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mTOR, Muscle Builder or Cancer Pathway?

 

Truth is, it appears to be both. Per usual, too much appears a negative, too little, also a negative

Supplement companies are constantly pushing mTOR as the magic pathway to building muscle, and various net guru type talk about keeping mTOR activated, with heavy marketing of Leucine, BCAA, etc. to keep mTOR activated. It’s unlikely that keeping an anabolic pathway such as mTOR active is a path to longevity. It’s interesting to note, cancer researchers, anti aging researchers, etc are looking for ways to limit/control mTOR.

Here’s an article on the topic by a researcher in the field worth a read. Obviously, it’s far from conclusive at this time that healthy people intentionally activating mTOR to assist in altering bodycomp etc, but it’s also not difficult to fathom that pathways also responsible for cellular growth, cell division, etc being activated constantly could have long term repercussions. We need mTor and too little also also clearly a negative, and like growth factors such as IGF-1 the risks/benefits will appear as a U shaped graph, where too much or two little increases the risks for various pathology best avoided (1). Interestingly, drugs that lower mTOR have been found to increase life span of some animals for example. Continue reading..

Synthol Madness!

Back in the day I was sitting at the judges table as an NPC judge and a middle weight bodybuilder was called forward to do his mandatory poses. He was actually a pretty decent bodybuilder if not for his ridiculous oversized balloon arms full of synthol. When he was asked by the head judge to do a front double biceps pose, someone in the audience yelled out “nice double synthol!” and the entire place broke out laughing. They were not laughing with him either, but at him. He looked stunned, and slinked off the stage. I’d heard from others how angry he was over it, and defended himself arduously regarding his claims he did not use synthol on a popular bodybuilding forum. He also went on to say how he should have at least won his class (and if not for his balloon arms he may have!) and how crappy the judges were and so forth. Dude was a poster child self-delusion on a grand scale.

3_6850034That was not the first experience I’d had with Synthol, far from it, but it was my first experience with just how delusional such people can be regarding their Synthol use. He knew he used Synthol or similar to make his arms the approximate size of his legs, why was he angry when everyone else knew it too? It was like some bikini competitor on stage with double E implants (which yes, I have seen…) claiming her boobs were natural and she should not have been marked down for her poor overall balance and symmetry due to the implants twice the size of her head.  I have had a few of those gals ask what they could do to improve their placing, and I/we usually told them to either reduce their breast size and or improve their lower body to help balance off the top, but none of them claimed their breasts were natural. Continue reading..

RAADFest Conference 2017

RAADFest 2017

-1Aging and dying sucks. That should be the motto of RAADFest, the conference that explores the very cutting edge of anti aging/longevity research and therapies. I, being a politically incorrect jerk, would have used that motto, because it’s true, but the RAADFest organizers have chosen the motto “Take your place in the revolution against aging and death” which is more descriptive than my motto I suppose. The goal of RAADFest is to explore “radical” life extension via the latest technologies as well as look at emerging and future technologies. This goes way past things like good nutrition, supplements and exercise, all of which can help slow aging and prevent the diseases of aging, none will stop it.
The ultimate goal of RAADFest and its speakers and attendees, is to put an end to aging and death, and that may in fact be a reality sooner than many realize. The overall tone of RAADFest being one of “transhumanism” which is “the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.” Assuming we don’t snuff ourselves out as a species in the coming decades due to being short sighted and small minded, the transhumanism movement will be science fact vs. fiction according to many scientists. I tend to agree.

I was not sure what to expect at this conference, but was pleasantly surprised by some of the information presented by the various speakers that was far ranging and often loaded with useful information people can put to use right now. As a semi conservative scientist type, some of it requires more research in my view before I’d personally use it or recommend it, but most of it very much worth tracking and possibly using. As you might expect, such a conference and the topic attracts a wide range of people, from brilliant well regarded scientists to people who are…well…umm… not that. Some were more of the inspirational speaker variety, some more a philosophical bent. This was not your typical dry scientific conference but an overall celebration of life. Continue reading..

What Makes A “Super Responder”?

What makes an exercise  “super Responder”?

A Roundtable Discussion with Alan Aragon, Dr. Conrad Earnest and Dr. Jose Antonio

superman-images-22

Super Man is the ultimate super responder!

Most people most of the time people will respond to exercise in a fairly predictable manner. When doing research on a group of people put on a specific exercise regimen, the majority will respond in a fairly typical and expected fashion. However, what they will also find, are a small percent of people who fall on both ends of the extreme, what might be termed non-responders on one side and super responders on the other. They are always a very small percent of a study as expected, but have been a consistent finding since, well, forever. Those two groups that fall well outside the typical response of the larger group, were once considered a statistical anomaly, or perhaps non-compliant, or other possibilities, without much attention given to them. However, more recent studies have focused on those non-responders, and studies have found identifiable genetic differences in non-responders to more typical responders. I cover that topic in a prior post HERE for those interested.

What of super responders? What do we know of them? It’s my view if we can identify what makes these genetic elites respond as they do, we may be able to apply some of that information to us mere mortals in the future.  There’s surprising little hard data on super responders, but anyone who has been involved in exercise physiology research, and or worked with athletes over the years has seen them.

