Zach Krych- An Incredible Comeback

Here is a video I found the other day, it is about Zach Krych a US weightlifter who suffers what doctors said would be a career ending injury, but Zach proves them wrong! I hope you watch this and enjoy it, because it is a truely motivational and inspirational video.


INTENSE-FITNESS- It’s a lifestyle!

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Your Go-To Guide To Gaining Muscle While Minimizing Fat Gains

Many trainees have similar goals in mind when it comes to building their physiques: gain muscle without gaining body fat. On this road to physical improvement they will more often than not have a phase of bulking (gaining a combination of muscle and body fat) and a phase of cutting or leaning out (stripping away body fat and retaining as much muscle as possible in the process). This rollercoaster affect may go on for several phases for a desired outcome. The question is, does one significantly increase his/her lean muscle mass over time or do they simply end up where they started?

Can a trainee gain substantial muscle mass without the unwanted fat? Yes, but first let’s make a compelling argument in favor of this method. Benefits include: a leaner physique year-round, no yo-yo bodyweight changes, slow, but steady gains and no more bingeing and starving regarding phase-type dieting. Taken into consideration all of these benefits, how could you not at least give this a try?!

Outlined are several easy to use steps to gaining lean muscle mass while minimizing your propensity to gain body fat. Minor adjustments may be needed to cater this program for your body weight, metabolism and frequency of training.

Guide To Gaining Muscle While Minimizing Fat Gains
Step 1: Keep Protein in Check at All Times
Protein has to remain high on the priority list if you want to gain muscle mass. The more protein stays consistent the more potential for the ideal growth environment. And more muscle mass means more body fat burned. Keep protein intake at 1 to 1.25 grams per pound of bodyweight. This will give your body the adequate building blocks for those intense workouts. Sources include lean meats, turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, whey protein and low fat dairy products such as low-fat of skim milk, low-fat cottage cheese and Greek yogurt.

Step 2: The Correct Types of Carbs Are Your Friends

Essential for fueling those intense workouts, carbs are also protein-sparing – meaning they will let protein build muscle instead of being burned for energy. Carbs are important for many other functions as well such as the regulation of certain hormones, energy regulation and production, normal everyday bodily functions and recovery. When trying to build muscle the low carb fad diets just won’t cut it! The trick is to know how much and what types to eat.

A good place to start would be to establish an intake of 2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. Stay at this level for 4 to 6 weeks to watch for any significant long-term changes. If you see that you are gaining weight and notice you are as lean or leaner than before then do not change a thing. If you are losing weight and not getting pumps in the gym increase your intake to 2.25 or 2.5 (maybe even 3) grams per pound. If you see your abs disappearing and feel that you are getting that “softer” look then decrease carbs to 1.75 or 1.5 grams per pound.

Remember to stay at a certain level of carbs for 4 to 6 weeks before adjusting – it takes the body a few weeks to notice a change and react to it. Changing your intake too frequently will not allow you to make informed decisions regarding what your body needs. The best carb sources are from wild and brown rice, white potatoes and sweet potatoes, oatmeal (not instant), fruits and vegetables. Stay away from processed and refined carb sources.

Step 3: Reap the Benefits of Fat

No longer a dirty word among the health conscious, fats have a myriad of benefits for the bodybuilder wishing to gain quality muscle mass. Fats regulate testosterone levels, actually help burn body fat, aid energy levels and keep your metabolism churning. Keep fat around 30 to 35 % of your daily total calories. Excellent sources include eggs (yes, the yolks), avocado, olive oil, natural peanut butter, nuts and fatty fish.

One final note: You should be gaining no more than about one pound (sometimes less) per week. If lean muscle is your goal, then slow and steady will win the race. Huge fluctuations in bodyweight will never result in quality muscle gains.

Q&A With Brad Borland

Brad, I am a young hardgainer with a fast metabolism and find it hard to eat enough. Do you have any tips?
I had similar challenges when I was younger – the seemingly impossible task of gaining muscle (or any type of weight) while having a metabolism on overdrive! First of all, consider this “curse” to be a blessing. Later on, you will appreciate a fast metabolism as it will help you stay lean all year long. Second, the muscle gains you make will be slow and steady, but they will be hard-earned and more permanent over the long haul.

Buy in bulk and eat in bulk. Try eating nutrient-dense carbs and whole food proteins. Rice, potatoes, pastas, oatmeal, whole grain cereals and plenty of fruits and vegetables should make up your energy sources. Fish, red meats, chicken, turkey, whole eggs and milk should be the staples of your protein intake. Eating 5 to 6 meals per day consistently will help you gain significant muscle weight over time.

