Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday is happening NOW!

Peach Mango Madness


By Stephanie Lee
Bananas are the Swiss army knife of the culinary universe, the jack of the fruit trade. This scrumptious yellow fruit can be eaten alone, sliced into other foods, mixed into ice cream, blended into smoothies, and added to myriad baked goods recipes.
If there's a fruit that's as versatile, as universally loved, and as ubiquitous as the almighty banana, I haven't heard of it yet and, quite frankly, I don't even care!
Bananas were one of the first foods you probably ever ate, but if you think you've outgrown them, you should reconsider. If we take their low cost into account in addition to how nutrient-packed, tasty, and rich with energy bananas are, they stand out as the one healthy snack to rule them all.
If bananas have a downside, it's that their exterior can get, shall we say, unappetizing in the blink of an eye. I've heard about some people actually disposing of bananas at the first signs of spotting—the horror!
Rather than doing something so barbaric and wasteful, why not use your overripe nanners to concoct guilt-free noms?
And since we're all fit-minded folks here, they'll pack heaps of protein as well.


Banana bread is a timeless way to dispose of ripe bananas, but old-school banana bread recipes are often riddled with staggering amounts of sugar and butter. This au naturelbanana bread, inspired by Protein Pow's protein-baking wizardry, will taste so banana-y and delicious that you wouldn't believe it's not terrible for you.
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Mash the bananas up really well, and whisk in the eggs and milk.
  3. Blend the rest of the dry ingredients into the mix until it takes on a batter-like consistency.
  4. Spray a loaf pan and pour in the batter.
  5. Bake the banana bread for about 35-40 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean when you stab it. One loaf makes about nine 1/4-inch slices.
Nutrition Info Per Slice
(without nuts or other additives):
Amount per serving
Calories 102
Total Fat3g
Total Carbs11g
Banana Bread PDF (38.4 KB)


Whaaaat? Two ingredients are really all you need to satisfy a hankering for some flapjacks—who'da thunk it? The lack of flour and other pancake recipe staples might seem alarming at first, but I promise you everything will be OK in the end, especially once you throw peanut butter or sliced bananas on them.
  • 1 Whole Egg plus 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 small ripe Banana
  1. Mash the banana and crack the eggs in it, stirring until the mixture becomes somewhat homogenized.
  2. Heat a greased griddle or frying pan on medium heat and pour about a 2.5-inch wide puddle of batter.
  3. Delicately flip the pancake after about 25 seconds or when it browns. The recipe makes 3-4 small pancakes.
Nutrition info for entire batch 
Amount per serving
Calories 215
Total Fat5g
Total Carbs30g
Two-Ingredient Pancakes PDF (26.3 KB)




You really need only two ingredients to form the foundation of this cookie, but you can add additional items like protein powder, raisins, cinnamon, walnuts, and whatever else you need to imitate your favorite type of cookie.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash the banana in a large bowl and mix in rolled outs and protein powder, stirring in more oats if needed until the mixture is less runny.
  3. Take a small goop and mold into a shape you desire; lay atop a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for about 15-18 minutes depending on your desire of doneness. Just be sure to keep an eye on them. The recipe makes about 6-10 cookies depending on how big you made them.
Nutrition info per cookie (out of 9)
Amount per serving
Calories 90
Total Fat1g
Total Carbs17g
Two-Ingredient Cookies PDF (26.6 KB)


When in doubt, toss your bananas into the freezer. Seriously! By doing this, your bananas never go to waste. Frozen bananas can always come in handy when you want to make something cold and sweet like this amazing and simple frozen yogurt recipe.
  1. Blend all ingredients together.
  2. Put in a plastic container and place container in freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, churn the concoction with a spoon to break up the ice crystals and replace in freezer.
  4. Wait another 30 minutes, remove container from freezer and churn it once more.
  5. Now if the consistency is to your liking you may consume it now; otherwise, put it back in the freezer for another 30 minutes.
Nutrition info for whole batch
Amount per serving
Calories 290
Total Fat3g
Total Carbs37g
Frozen Yogurt PDF (26.6 KB)


Fluffy, decadent, chocolatey, and quick—these are just some of the winning ways to describe this money dessert. You don't even need an oven. Just use a microwave and about 5 minutes of your time.
  1. Blend everything in a bowl until it looks folded in together. (It's not supposed to look appetizing initially.)
  2. Grease a deep coffee mug and transfer the mix into the cup.
  3. Set the microwave power level to about 60-70% of max and cook cup for about 3 minutes. You'll see the souffle really start to puff up near the end.
  4. Let it cool and enjoy! If you wish, you may top peanut butter on that bad boy. Each cup equals 1 serving.
Nutrition info per serving
Amount per serving
Calories 210
Total Fat2g
Total Carbs16g
Chocolate Banana Souffle PDF (74.2 KB)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Forskolin Boosts Testosterone Levels

by TC T-Nation

Here's what you need to know...

