Category Archives: Health

Bodybuilding Supplements Tips

download-6If you’re new to bodybuilding or just want to gain an edge during your workouts, then supplementation is a no-brainer. With so many to choose from, it’s easy to become paralyzed by all the types, doses, companies, and, not to mention, promises. What’s a newbie to do?

It’s time to learn the basics. Here’s an uncomplicated beginner’s guide to what you need to get started. After a while you may experiment with others or simply stick to the ones listed here. But wherever your training journey takes you, rest assured that these make up the foundation of any healthy supplement plan.

First, some wise words of advice. The term supplement is roughly defined as “in addition to” not “in place of.” You should adhere to a balanced, healthy diet with ample supplies of protein, complex carbohydrate and fiber, and healthy fats. Without a solid, real food foundation in place, all the supplementation in the world won’t get you to your goals any faster. Eat first, then supplement.

1. WHEY PROTEIN

For the past decade or two, whey protein has established itself as the cornerstone to any supplement plan. Chock full of amino acids, it’s especially plentiful of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine. The BCAAs are vital in the protein synthesis process required to build new muscle tissue – especially leucine.

Used as a staple for pre and post workout nutrition, whey protein is a fast acting protein which is absorbed quickly due to its high filtration processing and small molecular make-up. It’s readily available to starving muscle cells when taken after a hard training session.

When and How Much?

The prime times to use whey protein powder are post workout and at other times when getting in a whole food meal proves difficult – such as after work and prior to your workout. Another critical time is for those who train first thing in the morning and don’t want any amount of solid food in their stomach for a lengthy digestion. Whey, with its fast digestion, fits that criterion quite nicely.

For most gym-goers, a single dose post workout could include anywhere from 20 to 30 grams per serving. If you are a heavier trainer who weighs north of 200 pounds, a slightly higher amount may be needed such as 40 grams.

2. CREATINE

The research on this wonder supplement continues to grow. No longer a freshman,creatine has affixed itself as the real deal. Supplement manufacturers have been scrambling for years to develop the “next creatine” but are still champing at the bit in the lab. Found as a naturally occurring substance in foods such as fish and steak, creatine works by helping to replenish adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stores during bouts of intense training.

It does this by “superhydrating” muscle cells full of fluid so other processes can take place as well like protein synthesis. This, in turn, will increase the rate of recovery between and during workouts. Initially, the bodyweight gained is mostly water, but over time your body will build new muscle easier and faster.

When and How Much?

There are two schools of thought regarding how much creatine to take. Originally, when it was new to the market, it was thought that you needed to load for five or so days in order for it to completely saturate your muscle tissue. This led to fast water weight gain and a positive sense of accomplishment.

However, some experienced stomach pains and other gastrointestinal (GI) tract issues due to the amount taken daily. As time went on and more research was done, and it is now recommended that starting with a maintenance dose yields the same end results.1 Go with 3 to 5 grams pre and post workout for best results.

3. FISH OIL

Fish oil may not seem like a “sexy” choice for a supplement, but its benefits are long-term and vital to a healthy body. High in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fish oil is not necessarily an acutely effective supplement. Its main benefit has been found in reducing inflammation in the body.

So what, you say? Inflammation has been shown to be the instigator of myriad health problems including heart disease. For training purposes, inflammation can prevent the body from properly utilizing macro and micronutrients and hinder performance and recovery from training.

When and How Much?

With fish oil, taking in more isn’t a good thing as too much can lead to a higher risk of stroke. A moderate supplementation plan is the best route since you are using it more as a preventative measure versus an acute performance supplement. 2 to 3 grams per day is the normal recommended amount taken with a meal. Other forms of healthy oil, like krill oil, are available as well if you find fish oil gives you an unwanted aftertaste.