What’s a super responder? As the name implies, a person who responds to exercise in a manner so unusually and un expectedly, you just marvel at their elite genetics to the point it’s hard to view them as the same species as the rest of us! I will admit my bias here in that I’m mostly interested in resistance training super responders, but they will exist in other endeavors too to be sure.

I have seen what I’d consider genetic elite super responders a handful of times in my thirty plus years in the “biz” and they never fail to amaze me.  I worked with one guy who trained sporadically at best following a haphazard program and his nutrition, in a word, sucked. He’d diet for a few weeks, and win every local and regional show he did, then with a little actual effort – via my assistance with keeping him on track – won a national level show and got a pro card. After he won his pro card, he decided to take time off from the gym. Six months later he comes to a cookout I was having and after six months of no exercise, looked only slightly smaller! He still looked better than 99% of the people busting their butts in the gym year in and year out and I wanted to kill him. I kid! Continue reading..

Why Are So Many Bodybuilders Stuck in the 70s?

70sIf there’s on group of strength athletes that seems to be stuck in the late 60s -70s when it comes to their training approach, it’s bodybuilders. Some might argue bodybuilders are physique athletes versus strength athletes per se, but I’m defining strength athlete as anyone who lifts progressively heavier weights in an attempt to get stronger and or larger as their primary focus. Whether they do that to be able to diet down and show that work on a stage or to hit a new PR at a competition is irrelevant to me. So from here on out, I’m placing bodybuilders in the category of strength athletes along with power lifters, strong men competitors, Olympic lifters, etc.

If you spend time in a serious power lifting gym, you’ll find modern power lifters following what’s the most effective and efficient  training methods for them to move forward in their sport. Obviously they apply their own approaches and methods, but understanding and utilizing concepts such as periodization, planned progression, de-loading, and so forth, is the common approach by successful modern powerlifters.  You’ll find the same for O lifters, strong men, and others as the common theme. What about bodybuilders? Go into a bodybuilding/physique oriented gym, and you’ll see people doing the same thing they have always done, pretty much the same thing bodybuilders were doing since the 70s, which is linear training minus any periodization, planned progression, de-loading, and so forth, ignoring approaches that would greatly improve their progress while reducing their chances of injuries. Prehab work, mobility work, and other useful modalities that improve recoup from tough workouts and reduce the risk of injury, also foreign concepts by and large in the bodybuilding community, and that needs to change. It gets downright depressing. Contrary to what some readers may think, with a few exceptions, it’s no different among the bodybuilding elite either.

Continue reading..

Medical Cannabis Discussion

There’s little  doubts at this point there are legit medical uses for various compounds found in Cannabis – some of which are only now being examined in depth via ongoing research.  Current legal control status in the US and stigma have prevented most medical researchers from touching it, but that appears to be changing finally.  Various states in the US allow for medical cannabis (MC) use and the number of states allowing MC growing rapidly. Each state has it’s own approach and laws and list of ailments (see below) medical cannabis is approved for ranges state to state.

Medical Marijuana The endocannabinoid system for example is a fast emerging area of research. Several compounds found in cannabis (Phytocannabinoids) directly impact this system. The best known of course is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most psychoactive of them. Others however appear to have direct effects and benefits, and having no psychoactive effects,  such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) which appear to have anti inflammatory and possible anti cancer effects. Various pharma companies are looking into compounds that target receptors in Endocannabinoid System and is an emerging target of Pharmacotherapy for a wide range of human diseases.

Marijuana and some individual compounds found in Marijuana, are being looked at for PTSD and several recent studies suggest benefit and various states have approved medical Marijuana for PTSD, and others, but check with your state for specifics. Continue reading..

(Natural) Testosterone Rebound: A Case Study

First, the important part: I’m not against testosterone replacement/hormone replacement (TRT/HRT) in the least, and was writing about the importance of testosterone before the internet existed and decades before the current “low T” trend seen all over the TV via the commercials these days. Readers can find various articles and vids on BrinkZone covering the topic as well as my recent teaming up with AMC to be able to directly work with people on their TRT/HRT needs. If anyone concludes I’m some how anti TRT/HRT from this article, they’d be wrong…

Having said all that, some people and medical professionals will jump quickly to TRT/HRT in individuals who may not require it, or worse, refuse to treat those that do. Each person’s situation is unique as to why they may have disturbances in their hormonal milieu, some times the reason can be ascertained via proper testing and evaluation, some times it can’t. There’s no doubt whatsoever in my view that those who need TRT/HRT will benefit if properly treated, and there’s many out there not being properly treated. Again, there’s also individuals who may show very low testosterone (T) levels but do not require TRT. That’s why it’s essential to fully evaluate each person vs. treating them as a lab number.

Second test, only slightly better at just over 100ng/dl

Second test, only slightly better at just over 100ng/dl

This is a case study I have put together of a young man who had a total testosterone level of 92ng/dl that went to 775ng/dl with no TRT or any medications used, such as Clomiphene (Clomid).  Yes, it’s an extreme case but also one that demonstrates how resilient the human body and mind can be if given the proper tools to heal itself.