There are several trainers on the Internet that tell me I can gain muscle and lose fat with a Paleo diet, or by cycling my calories below and above maintenance. As a beginner, what are the risks of me trying these approaches?
As a beginner, I would shy away from any type of fad diet on the internet. A normal bodybuilding diet coupled with hard, consistent time in the gym is the only time-tested method for any beginner. The risk you run with trying fad diets early on in your bodybuilding career is that you are teaching your body a different method right out of the gate! How will it then become accustomed to a healthy nutrient-rich and calorically adequate bodybuilding diet? Before throwing curve balls learn how to pitch first.

I am afraid of getting fat. Some people have told me to eat 300 calories above maintenance, and some 500 or more. Will I get fat with either of these approaches? How much fat will I gain my eating more like this?
It all depends on your intensity levels in the gym (ie. your daily caloric expenditure). If you are keeping your workouts intense and working hard on a daily and weekly basis then 300-500 calories over maintenance will not result in fat gains. Just keep the excess calories bodybuilding friendly. Start with 300 extra calories for 6 to 8 weeks. Keep track of your results: Either have a body composition test done at your local gym or judge by how well you see your abs. If you are gaining weight with no body fat gain then you are on the right track. If you are not gaining weight at all, you may need to increase calories slightly to 400 or 500.

Should I eat more carbs and protein after I workout?
It all depends on your goals and time of day. If you are like most beginners, you probably are wanting to build as much muscle as possible and workout in the afternoon sometime. If that is the case – yes. After a grueling session with the iron your body needs nutrients to jumpstart recovery and growth processes. Without protein and carbs your body will scavenge muscle mass to provide fuel for recovery which will halt the building process for any new muscle tissue.

A good post-workout meal (within 30 minutes after training) would include around 30-40 grams of whey protein and 40-80 grams of carbs in the form of simple sugars. This fast digesting combination will rush the right nutrients into the muscle cells to kick-start muscle building and thwart off catabolism. Around 1 hour or so after that meal have a solid protein and complex carb meal.

By: Brad Borland

Posted in Bodybuilding, Carbs, Fitness, Gain Muscle, Nutrition, Protein, Training | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Strength: What Does the Science Suggest?

I remember when I saw Ronnie Coleman’s training DVD “Cost of Redemption.” I highly recommend purchasing this DVD if you haven’t. It features Ronnie’s workouts including 160-pound dumbbell shoulder presses, 800-pound squats, 2,250+ -pound leg presses, 495-pound bench presses, 75-pound alternate curls and more!
Here is what’s really interesting: Ronnie sure as hell does not train like the bodybuilders in those other DVDs, and yet he was a 310-pound mass monster. He trained incredibly heavy, yet he was not following the traditional principle of 60-second rest periods for muscle mass.

In “Blood and Guts,” Dorian would rest sometimes up to five minutes after squats. After spending some time with Branch and talking to Brian Dobson at Metroflex Gym in Arlington, TX about how Ronnie trained, they trained very hard but often took anywhere from three- to five-minute rest periods. All of these champions certainly don’t train with the traditional bodybuilding routine that uses moderate weight with short rest periods (60 seconds or less), yet all of these guys are built like brick shithouses!

So if short rest periods— as preached for so many years— are the way to muscle growth, then why the fuck are these guys so big? In a recent issue of the journal Sports Medicine, there was a review of 35 studies examining acute responses and chronic adaptations, with rest interval length as the experimental variable. By tweaking your rest interval duration and your training routine, you can make some serious gains in strength and size.

The existing research demonstrates that altering the rest periods between sets can cause both acute and chronic adaptations in the endocrine and nervous system.5-7 By getting stronger, you will gradually be able to use heavier weights, which will allow for greater tension on a muscle and more muscle growth. One of the more intriguing studies regarding resistance exercise and rest duration involved college football players. One group rested one minute between sets, while the other group rested three minutes between sets. The group that rested three minutes was able to complete 10 repetitions between sets, while the ‘one-minute group’ was not able to complete the required 10 reps.8 This suggests that resting longer will allow you to handle a greater workload during a workout. I am sure you are saying, ‘Well… no shit!’ Let’s examine some of the research studies examining the role of rest period duration on the amount of weight you can handle in a training session.

Researchers compared 30-second and one- and two-minute rest intervals to the number of repetitions completed for the squat and bench press over 5 sets, with a constant 15 RM load. Significant declines in the number of repetitions occurred between the first and the fifth sets, irrespective of the rest interval. For both exercises, the two-minute rest interval resulted in significantly greater repetitions versus the 30-second rest interval. These results suggest that when short rest intervals are utilized to develop muscular endurance, the intensity (i.e., load) may need to be progressively lowered over subsequent sets to sustain repetitions within the range conducive to the training goal. Future research should establish the extent to which the resistance should be lowered between sets in order to sustain repetitions for muscular endurance training.9 So if bodybuilders are not looking to build endurance in the off-season, why use short rest periods?

