Monthly Archives: June 2010

Muscle Building Tips Part 1: Nutrition

Muscle Building Tips Part 1: Nutrition

Ok here is something to consider. You’re in the gym for only an hour or so each day, the rest of the day your body depends on nutrition and rest to make progress. The problem is proper nutrition and rest often gets neglected. That’s why I am covering nutrition and rest as the first two parts of my muscle building tips. If you are in the gym struggling to build muscle read on because this is part one of a miniseries on how to get big! Part two is going to be on recovery principles and part three is going to be on training. Enjoy and grow!

Tip # 1 – Eat enough calories
To build muscle it is very important to eat enough calories. It comes down to basic math, calories in versus calories out. If you are trying to build muscle it is important to consume more calories than you burn. It is basically impossible to build new muscle if your body is in a negative calorie state. To make sure you are consuming enough calories determine your Lean Body Mass (body weight lbs – body fat lbs) and multiply by 15-25 calories depending on your metabolism/body type.

Tip # 2 – Frequent Eating
Aim to eat every 2.5-3 hours. This will supply your muscle with a constant supply of nutrients they need to grow. Feeling hungry is a sign your body is going into a catabolic state. Also when your starving you are more likely to eat whatever is in the cupboards regardless if it’s on your diet or not. Remember we are trying to gain muscle not fat!

Tip # 3 – Eat before bed
Before going to bed you want to consume some slow digesting protein along with healthy fat. This is to make sure there is a slow stream of amino acids through the overnight to hold off catabolism. Casein protein is a good option at this time because casein is a slow acting protein found in milk. Milk protein is made up of 80 percent casein and 20 percent whey. Casein coagulates in the stomach causing a slow release of amino acids for an extended period of time. You can buy a casein powder or just have cottage cheese. The protein that makes up cottage cheese is mostly from casein because the whey was drained off in the processing. The addition of fat slows down digestion even more. Add some peanut butter or almonds to your before bed snack to build muscle all night long!

Tip # 4 – Do not be afraid of carbs!
It takes more to build muscle than protein. To build mass you must consume enough carbohydrates to energize and fuel your workouts. Shoot for clean low G.I sources such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Consume the bulk of your carbohydrates post workout and at breakfast because that is when your body needs them most.

Tip # 5 – The nutritional F-word
Fat is necessary for building mass. By now most people know that fat is not as bad for you as once thought. But what if I was to say even saturated fat is needed in a mass gaining diet? Well it is true; saturated fat has a place in a muscle building diet. For one saturated fat helps with testosterone production and it also helps protect the joints from the damages of heavy lifting. The only type of fat to avoid is Trans fat. Read the label! Even if it says “trans fat free” if there is “partially hydrogenated oil” trans fat is there. Of course the unsaturated “healthy” fats are needed as well. Make sure to get in monounsaturated fat from almonds, avocados, olive oil and your polyunsaturated fat form flaxseeds, walnuts and fatty fish. Consume anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of your daily calories from fat.

Tip # 6 – Water yourself
I have said this before but I will say it again, your body needs a lot of water to function properly. When you give your body lots of water everything runs smoothly. Water also helps with digestion so drink up!

Tip # 7 – Last but not least! Post workout meal
Ok this topic has generated a lot of discussion over the last decade and I feel there are a lot of myths that need to be mentioned. First off I believe carbs are necessary for proper recovery post workout. Following an intense workout your glycogen levels are low and your muscles are depleted. This is the perfect time for carbohydrate and protein intake. Secondly you want to consume a carbohydrate source that creates a high glycimic load. Notice I did not say anything about glycimic index. I feel too much consideration is given to the glycimic index but not enough to the glycimic load. For bodybuilders glycimic load is more important, it takes into consideration an entire meal rather than a single food. Another important point is the carbohydrate source does not need to be the fastest digested source possible. I would rather take in a source of carbohydrate that offers some nutritional density to it rather than just some dextrose that has no nutritional value what so ever. Another controversial topic is timing of this meal. Some would say immediately post workout, as soon as you put down the last weight start in with your post workout meal. Research shows that the “special window” is actually longer than originally thought. Therefore don’t stress about racing to get your post workout meal in. Actually waiting a little bit might be optimal, this gives your digestive system time to recoup some blood from the working muscle to use for digestion. Lastly I wanted to talk about how to structure your post workout meal to give you the best results. To start off I like to have a fast acting protein source like whey. Whey is perfect for post workout, fast acting, loaded with BCAAs and ect. Secondly I like to add a relatively fast acting carb to my whey shake. My carb of choice is a russet potato. I like russet potatoes post workout because they are loaded with potassium and my body fills up quite well on them. I also use oats with my whey shake post workout. I normally have a complete whole food meal 2 -2.5 hrs after my post workout meal.