4. MULTIVITAMIN/MINERAL

Another “boring” but necessary supplement is the tried and true multivitamin/mineral. Although recent research has blasted its efficacy, the benefits of getting certain amounts of these vital micronutrients prove essential for optimal health.2 These nutrients are necessary for countless bodily processes and overall balance. For example, zinc is used in tissue (muscle) repair and magnesium helps the body get appropriate rest.

Why wouldn’t you want a little insurance since no one’s diet is perfect day-in and day-out?

When and How Much?

A simple name brand multivitamin/mineral supplement will do just fine. One with 100% of most vitamins and minerals listed is your best bet. Mega-doses don’t do much in the way of getting any healthier.

Most Popular Supplement

imagesThe effects of creatine are nothing new. As one of the most researched supplements on the market, it should be a part of any serious lifters supplement stack.

Not only has it been unofficially proven to work by bros at your local gym, it is also a clinical superstar producing real, substantial results when it comes to muscle mass and strength gains.

Let’s look at not only the tried and true benefits of creatine, but also what new information has been found about this super strength building supplement.

What else does it have to offer your blood, sweat and tears in the gym and how can you benefit?

CREATINE: A BRIEF OVERVIEW

Creatine is a supplement used by many athletes and bodybuilders to help increase performance of high intensity training. Made of 3 amino acids (methionine, arginine, and glycine), creatine helps replenish our ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) stores once they have been depleted. This, in turn, allows us to train harder and longer and recover quicker between bouts of exercise.

It increases strength levels, muscle mass and even aids in recovery between sets of exercises. As a natural substance found in our muscle cells it is also made by the liver and we also ingest it from our diet.

Some dietary sources include fish and red meat; however, supplementing is the easiest and most convenient way to achieve optimal levels since food contains very little. For example, a half-pound of meat can contain only 1 gram of creatine only. So, supplementing is needed to reap the full benefit.

CREATINE DOSAGES

There are two schools of thought when it comes to dosing. The traditionalists out there stress that a loading phase needs to precede a maintenance phase. This loading phase can contain up to 20 grams of creatine powder per day divided into four 5 gram doses. One advantage of this method is a sudden onset of muscle fullness and a rather quick weight gain.

The other school of thought is to simply start with a maintenance dose of 3 to 5 grams, twice daily – once prior to training and once again post training. Which is superior? Many studies have pointed that the loading phase is unnecessary in longitudinal trials. In other words, the same end results were recorded with both protocols.

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE

Another factor to consider is the type of creatine to take. With so many forms flooding the market (citrate, ethyl ester, nitrate, malate and pyruvate just to name a few) which is the most effective?

The bottom line is that research, again, dictates that good ole-fashioned creatine monohydrate is still the most effective form. Not only is that good news to cut down on confusion, it’s also great news for your wallet since you can still get creatine monohydrate at a great price at most supplement outlets.

As science tries to make an even better version of creatine, just stick with the simple stuff for the best performance results.

Branched Chain Amino Acids

images-1Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids (meaning our body does not create them) that contain an aliphatic (branched) side-chain.

There are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are key players in the regulation of muscle mass and must be consumed through your diet.

One interesting aspect of BCAAs is their metabolism in the human body. The breakdown of BCAAs is regulated through an enzyme complex known as the branched chain amino acid dehydrogenase complex, which we are going to shorten to something more manageable and call it BDC.

To take biochemistry from test tube to muscles, this means that when we have higher levels of BDC around, more BCAAs are broken down.

Levels of BDC in the human body are increased when we exercise, indicating that exercise promotes breakdown of BCAAs.

Another important aspect of this complex (which we will discuss later in this article) is that when the metabolites of BCAAs are present (i.e. the products of the breakdown), they inhibit the BDC complex. Which means if you have a lot of BCAA breakdown products around you preserve the currently available amino acids.

THE ANTI-FATIGUE HYPOTHESIS: BATTLING TRYPTOPHAN

Before we dive into the individual BCAAs and their functions, we need to cover one aspect of the collective group of BCAAs, their proposed ability to reduce fatigue.

