Supplements compete for the spotlight, with breakthrough ingredients like the latest creatine, nitric oxide stimulator or designer hormone often pushing the older and less glamorous ingredients to the side and into forgotten, invisible and nearly irrelevant status. Yet being out of sight and out of mind doesn’t mean being unimportant. In the case of zinc, a gray-blue metal that hardly gets any spotlight, the maxim has never been more true. It may not occupy the spotlight, but it’s one of the most important supplements for bodybuilders.

Although zinc is a small and unassuming mineral, it’s a powerhouse—the real workhorse of all minerals—that produces massive and noticeable effects.

Here’s what it does:

  • Fuels testosterone production
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Heightens your brain function and the mind/muscle connection
  • Fortifies your prostate
  • Testosterone production. Zinc is best known because it fuels testosterone production, keeping your count high so that you can train hard and build muscle.
  • Immunity.Training hard seriously stresses your immune system and makes you sweat. While hard training is good for you, provided that you employ a rock-solid recovery strategy, sweating can cause you to become deficient in zinc because you lose the mineral through perspiration.

Your immune system uses zinc to make more than 300 enzymes and amines that spark millions of chemical reactions in your body—including those that cause muscle growth. While heavy workouts stimulate oxidant production—reactive oxygen species, or ROS, that can damage your muscles, organs and DNA—zinc is a powerhouse antioxidant that scavenges your body for those harmful oxidants, protecting you from damage and keeping your immune system strong.

Brain sharpness and the mind/muscle connection. Muscle building is as much about muscle as it is about mind—as much about brain as body. Your brain is heavily concentrated in zinc, and zinc is important for keeping your brain sharp and efficient, so it plays a big role in the generation and transmission of brain signals for optimal muscle contraction.

The mind/muscle connection needs one specific brain chemical: dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that gets you focused, energized and makes your mind/muscle connection as strong as the iron you’re lifting. Zinc keeps dopamine measures high during times of stress—like when you’re training—increasing your ability to build quality muscle.

Prostate health. If you’re a male, your prostate is critically important, regardless of your age, fitness or previous health history. The fact is, you need a healthy prostate even if you don’t pound out rep after rep in gut-busting workouts. With most bodybuilders, the prostate doesn’t get much attention for the same reason zinc doesn’t: It’s out of sight and out of mind. Well, that doesn’t mean your prostate is unimportant. In fact, it needs to be healthy if you want to grow serious muscle.

Your prostate has the highest zinc concentration of any body tissue, and zinc plays a critical role in keeping it healthy the way that it keeps your immune system healthy—by scavenging for, and protecting you from, harmful oxidants that can damage your tissues and DNA—damage that can eventually lead to prostate cancer.

Thirty-three percent of men have prostate problems by age 50—and the percentages are unknown for bodybuilders. By getting enough zinc, you can protect your prostate, keeping it healthy and in top form.

How much zinc do you need? The current recommendation is 15 milligrams for men and nine milligrams for women daily—but bodybuilders need more, sometimes much more, depending on the intensity and frequency of training. Toxicity is a concern, so it’s best to get your zinc from foods. Here’s a quick list of foods that contain muscle-building zinc.

Oysters, 100 grams, 16 milligrams zinc
Chicken, 100 grams, 2.7 milligrams
Beef shank, 3 ounces, 8.9 milligrams
Pork chops, 100 grams, 2 milligrams
Plain lowfat yogurt, 1 cup, 2.2 milligrams
Wheat bran, 100 grams, 16 milligrams
Whole-meal bread, 40 grams, 0.8 milligrams
Cashews, 1 ounce, 1.6 milligrams
Pumpkin seeds, 20 grams, 1.3 milligrams
Baked beans, half cup, 1.8 milligrams

For more information about how you can integrate Zinc into your supplement regime, see one of the knowledgable Personal Trainers at Platinum Fitness. Be sure to join today if you’re not already a member.

