Thursday, December 26, 2013

Creatine boosts your brain

  • From Ergo Log

    Strength athletes use creatine to get more reps out of their sets, and thus speed up their muscle growth. Creatine has a similar effect in your brain, neuro-psychiatrists at the University of Tokyo discovered a decade ago. If you take creatine you can use your brain intensively for a longer period of time.

    In 2002 the Japanese published in Neuroscience Research the results of a study in which they used 24 students aged 19 as subjects.

    The students got the students to add up a random series of numbers for a period of 15 minutes. The Japanese used the Uchida-Kraepelin test that psychiatrists use to measure mental fatigue. The more numbers you can add up, the fitter you are. In mental terms at least.

    At the end of the 15-minute exercise the students rested for five minutes. After that they had to do another 15 minutes of addition.

    The researchers carried out the whole procedure twice. On one occasion the students were given 8 g ofcreatine monohydrate five days before the test, on the other occasion they were given a placebo. The creatine that the Japanese used came from Ezaki Glico.

    When the students had taken the creatine they were able to do more addition sums. The scores of a typical student are shown below, with and without creatine.

    Using near infrared spectroscopy the researchers were able to study the composition of the blood in the brains of their subjects while they were doing the sums. They looked at the amount of oxygen that was attached to the haemoglobin molecules in the blood. The figure above shows that the blood in the brains of the subjects had more haemoglobin without oxygen [Desoxy-Hb] when the subjects had taken creatine.

    The researchers also noticed that the number of haemoglobin molecules with oxygen was fewer when the subjects had taken creatine than when they had taken a placebo. That probably means that creatine supplementation boosts the oxygen consumption of the brain cells. It seems that brain cells work harder if you take creatine, the Japanese suggest.

    "Our experiment may suggest a new line of approach to reduction of mental fatigue involving creatine", the researchers conclude.

    Neurosci Res. 2002 Apr;42(4):279-85.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Protect Your Prostate with Tea

  • From Ergo Log

    Hard evidence that synthetic testosterone and anabolic steroids increase the risk of prostate cancer is lacking, but going by the evidence in animal studies the chance that there's a relationship is considerable. Fortunately for all those inveterate users of androgens there are nutrients that counteract the negative effects of testosterone on the prostate. According to an animal study from the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre in Lucknow, India, they are present in ordinary black tea.

    Prostate cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in men, and the number of men with prostate cancer is growing rapidly. The official explanation for this is that doctors are getting better and better at discovering prostate cancer.

    For an overview of our articles on methods that reduce your chance of developing prostate cancer click here.

    Test-tube studies have shown that extracts of green and black tea inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. [Nutr Cancer. 1999;35(1):80-6.] There's plenty of research on the protective effect of green tea, [PubMed], but there's less on the protective effect of black tea.

    Black tea is fermented. The catechins found in large quantities in non-fermented green tea get stuck to each other during the fermentation process to form theaflavins and thearubigens.

    The Indians wanted to know whether black tea also has a protective effect on the prostate so they did an experiment with young male rats. For a period of five days some of the rats were given a daily injection of 5 mg testosterone per kg bodyweight. The human equivalent of this dose would be about half a gram of testosterone per week. Control groups were given injections containing inactive ingredients.

    One group of rats were given drinking water that contained 0.5 percent water-based black tea extract. The rats were given weak black tea in effect. Other groups were given drinking water with 1 and 1.5 percent extract. Water containing 1.5 percent extract is strong black tea.

    The administration of testosterone boosted the activity of protective enzymes in the prostate, including catalase, superoxide-dismutase, glutathione-reductase and glutathione-S-transferase. The figure below shows the effect on catalase. Black tea reduced the activity of the protective enzymes. That sounds like bad news, but in this case it's not.

    The figure above shows how the administration of testosterone activated the protective enzymes: the hormone boosted the concentration of malondialdehyde [MDA] in the prostate. Malondialdehyde is a marker for free radical activity: aggressive molecules that damage cells and can change healthy cells into cancer cells. As you can see, administration of black tea reduced the increase in the number of free radicals as a result of testosterone.

    The researchers don't know how tea extracts can have such a strong effect. But they do believe that they have shown that "aqueous tea extract inhibits the androgen mediated oxidative injury in the prostate".

    The human equivalent of the lowest dose that the Indians tried out would be three to four litres of black tea a day. Fortunately supplements are available. You’d need 6-8 g per day of a cheap, water-based extract.

    Cancer Lett. 2005 Sep 28;227(2):125-32.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

4 Muscle Building Meals

To build muscle, you need to lift—not just weights, but your fork to your mouth for extended reps. And not just cherry pie or fast food, either, but meals that provide your body the right macronutrient ratio for size and strength. Only then will you see the progress you desire.
That's why I put these recipes together. If you want, use them to make a whole day's worth of healthy, protein-packed food. Breakfast, post-workout shake, lunch and dinner—it's all there! Or, just try one of the recipes when you're in a protein pinch. Whatever way to do it, I think you'll like the delicious flavors and muscle-building macros each recipe provides.
There's nothing complicated or difficult about these recipes. Let's get into the kitchen and build some muscle!