If you are wondering what influences muscle recuperation between sets for maintaining power, it mostly points to phosphocreatine (PCr) levels in muscle. Physiological levels of PCr take four minutes to recover.10 If you start a set when PCr levels have not recovered, then hydrogen ions or lactic acid builds up in the muscle, and muscle strength is reduced. So remember, if you want full creatine reserves for your next lift, you need at least four minutes of rest between sets!

It is well-established that a reduction in pH, which causes large increases in lactic acid, reduces muscle strength.11 From a time perspective, using short rest periods allows for greater volume at the cost of using lighter weights. You may be able to significantly enhance muscle hypertrophy by spending more time in the gym, by using longer rest periods to spur new increases in muscle growth— as you would be able to place more tension on the muscle by using heavier weights, yet resting longer between sets so you can keep using the heavier poundages.

A study examined the effect of rest period duration on squat performance using one-, three-, and five-minute rest periods. Seventy-five percent of the group using one-minute rest periods completed the full second set; whereas 88 percent of the three-minute rest group completed the second set and 94 percent of the five-minute rest group completed the second set.12 I often change my rest period duration throughout the week, if I am rushed for time. Those one-minute minute rest periods are great for getting in and out of the gym, but on Saturday if I have a little bit more time, and I extend my rest duration to three to five minutes. This means I am in the gym longer, but I am able to complete more reps with a heavier weight— which results in more tension overload on that day.

Do Acute Increases In Anabolic Hormones Affect Muscle Hypertrophy?

Back in the ’90s, everyone trained with 60-second rest periods because it was overwhelmingly clear that short rest periods increased GH and testosterone.1-3 As years went by, only a few studies have been able to validate that short rest periods increase muscle hypertrophy. Remember, the acute anabolic hormone response doesn’t last long before returning to baseline again.

When I was in graduate school, my graduate advisor, Dr. Bammon, opened my eyes to intramuscular growth factors being the key for muscle growth. In this month’s Journal of Applied Physiology, another study came out, suggesting that short rest periods do not increase muscle hypertrophy. They had men train in either a low-exercise training condition or a high-exercise training condition. The way the researchers designed the study was brilliant!

The experimenters assigned men in the low-hormone condition (LH) to single-arm curls only, while in the high-hormone condition (HH), the contralateral arm performed the same arm-curl exercise followed immediately by a bout of leg-resistance exercises designed to elicit large increases in circulating hormones. Participants consumed 18 grams of whey protein immediately before exercise, and 18 grams at 90 minutes after absence and presence of elevated hormone concentrations, as well as to reduce variability in nutrition surrounding the exercise bout. Blood samples were taken immediately after the end of each trial.

Researchers found that including legs at the end of the arm workout increased GH, IGF-1 and testosterone as expected, but there was no increase in strength or muscle hypertrophy in the high-hormone group, as opposed to the low-hormone group. They did also not find out changes in protein synthesis, despite the marked increases in acute anabolic hormones.

These data suggest that exercise-induced hormone elevations do not stimulate muscle protein synthesis and are not necessary for hypertrophy.13 The researchers concluded the same thing professor Bammon told me— local mechanisms (intramuscular IGF-1, myostatin, androgen receptor, etc.) are of far greater relevance in regulating muscle protein accretion occurring with resistance training, and that acute changes in hormones, such as GH, IGF-1 and testosterone do not predict or in any way reflect a capacity for hypertrophy.

I have no doubt that using short rest periods is useful for burning fat as you approach the upcoming contest and may be helpful for stripping that last bit of fat off, but I don’t see how incorporating short rest periods year-round could be helpful.

Throwing the weights on the bar can lead to some use of muscle fibers that can’t be recruited during lighter-weight exercises. In exercise physiology there is the ‘Size Principle’ which states that while smaller motor units that typically innervate the less-fatigable type I muscle fibers are activated with low-effort activities (e.g., lower percentages of 1 RM), larger motor units that primarily innervate the greater force-generating type II fibers are recruited with higher-effort activities (e.g., higher percentage of 1 RM or with fatigue) and more importantly, type II fibers— which generally exhibit a greater hypertrophic response than type I fibers.

With this basic fact, realize that when you lift lighter, all the type I fibers are activated first, then the type II fibers are activated as the muscle fibers tire out. When you lift heavier, the muscle fibers begin to immediately utilize type II fibers for activation. Vascular occlusion accelerates local metabolically-induced fatigue and hastens the recruitment of type II muscle fibers to maintain work output, which has been demonstrated to elicit an increase in muscle protein synthesis.

In conclusion, if you’re not changing your rest period length, you may be missing out on some gains in both strength and size. Using shorter rest periods might be advantageous when competitions are coming closer so you can enhance GH secretion for fat loss, but the research can validate that short rest periods are useful for adding muscle mass and size.