Source: http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/site/zinc-your-testosterone-to-muscle-link/

Q: If 4×10 [as in the 4X technique] is so effective at achieving both power and density for developing maximum muscle mass, why would one bother with 10×10? You wrote that a trainee should stay on 10×10 for only three to four weeks since doing it longer may compromise the power component. If you believe 4×10 is clearly superior, why waste time on 10×10?

A: Well, 10×10 is a pure-density shock tactic that can produce big gains in muscle size quickly—and you do it only on one key exercise for each bodypart. That means it takes only 10 minutes to thoroughly and completely blast a muscle into the endurance-component growth zone—but we recommend the pure-density approach only for a four-week shock phase.

Because 10×10 is all density, it’s ideal to use it for a time after six weeks of multi-angular power-style training—which is what most trainees do all the time.

That’s precisely why so many people respond so well to 10×10 density training—because they’ve been on methodical power-oriented workouts for so long. That’s due to the common misconception that only heavy weights build muscle mass. Not true. A change to pure-density training can instantly create new muscle gains, specifically in the sarcoplasm of the 2A mass fibers. Nevertheless, 10×10 can be monotonous after three to four weeks, so I recommend moving to something else—like 4X.

4X is more balanced, giving you power and density. You use a heavier weight than for 10X10 because you do only four sets with 30 seconds’ rest between them. If you get 10 reps on your fourth set, you add weight to that exercise at your next workout.

Standard 4X sequences, just like 10×10, can become monotonous. That’s one reason we’ve been experimenting with 3X pyramids—adding weight on each set with a 30-second rest between sets. Those provide more power with two weight increases and lower reps on each successive set—10, nine, seven. It’s more power-oriented than standard 4X.

If that’s still not heavy enough to satisfy your need for power-style training, you can always alternate a power-style workout with one that has more density-oriented sets. That, as well as many more power-density training methods are explained in our new free e-book, Secrets to Ultimate Muscle Growth, available at X-Rep.com and IronManMagazine.com. I’m mentioning it a second time because it contains so much critical information about how muscles grow and the type of training that builds extreme size. As I said, it’s free, so you’ve got nothing to lose—and loads of muscle to gain.

See a Platinum Fitness trainer today for more information and to have your current routine examined. Not a member? Click here and join today!

Source: http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/site/4x-vs-10×10/

Nutrient timing is based upon the premise that providing nutrients— primarily protein and carbohydrate— at a certain time in relation to an exercise bout will lead to greater adaptations to training, compared to getting your nutrition haphazardly. Most believers are convinced the ideal time is after intense training.

A recent review and position paper by the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) looked at nutrient timing in relation to exercise performance, glycogen repletion, and training adaptations (body composition, muscle mass, and muscle fiber size).1 One conclusion was that ingesting a carb + protein supplement after training promotes greater increases in strength and more favorable changes in lean mass and fat mass.

Nutrient timing has been embraced by most everyone as crucial, but is it?

Most of us in the gym can’t wait to grab the post-workout supplement after our workout. We’ve read it’s critical immediately following our workout, or is it? Let’s look at a couple studies that examined nutrient timing in athletes and novice fitness enthusiasts.

One study took 23 non-competitive, young (early 20s) Australian bodybuilders with an average of three years of experience and matched them for max strength (1 rep max; 1RM). Half of the group then took a carb + protein + creatine monohydrate supplement (40 percent protein from whey protein isolate, 43 percent dextrose, and 7 percent creatine monohydrate) just before and just after training (four personal training supervised sessions in the mid-late afternoon/week for 10 weeks). The other half took the same supplement twice daily on training days (same training regimen as pre-post group), yet before breakfast and before sleep (a.m.-p.m.) on the same training days.

If you accept that the subjects in the a.m.-p.m. group didn’t eat or drink anything for 1-2 hours after they trained— for 10 weeks— then the results for the pre-post group are distinctive: greater lean mass gains and fat mass drops; greater 1RM in squats and bench press; bigger muscle fibers and more contractile protein (not just muscle protein); higher muscle creatine and glycogen content. Again, this is the only study using resistance-trained subjects AND where timing is compared. Admirably, the lead author of the study disclosed that he is a consultant to AST (disclosure is not common— trust me).

