Saturday, March 30, 2013

Remembering The Father of Bodybuilding 1919-2013

By Jim Schmaltz
When Joe Weider passed away March 23, he was 93, give or take a couple of years. His actual birth date lacks documentary certainty, which is fitting—he was a bit of a mystery. He was born and died like all men, but he didn't live like most. How did Joe Weider the phenomenon happen?
He announced himself to the world in the late 1930s, shirtless and proud, a mere teenager with a message—and no sensible person listens to teenagers. It didn't matter. Nothing could slow his evangelical fire to spread the gospel of empowerment through weight training, not when he was 19, not when he was 89. Even death couldn't silence his message. We now live it.
In this era of Ted Talks and CEO hagiographies, terms like "visionary" and "passion" get thrown around like cheap confetti, but Joe was the real deal. He wasn't the only ambitious publisher specializing in physical culture, but his single-minded quest, un-tethered to market demands, moved inexorably on while his competitors gave up; they were unable to overcome the indifference and sometimes outright hostility to their subject matter. The world finally caught up to Joe around the same time Jane Fonda slipped on leggings and Pumping Iron made a sensation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that was more than 40 years after his mission began.
When Joe stapled together the first copies of Your Physique in 1936 and walked the streets of his tough Montreal neighborhood, he took a leap of faith not unlike a religious prophet. Joe's brother, Ben, became Aaron to Joe's Moses mission, and Ben remained Joe's most committed convert until Ben's death in 2008. The brothers founded the International Federation of Bodybuilders, and began their quest to make posing in tight briefs as natural and acceptable as playing a game of soccer.
To Joe, of course, it was much more than a stationary pose.

The Missionary Of Muscle ///

In the 1930s, bodybuilding was regarded as almost pornography, or worse, a kind of personality disorder. It's difficult to explain to young people today just how unusual weightlifting was before World War II.
Imagine the ridicule Joe endured in his early days. How many times was he called a weirdo or deviant? How many times was he told his publications were ridiculous and that nobody would buy them? How many times was he told that having contests with men flexing their muscles was immoral and narcissistic? He built up his 5-foot-10 frame into a ball of muscled marble, but it was his mental toughness that was something to behold.

Joe Weider directing photo shoot with Dave Draper
He moved to New Jersey and launched multiple entrepreneurial startups beyond publishing, including equipment and nutrition companies. Sometimes he went bust, and then just started over again. He kept pushing, achieved small successes, made enemies, found more success, made more enemies, then moved out to California in the 1960s, when surf culture and the "body beautiful" ideal captured the national imagination. Muscle Beach was born.
Bodybuilders were still novelties but not shunned. Dave Draper, the iconic beach muscle stud of the swinging '60s, was championed by Joe, becoming his favorite magazine model. With his thick blond locks and solemn presence, Draper often shared the cover with Betty Weider, Joe's wife and a well-known '50s magazine pinup (known then by her maiden name, Brosmer). Draper was regularly cast in films and television shows, including, memorably, The Beverly Hillbillies, in which Granny worried that the bulging muscleman's swelling was caused by bee stings.
While Joe worked hard to take a maligned subculture mainstream, bodybuilders became suspicious of his success; some felt exploited and ripped off. This was typical of its time. It took a momentous legal challenge by St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood in 1970 to free Major League Baseball players from the system that enriched the owners at the expense of the players. Joe played the game according to the standards of the era and alienated some of the athletes he mentored.
In the early '70s, Dave Draper and Joe had a falling out that ended in a court case. This is a fact that stunned me when I learned of it many years later. I interviewed Draper in the Weider offices in 1993 for an article on the golden age of bodybuilding. Still imposing, with a sinewy musculature replacing his youthful bulk, Draper fondly recalled his roots in the sport, never once evincing any bitterness for past injustices. His interest was in the interior journey.
Sitting under the roof of Weider HQ with this soft-spoken, thoughtful man challenged the simplistic stereotypes I had formed about bodybuilders. Coming from the world of ink-stained wretches, I had just started at Weider Publications as a copy editor with little knowledge of the cult of physique. The interview with Draper changed the course of my life.