Up next Tips on proper recovery for muscle building!
Live it! “one dream. one reality”

My Top Five RTN Supplements

Here is a list of my top five Revolutionary Technology Nutrition products!

1. Bionic Edge Whey – This product is 100 percent whey protein with a mix of whey isolate, concentrate and hydrolyzed whey peptides. It comes in a bunch of different flavors including banana, butterscotch, chocolate Peanut butter, cookies and cream, pina colada, watermelon and the traditional chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. The best part is it contains all natural ingredients! What separates this protein powder apart from the rest is the addition of stevizyme which improves the immune system and most importantly aids in protein digestion. With all of the different whey protein powders out there this one is in an entirely different class!

2. Creatine plus BCAA – Two great products in one! This product contains the best source of creatine available called creapure which is a creatine monohydrate free from any impurities. Creatine monohydrate is the most scientifically proven form of creatine. The added BCAAs complete a perfect supplement for pre and post workout use. The BCAAs contain a 2:1 ratio of leucine to valine and isoleucine which is ideal for muscle growth and repair.

3. Glutamine – Glutamine is a great product to stack with creatine plus bcaa to create the perfect workout nutrition. Glutamine has a number of benefits including increasing protein synthesis, boosting immune system, elevating growth hormone and preventing catabolism.

4. Somatonin Extreme – This product is great for anyone looking to burn body fat and increase energy. This is a maximum strength fat burner! It contains Green Tea, Gurana extract, Tyrosine and a host of other proven ingredients. Perfect to take before workouts on days you are tired and need an extra boost.

5. Bionic Edge Mass Builder – This is by far the best mass gainer I have found. This is perfect for anyone who wants to gain muscle without adding fat. The protein source is from a straight whey blend similar to the bionic edge whey. The carbohydrates are from the best possible low glycimic sources such as brown rice, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Unlike most other mass gainers on the market there is no maltodextrin and no fillers!

Go to to buy RTN products.

Use the coupon code “hunt” to get 10% off all products on the website!

Plastic container concerns

One of the people I look up to in the Bodybuilding/ Fitness community is Joe Daniels, owner of Daniels fitness training.  In this short article he talks about a very important concern regarding plastic containers. Check it out!

Why people do not see results.

I was asked a question the other day that made me realize this topic needed to be addressed. My cousin asked “why do I see so many people in the gym who go regularly but always look the same for years”? I came up with three reasons in about ten seconds and though I would share them with you.

Reason #1- Not working hard enough

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe in hard work. If you are going to spend the time going to the gym you owe yourself to put in a good effort. The fact is your body must be forced to make progress; it’s not going to happen all by itself. You need to create a training stimulus that your body is not used to. I feel like too many people get in a comfort zone when they are training and are afraid to get out of it.  You should not be comfortable when training! Next time you go to the gym step out of your comfort zone and feel the difference.

Reason # 2 – Poor nutrition

These groups of people actually put in the hard work at the gym but still do not see the results they want.  They go on and on telling me about all of the great things they are doing at the gym but when I ask them about their diet they immediately go quiet. Nutrition is just as if not more important than training. Every major improvement I have made to my physique has been due to nutrition changes. The problem is most people do not know what they need. If you want help with your nutrition plan just shoot me an email and we can go over what you should be doing.

Reason # 3 – Same old same old

This is probably the biggest reason why people to do not progress from year to year. Most people get in a workout routine and never change it. They do the same body part split, the same exercises for the same amount of sets and reps year after year. This goes back to progressive overload; you need to force the body to make changes. Once your body plateaus you need to change it up to start making improvements once again. Next time you go to the gym do something completely different from what you normally do, you will see a difference!

Bonus Tip: There is one thing all these people have in common and that is they do not have a personal trainer. There is a reason why people hire personal trainers and that is to get the most out of every single workout and get results!