It’s important to change up your routine, which means your rest period length as well. Try spending some time using longer rest periods and see if you can’t get some added size out of it. The review paper cited in the introduction mentioned that when training for muscular strength with loads less than 90 percent of 1 RM (up to 50 percent) for multiple sets, three- to five-minute rest intervals are necessary to maintain the number of repetitions performed per set within the prescribed zone— without great reductions in training intensity.4 The acute expression of muscular power was best maintained when including three- or five-minute rest intervals versus one-minute rest intervals between sets.

By: Robbie Durand


1. Kraemer WJ. Endocrine Responses to Resistance Exercise. In: Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, edited by Baechle TR and Earle RW. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 373 2000, p. 91-114.

2. Kraemer WJ and Ratamess NA. Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. Sports Med, 35: 339-361, 2005.

3. McCall GE, Byrnes WC, Fleck SJ, Dickinson A and Kraemer WJ. Acute and chronic hormonal responses to resistance training designed to promote muscle hypertrophy. Can J Appl Physiol, 24: 96-107, 1999.

4. Fujita S, Abe T, Drummond MJ, Cadenas JG, Dreyer HC, Sato Y, Volpi E & Rasmussen BB (2007a). Blood flow restriction during low-intensity resistance exercise increases S6K1 phosphorylation and muscle protein synthesis. J Appl Physiol, 103, 903-9.

5. Kraemer WJ, Noble BJ, Clark MJ, et al. Physiologic responses to heavy-resistance exercise with very short rest periods. Int J Sports Med, 1987; 8: 247-52

6. Kraemer WJ, Marchitelli L, Gordon SE, et al. Hormonal and growth factor responses to heavy resistance exercise protocols. J Appl Physiol, 1990; 69: 1442-50

7. Kraemer WJ, Fleck SJ, Dziados JE, et al. Changes in hormonal concentrations after different heavy resistance exercise protocols in women. J Appl Physiol, 1993; 75: 594-604.

8. Kraemer WJ. A series of studies: the physiological basis for strength training in American football: fact over philosophy. J Strength Cond Res, 1997; 11: 131-42.

9. Willardson JM, Burkett LN. The effect of rest interval length on the sustainability of squat and bench press repetitions. J Strength Cond Res, 2006; 20: 400-3.

10. Harris RC, Edwards RH, Hultman E, et al. The time course of phosphorylcreatine resynthesis during recovery of the quadriceps muscle in man. Pflugers Arch, 1976; 28: 137-42.

11. Larson GD, Potteiger JA. A comparison of three different rest intervals between multiple squat bouts. J Strength Cond Res, 1997; 11: 115-8.

12. Matuszak ME, Fry AC, Weiss LW, et al. Effect of rest interval length on repeated 1 repetition maximum back squats. J Strength Cond Res, 2003; 17: 634-7.

West DW, Burd NA, Tang JE, Moore DR, Staples AW, Holwerda AM, Baker SK,

13. Phillips SM. Elevations in ostensibly anabolic hormones with resistance exercise enhance neither training-induced muscle hypertrophy nor strength of the elbow flexors. J Appl Physiol, 2009 Nov 12.

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Old-school Bodybuilding: Carbs Make a Comeback

There was a time when bodybuilders ate food (gasp!). It is difficult to visualize today, given the prominence of protein powders, energy drinks, and meal replacements in all their manifestions (bars, powders, and drinks). It may be difficult to realize as well that bodybuilding and powerlifting have their roots in the blue-collar community. Some modern bodybuilding pros live the life of celebrities, receiving impressive endorsement contracts to supplement prize earnings and other payments. This allows them to access a wide variety of foods, supplements, and dietary guidance to provide for an optimal diet.

Though many protein powders represent a good value for meeting the higher protein demands of iron athletes, it is difficult to obtain a quality intake of carbohydrates or fats through supplements. In fact, most products are void of fat and rely upon sugars to an extent that makes soda look healthy.

Bodybuilders have always sought out high-protein foods, relying upon lean meats and skim milk products. Those who experienced bodybuilding in the ’70s and ’80s likely remember their diet, finding little similarity with the recent meal plans spoken of by modern bodybuilders. In fact, it is pretty simple to write down the circa 1980 bodybuilding diet: breakfast— oatmeal, eggs, and skim milk; lunch— two turkey and swiss cheese sandwiches on whole-wheat bread with mustard; pre-workout— applesauce and two chicken breasts; dinner— steamed rice, two cans of tuna packed in water, and a can of vegetables mixed in a bowl; pre-bedtime— one chicken breast and celery with peanut butter.

This diet seems odd, but most amateur bodybuilders had very little discretionary income (spending money) and workplaces often did not have refrigerators. Those who continued to compete for decades likely went through a range of diets, from low-fat to balanced to ketogenic. Bear in mind that a huge bodybuilder weighed 230 pounds then (contest weight), well below the near 300-pound mark broached by today’s Olympians.