Mike Katz, Dave Draper, Joe Weider and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Committed To The Brotherhood ///

Over the next decade, I would get to know Joe Weider and begin to understand his enormous impact. At first, I wasn't sure what to think. His unique speaking voice, sometimes described as a Montreal street brogue, is what you first noticed about him. Often gravelly, with discordant tones punctuated with garbled syntax and the occasional bark, Joe Weider's voice was as distinctive as it was emphatic. Those who knew Joe could never quote him without imitating that voice-not out of mockery, but out of accuracy. The words just wouldn't seem authentic if you didn't say it the way he said it.
He'd bound down the hall in tennis shoes (his feet gave him problems), his once black, old-timey mustached trimmed to a salt-and-pepper strip. He'd drop in on creative designers and editors, checking on progress, keeping the wheels turning. His car's license plate read, "TODO BOY," and he did plenty. His enthusiasm for exciting page layouts, new nutrition products, branding, labeling, packaging—all of it fueled by the same drive he had as a teenager—was ceaseless. At this time he was in his 70s, when most men his age shuffled through early-bird buffets in baggy pants.

You had to know Joe to realize that even his outsized flights of ego had a bombastic charm, such as the iconic bust of him folding his arms over his impressive chest. Only it wasn't Joe's chest—the torso belonged to bodybuilding great Robbie Robinson. Joe mastered the art of branding before the practice had a name.
The image-casting was part of his marketing genius. He had an instinct for connecting with an audience, especially young men. His publications reached across generations, ethnicity, race, and economic class. When I would tell people who I worked for, they'd either shrug clueless, or show instantly how enamored they were with him.
Joe's "Road to Damascus" moment is hard to pinpoint, but it may be the time as a teenager in Montreal when he walked into his first gym. After fashioning a crude set of barbells at home with spare parts in his garage, he discovered a professional gym with real free weights. There, he met other men with a similar passion and felt an immediate kinship, energized by the camaraderie of the gym members.
The idea of a "brotherhood of iron" defined him as much as anything. He'd relish meeting with bodybuilders, marveling at their progress, helping to perfect their posing. For pro bodybuilders, having Joe endorse you was like being blessed by the Pope, but to Joe, they were all in the same fraternity.
His sharp-elbows business style was tempered by a strong paternalistic streak that deepened as he aged. I experienced it myself. For some reason, Joe took a shine to me during my years in his employ. He championed me as a writer and editor, even at a time when the executives in his company thought it would benefit all if I took my talents elsewhere. In fact, they insisted on it. But Joe intervened and I stuck with him and Weider Publishing until he sold the company in 2002. I had no quarrel with the new owners, but I left shortly afterward.

The Father's Legacy ///

I stayed in the industry, the one Joe Weider created, editing Muscle and Body. I would occasionally visit Joe at his house for lunch. He'd order lox and fish from a nearby deli and we'd talk about the old days and his plans for the future. For the first time in more than seven decades he didn't have a magazine empire to run. He would muse about starting another one, but it seemed far off. Publishing had changed dramatically. Everything trended digital.
He carried many nicknames, most famously, "The Master Blaster," and "Trainer of Champions." But "The Father of Bodybuilding," may be the most fitting. He famously played a paternal role to Schwarzenegger, and Arnold, to his great credit, stayed close to Joe. As California governor, he declared "Joe Weider Day" at the state capitol on July 9, 2007, when Arnold, legislators, friends, and family members held a ceremony celebrating Joe's life. There they were, two embodiments of the American Dream, both successful immigrants with sometimes indecipherable speaking styles, holding court in the most populous state in the country.
Despite his triumphs, Joe remains indefinable to the general public beyond his mentorship of Arnold. The mainstream media never knew what to do with him. It didn't grasp his overwhelming influence on the fitness revolution, remaining preoccupied with hyper-muscular extremes and what is required to achieve it.
Sportswriters, in particular, have always mocked bodybuilders. The athletes they cover never did. They grew up with Joe. They'd beat a path to his door, hoping to shake his hand, tell him how much he meant to them. Hollywood action stars, average gym-goers, big-time athletes, weekend warriors—it didn't matter. He inspired them all.
His legacy is secure, even if it doesn't always have his name attached. It's in the letters I receive from readers who share their success stories about making dramatic changes to their bodies. It's in every health club and hardcore gym, every protein shake and nutrition bar. It's in the hundreds of fitness websites, YouTube videos, and magazines that preach the gospel of Joe, whether they know it or not.
So thanks, Joe. You made sure we got our ass to the gym, and you weren't going to take no for an answer. We got the message, and we're never going to stop telling the world.