There is a hypothesis about fatigue during training, it is called the central hypothesis of fatigue.

The Central Hypothesis of Fatigue states that elevated levels of serotonin in the brain caused by increased levels of tryptophan (tryptophan is converted to serotonin) during exercise induces fatigue.

BCAAs are thought to prevent this because they compete for the same transporter into the brain. So the hypothesis is that if you increase your BCAAs in the blood by supplementation, you prevent tryptophan uptake and thus reduce fatigue.

Now this sounds great as a biochemical and physiological theory. . . but unfortunately the research hasn’t created any promising results and any anti-fatigue effects of BCAAs by reducing “Central Fatigue” appear to be minimal if any.

VALINE: GLUCOSE CREATION

Valine is the least researched or well understood of the 3 BCAAs, and as such the currently known biological effects of it are minimal.

Valine is a glucogenic amino acid, meaning it can create and/or be converted into glucose1,2. The methyl carbons of valine can be utilized to produce glucose and ultimately glycogen.

This process of valine oxidation for glucose is increased in skeletal muscle following injury, which suggests that consuming extra valine in times of muscle injury (i.e. heavy training) might be beneficial for muscle recovery. Unfortunately for valine, it is far less effective at this than Leucine (a theme that repeats itself).

LEUCINE: THE KING OF BCAAS?

The main reason people use BCAAs is to optimize muscle building, and in the land of BCAAs, leucine is the king of promoting muscle protein synthesis.

When we think of the science behind muscle protein synthesis we think of two proteins, mTOR and S6K.

Interestingly, leucine is able to activate the mTOR pathway independently of other growth signals, like insulin.

Leucine is a major contributor to the anabolic capabilities of protein supplementation by activating mTOR. For example, 5g of leucine elicits a greater muscle protein synthesis signal than 5g of a mixture of BCAAs.

There is even evidence that leucine provides the most potent growth signal when you compare leucine to other amino acids and even insulin!

Do you get it yet? Leucine is probably pretty important for muscle protein synthesis.

LEUCINE AND INSULIN: DYANMIC DUO

Just in case you don’t really care about growing muscle (which if you don’t, I am sorry for your loss), leucine might also help with recovery.

One of the critical components of recovery is how quickly you can replenish your glycogen stores. For hard-charging athletes the mantra is “the faster the better”. The quicker one can reload their glycogen stores, the faster they are able to recover. Leucine can actually speed up the recovery process by increasing glucose uptake. It does this with a nifty little trick.

Leucine signals for insulin to be release from the pancreas without the presence of carbohydrate. Working in conjunction with insulin, leucine can actually have a positive two-fold effect on glucose uptake into muscle cells.

Combining leucine supplementation with post-workout carbohydrate has been shown to be incredibly effective in restoring muscle glycogen, more so than amino acid or carbohydrate supplementation alone. Interestingly enough, insulin also works synergistically to control muscle protein synthesis in response to diet and training. When it comes down to recovery and muscle growth, leucine is critical for optimizing both!

Benefits of Protein That You Take

Consuming enough protein for muscle growth remains the number one priority for all bodybuilders from the beginner to an Olympia contender.

Every pro knows that protein is an essential bodybuilding nutrient. It’s basically the first real lesson every dedicated lifter learns on their quest for head-turning size and shape.

So why is it that so many dedicated trainees fail to consistently get enough of this second-to-none mass builder? There are several reasons:

  1. The kind of basic nutrition that gets results is usually the first casualty once the novelty of a new training program has worn off.
  2. Life gets in the way and you begin to wonder if getting your one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is really all that important when faced with the task of weeklymeal prep. Lifters lose sight of the bodybuilding fundamentals that got them where they are in the first place.
  3. Consuming enough protein can be tiring and all-consuming; pounding down six full-fledged protein-rich meals per day takes time, effort, and dedication.

It’s easy for many iron devotees to miss one or more of these meals – one of the biggest mistakes a gains-focused lifter can make.