The diets all work, as evidenced by the continuing development of bodybuilders over the years. Yet, there are subjective and objective differences. Back in the ’80s, physiques looked fuller, though not nearly as lean. Binging was rarely heard of except for the post-competition parade of gluttony through pizza buffets and home-baked pastries. Balanced or Zone®-like diets did not rise to prominence until after protein bars and powders appeared on the market; there really was not impact from these diets.

Once low-carbohydrate dieting appeared, physiques became shredded to an unprecedented degree; this was particularly true among drug-free athletes. Unfortunately, low-carbohydrate dieting often resulted in periodic binging— bodies often did not look as full, and workouts were less satisfying, due to failing strength and an inability to achieve a pump.

Low-carbohydrate diets were seized with glee and zeal initially, particularly among the drug-free crowd as body fat and subcutaneous water are shed with unparalleled results. However, over the years, the low-carbohydrate diets appeared to take their toll on bodybuilders and the sport. From contest to contest, bodybuilders who followed a low-carbohydrate diet progressively lost size, fullness, and presentation; injuries, onstage cramping, and other maladies became prevalent. A greater dependence upon exogenous insulin to promote muscle growth was related by professional competitors.

Just recently, the resurgence of an idea that was nearly dead from neglect has erupted back into professional bodybuilding, with the drama of an ex-girlfriend catering your wedding reception. Those not able to watch the 2009 Olympia missed a showdown between two giants who showed size and fullness, along with a taut leanness due to skin pulled tight by inflated mass, rather than the shrink-wrapped appearance that followed whole-body depletion. Jay Cutler and Branch Warren, as well as many of the other competitors, displayed pumped muscles and lean physiques that challenged the imagination of Marvel comics artists. In addition to being full and lean, there was also a pleasant near-absence of GH-belly.

Year-to-year comparisons will show physique improvement among many of these competitors, in the eyes of many. The first assumption made may be a new drug regimen, as people often wish to ascribe enhancements and competitive success to either genetic or pharmaceutical advantage. However, there is a more basic explanation; something missing was restored.

Bodybuilding, even more so than mainstream dieting, is filled with “gurus.” Unfortunately, there is no qualification to self-proclaiming oneself as an expert in bodybuilding, sports consultant, or dieting expert. This had led to a confusing library of contradiction. However, amongst the amalgam of advisors, a few rise to the top through the success of their clients. In the case of the 2009 Olympia, this includes George Farah, who guided Branch Warren to his second place finish, as well as Jay Cutler’s advisor, Hany Rambod.

Take the example of George Farah, a well-spoken gentleman with a passion for the sport, as evidenced by his own status as an IFBB pro, despite surviving multiple gunshot wounds over 12 years ago. What differentiated the contest preparation of these two, and others in the Olympia, from the practices of prior years, was a greater tolerance of carbohydrates in the diet.

As mentioned earlier, there was a pendulum swing from low-fat to low-carbohydrate plans in the diets of Olympians and everyday people. Yet, many competitors were placing lower, despite losing significant amounts of bodyweight and body fat. Why? It’s simple: bodybuilding is a competition based upon presentation. Judges defined the ideal presentation by penalizing those who lost muscle fullness, had difficulty holding poses, and looked weak, rather than strong. George Farah reiterated a comment I have heard many a time in the sport, “It is a sport of building bodies, building muscle.”1

Farah, whose diet advice was certainly a component of Branch Warren’s success, was perplexed upon seeing the trend toward low-carbohydrate dieting. Staying with a program defined over time, based upon his personal experience and observations of numerous elite clients, Farah has transformed the physiques of many. Warren is just the latest of a string of successes directed by Farah.

In a telephone interview, Farah responded to a number of questions about what, why and how he instructs his clients nutritionally. He began with the astute observation that muscles don’t grow when carbohydrates are restricted. Not only is there a deficit that impairs anabolism, but overall metabolism is disrupted by low-carbohydrate dieting by athletes.2-8

One general measure that demonstrates the effect of long-term carbohydrate depletion is low body temperature.9 Farah sees clients come in with body temperatures of 96ºF, which quickly rose to normal after reintroducing carbohydrates into the diet. Interestingly, he also pares back cardio to a single 30-minute session daily.

Given that these athletes are reducing body fat despite eating very significant quantities of carbohydrates (Branch Warren consumed as much as 1,000 grams of carbohydrates a day— 4,000 calories worth!), and cutting back on cardio, suggests that the ‘in vogue’ programs are overly stressful to the body, and catabolic as well. Apparently, the increase in metabolism more than compensates for the increase in calories or any fat-storing effect of diet-induced insulin surges.

Not only have his clients demonstrated improvements in their appearance, Warren and others also were hitting personal records in their training.1 Those who have followed low-carbohydrate diets are hard-pressed to maintain strength and mass, let alone enjoy workouts or feel a pump. In comparing Warren to his peers onstage, Farah noted that not only was Branch hitting his poses to the delight of fans and judges alike, he continued to hit leg shots as the judges called “relax.” Other competitors weren’t conditioned to the same extent.