  1. Brown ground turkey in a skillet over medium/high heat. Once finished, drain excess juice out of the skillet and place turkey in a bowl.
  2. Beat together whole eggs and egg whites. Pour eggs into skillet.
  3. While eggs cook, mix sun-dried tomatoes with ground turkey.
  4. When eggs are cooked firmly enough to flip, place ground turkey on one half of the cooked eggs.
  5. Flip open side of eggs over to cover the ground turkey. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip omelet. Cook until eggs are not runny.
  6. Place omelet onto a plate and then pour pureed avocado over the top.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 
Amount per serving
Calories 512
Total Fat28g
Total Carbs12g
Ultimate Omelet PDF (38.2 KB)


  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend for 20 to 30 seconds, or until desired consistency.
Serving Size 
Amount per serving
Calories 400
Total Fat8g
Total Carbs31g


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Coat a baking pan with Pam spray and then place chicken in pan.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine honey, orange juice, and lemon juice. Pour over chicken.
  4. Cover pan with tin foil and bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from oven to flip chicken, and then return it to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. For a full meal, pair chicken with green vegetables and, depending on your carbohydrate needs, a starch.
Serving Size 2 Servings
Amount per serving
Calories 369
Total Fat1g
Total Carbs10g
Super Hero Chicken PDF (38.2 KB)


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil, garlic, and sesame seeds.
  2. Put mixture and flank steak in a Ziploc bag.
  3. Allow to marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat grill to high heat.
  5. Cook flank steak for 4-5 minutes per side, or until desired temperature.
  6. For a full meal, pair steak with green vegetables and, depending on your carbohydrate needs, a starch.
Serving Size 2 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 307
Total Fat13g
Total Carbs6g
Grilled BBQ Flank Steak PDF (38.3 KB)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Increase Your Sodium

While most doctors and health professionals try to scare you into avoiding sodium at all costs,this could actually be the worst advice around for anyone looking to enhance their performance or build a better physique. In fact, there are studies which have shown that moderately high levels of dietary sodium produce very few negative effects or are not actually linked to hypertension and other diseases and conditions.

For most of my athletes and clients, eating too much sodium is never a problem; it’s actually consuming too little sodium that is the problem. Once I get them to consciously add more sodium to their diets things begin to improve across the board.
Optimal sodium levels will lead to greater energy and endurance and help produce a more muscular, rock hard physique. Not only that, but low sodium levels can sometimes be even more dangerous than high levels of sodium in the diet.
In fact, a low sodium diet is one of the main causes of dehydration and low blood volume. This leads to many negative effects for those seeking improvements in their physiques and overall performance.
Sodium is lost through sweat, and if you are training hard, especially in the summer months, you will be sweating a lot. If you are not consciously replacing the lost sodium, your performance and your physique will suffer.
The first thing I recommend to most hard training athletes and clients of mine is to start by adding a little sea salt to most of their meals. Sea salt is the kind of sodium you want, not regular table salt.
The next thing I tell them is to eat pickles. Pickles are my number one biggest secret physique and performance enhancing food. I’m dead serious. If you usually watch your sodium intake start eating a few pickles a day and tell me if you don’t start getting way better pumps and having significantly better workouts.  I’ve never seen it fail to work.
Adding sodium, usually in the form of pickles, is also my number one trick for helping people maintain strength while dieting. We’ve all experienced it before; you start dieting strictly and cutting carbs and all of a sudden your physique is flat as pancake, you couldn’t get a pump if your life depended on it and your workouts start to suck.
This is one of the things that causes guys to abandon their diets within only a few weeks. They’d rather be fat then weak so they just call it quits.
Well, that can all be avoided by simply eating a few pickles or adding more sea salt to all of your meals. It’s so simple and it may sound crazy to some of you, but it works incredibly well.
If you are craving salty foods, that is indication number one that you need more sodium. Also, if your performance is starting to suffer and you aren’t as lean or hard or vascular as you used to be it could be because you are sweating more in the hotsummer sun and need more sodium.
I consulted with a mixed martial artist recently who was severely restricting his sodium levels in order to stay in his weight class. I got him to add more sodium to his diet and only restrict it around weigh in and his performance improved dramatically.
One thing I must tell you, though, is that if you are sodium deficient and start loading up on the sodium immediately after reading this, you will probably experience a water retention affect for a few days. Don’t worry, it will subside and you will be leaner in a few days once your body gets acclimated.
To really boost your performance on the field, the weight room or the track or to make dramatic changes to your physique and build muscle fast while dropping body fat, start increasing your sodium levels immediately.