Warming up Before Weight Training

Warming Up!

Today we are looking at one of the more over looked aspects of training and that is warming up.  I have found that a lot of people don’t warm up before training for a number of reasons like, not having enough time, lack of knowledge or just didn’t want to. I break the warming up process into three parts.

Part 1 – General Warm-up

This part involves some light cardiovascular work. It only has to be 5 to 10 minutes at a light pace but it is probably the most important part of warming up. The general warm-up serves many purposes. One is increasing internal body temperature. Have you ever heard the phrase “a warm muscle is an elastic muscle”? If not I probably made it up but it’s definitely true. What happens as your body temperature increases is the blood flow to the working muscles becomes increased.  As this occurs, the muscles become more susceptible to elongating or stretching.  Another benefit of increased blood flow is more oxygen and nutrients will reach the working muscles during the training session resulting in better recovery. Lastly a proper general warm-up will cause the body to produce various hormones that are responsible for energy production.

Part 2 – Dynamic stretching

Dynamic stretching involves movements that involve muscular force to produce the stretch.  I normally refer to dynamic stretching as “active stretching”. This is the type of stretching you want to do before your workout. Traditional static stretching where you stretch and hold should be saved for after the workout. Static stretching done before your workout can lead to a decrease in strength during your workout. Dynamic stretching includes movements such as arm swings, internal and external shoulder rotations, trunk rotations, body weight squats, side bends, and ext. You only need to perform a few dynamic stretches before your workout, most importantly for the muscle you are working that day.

Part 3 – Warm up sets

The last part of the warm up includes light warm up sets. Before you go right into heavy lifting during your training it is important to get a warm up set in. This is just a light first set of an exercise to prepare your muscles for the work ahead.  It also is a practice run where you can practice your form on the exercise to make sure you have it down perfect before the working sets. Make sure the warm up set is not too heavy and feels like a working set because that is not what we are looking for.

Conclusion – Warming up is important not only for performance benefits but for health benefits as well. By warming up you can significantly decrease your likelihood of getting injured during training. Next time you go to the gym make sure you get your warm up in!

Quick Tip of the Day: Measure your food!

Measure out all of your food before eating it. I know this probably sounds crazy to some but it will definitely help you reach your goals. It’s very easy to over or under estimate serving sizes.  I weigh all my food in grams, because I have found that to be the easiest and most accurate way to measure but you can use ounces or even just cups, tbs, and tsp.  I even weigh my protein powder! Until recently I always just went by the scoop that came with the powder but then I got curious and actually weighed a scoop. I’m not going to name names but a very reputable protein powder made me rethink using the scoop for measurement.  Post workout I am looking for around 40 grams of protein. This supplement contains about 20 grams of protein per scoop so I always use 2 scoops. On the nutrition facts it says a serving is 32 grams but when the scoop is weighed out it only weighed 24 grams. So in actuality I was getting 48 gram weight of protein powder when I needed 64 gram weight! So even I was fooled! Try weighing your food for a couple of weeks and see the difference it makes.

Steroids: To what extent have steroids been shamed within modern society?

This is an article I wrote last year about steroids. Its long but it has a lot of good information in it. One thing I have found is people do not really know much about steroids. Read on and learn something!

Since the development of steroids and other anabolic hormones, there has been an enormous amount of controversy surrounding their use. The controversy originates from the possibility of negative side effects resulting from their usage. Steroids are drugs; side effects are a possibility of any drug. Steroids can be used in the medical field as a treatment of numerous medical disorders; however, the most widely known reason to use these drugs is for the sports performance benefits. The performance benefits include an increase of muscle building and muscle recovery. The integrity of sports and the moral issues lead to another reason for wide spread controversy. This article is aimed to give an informative and fair perspective on performance enhancing drugs.