Of course, Warren was defeated in the final posedown by Jay Cutler, who appeared in peak condition. Did Cutler win because he avoided carbohydrates? No. To the contrary, he also followed a carbohydrate-full diet plan, directed by Hany Rambod. Though Rambod was not available for comment due to publishing deadlines, Cutler’s diet was well-known, via Jay’s blog and industry talk. Slightly less than Warren’s 1,000 grams-per-day carbohydrate intake, Cutler consumed approximately 700 grams per day, accounting for nearly half his macronutrient intake. Rambod and Farah follow similar philosophy in advising their clients, so it is likely no consequence that their disciples gained 1st and 2nd place, respectively.

Of course, Warren and Cutler are not your everyday lifters. They can hardly be compared to recreational bodybuilders, representing the pinnacle of modern-day bodybuilding. Yet, there is a great deal to support the inclusion of carbohydrates back into the diet, welcoming them like the proverbial prodigal son. This assumption may be more specific to athletes, as it should be realized that sugars are the preferential energy source for short-term and explosive action.10

A sedentary person may not be utilizing intramuscular and hepatic (liver) glycogen sufficiently, forcing the carbohydrate-sourced calories to be stored as fat.11 Glucose uptake occurs throughout the body, but skeletal muscle will preferentially take up glucose immediately after exercise, promoted by the migration of glucose transporters to the membrane and the increased blood flow to the working muscle.12,13 Not only is glucose driven into muscle cells under the influence of insulin, but so is potassium.14 This may help protect bodybuilders from cramping onstage.

Of course, it is important to bear in mind some of the wisdom imparted by George Farah. Eating what seems like a huge quantity of carbohydrates is not carte blanche to devouring unlimited carbohydrates. Also, by increasing carbohydrates, there is a concomitant decrease in dietary fat.

Farah is quick to cut saturated fats, and like Rambod, promotes fats known to be easily used for energy or health, such as olive oil and fish oils.1,15,16 However, rather than pushing gelcaps, the gurus emphasize fat intake in food. This reduces the inconvenience level of the diet, and lowers the glycemic index/load of each meal. Farah rarely considers the glycemic index of any individual food, as the presence of fiber, fat, and other factors modifies the glycemic and insulinemic response of the body.17 Certain meals may include a fattier meat, such as steak, to lower the glycemic response.

Is it possible that carbohydrates may be the forlorn answer to improving the physique for an active person? What about for the everyday man or woman?

A number of head-to-head studies have shown that for weight loss, all diets are equal over time (months to years), so long as calories are equal.18,19 Yet, what about the effect of carbohydrates in the diet for people not purposefully altering their diet or trying to lose weight? A recent study was published in Journal of the American Dietetics Association that looked at the association of carbohydrate intake as a percentage of calories, finding that those who ate the least amount of carbohydrates had the highest risk of obesity and overweight.20 In fact, the intake that was the healthiest included 47-64% carbohydrates. Not surprisingly, this includes the range that Farah and Rambod prescribe.

There is theory, and there is practice. The best results come from following those skilled in both. Bodybuilding is ever a contest between men who build the best bodies, not tear them down. While there is a time for ketogenic dieting, it appears to be a tool of limited use. Bear in mind, rediscovering carbohydrates does not grant permission for reserved parking at IHOP® or Krispy Kreme®. Rather, it allows one to turn right when entering the grocery mart, filling the cart with yams, sweet potatoes, and other forbidden fruit.

By Dan Gwartney, M.D

1. Personal communication via phone with George Farah, 2009 October 12.

2. Westerterp KR. Limits to sustainable human metabolic rate. J Exp Biol, 2001 Sep;204(Pt 18):3183-7.

3. Astrup A, Ryan L, et al. The role of dietary fat in body fatness: evidence from a preliminary meta-analysis of ad libitum low-fat dietary intervention studies. Br J Nutr 2000 Mar;83 Suppl 1:S25-32.

4. Astrup A, Astrup A, et al. Low-fat diets and energy balance: how does the evidence stand in 2002? Proc Nutr Soc, 2002 May;61(2):299-309.

5. Luscombe-Marsh ND, Noakes M, et al. Carbohydrate-restricted diets high in either monounsaturated fat or protein are equally effective at promoting fat loss and improving blood lipids. Am J Clin Nutr, 2005 Apr;81(4):762-72.

6. Schoeller DA, Buchholz AC. Energetics of obesity and weight control: does diet composition matter? J Am Diet Assoc, 2005 May;105(5 Suppl 1):S24-8.