Friday, March 29, 2013

High Protein Breakfast Reduces later Snacking

From Science Daily

Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but up to 60 percent of American young people consistently skip it. Now, Heather Leidy, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, says eating a breakfast rich in protein significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy snacking on high-fat or high-sugar foods in the evening, which could help improve the diets of more than 25 million overweight or obese young adults in the U.S.

Leidy is the first to examine the impact of breakfast consumption on daily appetite and evening snacking in young people who habitually skip breakfast. In her study, 20 overweight or obese adolescent females ages 18-20 either skipped breakfast, consumed a high-protein breakfast consisting of eggs and lean beef, or ate a normal-protein breakfast of ready-to-eat cereal. Every breakfast consisted of 350 calories and was matched for dietary fat, fiber, sugar and energy density. The high-protein breakfast contained 35 grams of protein. Participants completed questionnaires and provided blood samples throughout the day. Prior to dinner, a brain scan using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed to track brain signals that control food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior.

The consumption of the high-protein breakfast led to increased fullness or "satiety" along with reductions in brain activity that is responsible for controlling food cravings. The high-protein breakfast also reduced evening snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods compared to when breakfast was skipped or when a normal protein, ready-to-eat cereal breakfast was consumed, Leidy said.

"Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks," Leidy said. "These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods."

People who normally skip breakfast might be skeptical about consuming food in the morning, but Leidy says it only takes about three days for the body to adjust to eating early in the day. Study participants ate egg and beef-based foods such as burritos or egg-based waffles with applesauce and a beef sausage patty as part of a high-protein breakfast; Leidy also suggests eating plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or ground pork loin as alternatives to reach the 35 grams of protein.
Future research will examine whether regularly consuming high-protein breakfasts improves body weight management in young people.

The article, "Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, 'breakfast skipping,' late-adolescent girls," was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology is a joint effort by MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; College of Human Environmental Sciences; and School of Medicine. Funding for the research was provided by the Beef Check-off and the Egg Nutrition Center/American Egg Board.

Story Source:
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:
H. J. Leidy, L. C. Ortinau, S. M. Douglas, H. A. Hoertel. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, 'breakfast-skipping,' late-adolescent girls. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013; 97 (4): 677 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.112.053116

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Did Someone Say Pink Lemonade?

Coming Soon!

The Power of Pistachio's

Pistachio nuts are seed fruits of the pistachio tree (Pistacia vera) and a close relative of cashews. This tree is native primarily to the Middle East, especially Turkey and Iran. Although the shells typically have a light brown color, pistachio nuts may be dyed red or green to hide damage of the outer shell inflicted during processing. Pistachio nuts are a popular snack, and chock-full of nutrients, such as thiamin, potassium, fiber, phytosterols, magnesium and vitamin B6. Additionally, pistachios contain high amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to improving cholesterollevels and promoting heart health.

The Good News

Most studies examining the effects of pistachios nuts on cholesterol involved people consuming pistachios -- about 15 to 20 percent of their daily caloric intake. Additionally, participants with and without high cholesterol were studied. Most studies indicate that eating three ounces of pistachio nuts a day for one month can raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, up to an average of 15 percent. This roughly equals to about two handfuls of pistachio nuts a day.
Although low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides appeared to be slightly lowered in these studies, it was not lowered enough to be considered significant. Although more research would be needed to confirm this, the studies performed so fat suggest that pistachio nuts can raise your “good” cholesterol.

High Calories

Pistachios, as well as other nuts, can contain a lot of calories due to their high fat content. In fact, approximately three ounces of pistachio nuts are 400 calories. Although this may seem like a high calorie snack, these studies did not see any significant weight gain in the participants eating pistachio nuts on a daily basis.

Bottom Line

Pistachios are a healthy snack to add your diet. They may also help with raising your good cholesterol levels, but further study is needed.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Arnold Salutes Joe Weider