• Forskolin's thyroid stimulating strength has been compared to thyrotropin or TSH.

• Forskolin caused male subjects in a 12-week trial to experience a 16.77% increase in total Testosterone.

• Forskolin increases the metabolism, burns fat, breaks down triglycerides, and increases lean body mass.

The boss at my last job used to keep a box of discarded supplements next to his desk. They were things people had sent us to try. Most of the time we'd take a look at the ingredients, roll our eyes, and then shoot them into the box with a fade-away jumper.

But the contents of that box fascinated the head of the advertising department. He must have been was one of those "one man's garbage is another man's treasure" guys at heart, because he'd rifle through the box like an adolescent looking for the one-eyed Teddy Bear he wasn't quite ready to give up.

He liked experimenting with a good number of those throwaway supplements, so much so that we joked about how we'd have to bury his green, glowing liver in a toxic waste repository after he died.

One day, though, he came in holding up his latest and greatest find from the box. It was a relatively small, white, plastic bottle from England. "Hey, what the hell is in this stuff?" he said. "I put on 10 pounds in the last 3 weeks and my strength has gone through the roof!"

This was the first time we'd heard him use those kinds of clichŽs, so one of the other guys in the boss' inner circle felt compelled to try the mysterious supplement, too. A couple of weeks later, he reported more or less the same effects.

That's when we started to look into the supplement. It was called creatine monohydrate. The company I worked for was EAS and they became the first U.S. company to aggressively market creatine, and the number of people willing to fork over 70-plus dollars for a tiny bottle that today would sell for a couple of bucks became the stuff of supplement-company legend.

Creatine is a good part of the reason why nowadays you can't swing a hypertrophied dead cat without hitting the head of an owner of a supplement company. Many of them wanted to recreate that success story, but in a lesson they should have learned from any one of a number of gold rushes in the 19th century, gold ain't that easy to find in them-there hills.

Is There More Gold in the Box?
There's no one alive, I presume, that continually uses every supplement at the same time, let alone every Biotest supplement at the same time, and I'm certainly no exception.

But every so often, I start using a Biotest supplement that I haven't, for whatever reason, used for awhile. In that sense, I'm sort of like that EAS employee who kept digging in that box. Now I know what you're thinking. You're assuming I've found something magical in our supplement line, something like the next creatine.

Well, you'd be mostly right. I have "re-discovered" something really interesting, and now that I'm using it once more and enjoying its effects, I've begun digging into the research again and frankly, I can't figure out why this product didn't cause more of a creatine-like frenzy. By all reason, it should become a staple in everyone's supplement arsenal because it's really, really, cool.

Enter, or should I say, re-enter, forskolin, a supplement that raises thyroid hormone levels and Testosterone levels. The increased levels of those two hormones naturally lead to an increase in fat burning and lean body mass, but forskolin is blessed with other fat burning and muscle building properties, too (explained later on in this article).

And I'm not just offering rat studies as proof, either. There have been a number of research studies conducted with real live, honest-to-goodness fat people. Here's a rapid-fire compendium of results from just a few studies on forskolin:

• Male subjects in a 12-week trial experienced a 16.77 +/-33.77% increase in total Testosterone compared with a 1.08 +/- 18.35% decrease in the placebo group.

• Female subjects in an 8-week study lost a mean of 9.17 pounds weight, while experiencing gains in lean body mass (without weight training).

• The total body weight of a mixed group of men and women in a 12-week study decreased from 74.7 kilograms to 73.5 kilograms while experiencing increases in lean body mass (without weight training).

• The forskolin users in a mixed-sex group of 50 test subjects experienced a 1.78 percent increase in lean body mass (compared with a 0.20 decrease in the placebo group) and a decrease in mean body fat from 35.8 to 34.0 percent (while the placebo group showed an increase from 38.8 to 39.0 percent).

And there are lots of other studies, too, all pretty impressive.