7. Van Zant RS. Influence of diet and exercise on energy expenditure–a review. Int J Sport Nutr, 1992 Mar;2(1):1-19.

8. Jeukendrup AE. Modulation of carbohydrate and fat utilization by diet, exercise and environment. Biochem Soc Trans, 2003 Dec;31(Pt 6):1270-3.

9. van Baak MA. Meal-induced activation of the sympathetic nervous system and its cardiovascular and thermogenic effects in man. Physiol Behav, 2008 May 23;94(2):178-86.

10. Sahlin K, Sallstedt EK, et al. Turning down lipid oxidation during heavy exercise— what is the mechanism? J Physiol Pharmacol, 2008 Dec;59 Suppl 7:19-30.

11. Flatt JP. The difference in the storage capacities for carbohydrate and for fat, and its implications in the regulation of body weight. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1987;499:104-23.

12. Santos JM, Ribeiro SB, et al. Skeletal muscle pathways of contraction-enhanced glucose uptake. Int J Sports Med, 2008 Oct;29(10):785-94.

13. Casey DP, Curry TB, et al. Measuring muscle blood flow: a key link between systemic and regional metabolism. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2008 Sep;11(5):580-6.

14. Ferrannini E, Galvan AQ, et al. Potassium as a link between insulin and the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. J Hypertens Suppl, 1992 Apr;10(1):S5-10.

15. Votruba SB, Atkinson RL, et al. Prior exercise increases dietary oleate, but not palmitate oxidation. Obes Res, 2003 Dec;11(12):1509-18.

16. Votruba SB, Atkinson RL, et al. Sustained increase in dietary oleic acid oxidation following morning exercise. Int J Obes (Lond), 2005 Jan;29(1):100-7.

17. Bao J, de Jong V, et al. Food insulin index: physiologic basis for predicting insulin demand evoked by composite meals. Am J Clin Nutr, 2009 Oct;90(4):986-92.

18. Dansinger ML, Gleason JA, et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: a randomized trial. JAMA, 2005 Jan 5;293(1):43-53.

19. Sacks FM, Bray GA, et al. Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. N Engl J Med, 2009 Feb 26;360(9):859-73.

20. Merchant AT, Vatanparast H, et al. Carbohydrate intake and overweight and obesity among healthy adults. J Am Diet Assoc, 2009 Jul;109(7):1165-72.

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Protein, Carbs, and Calories Essential for Muscle Hypertrophy

Bodybuilding is a metabolically contradictory sport. Athletes attempt to maximize muscle size, which requires muscle tension, calories, carbs, and key amino acids such as leucine. They also try to minimize body fat, which requires a caloric deficit. Cells have well-developed systems for conserving energy and turning on pathways that build and repair tissue. Two fascinating studies, one from the University of Connecticut, Storrs and the other from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, showed how the system works in times of nutrient excess and scarcity.

In the first study, scientists fed subjects a leucine-rich essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement, which stimulated the mTOR pathway (promotes protein synthesis) and suppressed the AMPK system (controls muscle cell energy levels). In the second study, scientists put people on a reduced-calorie diet (20 percent fewer calories) with a relatively high protein content (1.5 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight). The low-calorie diet suppressed the mTOR pathway and protein synthesis. Adequate energy intake, carbohydrates and key amino acids are vital for building muscle tissue. Bodybuilders will sacrifice muscle tissue whenever they go on calorie-restricted diets to lose fat. (Journal of Physiology, 582: 813-823, 2007; Journal of Nutrition 140: 745-751, 2010)

By: Robbie Durand

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To Get Big, You Have To Eat Big

You’re reading this because you are one of many who are trying to get answers. The answers to putting on weight (quality weight and size). Well, it’s right in front of you. EAT! I can’t tell you any simpler. You need to eat more quality foods and lots of protein. But, like most things in life, it takes hard work, dedication and intensity to eat the amount of food you need to get lean, strong and add size.

So if you’re looking for that quick fix answer, listen to some wannabe small personal trainer who thinks they know what it takes to get big. But, if you want to get past those tags of being a hard gainer and want the facts then keep reading.

Becoming A Freak

If you want to gain weight, you have to eat with the same intensity as you train. Just how important are your meals to gain? Let me put it to you this way. If you don’t eat and pound down the protein you might as well forget about lifting all together. Eating is important to gain quality mass.

When I went off to college, I was a 200-pound linebacker, but because of injuries on the team I was asked to play offensive guard. I started lifting weights with my Hawaiian roommates and we ate big meals at every sitting. At season’s end I was 215 lbs. My bench press and squat increased as well. Now, how many football players do you know who gain weight during the season? We lifted weights, played football and ate buckets of food. Oh yeah, went to school somewhere in there. Simple stuff, Huh?

You have to grasp that body building nutrition has certain guidelines, but if you are a serious bodybuilder, you will apply them to your own needs. Gaining weight is work, just like dieting is. I’ve met many bodybuilders that have a problem gaining weight and quality size in the off-season.