By Arnold Schwarzenegger
On Saturday, March 23, 2013, I lost a dear friend and mentor, and the world lost one of its strongest health and fitness advocates. Joe Weider was a titan in the fitness industry, and one of the kindest men I have ever met.
I knew about Joe Weider long before I met him. He was the godfather of fitness who told all of us to "Be Somebody with a Body." He taught us that, through hard work and training, we could all become champions.
Joe Weider and Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1968
When I was a young boy in Austria, his muscle magazines provided me with the inspiration and blueprint to push myself beyond my limits and chart a much bigger future. I know that countless others around the world found motivation in the pages of Joe's publications, just as I did. However, as I read his articles in Austria, I felt like Joe was speaking directly to me, and I committed to move to America to make my dreams a reality. Joe helped me live the American dream, become the world's best bodybuilder, and transform into a Hollywood actor.
Joe didn't just inspire my earliest dreams; he made them come true the day he invited me to move to America to pursue my bodybuilding career. I will never forget his generosity. One of Joe's greatest qualities is that he wasn't just generous with his money; he freely gave of his time and expertise. He became a father figure for me. He advised me on my training, on my business ventures, and once, bizarrely, claimed I was a German Shakespearean actor to get me my first acting role in Hercules in New York, even though I barely spoke English.
Joe Weider and Arnold Schwarzenegger on set of Predator and End Of Days
As my career took off, Joe was always nearby, giving advice, promoting my movies or my crusade as the Chairman of the President's Council on Fitness in the pages of his magazines. He appeared at my fundraisers and events when I decided to run for Governor of California. He was there for me constantly throughout my life, and I will miss him dearly.
Joe leaves behind a fantastic legacy of a fitter world. Very few people can claim to have influenced as many lives as Joe did through his magazines, his supplements, his training equipment, and his big-hearted personality. Joe was known for urging everyone, "Exceed yourself!" There is no question that throughout his life, he did just that.
My thoughts and prayers are with his extraordinary wife, the love of his life, Betty, and all of his family and friends.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Remembering Joe Weider

Joe Weider passed away early Saturday morning, March 24, 2013, at age 93 in Los Angeles. He had been ill for some time, and the cause of his death was heart failure.
Joe Weider's influence on bodybuilding and the fitness industry is so pervasive that it defies measurement. The websites we visit, the magazines we read, the contests we attend, the diets we follow, the workouts we undertake, the lexicon we use, the careers many of us pursue—they all exist in large measure because of Joe Weider. Things have changed now, but for generations, taking up fitness meant picking up one of Joe's magazines, buying one of Joe's weight sets for your garage, and purchasing some of Joe's supplements.
In a moving tribute posted on his Facebook pageArnold Schwarzenegger wrote, in part: "I knew about Joe Weider long before I met him—he was the godfather of fitness who told all of us to "Be Somebody with a Body." He taught us that through hard work and training we could all be champions."

Starting Small, Growing Big ///

Joe certainly knew about overcoming odds to achieve greatness. His bio is no less remarkable for having been recounted many times. One of four children of Jewish-Polish immigrant parents, he grew up poor in Montreal, dropped out of school after seventh grade to help support his family, and took up lifting to fortify his scrawny frame against neighborhood bullies. He got his start in publishing working on what became "Your Physique" at his mother's kitchen table.
Despite such humble beginnings, Joe Weider would end up profoundly influencing American society and physical culture worldwide in the 20th century. To cite several of his key roles:
  • Joe Weider was a visionary.
    He championed fitness as a lifestyle when that seemed crazy to mainstream Americans, and he favored weight training and bodybuilding when it was considered little more than a cult. He thought working out and eating healthfully were the only things that could save us from a public health disaster. He was right then, and he's still right today.

  • Joe Weider was an exercise scientist.
    He may not have held a degree, but his ceaseless experimentation produced an impressive body of work, including his Weider Principles. Whether they were invented by him, or merely packaged by him—no one cares now. They have helped millions find their way in the gym.

  • Joe Weider was an entrepreneur.
    He started a fitness equipment company, a dietary supplement company, a global bodybuilding federation (along with his younger brother Ben), and, most notably, a publishing empire, one that he sold in 2003 to American Media for $350 million. Muscle & Fitness, M&F Hers, FLEX, Shape and Men's Fitness are all Joe Weider's brainchild, as were many magazines before them.

  • Joe Weider was a marketing genius.
    He was selling a lifestyle, and he had a keen sense of his market. The aspirational physiques on the pages of his magazines offered a promise that would not only change your body, it would change your life, too. Self-confidence, health, vigor—Joe Weider figured out how to "bottle" them.

  • Joe Weider was a missionary.
    He brought Arnold to America and spread the gospel of bodybuilding to the rest of the world. Along with Ben, Joe helped take the message of health-and-fitness to some 170 countries. Ben literally flew from continent to continent for more than half a century; Joe used the power of words and images.
Although his accomplishments were epic, Joe the man was down to Earth and modest. The famous marble bust with arms crossed didn't even depict his body. (Always the image sculptor, he borrowed Robby Robinson's chiseled torso and placed an image of his own head atop it). Joe, who spoke with a widely imitated French Canadian accent, could be cantankerous and mercurial, to the point where many of the editors, writers, art directors and photographers working on his beloved magazines would hide layouts in exasperation. Often for better, sometimes for worse, Joe Weider was a man who knew exactly what he wanted.