Increased Thyroid Hormone Production and Increased Testosterone Production
Forskolin is a compound derived from the herb, Coleus forskohlii, and it stimulates an enzyme called adenylate cyclase, which increases cellular concentrations of a cellular messenger called cyclic AMP, or cAMP.

Now cAMP is one versatile little bugger in that it interacts with a host of different types of cells. When you raise levels of cAMP, you lower blood pressure, reduce intraocular (eye) pressure, inhibit platelet aggregations (clotting), promote vasodilation (opening up of blood vessels), increase bronchodilation (improved breathing), and, most importantly to us, increase thyroid hormone secretion and speed up lipolysis (fat burning).

Forskolin's thyroid stimulating strength has even been compared to thyrotropin or TSH, which is pretty damn impressive. Not only does this increased thyroid hormone production increase fat loss, but increased levels of cAMP activate something called protein kinase that's been shown to activate hormone-sensitive lipases, which are involved in the breakdown of the building blocks of fatty tissue known as triglycerides.

Furthermore, forskolin has a nifty little trait of improving the fat-burning ability of any other fat burning ingredients you might be taking, which is why it's included in Biotest's popular fat burner.

In addition to breaking down and burning fat, forskolin also increases lean body mass. A higher level of intra-testicular cAMP mimics the action of luteinizing hormone and that translates to an increase in Testosterone production, which as you know is a pretty nice thing to have if you want more muscle.

This increase in Testosterone levels of course contributes to additional lean body mass, but higher levels of cAMP in skeletal muscle also leads to an increase in protein synthesis (which is amplified by the complimentary increase in Testosterone), so you get a nice two-pronged mode of action.

Let me spell it out for you. If you use forskolin to increase levels of cAMP, you end up mimicking the effects of mild calorie restriction and exercise, without actually reducing calories or even exercising, and it does this without making you all jumpy and sweaty-palmed like a lot of compounds that burn fat. Of course, if you add some actual, bonafide exercise to the picture, you naturally get much more impressive results.

So Why Isn't Everybody in the World Using Forskolin?
I suspect that conventional forskolin supplements, i.e., those made with ground up parts of the plant, suffer from the same triad of problems affecting most herbal supplements: standardization, potency, and absorption.

In short, plant products usually face the same challenges as plants themselves. I'm sure you've experienced having a great-tasting tomato, only to follow it up with a tomato that's only fit to be hurled at the neighbor who runs a leaf blower at 7 AM on a Saturday.

If something like taste varies so greatly, you can easily see how levels and potency of different plant chemicals can vary from crop to crop and even plant to plant. One bottle of an herbal supplement might work well, but the next may only be fit to be shot into a refuse box. I think that's the reason forskolin hasn't caught on in the bodybuilding or fat loss world.

What you need to do to get an effective product is to extract and purify the active ingredient, in this case, forskolin 1,9-carbonate (the compound is a "carbonate ester" of forskolin). Then you get a highly pure, single compound that gives powerful, consistent results. Furthermore, by extracting and purifying the active ingredients, you extend forskolin's duration of action from 4 hours to 12 hours.

Lastly, if you've got the technology, you combine forskolin 1,9-carbonate with a self-microemulsifying nutrient delivery system, which improves the bioavailability considerably. That way, you make sure that you actually do get an increase in Testosterone and thyroid hormone, along with the fat burning and muscle building effects you're looking for.

No Fade-Away Jumper for Forskolin, 1-9 Carbonate
Forskolin, 1,9-carbonate shouldn't be compared to creatine. Creatine puts on body weight really, really fast. Granted, most of it is water weight, but no one can deny its effects. Carbolin-19's effects are much more subtle, but over the long run, equally impressive.

Godard, et al., "Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese males," Obesity Research, 2005 Aug;13(8):1335-43.

Majeed, et al., Diterpene forskolin: A possible new compound for reduction of body weight by increasing lean body mass," Nutraceuticals, March/April 2002, pp. 6 - 7.

Tsuguyoshi, "Clinical report on root extract of Perilla Plant (coleus forskholii) in reducing body fat," Asanto Institute, Tokyo, Japan, 2001.

Kamath, "Efficacy and Safety of Forslean in Increasing Lean Body Mass," Department of Ayurvedic Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India, 2005.

Luoma, TC, "Luoma's Big Damn Book of Knowledge," Leningrad State Publishing House, Leningrad, 13th edition, 2013.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

MCT's and Fatloss

By Flex Staff

I’m constantly being asked to explain the pros and cons of all the different oils that can be used for cooking, and people are always surprised at how vehemently opposed I am to most vegetable and nut oils, and how I’m a fan of coconut oil instead.

