Some of the most popular supplements today are the so called pre-workout nitric oxide (NO) boosters 1, 2. These contain a panoply of ingredients, but the main one is arginine. The rationale goes that arginine is a nitric oxide (NO) precursor and NO is a potent vasodilator 3, 4, which in turn supposedly will boost blood flow to exercising muscles, performance and recovery. And while arginine supplementation is beneficial for various clinical populations (see below), studies in healthy adults have not unequivocally supported the marketing hype surrounding arginine supplementation and nitric oxide boosters 1, 5, 6. Why? Let’s take a look under the hood…
Someone once said “there’s no sunshine without coffee.” I tend to agree. However, there’s a great deal more to understand regarding the benefits of caffeine – the central nervous system stimulant most people associate with coffee – and its effects on mental acuity, performance, etc. In this article I’m going to cover what people really need to know about this topic, and suggest a way to get the most bang for your money when it comes to this highly popular beverage and supplement.
Caffeine – a compound in the methylxanthine family – has its effects through various mechanisms on the central nervous system, and to be honest, I doubt those mechanisms are of great interest to most readers, so I won’t bother with an extensive discussion on it here. Suffice to say, caffeine positively impacts memory, performance, endurance, coordination and increases arousal, vigilance, while reducing fatigue, to name a few effects. Anyone who has used straight caffeine knows the stuff works, which is why the military, for example, adds it to gum as well as other things like bars and such. We all know the “energy drink/shot” category is all the rage these days even outside the gym setting. Although caffeine is not for everyone to be sure, it’s amazingly non-toxic. OK, so users of caffeine either know all this, or have at least experienced it, and don’t need much convincing it’s effective stuff for its intended uses. Let’s move into the more interesting info of this article, shall we?
Consumption of red meat has been associated with fat gain (and weight gain) because of its high energy and fat content. Even though the role of fat intake as a causative factor for obesity recently has been seriously questioned, and rightly so, red meat still is a food that’s on the forbidden or avoid list of most diet plans. And while there are studies showing an association between meat intake and obesity [1-3], there are also studies not showing this [3-5]. And when digging deeper in the data, many of the studies that have reported a significant association with meat intake and fat gain / obesity have several flaws that invalidate their conclusions….
“All natural” grass fed whey better then “regular” whey?
The latest trend in the highly saturated whey market is to push some “all natural” whey that’s grass fed and talk about the evils of supposed hormones in “regular” whey and then over charge for your “natural” whey. Is there any truth to it? Should you pay excessive amounts for this “natural” whey that’s grass fed and blessed by the Dalai Lama? There’s a number of issues to address regarding those claims, but in this write up I’m going to address the hormone claims and antibiotics as that seems to be of greatest concern to people.
One question that has popped up a few times in my email ‘in box’ relates to the issue of hormones in whey protein supplements. Are there hormones in your whey? It’s not a simple “yes” or “no” answer I am sorry to say, but the short answer is, people have nothing to fear.
Being an animal based product derived from milk, whey, like any animal based product, could potentially contain some naturally occurring hormone(s). The issue is, which hormone and in what amounts? Modern testing abilities being as sensitive as they are today, being able to search for things in parts per million (ppm), parts per billion (ppb) or even parts per trillion (ppt) in some cases, some hormone of some kind can be found in virtually anything we humans ingest, especially if it is derived from an animal source (though plants also often contain some naturally occurring hormones or hormone-like compounds).
So what’s the scoop on whey? The major concern seems to revolve around:
Testosterone Boosting Supplements – The Facts
“Testosterone boosting” supplements/formulas have become a very popular category in the supplement industry of late. It seems everyone, boy or man, seems to want to “boost” their levels of the hormone that makes men men. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of this hormone, and readers can see that via my other writings on the topic found throughout this web site. Everyone, men and women, can potentially benefit from maintaining optimal levels of this essential hormone.
Reflections: people I have known in the industry
Recently, I was reflecting on the number of well known figures in the industry I’ve known or met over the years, and it struck me that it might make a fun article. I’ve been in the “biz” a long time now, and it occurred to me that I’ve probably met just about every major figure in the industry at one time or another. Some of them are gone now, while others are still alive; some have names readers will recognize right away, and some don’t.
Although I can’t possibly cover all the figures I’ve encountered over the years, some stand out in my mind, and I thought a few anecdotes about them would be entertaining.
Now, these stories aren’t going to expose some sordid secrets about these people that will have readers saying “wow, I didn’t know he was a cross dresser!” or something like that. Even if I could (and yes, I know where the skeletons are…), I would not. Nor are they in any particular order—I just wrote them down as they came to mind.
I met Arnold Schwarzenegger when I was fairly new to the bodybuilding industry, and Arnold was “just” a movie star. We were both in Columbus, Ohio for the “Arnold Classic” – the show he promotes. I always stayed at the same hotel he did: the Hyatt on Capitol Square. Back then, he was pretty much a regular guy. Sure, he had some security around, but it was fairly minimal while he was in the hotel, and not very invasive. One morning, I was having breakfast in the main dining room, when someone behind me tapped me on my shoulder and in a strong Austrian accent said, “excuse me, can you pass the salt?” I looked around, and it’s Arnold! He was looking at me with a “you gonna pass that salt or just think about it?” look on his face. I passed the salt!
Risk factors and chronic diseases often get more attention among the middle-age and elderly population. And rightly so, since that’s when the manifestations of chronic diseases start to show up, and when people get reminded about their chronological age. An integral component of successful aging (also known as healthy aging) is the freedom of physical disabilities and debilitating chronic diseases 1-3. While it is true that it is never too late to become health conscious and reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle 4,5, the fact remains that the sooner we start the better off we will be as we get older. If you are in your 20s or 30s, or have kids, read on…
In discussions about dieting, a topic that often comes up is that of “cheating”; is it good or bad to cheat once in a while during a diet?
In order to answer this questions appropriately, it is necessary to look at both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of dieting, and the physiological and psychological responses they each elicit.
As promised, the follow-up article to personal my eating disorder story will cover the science behind anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Now, I know that getting into technical terms may seem overwhelming. Below I’ve tried to simplify this as much as possible for you, and I’ve highlighted the most important things you should know, how it affects you, and why it matters.
Before we dive in, though, a few terms….
Mitochondria are the ‘energy powerhouse of the cell’ that convert the foods we eat to usable energy our body uses to fuel life sustaining reactions within cells, our daily activities and athletic performance 1-4. While energy production capability and muscle performance might seem to be more relevant to sports, it also equally important for achievement and maintenance of health throughout the life span. In this article I will describe how chronological aging affects our mitochondria, its implications and the ins-and-outs of a new type of supplements marketed at “exercise mimetics”.