The Father Figure Of Bodybuilding ///

It was all part of his grace and charm, and he was unflinchingly kind and supportive to those he encountered. So endearing was Joe's quiet presence that the Father of Bodybuilding became a surrogate or second father for many of the men and women under his charge, starting with Arnold. Later in my career, when I had a book published that is a quasi-memoir, I didn't think twice; I dedicated my life's story to date to Joe, a man who was, technically, only my former employer. But he was so much more than that to so many of us.
This week, the muscle and mainstream media will pour forth tributes that echo his accomplishments and bolster his legacy, and they will all be heartfelt and richly deserved. Our site will be devoting coverage to the life of Joe Weider, celebrating his influence on bodybuilding as a sport and on fitness as a lifestyle. Please look for it on starting tomorrow.
We celebrate the passing of a truly great man, even as we are saddened that he has left us. But he leaves us with every tool that we need. So hit the gym today and crank out a workout in the Master Blaster's memory. Crush it. Rattle the plates so hard that he hears the racket upstairs. (Never mind when you hear, in a strange accent, "Nah, you're doing it all wrong. Here, let me show you...") He would love that, because that was his most powerful message of all: Work out. You'll feel better if you do.

2010 Joe Weider Interview ///

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Burn Fat with Fat

By Brad Chase
What comes to mind when you see the word "thermogenic?" Heat, probably, since the word itself means "heat generating." Or maybe you think of a stimulant supplement like caffeine which is known to speed up your metabolism and increase energy expenditure. Maybe you're taking one of these right now, in the hopes of slimming down.
One thing you probably don't think of is a coconut—and especially the oil extracted from its flesh. Not that long ago, coconut oil ruled alongside partially hydrogenated soybean oil as the worst of the "bad fats." Maybe you know them by their other name: trans fatty acids. These were the fats that were shown in repeated studies to up the risk for heart disease and obesity, in addition to being linked to everything from depression to infertility. They're the reason you stopped buying movie-theater popcorn!
Given that reputation, it's OK if you're skeptical about what I'm going to say next: Coconut oil is shaping up to be one of the world's premier natural thermogenic agents. But before you go running to the Cineplex, there's a catch: The processed coconut oil of the past has about as much in common with the healthy virgin coconut oil as Chief Wiggum does with Robocop.
Intrigued? You should be. Let's crack open the coconut for a closer look.
What is Virgin Coconut Oil? ///
Coconut oil is the edible oil extracted from the meat of matured coconuts. It is a staple product in oceanic and tropical regions of the world, where coconut palms grow in abundance. Populations in the Phillipines and elsewhere have used it to cook and for various domestic uses for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Because coconut oil is stable at high temperatures, it is perfectly suited for cooking methods such as frying, in addition to lower-temperature cooking such as baking. The stability of the oil is also the reason why it is very slow to oxidize and go bad. The high saturated fat content of coconut oil is what makes it stable, aside from providing its most prominent health benefits.
Where the good and bad coconut oils differ is in the method of extraction. Refined coconut oils are extracted using hexane as a solvent, or various enzymes or high heat. It is then refined, bleached, and deodorized to kill any remaining coconut taste or smell, and mixed with preservatives. After this, some coconut oils are undergo a process of hydrogenation to raise their melting point. This process of refinement reduces the saturated fat content of the oil and turns some of the fatty acids into unhealthy trans fatty acids.
Virgin coconut oil, on the other hand, is extracted from fresh coconut meat by wet-milling, sun-drying, presses, centrifuges, or grating. But take note that "expeller-pressed" and "cold-pressed" does not mean the same thing as "virgin," so look for that title. Virgin processes are regulated by the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), which includes the countries that produce the majority of the coconut oil sold globally.
The end result is a product that smells and tastes like coconut, whereas refined coconut oil is clear, tasteless, and odorless. Virgin coconut oil can be white, creamy tan, or yellow. Normally, it is sold in a jar or bucket, and when you open it, it will be a crumbly paste.
Why Coconut Oil is Better than the "Others" ///
The U.S. Food and Drug and Administration and the World Health Organization, among many other high-profile agencies, advise against the consumption of large amounts of coconut oil due to its high saturated fat content. However, it must be noted that the studies criticizing coconut oil were focused on the hydrogenated, refined oil, not on virgin coconut oil. The truth is that virgin coconut oil isn't just a different coconut oil—it's pretty much deserving of its own category among oils and fats altogether.
To appreciate the uniqueness of virgin coconut oil, it's important to understand how your body processes macronutrients. In general, fats are metabolized differently from proteins andcarbohydrates. Instead of being broken down to form the building blocks of tissues and to generate energy immediately, fats are normally first broken down into fatty acids. Those then aggregate to form lipoproteins before being deposited in fatty tissues.