I advise everyone to steer well clear of vegetable oils. They’re not a substance you need to be ingesting if your goal is to put on muscle while burning fat and increasing your performance. Bear in mind, however, that I’m not addressing any animal oils or fats in this article. I’m only addressing people’s preferences with regard to stuff like olive oil, and why our options are so limited.


I can’t recommend most vegetable and nut oils because they contain very high ratios of omega-6 fatty acids to omega- 3s. Omega-6 fatty acids are far too inflammatory for what we need, and we’re already inundated with them because of everything else we’re taking in. They also compete for all the enzymes necessary to convert all the other fats in your system to things you need.

If you consume too much omega-6, your body becomes pro-inflammatory. Your ability to create all the fatty acids you need from the raw materials your body has available is also greatly inhibited. The solution? Cut out most vegetable and nut oils from your diet, and replace them with better alternatives.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) bypass many of the normal mechanisms for fatty acid absorption. Most fats take up to two or three hours before they spark any kind of surge in available free fatty acids (FFA) for energy. MCTs, in contrast, pass into your system directly.

This gives you a large spike in your FFA levels, which can create significant ketone production. Ketones will help fuel your cells and improve your cardiac muscle efficiency. MCTs will also circumvent the enzymes needed to cleave longer fatty acids in order to use them for energy.

Simply put, there’s no rate limit. MCTs can get in and fuel your cells better. The bypassing of this channel also makes it impossible for your body to go into rhabdomyolysis—a breaking down of damaged muscle tissue, which, if it doesn’t kill you, will send you to the hospital for a few weeks.

MCTs’ real magic happens when you first wake up. Ingesting them then will give you an immediate boost in FFA, which will jump-start your ketone production and keep you producing ketones for a longer period of time. After that, whatever fats you eat early in the morning will be available a few hours later. As a result, if you’re eating fat all day, you have a constant source of FFA. After your first meal, there’s no difference between taking a spoonful of coconut oil and a spoonful of butter.

The prescription: Take 10 grams first thing in the morning. Then, depending on whether you’re adding carbs to your post-workout shake or not (we don’t combine carbs and fat), have another 10–20 grams after you train.

Coconut oil is composed of approximately 66% MCTs. That’s the good news. The not-as-good news is that the rest of the stuff in coconut oil isn’t quite as scintillating. Although some people love cooking with coconut oil—I like it with eggs and bacon—you’re better off just using straight MCT oil. It’s a liquid, so it’ll mix with everything—and you’ll be getting only what you need. 

The best time to use coconut oil is when you’re frying fatty foods. It has a relatively low viscosity, and the ability to penetrate membranes, so it’s very effective in this case. If you’re frying bacon in coconut oil, you’ll actually be replacing some of the fat in the bacon with fat from the coconut oil. It’s still quality fat, but it’s more of the fat that’s recommended for active people.

Olive oil and avocado oil are higher in monounsaturated fat, which is neither an omega-3 nor an omega-6. It’s actually an omega-9. This is good in small doses because it helps cell membranes function more effectively; but according to cell membrane dynamics, it’s also the easiest fat to move into fat cells for storage—and the hardest one to get back out.

Flax oil is total junk. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, but they’re not functional fats in the body. They need to be converted—but since we have so many other fats using the same enzymes, very little of this happens. You may as well just skip it, because it won’t do anything for you.

Coconut butter is worth a brief examination here as well. It contains a fatty acid called stearic acid. This is pretty much the saturated counterpart, if you will, to what’s in olive oil. Bacon also has a high quantity of stearic acid. This is extremely good for cell membranes, because it provides the rigid structure that prevents cells from collapsing.

If you drop all the vegetable oils and start using MCT oil immediately before your strength training sessions, you may notice slightly more muscular endurance. This is due to the positive effect ketones have on the efficiency of cardiac muscle. By ingesting MCT, you’re essentially getting more output while expending less energy—which, in turn, can get you a few extra reps over the long haul.

To put things into perspective: As long as you’re doing everything else right in terms of your diet and supplementation, MCT consumption should accelerate your fat loss. This is a major “as long as,” though. Most people don’t do enough things right to notice a difference.

So take a pass on all the vegetable and nut oils, but focus on getting the rest of the program right before thinking MCTs will put you over the wall.