O.T.C. P.E.D.

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Introduction

Creatine is one of the most potent muscle building supplements in the supplement world, and has been around for quite a long time too! An amino acid, creatine is found normally in the body, with 95% of it found in the skeletal muscle tissue. The body receives its creatine from food that is eaten, typically 2 grams per day. The body also makes its own creatine in the liver from other amino acids

Creatine is an ergogenic (muscle building) supplement, and numerous studies have proven its effect. “Extra creatine is therefore ergogenic, because it may help generate more power output during intense exercise.” (Exercise & Sports Nutrition Laboratory).

Creatine has also been proven to increase strength, performance, and muscle mass. “In addition, long term creatine supplementation produces greater gains in strength and sprint performance and may increase lean body mass.” (Exercise & Sport Nutrition Laboratory).

Other studies have proven creatine’s health benefits, not only to bodybuilders or athletes, but to non-athletic and aging individuals.

“Recent creatine research suggests creatine may have therapeutic applications in aging populations[…]” (William D. Brink).

Most people have no idea that creatine has such amazing health benefits as well as the obvious muscle building and energy providing one.

Believe it or not, research has shown that creatine can increase growth hormone production! Its no surprise that creatine is the most wide sold muscle building supplement in the world!

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Various Forms:

Is there a difference between the various forms of creatine?

Of course! Every type of creatine is different in composition, solubility, and effectiveness. Some creatines are more soluble than others, which, in turn, increases their effectiveness. Other creatines have chemicals attached which increase their absorption and uptake into the muscle, which eliminates the need for a loading phase. But basically, all creatines do the same thing:

Volumizing muscle (increasing mass).

Improving strength.

Increases energy (ATP levels) for activities that require short bouts of quick energy such as lifting, sprinting, and HIIT cardio.

Creatine Myths Exposed:

Caffeine will not counter-act the effects of creatine, and may even help! (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Volume 34, Number 11, 2002 Mike Doherty, Paul M. Smith, R. C. Richard Davidson, and Michael G. Hughes)

Creatine is not a steroid!

Sugar is not necessary for absorption of creatine, but it will help. There are easier ways for absorption such as using micronized creatine or CEE.

Creatine Truths:

      • Drink lots of water with creatine.

      • Creatine should not be taken dissolved in an acid. (Citrus beverages)

      • Some people do not respond to monohydrate.

      • Creatine causes some people to bloat or retain water.

      • Taking creatine with sugar will increase absorption, but taking creatine with sugar and protein will double that!

      • Here is the type I prefer (My choices are based on what I have learned from my own personal experience, combined with feedback from fellow bodybuilders and from reviews I have read, as well as price. I have not tried all of them.):

Micronized Creatine:

Micronized Creatine is essentially creatine monohydrate, except it has been micronized, which means the molecules of creatine have been divided or cut up. This increases their surface area 20 times, increasing absorption and reducing stomach discomfort.

Pros:

  • Essentially the same as monohydrate but with a larger surface area and smaller molecules, so the same amazing effects of monohydrate.

  • Greatly reduces unwanted monohydrate side effects such as bloating and stomach discomfort.

  • More effective than monohydrate, and most monohydrate non-responders should respond to this.

  • Purer than monohydrate because it goes through more processes.

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than monohydrate

  • Requires a loading phase

  • I recommend that you purchase a Kilo at first.

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LOADING:

For the first 5-7 days load 25 grams per day, taking 5 grams per dose spread out throughout the day. I recommend that you place the whole serving (heaping teaspoon) directly into your mouth and wash it down with 8 oz. of grape juice.

MAINTENENCE:

After the loading phase, I recommend 1-2, 5-GRAM servings per day. The first in upon waking or at least pre-workout.

The second in the evening or post-workout as follows:Take the creatine with the protein and take the sugar after 1 hour. This will allow the insulin spike, protein spike, and creatine spike to be roughly at the same time. Insulin spikes occur roughly 30 min after ingesting the sugar, while protein and creatine tend to take about 90 minutes to be at their highest concentration in the blood stream.