However, medium-chain fatty acids like the ones found in abundance in virgin coconut oil are an exception. They are not used by the body like fats, but rather like carbohydrates. This means that medium-chain fatty acids do not circulate freely in the blood or get stored away to add to body weight. Instead, they are sent to the liver, where they are immediately converted to energy.
That's right: This fat is not stored as fat but directly used up to generate energy, which speeds your metabolism. A number of studies have confirmed this unique characteristic of virgin coconut oil. This is a major reason that coconut oil is currently regarded as a better cooking option than refined vegetable oils.
In one study, medium-chain fatty acids such as the one found in coconut oil were found to increase metabolism by between 48 and 65 percent in obese patients. This thermogenic effect also lasted 24 hours after ingesting medium-chain fatty acids. Experts agree that on average, medium-chain fatty acids triple the rate of metabolism as compared to long-chain fatty acids. This means that medium-chain fatty acids aren't only a healthy energy source, they also help burn off stored fat.
Solely on account of its potentially profound effects on body weight, coconut oil should quickly become a staple in your home. But wait until you hear the rest of the health benefits this wonderful fat can provide.
Let's Hear It For Lauric Acid ///
Virgin coconut oil contains a range of healthy saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Some of these, like oleic acid and linoleic acid, are renowned for their beneficial health properties. However, since more than 60 percent of the fats in virgin coconut oil are saturated fats, its appeal clearly hinges on them.
The primary medium-chain fat in virgin coconut oil is lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid made of 12 carbons. Lauric acid is not common in nature, being found in human breast milk, palm kernel oil (which is not palm oil; big difference!), and in trace amounts in some animal milks. In virgin coconut oil, it makes up half of the fatty acids.
Lauric acid is a potent antimicrobial agent, but its effect on cholesterol levels garner even bigger headlines. This medium-chain fatty acid is known to increase total cholesterol levels in the body. This increase, however, is largely in the so-called good cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL). By increasing HDL levels, lauric acid may help support cardiovascular health. Lauric acid content is another area where the difference between refined and raw coconut oil is clear. During processing, coconut oil is stripped of its lauric acid, because this fatty acid is an important ingredient in many soaps and cosmetics. So go virgin or go home.
Coconut Oil and Type 2 Diabetes ///
Besides its fat-loss and cardiovascular benefits, coconut oil can also provide other health benefits, especially for type 2 diabetics.
The saturated fat in coconut oil has been shown in animal studies to help control the rate of glucose synthesis and release by slowing down the digestive process. It regulates the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose, helping to keep blood-sugar levels within a safe range. For this reason, coconut oil is sometimes recommended to be taken alongside carbohydrates to help lower their glycemic effect.
By comparison, refined vegetable oils heavy with long-chain fatty acids have been shown to inhibit the absorption of blood sugar into cells. This encourages the buildup of glucose in the blood, and can increase insulin resistance—bad news for diabetics. Coconut oil has also been suggested to make dieters feel fuller and help control carbohydrate cravings, all while providing immediate energy on a cellular level.
What Do I Do With It? ///
As the popularity of virgin coconut oil has skyrocketed, people have begun buying ever-larger quantities and finding more uses. Today, it's possible to buy a jug containing several gallons of congealed coconut oil for a surprisingly low price.
But what to do with it? Cooking is the most obvious answer. Pretty much anything you use butter or oil for now, you could do with coconut oil. Try spreading it on toast or pancakes, or sautee fish or vegetables in it, and you may find yourself preferring its subtle flavor.
Coconut oil is also the premier butter or shortening substitute for baking. The flaky, crumbly texture of cookies, muffins, and other baked goods are the same with coconut oil as with more caloric fat sources, but with a healthier nutritional profile. Coconut oil has also been gaining popularity as a massage oil, hair moisturizer, bug bite treatment, and even as a diaper cream for babies.
Diabetics and people prioritizing fat loss also take virgin coconut oil straight, either in capsules or by the spoonful. It also can be a great addition to a protein shake. When taking virgin coconut oil for fat loss, start slowly with 1 teaspoon per day, or substitute it for your normal cooking oils. Thereafter, slowly increase your daily intake to a maximum of 6 tablespoons. This allows your body to adjust to the oil, especially since coconut oil also has a detoxifying effect on the body.
Coconut oil isn't a magic pill, and it should be combined with exercise and a healthy diet plan to achieve and maintain fat loss. However, it can be a valuable tool in your arsenal, and its upside is undeniable.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Build Muscle with Soy?