Note, it didn’t happen quickly nor easily but it did happen, and today he’s a much happier and healthier person. His was a perfect storm of both physical – and all too often ignored – psychological factors that lead to his extremely low T levels and what he did to reverse it. Anyone looking for a quick fix or magic pill here will be disappointed. Those who identify with him and perhaps have similar issues, hopefully this is the wake up call that leads you to address it and realize you’re not alone. The interesting thing is, he was exactly that guy who people would ask how he stayed so lean all the time. Always lean, strong, and constantly in the gym, he was the paragon of what many wanted to achieve, not knowing that under that shell was a person who felt both physically and emotionally terrible.

When I’d speak with him, I became more and more convinced his issues (as he’d mentioned depression, lack of sleep, no libido etc.) were not a matter of a change of diet or training per se, but stemmed from psychological aspects he needed to address first if long term, recovery was to take place. I also recommended getting his testosterone and other hormones checked, and suspected his excessive training, dieting, and stress levels would show his T and or other hormones far from where they should be for his age and seemingly impressive conditioning. Even I was shocked to see it came back at 92ng/dl! Continue reading..

Got The Legit HIIT?!

Confusion over HIIT abounds it seems

For something so seemingly simple, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) causes far more confusion than it should in my view. Yet, we still see people out there who apparently don’t fully understand what HIIT entails and often confuse basic interval training for HIIT or HIIT for SIT!  HIIT is a form of interval training but not all interval training is HIIT, and I’ll get to SIT in moment.

I suspect some of the confusion stems from the variations of HIIT and its evolution over time with different approaches and changes in terminology. For myself, back in the day, what I would have considered interval training would now be considered HIIT and what I considered HIIT would now be referred to as “sprint interval training” or SIT. Hell, even this introduction probably confused a few readers!

HIIT Humor!

HIIT Humor!

I will do my best to clarify it all and link to an excellent review paper at the end of this article that puts it to rest and fully covers  physiological adaptations of HIT, SIT and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT), gives recs on frequency/duration, etc. of each, covers the benefits of each, and so forth.The problem with scientists, especially for non-scientists, is science loves its terminology and acronyms and they love to either change them or create new ones just to mess with people. OK, that last part is not true, but for some, it feels that way I know.  For example, MCIT is essentially the same, or at least very similar, to what most people already know as steady state low intensity (LISS) work, but one could argue moderate not identical to low intensity per se. No one splits the proverbial hair like scientists, but I digress. Don’t sweat it or over think it here.

A Common Source Of Confusion Continue reading..

Bomb Proof Coffee Confirmation

A new study adds additional scientific confirmation that combining Cocoa with coffee has numerous cognitive benefits over coffee alone. That’s a combination found in my Bomb Proof Coffee recipe I designed several years ago, and for some, yours truly included, if it’s not Bomb Proof Coffee, it’s just not coffee. For those who want the recipe, the science, etc go HERE. Onto this study… :lol:

Cocoa (cacao) Beans On Natural Wooden TableThe study, which was a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover design, found the combination of coffee and cocoa superior  and found  what appears to be some synergistic effects. The added ingredients of Bomb Proof Coffee should be yet additive benefits:

Note: for those who want the non “hard” science version via the study below, here’s a good summary via IFLScience:

One Delicious Combination Will Boost Attention Better Than Any Other Drink, Says Study:

Researchers from Clarkson University and the University of Georgia studied the effects of caffeinated and non-caffeinated brewed cocoa on attention span, motivation to perform cognitive work, and feelings of anxiety, energy, and fatigue. Their results, showed the combination of fatigue-fighting coffee and anxiety-reducing cocoa was the best combination for boosting attention span.”

Cont HERE

Study:

Acute effects of brewed cocoa consumption on attention, motivation to perform cognitive work and feelings of anxiety, energy and fatigue: a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover experiment Continue reading..

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI ) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), Related?

post-cycle-therapy-ageless-foreverReaders Note: There’s a lot of internal links in this article that will lead people to important pages for additional information. I did that in an attempt to keep this write up as concise and focused as possible:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI ) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) have been getting a great deal of attention in the past few years, and for good reasons. Are they related?

Approximately a decade ago I communicated with a Dr. Mark Gordon who was just starting to develop his thoughts and protocol regarding the association between TBI, and PTSD, or more accurately, TBI causing hormonal dysfunction leading to symptoms that are misdiagnosed as PTSD. What Dr. Gordon has termed  TBI – Hormone Dysfunction Syndrome.

Basic premise is, TBI causes  damage/dysfunction of the pituitary and other areas of the brain with resulting alteration in specific hormones, which can manifest as very similar to PTSD. According to Gordon:

”Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is now recognized as a causative factor for hormonal deficiencies associated with personality changes. Psychological, Physiological, and Physical manifestations like; depression, anxiety, mood swings, bouts of anger, memory loss, inability to concentrate, learning disabilities, sleep deprivation, increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, loss of libido, menstrual irregularities, pre-mature menopause, obesity, loss of lean body mass, muscular weakness, and a number of other medical conditions can arise subsequent to head trauma.” Continue reading..

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