Hope all of this helps.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

TAKU’s NOTE: I have used creatine for many years, and found it to be safe and effective. After working with hundreds of clients using creatine I have found that it consistently improve strength, and assists in lean mass production. I have only encountered one seeming “non-responder”. I have never had anyone I was working with experience any negative side effects from taking creatine. Finally…Although I have used, and recommended creatine for year’s, and my experience is real and observed by me, it is still anecdotal. I suggest you buy some and find out for yourself. The above information is based on my own personal experience, as well as was gathered from various broad sources around the internet.

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The Science of Strength: As easy as 1 – 2 – 3

The Science of Strength

As easy as 1 – 2 – 3

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1. Progression: Making the workout or exercise more challenging over time. This could be adding weight to strength exercises, or running faster or longer with cardiovascular training. Either way if you are not challenging your body no improvement will happen.

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2. Overload: Is when the body is challenged through intense exercise and the muscles are worked passed their current capacities. This training “environment” is what sets the scene for improvement.

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3. Recovery: After the muscles have been overloaded they need time to adapt and get stronger. This process takes between 48* – 96 hours +.

So the science of getting stronger is as follows:

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1. Train as hard as you can on each exercise to make sure overload takes place.

2. Allow the body to rest and recover. You can’t rush improvement.

3. When you return to the weight room try to add weight or repetitions to each exercise.

The science of getting stronger is really easy to understand. It is the application that is challenging. There are no secret routines or special exercises, just simple things that need to be done a certain way, for an extended period of time.

Train Hard!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

(*minimum recovery period for athletes with optimal recovery ability).

HIGH-INTENSITY TRAINING: Safe Efficient Effective

By Wayne L. Westcott, PhD*

In the area of strength training, there are as many workout routines as there are body builders, weight lifters, power athletes, and strength coaches. Every strength expert seems to possess the perfect training program for maximizing muscle development.

Fortunately, several respected professional associations have come to consensus on recommended training procedures for safe, sensible, and successful strength exercise. These include the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, and the YMCA of the USA. The training guidelines, which include the following, are designed for average adults who desire a higher level of strength fitness.

1. Training Exercises: Eight to twelve strength exercises that address all of the major muscle groups.
2. Training Frequency: Two to three nonconsecutive training sessions per week.
3. Training Sets: One or more sets of each exercise.
4. Training Resistance: Approximately 70 to 80 percent of maximum resistance.
5. Training Repetitions: Approximately eight to twelve controlled repetitions.
6. Training Progression: Approximately 5 percent increase resistance whenever 12 controlled repetitions are completed.
7. Training Speed: Slow to moderate movement speed–for example, two seconds lifting and four seconds lowering.
8. Training Range: Whenever possible, full range of joint movement.

These basic exercise procedures have proven to be an effective and efficient means for developing muscle strength and mass. Studies with youth, adults, and seniors have shown significant increases in muscle strength (about 70 percent) and muscle mass (about 3 pounds) after eight weeks of training in the recommended manner. While these improvements continue for several months, progress comes more slowly and eventually begins to plateau.

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Strength Plateaus
Strength plateaus are an inevitable part of the muscle-building process. At some point, the training effort that previously stimulated positive muscle adaptations is no longer productive. This does not mean that further strength development is impossible, but it does indicate a need for program changes.
Most people recognize that, to overcome a strength plateau, they must train a little harder. However, many exercisers confuse working harder with working longer. That is, they increase their exercise duration rather than their exercise intensity. For example, instead of performing one set of each exercise, they jump to two or three sets of each exercise. While this certainly increases the work volume, it has little impact on the work intensity.

Let’s say that John typically performs 10 leg extensions with 150 pounds, which is 75 percent of his maximum resistance. As John’s quadriceps muscles fatigue, his momentary strength decreases on a repetition-by-repetition basis. By his 10th repetition John has reduced his starting strength by 25 percent, and he can no longer lift 150 pounds. That is, when John’s quadriceps muscles fatigue below 75 percent of maximum strength, he can no longer lift 75 percent of maximum resistance.
If John chooses to perform a second set of leg extensions, he will clearly perform a greater work volume. He is unlikely to achieve a greater work intensity, however, by completing additional sets of leg extensions. This is due to the fact that each set of 150-pound leg extensions fatigues the same 25 percent of John’s quadriceps muscle fibers. Because the same muscle fibers are activated in the same recruitment pattern, there is little response difference between the first and last set of a given exercise.