Fortunately an increasing emphasis on protein supplementation has made life a lot easier for today’s muscle-hungry bodybuilders. With an array of protein products to offer, reputable companies are keeping bodybuilders well-nourished, anabolic, and less likely to deviate from their recommended protein intake.

Whether whole foods dominant, supplement-heavy, or a combination of both, a protein rich diet is a non-negotiable bodybuilding requirement.

If a bodybuilder begins slipping on their protein intake for any of the above reasons, you can be sure that limited gains will shortly follow. Here are three major reasons why serious iron athletes must get their daily protein quota.

 

1. ESSENTIAL FOR MUSCLE BUILDING

Protein is simply a long chain of amino acids all connected together. Once digested, these muscle-enriching amino acids flood the body. The body then reassembles these amino acids into the specific proteins that build muscle.

Given the body can only process a certain amount of dietary protein at a time (30-50 grams every 2.5 to 3 hours depending on an individual’s size and activity level) the protein needed for muscle repair must be of the highest quality. Vegetable and soy proteins, for example, cannot replace those of a higher biological value such as eggs, chicken, fish and whey protein isolate.

 

The muscles are in a constant state of reinvention; either shrinking or growing depending on the degree of stimulation during resistance training. Enough aminos from digested protein will result in protein synthesis and muscle growth. Protein synthesis is enhanced whenever a protein-rich meal is consumed. But, not just any old protein source will do.

Of the 20 aminos needed for protein synthesis (9 essential, which must be ingested, and 11 non-essential, which can be synthesized in the body), the branched-chain amino acid leucine is most anabolic of all 5.

To fully enhance muscle anabolism, a recommended 2-3 grams of leucine per meal must be included. While a 300 gram serving of chicken provides 2 grams of leucine, a scoop of whey protein provides the full 3 grams 5. Even though both protein sources are of a high biological nature, it is clear that not all quality proteins are created equal.

The muscle amino leucine is so important that many bodybuilders supplement with\ leucine to stay anabolic for even longer.

What most bodybuilders don’t know is protein can be broken down by the body and used for energy just like carbohydrates and fats. However, carbs and fats cannot be converted to protein. As a result, no matter how well-nourished a bodybuilder may think he is, sufficient quality protein for muscle-building must be distributed across multiple daily meals 4.

No excuses.

 

2. KEEPS THE CELLULAR MACHINERY RUNNING

Protein is essential for much more besides building muscle. Up to 20 percent of the human body is comprised of protein. Protein is instrumental in ensuring biological processes and all bodily tissues are optimally maintained and strengthened.

Protein is needed for bone development, the formation of the 75,000 unique enzymes needed for various functions including the body’s metabolism, and the digestion of food. Without enough protein, not only is muscle tissue likely to rapidly regress, but general health will also be compromised.

Bodybuilders trying to get on the gain train to build big biceps become excessively gym-focused to the detriment of their overall health and wellbeing. Arguably, the most important message that can be put across to all serious bodybuilders is that the muscles will not grow to their full potential while health is compromised in other areas.

For example, without an optimal ratio of digestive enzymes, protein-rich foods cannot be properly digested. Without the neurotransmitters needed to commence muscle movement, adequate stimulation cannot be placed on these muscles. And neurotransmitters are comprised of, you guessed it, proteins.

In short, proteins play an essential role in the creation of every new cell of the body. Knowing this provides yet another reason to pump up the protein.

 

3. REDUCES APPETITE

We are all creatures of habit and one habit many of us have acquired is a taste for fatty and sugary foods. Biologically-driven, a taste for high-calorie foods is hardwired into human DNA. This reason alone makes it difficult to stick to a diet.

Many studies have concluded that protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients 1, 2, 6.In fact, for non-bodybuilding folk, doubling protein intake while keeping carbohydrates and fats consistent has been shown to automatically reduce cravings for and the spontaneous intake of off-limits foods 2. This is likely due to an increase in the appetite-regulating protein peptide YY (PYY).

