An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Is it true what they say? An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

An apple a day keeps the doctor awayWell, I don’t know about that but scientists have found a chemical in apple skin that can slow the aging of muscle tissue and stop muscle wasting.

This chemical called ursolic acid gives the apple its waxy shine and comes with a host of health benefits:

  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Helps reduce muscle wasting

During research out of the University of Iowa, 1,300 chemicals were tested to find a remedy that would slow down the aging process, in particular muscle wasting.

“Muscle wasting is a frequent companion of illness and aging. It prolongs hospitalization, delays recoveries and in some cases, prevents people from going back home. It isn’t well understood and there’s no medicine for it”~ Lead Researcher, Endocrinologist Dr Christopher Adams

Tests in mice on a supplemented diet revealed several health benefits of apple peel and ursolic acid:

  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Increase in grip strength
  • Reduced levels of cholesterol
  • Reduced levels of triglycerides
  • Increase in weight loss
  • Body fat reduced by 1/3

“We know that if you eat a balanced diet like mom told us to eat you get this material. People who eat junk food don’t get this.”

Supplementing your diet is crucial to good health. Whey protein powder and Omega-3 are two supplements that also help stop the aging process.

One recent study performed on cancer patients published in the Gut journal shows that supplementing your diet with whey protein isolate and Omega-3 fatty acids can increase protein synthesis and lean muscle mass. This study revealed that Omega-3 boosts the effectiveness of a protein supplement like whey protein isolate. With an increase in lean muscle mass, you can improve your quality of life by slowing the loss of muscle that comes from aging and chronic illness.

Utilizing a protein along with your fatty acids will further increase the effectiveness of the rebuilding process within your muscle tissues. The truth is, these two supplements should always and forever be the foundation of your entire supplementation. A whey isolate protein will help repair your muscle fibers quickly, which is very crucial. After exercising, your body calls on any available protein to mend the micro-tears your muscles have endured during training. Think of protein as the putty that repairs the cracks formed in your muscles from exercising. Now the faster this repair process happens, the better.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

LDL Cholesterol is Needed for Lean Muscle

Most of us know by now that cholesterol is bad and can lead to all kinds of health problems like heart disease and heart attacks.

LDL Cholesterol is Needed for Lean MuscleYou may also know that there are two kinds of cholesterol – HDL and LDL – and that HDL is considered the good kind of cholesterol and LDL is something you want to avoid.

36 million American adults have high cholesterol – American Heart Association

But what you might not know is that LDL – the bad cholesterol – serves a very important function in the body and without it, you would die.

“LDL serves a very useful purpose. It acts as a warning sign that something is wrong and it signals the body to these warning signs. It does its job the way it is supposed to. People often say, ‘I want to get rid of all my bad (LDL) cholesterol,’ but the fact is, if you did so, you would die,” Researcher Steve Riechman says. “Everyone needs a certain amount of both LDL and HDL in their bodies. We need to change this idea of LDL always being the evil thing — we all need it, and we need it to do its job.”

Riechman, a researcher in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, wants people to start looking at LDL cholesterol in a different light after releasing a study based out of Texas A&M University that was published in the Journal of Gerontology.

With the help of the University of Pittsburgh, Kent State University, The John Hopkins Weight Management Center and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, this study was based on 52 healthy but inactive adults aged 60 to 69. After subjecting these volunteers to challenging workouts, the researchers found a relation between an increase in muscle mass and levels of LDL cholesterol.

“It shows that you do need a certain amount of LDL to gain more muscle mass. There’s no doubt you need both — the LDL and the HDL — and the truth is, it (cholesterol) is all good. You simply can’t remove all the ‘bad’ cholesterol from your body without serious problems occurring.”

LDL and HDL work in conjunction with one another and are both necessary for the body to function efficiently and gain muscle mass.

“Our tissues need cholesterol, and LDL delivers it,” Riechman notes. “HDL, the good cholesterol, cleans up after the repair is done. And the more LDL you have in your blood, the better you are able to build muscle during resistance training.”

So, we’ve learned two things that we need LDL cholesterol to help gain muscle mass and for tissue metabolism. But more importantly, we’ve learned that we can all start eating whole egg omelettes again!


Texas A&M University. “‘Bad’ cholesterol not as bad as people think, study shows.” ScienceDaily, 5 May 2011. Web. 8 May 2011.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Lift Fast to Gain Big Muscle

When it comes to lifting weights, there are many different methods out there and many of them confusing. So where is a good place to start?

Llift Fast to Gain Big MuscleOf course, it all depends on your goals. If you’re a true beginner, then I suggest you start with the old-fashioned method of 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

But as you become more experienced and want more out of your weight training, the above method won’t give you the results you desire. You can go all crazy and get into the fancy stuff like drop sets, pyramid training, rest-pause training, volume training, and the list goes on and on, or you can start with the basics and develop on it.

For example, as a beginner, working at 60% of your 1RM will still give you results. Your muscles are new to weight lifting and will respond quickly and favorably to just about anything you throw at them. Working at 60% of your 1RM will allow you to lift a weight for 15 to 20 reps, which is great at the beginning but not for serious training.

By increasing your 1RM, your muscles will respond and begin to develop in size. This will continue to give you results for a while, but eventually, if you stick with it long enough and become an advanced lifter, you will be lifting 80% of your lifting weight and probably not completing any more than 8 reps a set.

