormone Testing

HGH in pro sportsIt’s easy, right? Take some blood, urine, whatever, run it through some scientific looking machine and you get a green or red light or something.

Nope.

From the 15,000 or so tests that have been conducted since the inception of HGH testing in sports, only about 10 people have been suspended from it. Out of those ten, two people were let off the charge because they appealed the science. Ergo, the science is fallible by a massive 20%. Reasonable doubt from that alone might get you off with a good lawyer.

Nevertheless, the tests are going ahead now. The guys using the stuff have a bit of a headstart coupled with an advantage though. For starters, they’ve been injecting HGH on the down-low for nearly 4 decades now, which means they have gotten really good at knowing when they can and when they can’t. Also, the science has been so dodgy that the tests can be beaten – if not completely then enough that it gets a court rejection.

Even Olympic athletes were riddled with recombinant human growth hormone in the late ‘80s. Back then there was a way to stack testosterone with rhGH and go undetected. NFL players were also beating the relatively useless steroid testing procedures with the same combination method, and that stayed rife all the way through to 2005 when the DEA stepped in and found evidence that convicted drug dealers were supplying the demand!

But that wasn’t testing that caught them out, just classic investigative work. Standard isomer blood testing for growth hormone has too many holes in it.

The Science Bit

We actually have different ‘isoforms’ of growth hormone, which can show up in a blood test as being out of balance. The synthetic type – rhGH – is a different atomic weight, so if the test comes back with way more of that in ratio to the endogenous (natural) growth hormone then it’s deemed a positive result.

The Flawed Science Bit

Doctor and HGHSo what’s the problem? Remember that in the thousands of tests, only ten have come back positive, which is pretty weird considering the use of rhGH is meant to be so staggeringly pervasive. The first problem is that the isomer testing is only valid if the test is carried out after 10 hours and before 20 hours following the person injecting it.

That’s a pretty tight window when you think about it. Even more so when the NFL tests have to come with 24 hours notice. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out you can still inject most of the time, and simply stop for the pre-warned tests.

Another flaw in the test goes like this: now, players can get hold of BOTH isoforms synthetically. So they can inject both at the correct ratio and the test is good for nothing.

The isomer test also yields false positives, where people who aren’t even taking growth hormone in any form can fail. There’s no real baseline for what our endogenous levels should be when factoring age, genetics, health and so on, therefore how can a test be accurate?

When the isomer test was finally put to the test itself, it failed.

So what next?

The Biomarker Test

blood flowOther ‘biomarkers’ can show that the levels of growth hormone are not natural. Insulin activity for example, or levels of collagen in the subject’s connective tissues. Taking these into account with the biomarker test seems to have made a big difference. The science world is much more positive with this test.

Unfortunately, for the anti-doping agencies looking for an infallible test, the biomarker can also be broken. Much like the steroid stacks of old, the user can add all the biomarkers in small and varying amounts to account for the differences, and so get away with it again.

The biomarker test may still be better than the isomer test. That’s because the two athletes who have since been caught using synthetic growth hormone with the biomarker test were not tested positive with the isomer test. Some experts say neither test has passed the usual statistical stringencies that hard science requires.

Until anti-doping agencies and scientists can agree there is a statistically infallible method of testing for synthetic growth hormone, it may be impossible to be catch the sneakiest of sportsmen.

Cheating or Healing?

HGH researchBack to the original point though. Is the use of synthetic human growth hormone in order to speed up the healing of an injury necessarily cheating, or can it be viewed – as Pettitte would say – purely as a recovery aid?

Who cares – is a standard response from sports fans. As long as they (players) get on with the sport!

For those who do care, and don’t want to see professional sport become a ban-free circus, it’s an important question.

Let’s ask the question this way: if you use drugs to recover quicker from injury, isn’t the fact that you are ready and able faster than the ordinary healing process would allow, itself performance enhancement?

Or how about this way: if you can recover faster with the use of drugs, then perhaps you can risk injury by throwing, running and tackling faster and harder than you otherwise would.

