Saturday, March 31, 2012

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is water soluble and it is necessary for normal growth and development in human.

Vitamins which are water-soluble, dissolve in water. It doesn't store in the body. Leftover amounts of the vitamin C pass out of the body through the urine. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.

Alternative Names

Ascorbic acid, Dehydroascorbic acid


Vitamin C is needed and as well as useful for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. 

It is used to :-

1. Help to make an important protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood    vessels

2. Heal the wounds and form scar tissue

3. Repair and maintain bones, cartilage, and teeth

4. Vitamin C is in one of many antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage due to free radicals.

5. Free radicals are made when your body breaks down food or when you are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.
6. The buildup of free radicals over time is largely responsible for the aging process.

7. The body is not able to make vitamin C on its own, and it does not store vitamin C. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet.

8. Vitamin C reduces Free radicals. Which may play a vast role in cancer, heart disease, and conditions like arthritis.

9. For many years, vitamin C has been a popular home remedy for the common cold.

10. Research shows that for most people, vitamin C supplements or vitamin C-rich foods do not reduce the risk of getting the common cold.

11. Taking a vitamin C supplement after a cold starts does not appear to be helpful.

12. People who take vitamin C supplements regularly might have slightly shorter colds or somewhat milder symptoms.

13. All fruits and vegetables contain some decent amount of vitamin C.

Foods that are the highest sources of vitamin C include:




Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit

Kiwi fruit


Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries


Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower

Vegetables that are the highest sources of vitamin C include:

Tomatoes and tomato juice

Green and red peppers

Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens

Sweet and white potatoes

Winter squash

jojopig.comSome cereals and other foods and beverages are fortified with vitamin C. Fortified means a vitamin or mineral has been added to the food. Check the product labels to see how much vitamin C is in the product.

Cooking vitamin C-rich foods or storing them for a long period of time can reduce the vitamin C content. Microwaving and steaming vitamin C-rich foods may reduce cooking losses. The best food sources of vitamin C are uncooked or raw fruits and vegetables.

Side Effects

Too much intake of Vitamin C doesn't rarely affect health, because the body cannot store the vitamin. However, amounts greater than 2,000 mg/day are not recommended because such high doses can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.

Too little or no vitamin C can cause these signs and symptoms of deficiency :-


Bleeding gums

Decreased ability to fight infection

Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism

Decreased wound-healing rate

Dry and splitting hair

Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)


Rough, dry, scaly skin

Swollen and painful joints

Easy bruising

Weakened tooth enamel

A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is called as Scurvy, which mainly affects older, malnourished adults.


The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins reflects how much of each vitamin most people should get each day. The RDA for vitamins may be used as goals for each person.

How much of each vitamin you need depends on your Age and Gender. Other factors, like pregnancy and illnesses, are also important.

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins, including vitamin C, is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods, especially Fruits and Vegetables.

Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin C :-


0 - 6 months: 40 milligrams/day (mg/day)
7 - 12 months: 50 mg/day


1 - 3 years: 15 mg/day
4 - 8 years: 25 mg/day
9 - 13 years: 45 mg/day


Girls 14 - 18 years: 65 mg/day
Boys 14 - 18 years: 75 mg/day


Men age 19 and older: 90 mg/day
Women age 19 year and older: 75 mg/day
Smokers or those who are around secondhand smoke at any age should increase their daily amount of vitamin C an additional 35 mg per day.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who smoke need higher amounts of vitamin C. Ask your doctor what amount is best for you.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Barbell, Kettle-bell, and Dumbbell Complex Exercises - A Different Style of Weight Training for a Ripped Body

jojopig.comIf you’ve been looking for a different training technique to break out of a rut, eliminate the boredom, and bring on new results, “complexes” may be just what you’ve been looking for. If you’ve never heard of “complexes” before, the basic concept is that instead of repeating the same exercise for multiple reps to complete a “set”, you sequence one rep of several different exercises right after one another and repeat the sequence several times to complete a “set”. No, this is NOT circuit's much different. It’s basically like performing a routine, instead of just mindlessly performing a typical “set”. This type of training is excellent to work a huge amount of musculature in a short amount of time, and definitely takes your workouts to a whole new level of intensity. The conditioning aspect of this type of training is amazing, as you’ll find yourself huffing and puffing after repeating a sequence a mere two or three times. If I had to venture a guess, I’d have to say that this type of training probably elicits a good growth hormone response as well, due to the large amount of full body work completed in a given time period. But that’s just my guess. I like to incorporate about 5 exercises into my complexes. Any more than that and you might start to forget what’s next in the sequence. Here’s an example of a killer barbell complex that really gets me fired up

Example Barbell Complex  :-

1. high pull from floor (explosive deadlift right into upright row in one motion); 
2. barbell back to thighs, then hang clean (explosively pull bar from knees and “catch” the bar at shoulders); 
3. barbell back to floor, then clean & push-press; 
4. barbell back to thighs, bend over, then bent over row; 
5. barbell back to thighs, then finish with Romanian deadlift

jojopig.comUse a weight that you can still handle for your weakest lift of the bunch, but keep it heavy enough to challenge you. Try to repeat the sequence 2-3 times without resting... That’s 1 set. You could progress over time on this routine by increasing the amount of times you repeat the sequence in each set, or by adding sets on subsequent workouts before eventually increasing the weight. For example, say you completed the above complex with 155-lbs for 3 sequences per set for 3 sets in today’s workout. Next time you perform the workout, try to do 155 lbs for 3 sequences per set for 4 sets. Once you successfully complete 5 sets with 155, increase the weight 5 or 10 lbs next time, and drop back to 3 sets. This is a great way to make improvements over time, while cycling your training volume. Now I’m going to show you a great kettlebell complex that really kicks my butt. I’ve been training with kettlebells for a little over a year now, and can definitely say that they’ve dramatically improved my strength, body composition, and overall physical capabilities. If you’re not familiar with kettlebells, they are an old eastern European training secret that has just started to take the US by storm over the last few years. Many elite athletes are using kettlebells as their preferred training tool for serious results. You can learn more info about body-hardening kettlebells here. I’d recommend just starting off with one bell and learn all of the single
kettlebell drills first, before delving into the double-bell drills. Just one kettlebell coupled with some bodyweight exercises can literally be enough to comprise your own home gym, without any other equipment necessary. Or you can just incorporate kettlebell training into your normal training routine once or twice a week to shake up your routine and stimulate new results. Either way, they are one of the best fitness products I’ve ever invested in that I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life. 