All About Supplements That You Should Know

Everyone knows that macros are key to high-level training and getting jacked. However, micronutrients shouldn’t be overlooked because without micronutrients your training wouldn’t even get off the ground.

We often think about micronutrients in disease states, and while that is true, they are also important for making your cells actually function. Think about it this way, macros are the fuel, and micronutrients allow that fuel to actually be used.

Pretend macros are the gasoline in your car and the micronutrients are the spark plug. You need to combust the gas to get energy in your car. You need to combust the fuel in your cells to get energy. While that analogy isn’t perfect it is a good way to think about them.

Now micronutrients do a lot more than just make carbs go bang in your cells, they regulate a ton of the processes involved in muscle growth, inflammation, insulin signaling, and a host of other important processes.

When we compare the increased micronutrient needs of athletes with the ever declining micronutrient content of our modern foods, two key micronutrients stand out: zinc and magnesium.

Apparently, some supplement wizard figured this out quite a while ago. A zinc-magnesium combo supplement is readily available and one of the more commonly taken supplements amongst athletes. Formally, it is known as zinc-magnesium-aspartate, but we will call it by its shelf name ZMA.

ZMA is one of the few supplements I actually keep on hand at all times (I can tell you the rest of my secret stash if you are interested). Let’s dive into why ZMA is a supplement you ought to consider.

ZINC

Zinc is considered a mineral and one that is easily excreted in our sweat. Because of this, athletes may be more prone to zinc deficiency than their non-exercising peers1.  Zinc, while a seemingly boring supplement to take may, actually be important for you to start taking especially if you train hard.

ZINC AND YOUR MOJO

One of the worst aspects of cut cycles is your testosterone drops and your libido crashes. Seriously, ask your friend/gym partner how his sex drive was the few weeks leading up to his last show. There are several studies showing that supplementing with zinc during periods of high-training volumes and/or caloric deficits can prevent reductions in testosterone in men2,3.

ZINC AND YOUR METABOLISM

Besides your mojo going in the tank during peak training cycles and cuts, your thyroid levels can also plummet. Plummeting thyroid=bad, so we want to try and mitigate that.

Replacing the large amounts of zinc lost in the sweat of hard training athletes has been shown to prevent loses in both T4 and the more bioactive T32,4. In both these studies, the doses they were given were pretty physiological, meaning they were within the range of what you see in your normal zinc supplement.

In addition to maintaining thyroid function during hard training and cuts, zinc might also help improve glucose uptake into cells. Now, while this research is currently limited to mechanistic studies in cells and initial observations in mice it makes the case that maintaining your zinc status is probably a good idea in all respects5

MAGNESIUM

Let’s move on from zinc and give magnesium some love. Magnesium (Mg2+) is an atomic mineral involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions and plays an essential role in a wide range of fundamental biological processes. Perhaps the most notable aspects of magnesium supplementation is its effect on sleep and insulin signaling.

MAGNESIUM AND SLEEP

Lifting big and eating big are great for building muscle, but they are pretty much wasted efforts if you stay up all night playing Call of Duty. Sleep is pretty essential for maximizing your gains.

There are 2 well controlled studies looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on sleep. People taking magnesium were able to improve sleep quality and reduce sleeping cortisol levels despite having had less than desirable sleep6. In another study, taking magnesium improved sleep quality in people who were magnesium deficient7.

Protein That You Need To Know

Protein is my favorite macro.

Why?

Because steak is awesome, protein shakes are the greatest invention of the 20th century, and I like building muscle.

So naturally, I get a little frustrated when people spread falsehoods about my favorite macro.

Related: 43 Easy High Protein Recipes!

Now, seeing that I am a scientist and I value the truth, I think I should stand in on behalf of protein and defend it against some of the popular myths about it.