1. NFL testing begins

2. NBA ties to hgh research

Lowerol: The LDL Lowering Supplement

egg yolk cholesterolYou might have read our article about dietary cholesterol, and how the US government is about to remove from the long list of health warnings. If so, then you will know a little bit more than the average person about what cholesterol is and that it is in fact a very important molecule in our bodies.

Without cholesterol we would die – it is responsible for several functions of cellular membranes and other core processes. Those who have been avoiding it for the last 30 years in their diets are lucky then, that we synthesize it within our bodies anyway.

So why still do we need to lower cholesterol? And how come people to this day talk about good and bad cholesterol?

The answer to both of those questions is that the culprit is not actually cholesterol at all, but a transporter of cholesterol called Low Density Lipoprotein, or LDL for short. Along the way, this lipoprotein got tagged with the label “Bad Cholesterol” and from there on, the nickname stuck.

LDL lowering supplementLOWEROL

LOWEROL is just about the most effective LDL lowering supplement available in our opinion.

The supplement includes powerful ingredients which not only lower LDL, but further protect the heart, arteries and cells from the destructive power of oxidation and free-radicals.

If you want to reduce those LDL levels without the use of statin drugs that can cause side effects then we strongly advise you to go for Lowerol.

Follow the link below to go to the product page, or keep reading for further information.

Click here to view special offers now

What’s LDL’s Problem?

blood flowThe issue arises when there are too many LDL molecules roaming around in our blood, full of cholesterol that our other cells cannot use because they have enough of it. These get oxidized – or wasted – and when they do, they can release their fatty material into the arteries that they travel along.

Also, other agents like macrophages come along and gorge on this material and get big and bloated, thereby causing the arterial blockages that can lead eventually to heart disease.

There’s Also “Good” Cholesterol

Again, not strictly cholesterol, but we’re very fortunate to have another cholesterol carrier called High Density Lipoprotein, or HDL. this lipoprotein finds that loose cholesterol and fat deposit in the arteries, scoops it up, and takes it all away to the liver for excretion or to other organs that need it.

Ratio is Key

There are many people that have one of two problems: too much LDL, or too little HDL.

HDL is really the hero we want to endure so lowering the levels of LDL is always the prime objective. Not matter what, the ratio of Total Cholesterol to HDL should be a lot less than 5:1. When HDL is only 1 part in 5, we have a problem.

Now, remember that this is really a measure of the amount of one type of lipoprotein compared to another. The actual cholesterol isn’t really the issue – and that is why dietary cholesterol is now being cleared as safe by the US and has been for a while elsewhere.

The main reason is that our bodies will produce cholesterol to make up the difference we don’t take on in our diets anyway. And if we have a cholesterol rich diet, our body will back off the endogenous production.

Balanced Diet, Exercise and Supplements

balanced dietOf course, there are things you can do to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance at avoiding the risk of heart disease. Regular check-ups at the doctor are a good way to monitor your improvement.

A well-rounded diet, comprising all the major food groups, macro-nutrients (proteins, carbs, fats), vitamins, minerals is key to your longevity.

Regular exercise will help keep the fat levels down, which is one of the major contributors to heart disease.

Finally, a supplement can be the secret weapon that high LDL levels never saw coming. There are some really interesting products hitting the market at the moment, and Lowerol – which we talk about below – is by far our favourite.

LOWEROL – The LDL Lowering Supplement

3 bottle Lowerol dealLowerol is not a statin drug, which is the first thing a doctor will prescribe someone with high LDL levels.

There have been substantially negative reports about the effects of statin drugs in recent years and thankfully there is now another option, in the form of Lowerol.

Lowerol uses a blend of natural ingredients that are rapidly becoming recognized for their safe and effective reduction of LDL levels and maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels:

Red Yeast Rice and Policosanol

  • Red Yeast Rice has monacolin K which can act like a statin but doesn’t have the side effects. It helps normalise blood cholesterol levels.
  • Policosanol can lower LDL and raise HDL

Grape Seed Extract

GSE is excellent for optimal blood circulation and is packed with antioxidants to combat the oxidation of LDL and plaque buildup in the arteries.

Coenzyme Q10

Another elite antioxidant, Q10 protects the heart and cells from harmful free radicals.

Note: Currently there are special offers available when you buy more than one month’s worth of Lowerol.

Click here go to the product page