My wife was that way. Why? Well, it’s hard. Just like competition dieting takes dedication and focus so does gaining off-season bulk. First, just like you should be planning your workouts and writing them down in your journal; so should you be planning out your meals. So, sit down, grab a pad and pen, and write down a meal plan schedule.

Every 2-3 Hour Plan:

A plan that you can stay with. You need to try and get at least six meals in, every single day. Or, basically, to play it safe, you must eat every 2-3 hours. Period! Some say eat only during the time you are awake. I say, yeah right and miss a window of opportunity to get BIG. I don’t think so.

Set the alarm to get up in the middle of your sleep time and take in a protein shake. Yes, rest is probably the next most important item in gaining size after training and eating but either do what I’m telling you or miss an opportunity for growth. Stay on an eating schedule and try and never deviate from it.

Why so strict? Well, if you eat everyday at 6 a.m., right after a.m. cardio, then you miss that meal, you’re body will start to cannibalize your hard-earned muscles. Again, as stated about taking large amounts of protein and eating in the middle of the night some so-called experts will tell you not to do those things, and I say, yeah that’s why you’re small. During sleep, your body is essentially starving and cannibalizing muscle. So feed it.


Now that you grasped the importance of eating every 3 hours let’s talk about protein, calories, and fat. Now, that’s where your supplements come in.


Your bulking diet should be high protein, moderate carbs, and moderate fat. Always maintain 2g protein per pound of bodyweight. I am a firm believer and so is the science that built Team Biohazard products that high protein diets are best for growth. Protein is the most important element in muscle development and getting the right amount of amino acids in the lymph is important – be sure to take in protein with every meal.

Have you heard this before? If you are eating 200g a protein a day and then go to 400g how is your body going to be able to metabolize it? It’ll probably crap half of it out. You heard that before haven’t you? Well, again, that’s why they’re small. I am 5’9″ 280 pounds and eat combined with shakes 500 grams of protein a day. Yep! And I’m not on the toilet every three hours either. Like some so-called experts proclaim.


Now, let’s look at calories. I would gradually increase calories a week. It is hard to eat so much food so you better take your time, and eat in small increments. Build up gradually. Everyone asks this: what should I eat? What “kinds” of food should I eat? Well, damn, let’s see. How about pizza, ice cream, and cakes. That should do it.

Come on, use your common sense, oh yeah; most people don’t have any common sense. People want results but don’t do what they really need to do. They ask you questions but brush your answers off because they are not what they want to hear. I always get asked what is that exercise you’re doing? What’s it for? I’ve never seen that before what is it for?

Or, my favorite: how do I get my bench bigger? Then I ask myself:

“Why the hell did you ask me
if you’re not going to do what I told you?”

In bodybuilding or a sport like football it takes time be successful, to find out what works and what doesn’t. But, you have to push that time envelope into your timetable not the world’s timetable.

Now back to our food. There are a lot of good choices. My preference for protein is lean beef, turkey and chicken. But I also eat a ton of eggs and some fish on occasion. I also happen to depend on protein powders. Get most of your protein from whole foods first and use supplements for the rest, as it is hard to slam all that food down all the time.

As for carbs, I’ve learned that my body doesn’t like pasta, rice, bread and other starches. That sucks because I love my Captain Crunch cereals. So, instead I chow on oatmeal and old-fashioned whole oats which is also a good source of fiber. I also eat sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables and broccoli.

The Cost Of Size:

Here is something no one tells you. It takes bucks (money) to get BIG! Have you ever noticed how expensive it is to eat “clean?” But if you want to eat junk, you’re food bill is a lot lower. Go figure. I guess our government wants us to be lazy and fat. A bodybuilder’s diet is expensive. Who cares! For hardcore freaky status we do what we have to do to achieve greatness. Most people think it’s all about steroids. It’s not. It’s about training, how you train, and nutrition (how you are eating, and supplementation). If you got the guts to make the journey into the fields of mass production then, in no time, you’ll no longer be a hard gainer.


Remember bodybuilding is a science. So, if you’re looking to take your physique to the next level, this is what you do. Analyze. And re-analyze. When it comes to nutrition, most are uneducated. But, if you want to be huge and strong then stop asking questions and take my advice. Hardcore training and eating with proper nutrition combined with monthly supplements, will help your gains come fast and intense. So, eat, and give me one more rep!

By: Curtis Schultz

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Happy Thanksgiving

I hope every one is having a good Thanksgiving, I know I am and have alot to to be thankful! With that said, this is the first post from the new official blog of Intense-Fitness.Net! We have big plans going forward and the new blog is one of many to come. We will be updating the blog regularly with nutritional tips, tips for exercising, product reviews, and all kinds of fitness info to help you achieve your goals!

Be sure to subscribe to the blog and follow us on Facebook. Until next time, train hard!


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