1. PROTEIN WREAKS HAVOC ON YOUR KIDNEYS

“Go easy on the protein shakes bro, you are going to wreck your kidneys.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard or read that protein was going to hurt my kidneys…. well… I would probably be retired and blogging full time.

Recently, Dr. Jose Antonio did a study to answer the following question, “Basically, if we stuff you full of protein (like 4g/kg a day) what happens to your kidneys and your blood tests?”

Well it turns out that if you take healthy young men and cram them full of protein and have them lift weights, their kidneys are just fine and it had no effect on their blood work1.

These people ate about 270 grams of protein a day for 8 weeks and their kidneys and blood were just fine.

This myth really, really needs to die.

2. PROTEIN MAKES YOUR BONES BRITTLE

For some reason some doctors and scientists got some nonsense in their heads about protein making your blood acidic and that it caused calcium to be “leached” from your bones to buffer out your blood, effectively making your bones brittle and weak.  Turns out, that is entirely untrue, the hypothesis has been refuted by several lines of evidence.

First, a study directly addressing this question found that a diet high in protein had no change in biomarkers of bone resorption or formation, indicating that a high protein diet has no adverse effects on bone health2. This evidence supports the notion that high-protein diets are not detrimental to bone health.

Second, we know that high-protein diets actually increase calcium absorption in the digestive tract, and increased blood calcium elicits calcitonin release from the thyroid and promotes calcium deposition in bone tissue. To this point, there have been several studies supporting the idea that increased intestinal calcium absorption due to high-protein diets may actually improve bone health

3. HIGH PROTEIN DIETS MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT

I thought of a lot of clever ways to put this, but to quote one of the most prolific high protein diet researchers in the field (Dr. Jose Antonio):

“You gain weight. No shit. If you lift weights and eat a bucketful of protein, you will likely gain lean body mass. But here’s the kicker. If all you did was overeat on protein

No joke, in 2 separate studies where they overfed people protein, those who took in extra calories from protein lost weight. Don’t believe me? Here is the data (data is adopted from reference

The Advantage for Pre workout Nutrition

Serious lifters need massive amounts of energy and focus to fuel their intensive workouts.

Pre-workout nutrition and supplementation achieve these objectives in the most efficient manner possible.

However, the pre-workout period is also a time to promote muscle growth.

To experience the kind of muscle growth commensurate with intensive gym efforts, muscle protein synthesis must occur frequently, especially before, during, and after workouts.

Muscle functions in an anabolic or catabolic state. To experience ongoing muscle gains, the rate of muscle protein synthesis (the anabolic state) must continue to exceed the rate of muscle protein degradation (the catabolic state).

Every effort must be made to ensure the right nutrients are taken at the right times to keep growth on an upward trajectory. Pre-workout is the ideal time to prime the body for high performance, fat burning, and post-workout recovery. This article will show how.

PRE-WORKOUT NUTRITION IS IMPORTANT

Confusion reigns when it comes to pre-workout nutrition. Whole-food meals consisting of proteins and carbs are thought to be sufficient. Though important, whole foods pre-workout are only part of the equation. Which begs the questions: What about supplementation? What are the best options and specific ingredients?

As a committed gymgoer you may find yourself seeking answers on how to get the most from each workout through cutting-edge supplementation. Look no further. What follows is a detailed overview of the best pre-workout essentials needed to fuel workout intensity and engage the growth process.

THE PRE-WORKOUT MEAL

Before downing an effective pre-workout product, the all-important pre-workout meal must first be addressed. Aside from providing training energy, the pre-workout meal also helps to offset muscle protein breakdown. In fact, research shows training on an empty stomach increases nitrogen losses from protein breakdown by more than double.

To optimize performance and retain muscle, it’s essential to eat a solid meal within two hours before training. Poor pre-workout nutrition can lead to excessive cortisol release during training, which can lead to suboptimal fat oxidation and also muscle losses.

Whether an early morning cardio session or an abdominal workout upon rising, always eat beforehand. No more fasted cardio or weights!