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High-Intensity Strength Training
The primary intent of high-intensity strength training is to fatigue additional muscle fibers during a more demanding exercise set. One means of achieving this objective is to reduce the exercise resistance at the point of muscle failure. For example, when John can complete no more leg extensions with 150 pounds, he may immediately reduce the resistance to 130 pounds and perform a few more repetitions. By so doing, he may fatigue more muscle fibers and provide a greater strength-building stimulus. With this technique, called breakdown training, John experiences two levels of muscle failure and fatigues 35 percent of his quadriceps muscle fibers.

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Research on Breakdown Training
In a recent research study, we compared standard training with breakdown training. Forty-five adults (men and women between 25 and 54 years of age) and 15 seniors (men and women between 55 and 84 years of age) participated in this study.

During the first four weeks all 60 subjects trained in the standard manner (one set of 8-12 repetitions per exercise). During the second four weeks half of the subjects continued to perform one set of 8-12 repetitions per exercise. The other half performed one set of 8-12 repetitions, then immediately reduced the weightload by 10 pounds and completed as many additional repetitions as possible (typically 2-4 breakdown reps with the lighter resistance).

The subjects who performed breakdown training experienced significantly greater strength gains than the subjects who trained in the standard manner. The high-intensity-trained adults gained 39 percent more strength and the high-intensity-trained seniors gained 100 percent more strength.
Given these findings, it would appear that breakdown training is more effective than standard training for developing muscle strength. It is assumed that the breakdown repetitions produced a greater strength-building stimulus. It is also likely, however, that the breakdown repetitions encouraged greater training effort. That is, the subjects who performed breakdown repetitions probably pushed themselves harder after realizing that the standard training set did not fully fatigue their muscles. This learning effect may explain the large difference in strength development between the two senior groups.

Assisted Training
Another means of increasing the training intensity is assisted training. Like breakdown training, the resistance is reduced at the completion of a standard exercise set to enable a few additional repetitions. Instead of changing the weightload, however, a trainer gives just enough manual assistance to complete another repetition.
Because we can lower more resistance (negative muscle contraction) than we can lift (positive muscle contraction), the assistance is limited to the lifting movements. The trainee handles the full resistance on the lowering movements.

Pre-Exhaustion Training
Pre-exhaustion training is also designed to fatigue more muscle fibers than standard training. With this high-intensity technique, you complete two successive exercise sets for the same muscle group. The first set is typically performed with a rotary exercise that fatigues the target muscle group. The second set is conducted with a linear exercise that involves both the fatigued target muscle group and a fresh muscle group.

For example, you may do a set of chest flies to pre-exhaust the pectoralis major muscles. At the point of failure, you may immediately perform a set of chest presses using both the fatigued pectoralis major muscles and the fresh triceps muscles.

By incorporating different movement patterns and fresh muscles, pre-exhaustion training produces greater fatigue in the target muscle group. Other effective pre-exhaustion combinations include lateral raises followed by overhead presses for the deltoid muscles, pullovers followed by pulldowns for the latissimus dorsi muscles, arm curls followed by chin-ups for the biceps muscles, arm extensions followed by dips for the triceps muscles, and leg extensions followed by leg presses for the quadriceps muscles.

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Conclusion
Our study with adults and seniors demonstrated significantly more strength development with breakdown training than with standard training. Although not researched, experience indicates that assisted training and pre-exhaustion training are also effective means of producing more muscle fiber involvement and promoting greater strength gains. In addition to the physiological adaptations associated with high-intensity strength exercise, there would appear to be psychological changes as well. That is, people who practice high-intensity techniques are likely to train harder than those who have not exercised in this manner.

Because of the greater effort required by high-intensity strength exercise, it should not be overdone. A single breakdown set, a few assisted repetitions, and an occasional pre-exhaustion workout will be sufficient. Most important, be sure to perform every repetition in standard and high-intensity exercise with proper technique and controlled movement speed

*Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. Dr. Westcott has written the Muscular Strength And Endurance chapter for the ACE Personal Trainer Manual and has authored several textbooks on strength training.