We talk a lot about reaching plateaus and when you’ve been lifting for most of your adult life, you will truly experience a jaw-dropping moment where nothing seems to be happening. You’re lifting at 85 to 90% of your 1RM and you’re beginning to sacrifice form over weight and if you continue like this you’re going to give yourself a back injury. So what do you do? Drop the weight slightly and lift faster.

Studies show that lifting fast and heavy, even if you’re only completing 6 reps, activates muscular growth more effectively than slow, TUT lifting. When you’re trying to bust through a serious, long-term plateau, TUT training is not going to help you, but short-burst training will. Just remember that form is of critical importance and just because you’re lifting fast doesn’t mean you’re not controlling your motions. You have to find the right tempo. Remember, it’s not how fast you lower the weight but how fast you lift it that is important.

Following this method of lifting will fatigue your muscles quicker and it may be frustrating at first when you fail to complete a full set. Just keep going and move onto the next set until you’ve completed your overall targeted number of reps. So if it takes you 7 sets to complete the total number of 25 reps, so be it. No sweat!

Because this type of training demands the most of your muscles and will tire them out quite rapidly, try to focus on compound exercises like chin-ups, push-ups, squats, deadlifts, lat pulldowns. When you use compound exercises that incorporate way more muscle groups per exercise than isolated exercises like bicep curls, you stimulate more muscle growth and you work your entire body in one exercise, even your core and that means having to do fewer sit-ups!

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Combat Muscular Fatigue with Beta-Alanine

Don’t sacrifice your training to muscle fatigue. By supplementing with beta-alanine, you can significantly increase your lifting time for prolonged strength and longer workouts without the debilitating burn of acid build-up.

Beta-Alanine Combats Muscle BurnoutWhen you exercise, acidity levels increase in your muscles causing a build-up of lactic acid and this leads to cramping and muscular fatigue. While the muscles are equipped to deal with exercise-induced stress with built-in chemical and physico-buffers, under intense short-burst training like HIIT, these buffers are insufficient and the muscles call upon intramuscular stores of phosphates and peptides to buffer lactic acid build-up.

One of those peptides is carnosine, which is a highly effective physico-buffer that blocks lactic acid and prevents muscular fatigue. While you can train your muscles to produce more carnosine to prevent fatigue, the amounts vary from athlete to athlete and from training method to training method. Studies show that the only truly effective way to bust through muscular fatigue and promote the production of carnosine is with beta-alanine supplementation.1 Studies show that supplementing your training with beta-alanine (4 to 6.4 grams) results in significant increases of carnosine by 40-60%.2

The success of carnosine’s buffering effect relies heavily on the availability of beta-alanine and so, supplementing with beta-alanine becomes even more crucial to muscular growth and reaching your personal best. A four-week study testing the effect of beta-alanine on total work done showed a 13% increase in performance and after 10 weeks, this percentage went up by an additional 3.2%.3

This effect is carried over to endurance athletes who also benefit from beta-alanine supplementation. In one 28-day study, a sample of regular guys showed a significant increase in their ventilatory threshold (VT).4 Further studies back up these findings. Another group, this time of elite male cyclists who supplemented their training with beta-alanine over a 12-week period showed increases in their VT and time to exhaustion, and a reduction in their neuromuscular fatigue.5, 6, 7

The results are in! For busting through those training plateaus and to combat muscular fatigue, there is no better supplement than beta-alanine.

In just one week, you should start to notice a difference in your training endurance, with greater results occurring around the three to four week mark. With muscle Carnosine increases of 40-60% after four weeks, theoretically you could increase your bench press max by as much as 30 lb with training – now that’s serious muscle!

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM


1. Harris RC, Edge J, Kendrick IP, Bishop D, Goodman C, Wise JA: The Effect of Very High Interval Training on the Carnosine Content and Buffereing Capacity of V Lateralis from Humans.

FASEB J 2007 , 21:769. Publisher Full Text

2. Harris RC, Tallon MJ, Dunnett M, Boobis L, Coakley J, Kim HJ, Fallowfield JL, Hill CA, Sale C, Wise JA: The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine synthesis in human vastus lateralis.

Amino acids 2006 , 30(3):279-289. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text

3. Hill CA, Harris RC, Kim HJ, Harris BD, Sale C, Boobis LH, Kim CK, Wise JA: Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity.

Amino acids 2007 , 32(2):225-233. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text

4. Zoeller RF, Stout JR, O’Kroy JA, Torok DJ, Mielke M: Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds, and time to exhaustion.

Amino acids 2007 , 33(3):505-510. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text

5. Kim HJ, Kim CK, Lee YW, Harris RC, Sale C, Harris BD, Wise JA: The effect of a supplement containing B-alanine on muscle carnosine synthesis and exercise capacity, during 12 week combined endurance and weight training.

J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2006 , 3:S9.

6. Stout JR, Cramer JT, Mielke M, O’Kroy J, Torok DJ, Zoeller RF: Effects of twenty-eight days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on the physical working capacity at neuromuscular fatigue threshold.

Journal of strength and conditioning research/National Strength & Conditioning Association 2006 , 20(4):928-931. PubMed Abstract

7. Stout JR, Cramer JT, Zoeller RF, Torok D, Costa P, Hoffman JR, Harris RC, O’Kroy J: Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women.

Amino acids 2007 , 32(3):381-386. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text