By Jim Stoppani Ph.D.

You've probably heard that you should drink whey protein after your workouts to boost muscle growth and increase protein synthesis. As it turns out, the best "whey" to go actually involves using a combination of fast- and slow-digesting post-workout proteins—typically whey (fast) plus casein (slow).
One type of protein you'll seldom hear mentioned in this conversation is soy, which is usually not associated with muscle growth and bodybuilding. Yet if you look more closely at the evidence, you'll find that adding soy to the mix won't detract from you gains—and it might even enhance them.
The Whey-Casein Combo ///

That's right, a growing body of research suggests that including both whey (fast-digesting) and casein (slow-digesting) proteins in your post-workout shake boosts and prolongs your body's anabolic response.
You can make a bigger impact on overall and long-term muscle protein synthesis by consuming whey and casein after a workout, compared to consuming whey protein alone. Research also shows that, over time, this combination leads to greater muscle growth.
Don't get me wrong, whey is still the protein king. It's the richest source of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and is the fastest-digesting protein you can throw down your gullet. That means it rushes its amino acids, including the critical BCAAs, to your muscle fibers to kickstart muscle protein synthesis.
But if you take whey by itself, that blip in muscle protein synthesis may be too quick to maximize muscle growth. By adding slower-digesting proteins to the mix, you keep muscle protein synthesis jacked up for longer. That means more muscle is built for a longer period of time.
Casein and Whey and Soy—Oh Boy! ///
While the whey-casein combo is a great post-workout choice, a brand-new study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that a combination of whey, casein, and soy proteins may be even better. While whey has a fast digestion rate and casein has a slow digestion rate, soy digests at a rate somewhere in between the two. From a timing standpoint, a casein-whey-soy blend theoretically could help your body sustain a higher level of protein synthesis for a longer period.
To test the theory, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston had men consume 20 grams of whey protein or 20 grams of a whey-soy-casein combo one hour after a leg workout. Researchers found that both the whey protein and the mixed protein increased muscle protein synthesis to a similar degree. However, the mixed protein, with its differing rates of digestion, maintained a higher rate of protein synthesis for hours longer.
It could be argued that the same response would have been seen with a whey and casein combination. After all, other studies have shown the exact same result with only the dairy proteins. Keeping this in mind, my advice is to combine at least whey and casein to your post-workout shake. For best results, though, I recommend adding soy to the mix. I've been recommending a blend of whey, casein, and soy for almost a decade now.
The Soy Story ///
Because soy digests slower than whey, but faster than casein, it makes a nice bridge between the two and keeps a steady flow of aminos to your muscles. In addition to its speed of digestion, soy offers numerous other benefits that only improve the power of the dairy proteins to promote muscle growth. Many argue that soy protein does not promote muscle growth as well as the dairy proteins, as some studies have suggested. However, these studies either looked at a snapshot of the rate of muscle protein synthesis, or were conducted on animals.
The two studies that provided weight-training humans whey or soy over a long period showed similar results between the two proteins. One 2006 study from Canada, performed on untrained subjects, showed that weight training for six weeks while supplementing with an equivalent dose of whey or soy resulted in similar gains in muscle mass and strength.
And a 2007 study done by Douglas S. Kalman, Ph.D., R.D., found that trained male lifters who supplemented twice daily with either soy protein concentrate powder, soy protein isolate powder, a soy-whey protein powder blend, or a whey protein isolate all increased muscle mass to a similar degree during the 12-week training period.
Soy also has benefits that whey, casein, and other protein powders do not. First, soy has the ability to raise growth hormone (GH) levels. This appears to be due to its high arginine and lysinecontent. Research has also found that soy can boost nitric oxide (NO) levels. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg) researchers found that the soy phytoestrogen, genistein, increased NO levels by increasing the amount of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), which is the enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of arginine into NO.
A 2004 Ohio State study comparing soy and whey protein bars on muscle growth reported that the men taking soy had better antioxidant protection following exercise. Another 2004 study, published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained men who consumed 40 grams of soy protein before lifting weights for four weeks had better antioxidant protection following a weight workout compared to men who consumed whey protein.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that women consuming soy protein for four weeks had less oxidative muscle damage following exercise than those consuming only whey.
But, My Testosterone! ///
If you've been doing a little protein "research" on the Internet, you probably came across those dire soy protein warnings: Don't have soy or it will increase your estrogen levels and lower your testosterone. "Oh, no," you think, "I just had some soy milk and I can already feel my penis shrinking!"

