VeeFitness

Bringing you the latest in health and fitness


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Garlic Goodness


Garlic provides numerous health and physique benefits. Not only does it enhance heart health, but research shows that it aids fat burning, can help to lower the catabolic hormone cortisol, and concomitantly raise testosterone levels. Recent research suggests that garlic can actually boost nitric oxide levels (NO).

Researchers from the university of Adelaide (Australia) gave 50 patients with treated but uncontrolled high blood pressure wither a garlic supplement containing 960 milligrams of aged garlic or a placebo everyday for 12 weeks. They measured the subjects’ blood pressure at the start and every four weeks thereafter. The researchers reported in a 2010 issue of the journal Maturitas that the group supplementing with the garlic had a drop in pressure which was on average 10mm hg (pressure units) lower than in the placebo group. The scientists concluded that this was likely to be due to garlic’s ability to boost NO levels, which relaxes blood vessels and causes a reduction in blood pressure. This relaxation in the blood vessels also increases blood flow to the muscles, which is critical for energy and for producing a muscle pump during workouts, as well as aiding recovery and muscle growth.

The researchers suggested that cooked garlic would not be as effective as a garlic supplement because heat destroys the active ingredient, allicin. So go with garlic supplements and take about 200-1000mg with your pre-workout shake. To maintain higher NO levels throughout the day, also consider taking a dose in the morning and late at night.


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Plasma Protein for Recovery


You are familiar with whey and casein, as well as soya, and probably other vegetable protein powders, such as rice and pea protein. But plasma protein powders are fairly new to the market.

Plasma (also known as serum) protein starts with blood, typically from cows. The red blood cells are removed and the remaining liquid is plasma, or serum if the blood-clotting factors are removed. This liquid is spray-dried and ground into a fine powder that is more than 90% powder. Most of that is from albumin, which is the major protein in blood and is responsible for carrying certain hormones and maintaining blood volume, and from immunoglobulins or antibodies, which fight off foreign invaders in the body. Taking plasma protein can boost your immune system, which can help prevent you getting sick or help you recover quicker from an illness. In fact, University of Barcelona researchers reported that rats infected with the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium, that were given plasma protein powder, produced more anti-inflammatory and fewer inflammatory agents than rats given regular milk proteins, and thus had a better capacity to recover from the infection.

To prevent illness from derailing your training, especially during the flu season, choose plasma (or serum) protein that supplies at least 40% immuniglobulins and add about 10 grams to your pre-workout and post-workout protein shakes. Also add 10 grams to other shakes you have throughout the day.


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Creatine Monohydrate (CM)


Next to whey protein, no supplement has received as much scientific support as creatine monohydrate. In fact, there’s over 15 years of unquestionable support from peer-reviewed research and athletes. Studies demonstrate that creatine increases strength, power, lean body mass and muscularity. Its mass-promoting effects are achieved by several mechanisms that upregulate when creatine monohydrate ingestion is combined with resistance training. Most current research shows creatine ingestion and exercise significantly blunt myostatin levels better than exercise alone. Myostatin is a recently discovered catabolic regulator of muscle mass and consequently acts on skeletal muscle as a growth inhibitor. In addition, recent studies indicate that creatine augments highly anabolic IGF-1 levels in skeletal muscle, providing a potent signal for sustained muscular growth. Finally, creatine ingestion results in increased muscle cell volume by driving water into cells. Not only does this action make your muscles look bigger, but it also provides another stimulus for anabolism.

Before your workout mix 5-10 grams of creatine monohydrate with your pre-workout whey protein isolate drink.

After your workout, mix 5-10 grams of creatine monohydrate with your post-workout whey protein isolate shake.


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Get Your Glutamine


Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the human body, so the fact it serves as the primary amino acid pool supplying the body with proteins in times of need is no surprise, especially when your bodily systems are under conditions of stress, including dieting, heavy training and injury. Scientists have been very interested in the pathways that mediate muscle wastage in such conditions. Recent research indicates hyperexpression of myostatin is a key player in this response. In the most basic sense, myostatin in the body acts as the brakes for muscle growth.

Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle, is depleted during and after heavy stress. Years of research has demonstrated supplementing with glutamine before and after your training sessions leads to greater protein synthesis and decreased catabolism.

Evidence indicates the muscle-sparing and anabolic effects of glutamine supplementation are a direct outcome of its ability to inhibit myostatin, essentially taking the “brakes” off muscle growth. In a study publishes in Amino Acids, researchers showed that when muscle cells were exposed to TNFα (to induce catabolism) and supplemented with glutamine, the process completely reversed the hyperactivity of myostatin and therefore halted catabolism.

Since its genetic discovery in 1997 supplement research and development teams have been on a dedicated search to fine safe and effective compounds that inhibit myostatin. Remarkably they have discovered a well-known amino acid can effectively reverse the negative impact of myostatin hyperactivity. Although this study was completed in vitro (in a controlled environment such as a test tube or Petri dish, not in a living organism), it provides a powerful mechanism for the muscle-sparing effect of glutamine, therefore reinforcing the importance of pre and post-workout glutamine supplementation.


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Should I Still Have Carbs Before My Workouts If I’m Trying To Get Lean?


It is better to have the energy to get through the workout with a high level of intensity than have a bad workout because you are carb depleted. If getting lean is your main concern, try going without and see how you do. If your body continues to change, then great – you are one of the lucky ones. However, if you find you are not getting leaner, your body’s likely suffering an energy deficit during workouts so that you cannot train hard enough. The general recommendation is to eat 20-40 grams of slow digesting carbs 30-60 minutes pre-workout. You can start there and see how that plan goes. Just don’t be too rigid one way or the other.