            Let’s start with a lesson on what “steroids” really are. There are two types of steroids anabolic and non anabolic. We are going to deal with anabolic steroids first. Anabolic steroids are chemically created synthetic versions of hormones. The most general anabolic steroid is derived from the male hormone testosterone however many different drugs get called “steroids”. According to the “Doping in Sports Timeline”, the chemical structure of testosterone was first established by Adolph Butenandt in 1935. Following the discovery, testosterone was used in the medical community in the late 1930’s. By comparison, the first known use of steroids in sports came at the 1954 world weightlifting championships held in Vienna Austria (DST).The reason for a span in time before steroids became thrust into athletics, was due in part to the fact they were relatively unknown outside the medical field, especially in America. Furthermore, the first time drug testing was introduced in athletics was at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France. The need for drug testing during the 1968 Olympic Games became apparent when a pharmaceutical company created Dianabol: the first popular steroid used primarily for muscle growth. Before the 1968 Games, Olympic officials were unaware of the wide use of steroids or the severity of their usage. Testosterone is not the only form of steroid or performance enhancing drug. During the 1980’s a drug that regulates red blood cells was brought into sports mainly by endurance athletes called erythropoietin (EPO). “EPO stimulates the formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscles, thus fostering greater endurance for athletes” (Bamberger). Human Growth Hormone (HGH) was also developed during this time period, creating popularity in both the medical field as well as in sports. HGH has similar effects as testosterone but became increasingly popular because it is difficult to detect. HGH is also popular among the elderly trying to hold off the aging process. Furthermore, anti inflammatory drugs are also considered steroids and are widely accepted in the medical field. Cortisone is a form of steroid (not anabolic) that is used both in the general public as well as athletics for pain.  New and improved drugs are being designed in labs across the world, meeting a high demand and expanding the limitations of modern science.

            With the competitive nature of sports, athletes are always trying to gain an advantage over the competition. Some of these advantages are not considered unfair or illegal. “Virtually all athletes use various artificial means to enhance their body’s natural performance…” (Matthew Mitten). Additionally, the use of many performance enhancing supplements are not considered “Doping” in sports organizations. These substances such as Creatine are widely used and athletes are encouraged to do so. Similarly, steroid precursors, also called pro hormones are illegal and banned in sports organizations. The pro hormone Androstenedione (Andro) is known for its most famous user, Mark McGuire. Andro is only one molecular step away from testosterone. It works by aiding the body in the production of testosterone. According to Matthew Mitten, Pro hormones became illegal in the Anabolic Steroid control substance act of 2004. Before the act, in 2004, Andro and other pro hormones were available over the counter at heath stores. These substances were a highly effective means to help increase performance, however not as much so as synthetic steroids. The bottom line is steroids, when combined with vigorous physical training are effective in making users bigger, stronger and faster (Mitten). Steroids are effective and can be dangerous. On the other hand, athletes are given pain killers such as cortisone, to allow them to compete despite the fact they are drugs. The uses of these drugs are dangerous as well. Additionally, the use of low oxygen tanks is permitted; low oxygen tanks create the same effect as EPO. The tanks are allowed, EPO is not. In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal for steroid use. At the same Olympic Games, Janet Evans was praised for having a high tech fabric suit no one else had. The realization that some forms of enhancement will be allowed and some will not is difficult to comprehend from a competitive standpoint. Athletes are always going to attempt “to beat the system” and there is not anything drug testers can do. Athletes now have “gurus” who can be doctors or just as likely trainers that are self taught drug experts (Michael Bamberg). The “gurus” set the athletes steroid plan up, everything from timing to dosage. However, the main goal is to keep the athlete from failing a drug test. Don Catlin, one of the head drug testers for the IOC (International Olympic Committee) told Bamberg if steroids were legalized it would be nuts, it would be a race to get the best drug available. The race is on; however, the drug must be undetectable as well.

            The sports world has evolved over the years. The days of athletes taking their bodies for granted are over. To think athletics has come to a point where one must put artificial substances into their bodies in order to compete is catastrophic. Baseball enthusiasts have the strongest stance on the subject. The “steroid era” as most people involved with baseball call it, has tarnished the record books. People feel it is unfair for modern athletes to have the advantage of performance enhancing drugs.  Athletes from every generation have had advantages over the last. Sports change over time. Steroids do not increase one’s athletic ability. An athlete’s athletic ability and skill in their respective sport remains the same. Putting records aside, it is undeniably unfair for the athlete who feels strongly about their morals and beliefs who will not take the drug; steroids are an ethical issue. The question arises for athletes to make a decision based on how seriously they take their respective sport. Steroids should not limit an athlete’s potential, but enhance it.