These fears have been perpetuated by a couple of old and poorly conducted studies. The most recent review study analyzed 15 quality studies done on soy and testosterone levels in men and concluded that soy does not alter testosterone concentrations in men.
I'm not suggesting that you take soy and soy alone. I'm suggesting that you add some to your whey-casein blend. Some of you might think it will be too expensive to buy three kinds of protein.
Honestly, I think it will save you money in the long run. Casein and whey protein powders have been getting more and more expensive. Soy, on the other hand, remains fairly inexpensive. By "cutting" your whey and casein with soy, you'll get more bang for your buck.
I typically mix whey, casein, and soy at 2:1:1 ratio. So a post-workout shake for me means about 20 grams of whey, 10 grams of casein, and 10 grams of soy. As for brands, I preferDymatize ISO-100 WheyDymatize Elite Casein, and Optimum Nutrition Soy Isolate.

Burn Fat and Build Muscle with Green Tea

From Charles Poluquin

Green tea is a wonder nutrient that has been found to stimulate the development of muscle and burning of fat. Drinking it regularly can help you get lean and improve your health. In addition to aiding body composition, research shows green tea improves your immune system, regulates blood sugar, improves insulin sensitivity, and will even prevent the painful effects of alcohol.

Based off of previous evidence showing that athletes benefit from daily green tea supplementation because it decreases inflammation after a hard workout, researchers from Brazil tested how green tea can aid body composition goals in overweight women. The study had all the women go on a calorie-restricted diet for 4 weeks to jump start weight loss. Then for 8 weeks they were divided into four groups: a placebo group, a group that drank 10 grams of green tea powder twice a day, a placebo group that weight trained, and a green tea group that weight trained.

Results showed the following results at the end of the study:

• Green tea alone/no training: -4 kg of body fat, +1.1 kg lean mass, -4.7 percent body fat, about -13 percent in resting metabolic rate

• Placebo: + about 3 kg body fat, -2.3 kg lean mass, +2.1 percent body fat, about -20 percent in resting metabolic rate

• Green tea/Training: -9.7 kg body fat, +6.6 kg lean mass, -10.3 percent body fat, about +40 percent in resting metabolic rate (561 calories a day)

• Placebo/Training: -3.2 kg body fat, +3.5 kg lean mass, -4.4 percent body fat, about +36 percent in resting metabolic rate (503 calories a day)

In addition, the green tea/training group boosted their average strength by a much greater amount than the placebo/training group. The placebo/training group increased 1RM in the leg press by 60 kg, bench press by 4.8 kg, and 9 kg in the lat pull-down compared to the green tea-training group that gained 83.3 kg in the leg press, 5.5 kg in the bench press, and 12.6 kg in the lat pull-down.

Researchers are not entirely sure why green tea is such an amazing performance enhancer aside from how it eliminates oxidative stress and helps to get rid of waste products in the body. One thought is that it can enhance testosterone in the blood since the phenols (antioxidants) in green tea inhibit the enzymes that remove testosterone from the blood. Green tea may also improve the concentration of adrenaline in the blood, allowing for more intense training.

Other benefits of green tea for body composition are that it can improve blood sugar health and elevate metabolism, while decreasing hunger levels. For best results with green tea, researchers suggest it needs to be taken regularly, which you can do with a supplement or by brewing a high-quality tea.

Cardoso, G., et al. The Effects of Green Tea Consumption and Resistance Training on Body Composition and Resting Metabolic Rate in Overweight and Obese Women. 2013. 16(2), 120-127.