TAKU’s NOTE: This week I offer yet another excellent article from my friend and mentor Dr Wayne Westcott.

TEN TRAINING TIPS:

Below you will find ten basic tips that will help you get the most out of your strength training program.

1) Train with a high level of intensity.

Intensity is not yelling loud, rather it is the ability to exert maximal effort, and focus on each repetition. At times this may require the ability to train past your comfort zone.

2) Attempt to increase the resistance used or repetitions performed every workout.

This is the application of the Overload Principle. The muscles must be challenged gradually and consistently in order to grow stronger.

3) Ideally, perform one set of each movement to the point of muscular exhaustion.

(There is very little evidence to suggest that multiple sets of each exercise are superior to a single set for strength gains.)

4) Reach concentric muscular failure within a prescribed number of time / repetitions.

If you reach failure well below the recommended time / repetition range the weight is too heavy, and potentially dangerous, it should be lowered on the next workout. If you reach failure above the time / rep range the weight is too light and you should gradually increase the resistance on the next workout.

5) Perform each repetition with proper technique. (see four rep rules)

The workout is only as good as each individual repetition. For maximum muscle-fiber recruitment and safety you should use a slow and controlled rep speed. We recommend a minimum 3-5-second concentric movement (raising) and 3-5-second eccentric movement (lowering). Note: Slower rep speeds are acceptable, and may be quite effective for some.

6) Strength train for no more than thirty minutes per workout.

We find it counter-productive to train with high levels of intensity for over 30 minutes.

7) Strength train 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days.

To keep the body fresh and to avoid over-training you should take time to recover. As long as your strength continues to increase your rest is adequate. Should your strength plateau or slip you may need additional rest, not additional work. Counter intuitively stronger athletes require more rest than beginners.

8) Keep accurate records of performance.

This is the only way we can determine your gains in strength. This also is how coaches can help you individualize the workout for you, as no two athletes are exactly alike.

9) Safety above all things.

We are in the weight room to supplement your athletic skills with strength training. We do not want to risk an injury preparing for our sports. Non-athletes also do not want to risk injury in the attempt to improve their overall heath. Rule of thumb: If a movement is too fast or unorthodox do not perform it

10 To gain weight, consume more calories… to lose weight consume less.

Obviously the calories you put into your body should be healthy ones and the calories you cut from your diet should be done gradually. If you are serious about this concept please contact me for safe tips on weight gain and loss.

*THE FOUR rep rules.

Rule # 1 – Raise and lower the weight through the muscles full range of motion.

Rule # 2 – Eliminate momentum during the raising phase of each exercise.

Rule # 3 – Pause momentarily (stop for a count of 1001) in the muscle’s contracted position and then make a smooth transition to the lowering of the weight (no sudden drop).

Rule # 4 – Emphasize the lowering of the weight (take longer to lower the weight).

PAU for NOW
TAKU

The above inspired by the excellent work of the folks at www.strongerathletes.com

S.P.I.C.E. things up

A common question that comes up with coaches and athletes is how do I make sure my strength and conditioning program is “sports specific”? There are only three things you need to think about improving.

  • Force enhancement via strength training
  • Energy system improvement via sport-related conditioning runs or drills
  • Skill improvement via sport-specific skill training

The development of muscular strength is the general progression of increasing the muscle’s ability to produce force. Sports skill development, on the other hand, is the specific learning of how to best coordinate and apply these forces.

In other words, strength is a non-specific adaptation developed in the weight room whereas sports skills are a specific adaptation developed through guided practice on “the field”.* As a result, a powerful athlete is developed physically in the weight room, which by a separate process is developed mechanically on “the field”.*

Unless you are competing as a power-lifter, Olympic style weight lifter etc, anything you do in the weight room will have zero direct transfer to what you are doing on “the field” of play.*

With the above in mind, here is a simple formula to keep your training on the right track.