            Advances in science today lead to medical saviors tomorrow. Steroids in general are a medical advancement that should be utilized within society. Steroids (not anabolic) were first used in medicine in the 1930’s. Steroids are most commonly used to treat anemia, breast cancer, osteoporosis and aiding in the promotion of red blood cells (Perry). In addition, testicular cancer patients have become dependent on anabolic steroids following surgery. The removal of the testes is used in the treatment of testicular cancer. To replace the testosterone production, anabolic steroids are prescribed. Males who have Pituitary malfunction are given steroids to trick their body into puberty. Steroids are also a legitimate therapeutic treatment for muscle wasting conditions (Mitten).Steroids that are used for medical purposes are precisely dosed for the particular use. Steroids can be used with relative safety as long as the correct dosage is used. With proper administration and strict supervision steroids can be an effective way to benefit ones health without a medical disorder.

            Anabolic Steroids have real side effects that can cause severe medical problems. Most negative side effects result from excessive usage or improper usage. The severities of the negative effects are based upon dosage, duration and type of anabolic. First, oral anabolics are most toxic to the liver, and can cause liver tumors. Oral anabolics are rarely used, as most users prefer injectable synthetics. Anabolics that are injected can lead to contamination of needles if proper precaution is not taken and dirty needles are used. Secondly, C-17 alkylated steroids are also detrimental to proper liver function. Prolonged use of C-17 anabolics can cause good HDL cholesterol levels to decrease to unhealthy levels (Perry). Many of the negative side effects reported by the media are over blown. There have been no confirmed studies showing “roid rage”. However an increase in aggression following steroid use is common. One explanation for this could stem from the fact when someone gets bigger and stronger they become more confident. With this confidence they feel like they are invincible and are immune to life’s consequences. Another explanation could be a placebo effect. People think they should become a mean and nasty person so they do. Steroids can turn a jerk into a bigger jerk or a confident individual into an extremely over confident individual. Meanwhile, increased blood pressure can result from steroid abuse along with enlargement of the heart. These problems are mostly associated with unhealthy users who have had problems in the past. If someone takes steroids with any of these problems already existing, they could encounter highlighted effects. HGH has side effects uncommon to other anabolics. Growth hormone users sometimes encounter forehead growth. The reason for this unnatural growth is a result from growth hormone causing not only muscles to grow but bones as well. Next, while taking steroids in high doses, there is an increased risk of prostate cancer. Most of these side effects could be prevented by correct dosages. In most cases, taking large doses does not increase effectiveness only increased negative side effects. The duration one is on anabolics is also important. Steroids are meant to be cycled. Prolonged use causes hormonal imbalances. Increased synthetic testosterone causes the body to shut down natural producers and signals an increase in estrogen production. When this is extended, the process is escaladed. There are off cycle drugs used primarily to return hormone levels back to normal. To use steroids one must have proper guidance from a knowledgeable source. Steroids are drugs and like any drugs, can be dangerous.

            Drugs are a problem all over the world. All illegal drugs have a black market; people want what they cannot have. The largest problem for steroids is the black market. Prohibition naturally caused a black market and an increase in crime rate. Steroids are not any different, if people want anabolics they will get them, regardless if they are illegal. The black market yields steroids spiked or cut with other drugs intended only for veterinarian use only (Perry). Steroids bought on the black market are possibly not steroids at all. People turning to the black market are at risk of wasting their money on products that are not even steroids or worse getting severely injured . Most users, who are lucky enough to have found a physician willing to risk their careers, get a legal prescription. Doctors can diagnose a low testosterone rate or improper balance of testosterone to epitestoserone to give athletes the drug. Doctors give the athlete tests and analyze them as they choose. If the doctor reads the test results to be a low ratio of testosterone the doctor can prescribe steroids to the patient. This may sound crazy to some but its true and it happens all the time.

            The controversy related to steroid use is complex. There will always be a valid discussion between the pros and cons of the topic. Whether it is for sports performance or medical benefits the debate will be present. The effects of steroids as a performance enhancer are well known and have been proven to be valid. In my opinion steroids should have no part in athletics, however I know that will never be the case. The medical field is also having success using steroids, a different kind of steroid. Steroids in general have gotten a bad reputation in modern society although they can be of some good.  As any drug there are also side effects that can result from the usage. From weighing all sides and putting them into perspective, steroids are not any more dangerous than other drugs that are readily available to society. The bottom line is steroids are drugs and should be handled as such.