Pre-workout supplementation tops the fuel tank to increase training energy, offset fatigue, and enhance muscle growth. The pre-workout meal doesn’t have to be excessive: around 400 calories comprised of 70% low glycemic carbs (vegetables and oats) and 30% lean proteins (egg whites and chicken breasts).

Foods and Supplements

Normally, short-term inflammation is a natural process that plays an important role in healing and cellular repair when you’re injured or sick.

However, it can also be bad, very bad, depending on the cause and duration.

This is known as chronic low-key inflammation, and plays an integrative role in diseases such as Arthritis, Obesity, Cancer.

It’s roots are often based in poor nutritional choices or other unhealthy lifestyle decisions.

Inflammation is a very serious issue. Some researchers even state it as the key cause of diseases1,2,3.

WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION?

There are a host of lifestyle factors that can combine to cause inflammation. Here are things to watch out for:

Elevated Blood Sugar Levels: Numerous studies have shown when your ability to handle carbohydrates and blood sugar levels is impaired, cell damage can results from constantly high blood sugar levels. This causes an increase in inflammatory-associated genes and increased inflammation4.

Processed Food: Increased intake of processed foods, sugar-sweetened drinks, sweets, candies and baked products are associated with higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a pro-inflammatory marker used to measure inflammation

Body fat: Increase in body fat levels and obesity can elevate pro-inflammatory markers and contribute to chronic inflammation

Food Allergies: Eating foods that you are allergic to leads to rapid increases in inflammation.

Food Intolerances: Although you’ll know if real intolerance occurs, eating foods you are only slightly intolerant to can be a serious issue. Since the side effects are more mild (bloating, stomach cramp, gastrointestinal stress etc), you may continue to eat these foods, which can contribute to chronic inflammation.

Disrupted Gut: Bacteria or fungal infections, leaky gut or disruptions to your healthy gutbacteria can shoot your immune system into overdrive and inflammation7, 8.

Cortisol & Stress: Cortisol, the stress hormone, can lead to whole body systemic inflammation, with studies noting large increases in CRP or pro-inflammatory cytokines

Environmental Toxins: Toxins from BPA plastics and containers, fragrances, unfiltered water, air pollutants etc. can contribute to low-grade inflammation.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE CHRONIC INFLAMMATION

To get an accurate indicator of your inflammation levels it requires expensive blood tests. However, some common signs or symptoms you experience daily may be linked to chronic inflammation. These include:

  • Long-term joint pain
  • Gut or Digestive Issues
  • Regular Fungal or Viral infections
  • Acid Reflux
  • Arthritis or similar disease
  • Chronic Pain
  • Blood Sugar or Metabolic Issues
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis

While these symptoms may be present for numerous other reasons, if you suspect you have inflammatory issues it’s worth consulting a medical professional to undergo specific tests.

Workout Supplement That You Need

What you consume pre- and post-workout is important. But to maximize your exercise performance, improve recovery, and decrease muscle damage, there’s another window of opportunity you may be missing.

Intra-workout supplementation.

Intra-workout supplementation is the scientific-sounding name for supplementation taken during your workout. So how important is it—and does it make a difference?

Given all the hype-driven product-pushing that exists these days, you might wonder if this is just another marketing-invented category of supplements with no real benefit.

The truth is, intra-workout supplementation is rooted in scientific data and highly beneficial to anyone looking to accelerate their progress and boost their recovery.

If you’ve been too skeptical to ever try an intra-workout supplement, or if you’ve tried an improperly formulated product, it’s time to learn what intra-workout supplementation is and why it works.

The idea of nutrient consumption during workouts has been tossed around gyms for the past decade or so. That being said, many bodybuilders have forgone this crucial strategy. Why?

Many intra-workout misconceptions exist. The mechanical digestion of nutrients diverts blood from muscles and is energy-robbing.