Key points to remember too S.P.I.C.E. things up

1. Strength train in order to reduce injury, and resist fatigue in the safest method possible.

2. Practice your skills

3. Improve flexibility- perform a proper stretching routine to increase range of motion around a joint

4. Condition the energy systems used to play your sport (running intervals, cardiovascular exercises and speed training)

5. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of water to ensure the body has the proper amount of nutrients in order to grow stronger.

 

These five basic concepts will go a long way in keeping your training simple, safe, and focused on success.

PAU for NOW

TAKU 

TAKU’s NOTE: *(“The field” implies any athletic playing space the wrestling mat, tennis court, Fighting cage, boxing ring etc.)

Product Spotlight: Total Fitness in Thirty Minutes a Week

Anyone who is a regular visitor to my blog knows that I am always on a quest to find the most efficient and effective ways to attain and maintain fitness. For many years I have been an advocate of brief, intense strength training, as well as a strong proponent for the merits of interval training, and other methods of less protracted “CARDIO” exercise.
With this in mind I highly recommend you seek out the book: Total Fitness in Thirty Minutes a Week by Laurence Englemohr Morehouse, and Leonard Gross. Dr. Lawrence Morehouse founded UCLA´s performance laboratory and wrote sections on exercise and physical conditioning for the Encyclopedia Britannica. He designed NASA’s fitness program for the astronauts. Most notably, he discovered that a combination of exercises-one for short periods of time daily-can provide all the muscle developing, stretching, aerobic stimulation and cardiovascular conditioning most people need. 
 
Dr. Morehouse’s findings revealed that we need very little exercise each day-if it´s the right kind of exercise. Morehouse, advocates vigorous exercise as monitored by your pulse rate, for its beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. Among some of his unconventional ideas, Dr. Morehouse, suggests that 10 minutes of vigorous exercise, three times a week, is all that is needed for complete cardiovascular conditioning.
 *
Total Fitness in Thirty Minutes a Week Exposes myths about physical fitness, intense exercise and strict diet plans and proposes a targeted approach to conditioning based on individual lifestyles and the regulating of metabolic systems.
 *
PAU for NOW
TAKU
 *
TAKU’s NOTE: Although this book was originally published 1976, it is well worth finding a copy and giving it a thorough read through.
*All pictures of Astronauts performing strength, and conditioning training aboard the ISS.
 

Why, When, and Where to buy Organic

Ever wonder why, when, and where to buy organic?

Synthetic pesticides are toxic and can attack our central nervous system.  Studies have shown an even higher risk for pregnant women and children as pesticides can interfere with growth and development.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic (capable of causing cancer).

In October 2006, the Environmental Working Group published a list of the “Dirty Dozen” or worst offenders when it comes to levels of pesticides detected.  The list is based on studies conducted by the FDA and USDA from 2000-2004.

 

Produce with the HIGHEST level of contamination from pesticides include:

 

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

Produce with LOWEST level of contamination from pesticides include:

 

  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn (frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

 

Tips for buying produce:

 

  • Shop Local Farmers Markets: Support your local farmers.  Talk with them.  Many times the farmer is not able to pay the hefty fee for the “USDA Organic” stamp of approval.  Often times the farm follows organic (and sometimes better than organic) standards but is not able to label it as such.
  • Buy in Season: Again, by shopping the farmers market’s, you will only be able to buy in season.  Buying in season ensures you get the maximum nutritional value out of your food, as it has not been sitting around or preserved.  It will taste better too!
  • Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture): There are many farms who will provide you fresh, local, seasonal produce delivered to your door or your neighborhood.  Some farms even provide eggs from pasture-raised chickens.  Not only are you supporting your local farmer, but you are also guaranteed to get great quality, freshly picked, seasonal produce at an inexpensive price.
  • Read labels: If you shop in a supermarket, read the sticker or produce sign to see where the produce is coming from.  Ask the produce manager.  Chances are organic produce grown half way around the world will not only taste poor, but not provide the nutritional content you need either. Fruits and vegetables lose nutritional value the longer they sit around from their original harvest date.

TAKU’s NOTE:

This article comes courtesy of: Kristin Hoppe, Certified Natural Chef.