Another study looked at 30 northeast American college football players (late teens/early 20s), with an average of almost six years of resistance training, and three powerlifters were assigned to either 1) take a liquid protein supplement pre-post, 2) take it in the a.m.-p.m., or 3) take a placebo supplement. All three groups followed a 10-week supervised training regimen (four sessions/week). The liquid protein supplement delivered 42 grams of protein (enzymatically predigested beef collagen, whey protein isolate, casein) and 2 grams of carbs.3 Unlike the prior study, the subjects took the supplement every day during the 10 weeks.

After 10 weeks no significant difference in body comp or any measure of squat or bench press performance was seen between any of the groups, including the placebo group. Modest improvements in strength and power were seen in the two supplemented groups, but they were not significantly greater than the placebo group.

Why the different results between the only two studies done in resistance-trained subjects putting chronic nutrient timing in the hot seat? The first study used bodybuilders who took in about 30 percent more calories (mostly from carbs, not including the supplement), weighed less, and were much leaner. The bodybuilders also were taking in about 10-25 percent more protein at the beginning of the study than the football players. The bodybuilders also supplemented with carbs and creatine monohydrate in addition to protein.

Despite the football players/powerlifters getting the protein supplement every day for 10 weeks, there was no difference. This is not a revelation— more protein does not automatically beget more muscle mass. What may be the revelation is that supplemental calories/carbs may make a difference when protein is at the ceiling of intakes.

As it stands, nutrient timing-mediated muscle and strength gains in resistance-trained men is superior for whey protein isolate + dextrose + creatine monohydrate.

Let Platinum Fitness help you reach your goals. See a Platinum Fitness Personal Trainer today.


Anthony Almada (B.Sc., M.Sc.) has worked within the dietary supplement industry since 1975. He has a B.Sc. in physiology and nutritional biochemistry minor from California State University, Long Beach, and an M.Sc. from Berkeley. He has been a co-investigator on over 60 university clinical trials, ranging from arthritis to muscle building and fat loss. Anthony Almada is a member of the executive board of ISSN, and is a fellow of the ISSN.

References:
1. Kerksick C, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2008;5:17.
2. Cribb PJ, Hayes A: Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2006;38:1918-25.
3. Hoffman JR, et al. Effect of protein supplement timing on strength, power and body compositional changes in resistance-trained men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, (published online advance of print; accessed 13 March 2009).

Source: http://www.musculardevelopment.com/component/content/article/135-supplements/3364-on-time-off-target-nutrient-timing-for-the-md-reader-by-anthony-almada.html

People with four healthy lifestyle behaviors — not smoking, physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption, and eating five servings of fruit or vegetables a day — live an average of 14 years longer than people with none of those behaviors, a new British study contends.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council looked at 20,000 men and women, aged 45-79, who filled out a questionnaire about the four health behaviors. The participants, none of whom had known cancer or heart or circulatory disease, filled out the questionnaire between 1993 and 1997 and were followed until 2006.

For each of the four healthy lifestyle behaviors, a participant received one point.

After they factored in age, the researchers found that participants with zero points were four times more likely to have died over an average period of 11 years than those with four points.

Not smoking, exercising, moderate drinking, eating veggies could add 14 years…

In addition, the study authors concluded that participants with a score of zero had the same risk of dying as someone 14 years older with a score of four. This was independent of body-mass index (BMI) and social class.

While the findings need to be confirmed in other populations and an analysis of how these combined health behaviors affect quality of life is needed, the researchers said the results suggest that these four healthy lifestyle behaviors could markedly improve the health of middle-aged and older people.

The study is part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), conducted in 10 European countries. EPIC is the largest-ever study of diet and health.

There is strong evidence that individual lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and physical activity influence health and longevity, but there has been little research into their combined impact, according to background information in a news release about the study. Making Platinum Fitness part of your lifestyle can help one of these factors. An active, fit lifestyle directed by one of our professional fitness trainers will help you enhance your longevity and promote a fit lifestyle and Live Limitless!

The study was published in the journal PLoS Medicine.