Certain compounds, notably caffeine, can dehydrate muscles and deplete training energy. The excessive intake of stimulants may over-stimulate the central nervous system and cause muscle fatigue.The intake of certain nutrients during training is time consuming and inconvenient.

While the above are true, they are also not the most effective intra-workout strategies. Unfortunately, the association they have with intra-workout nutrition prevents many from taking advantage of one of the most powerful growth determinants.

INTRAWORKOUT NUTRITION: THE MISSING LINK

Much of today’s muscle-building progress can be attributed to nutrition. In the not too distant past, workout nutrition was rather primitive. A meal one hour before training and a protein shake post-workout was about it. In recent years, supplement savvy lifters have taken a more scientific approach to “peri-workout” nutrition (the time before, during, and after your workout).

However, what is arguably the most important of the three nutritional windows, intraworkout nutrition, is still frequently neglected.

How to Fat Loss With Supplement

The phytochemical capsaicin is the substance found in chili peppers that contributes to the hot and spicy flavor of the chili pepper.

This miraculous compound has the unique capacity to promote a wide range of positive effects on human health, including reduced body fat, powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and improved cardiovascular health.

In fact, a recent epidemiological study investigating almost half a million people showed that the habitual consumption of chili-rich foods, loaded with capsaicin, reduced the likelihood of death from certain chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, relative to those who did not consume chili-rich, spicy foods.1

In addition to capsaicin activating the TRPV1 receptor in certain neurons found within thegastrointestinal tract, triggering a process known as thermogenesis that burns body fat, capsaicin also produces many additional health benefits by activating the same TRPV1 receptor, yet in other tissues throughout the body.

Activation of TRPV1 within these tissues triggers the function of different protein molecules, resulting in unique effects that are tissue-specific.

One of the more influential TRPV1-dependent effects from capsaicin intake is the activation of TRPV1-expressing neurons within the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract, which ultimately increases the amount of energy expenditure in brown adipose tissue (BAT) by a process known as thermogenesis.2

Although the mechanism of action is not completely understood, some of the details include capsaicin activation of the TRPV1 receptor within the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract, which triggers the release of noradrenaline.

The release of noradrenaline then stimulates the process of thermogenic fatty acid oxidation within BAT, which has the unique capacity of uncoupling the normally linked process of fatty acid oxidation with cellular energy production in the form of ATP. Consequently, the energy is instead directly converted into heat, which effectively increases energy expenditure.

Several studies looking at the impact of capsaicin on metabolic rate have shown that capsaicin does enhance energy expenditure while boosting fat oxidation, promoting significant weight loss.3,4

It has also been shown that the positive influence of capsaicin on thermogenesis is greatest in those people with the most BAT5, and there is some evidence indicating that sustained intake of capsaicin can increase BAT levels in humans6 — meaning that long-term capsaicin intake could boost BAT levels, improving the capacity to thermogenically burn body fat.

The consumption of capsaicin can also reduce appetite and food intake2, further supporting the ability to lose weight— and, perhaps more importantly, keep it off for good. Although the appetite-suppressing effect of capsaicin has been observed in several trials, it is not entirely understood how capsaicin reduces appetite.

That said, some details have been uncovered with the release of noradrenaline triggered by capsaicin, as previously mentioned, appearing to contribute to the reduction in appetite— as the stimulation of the noradrenaline receptors in the brain has been shown to produce feelings of satiety.7

In addition, capsaicin intake has also been shown to cause an increase in the gut-derived hormone GLP-1, which turns on regions of the brain that diminish food intake by reducing hunger.8

Moreover, this effect appears to be TRPV1-dependent, as the hunger-reducing impact of capsaicin was absent in mice that were genetically altered so they could not produce the TRPV1 receptor in gastrointestinal cells.

Overall, studies have shown that the consumption of capsaicin does decrease hunger3, as capsaicin-treated subjects typically report a reduced desire to eat while also achieving greater satiety after meals.