Example Kettlebell Complex :-

1. one arm swing 
2. one arm snatch, keep the bell over head; 
3. one arm overhead squat; 
4. bell back down to bottom, then one arm split snatch; 
5. bell back down to bottom, then one arm clean & press As with the barbell complex, repeat the sequence (without rest) 2-3 times with each arm. That’s one set…and one hell of a killer set at that! Try increasing from 3 to 4 to 5 sets on subsequent workouts with a given weight before increasing your sequence reps. If you’re not drenched in sweat with your heart beating out of your chest after that complex, you either went too light, or you are a mutant freak! Alright, since most people will have easier access to dumbbells instead of kettlebells, now I’ll show you how to compile a good dumbbell complex. 

Example Dumbbell Complex :-

1. upright row with each arm separately, then both together; 
2. front lunge with one leg, then the other; 
3. back lunge with one leg, then the other; 
4. curl to overhead press; 
5. keep dumbbells at shoulders and squat. Again, the same type of sequencing and progressions work great with the dumbbell complexes. I think a great strategy is to alternate barbell complexes on one day with kettlebell or dumbbell complexes on alternative training days. For
example, you could do barbell complexes Monday, K-bell or D-bell complexes. Wednesday, and back to barbell complexes on Friday. Maybe hit some sprints and bodyweight drills on Saturday or Sunday; then Monday would be K-bell or D-bell complexes again, Wednesday would be barbells again, and so on. Give this program a try for a month (if you dare), and you will be one hardened individual! 


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Ultimate Hardcore Body Exercise - Front Squat

jojopig.comAs you may have already discovered, the squat is at the top of the heap (along with deadlifts) as one of the most effective overall exercises for stimulating body composition changes (muscle gain and fat loss). This is because exercises like squats and deadlifts use more muscle groups under a heavy load than almost any other weight bearing exercises known to man. Hence, these exercises stimulate the greatest hormonal responses (growth hormone, testosterone, etc.) of all exercises.  In fact, university research studies have even proven that inclusion of squats into a training program increases upper body development, in addition to lower body development, even though upper body specific joint movements are not performed during the squat. Whether your goal is gaining muscle mass, losing body fat, building a strong and functional body, or improving athletic performance, the basic squat and deadlift (and their variations) are the ultimate solution. If you don’t believe me that squats and deadlifts are THE basis for a lean and powerful body, then go ahead and join all of the other overweight people pumping away
mindlessly for hours on boring cardio equipment. You won’t find long boring cardio in any of my programs! 

Squats can be done simply with your bodyweight or with any free weighted objects for extra resistance such as barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells , sandbags, etc. Squats should only be done with free weights – NEVER with a Smith machine or any other squat machines! Machines do not allow your body to follow natural, bio mechanically-correct movement paths. You also perform less work because the machine stabilizes the weight for you. Therefore, you get weaker results! 

The type of squat that people are most familiar with is the barbell back squat where the bar is resting on the trapezius muscles of the upper back. Many professional strength coaches believe that front squats (where the bar rests on the shoulders in front of the head) and overhead squats (where the bar is locked out in a snatch grip overhead throughout the squat) are more functional to athletic performance than back squats with less risk of lower back injury. I feel that a combination of all  three (not necessarily during the same phase of your workouts) will yield the best  results for overall muscular development, body fat loss, and athletic performance. Front squats are moderately more difficult than back squats, while overhead squats are considerably more difficult than either back squats or front squats. I’ll cover overhead squats in a future article. If you are only accustomed to performing back squats, it will take you a few sessions to become comfortable with front squats, so start out light. After a couple sessions of practice, you will start to feel the groove and be able to increase the poundage. Let’s take a closer look at front squats in particular.

To perform front squats :-

jojopig.comThe front squat recruits the abdominals to a much higher degree for stability due to the more upright position compared with back squats. It is mostly a lower body exercise, but is great for functionally incorporating core strength and stability into the squatting movement. It can also be slightly difficult to learn how to properly rest the bar on your shoulders. There are two ways to rest the bar on the front of the shoulders. In the first method, you step under the bar and cross your forearms into an “X” position while resting the bar on the dimple that is created by the shoulder muscle near the bone, keeping your elbows up high so that your arms are parallel to the ground. You then hold the bar in place by pressing the thumb side of your fists against the bar for support.  Alternatively, you can hold the bar by placing your palms face up and the bar resting on your fingers against your shoulders. For both methods, your elbows must stay up high to prevent the weight from falling. Your upper arms should stay parallel to the ground throughout the squat. Find out which bar support method is more comfortable for you. Then, initiate the squat from your hips by sitting back and down, keeping the weight on your heels as opposed to the balls of your feet. Squat down to a position where your thighs are approximately parallel to the ground, then press back up to the starting position. Keeping your weight more towards your heels is the key factor in squatting to protect your knees from injury and develop strong injury-resistant knee joints. Keep in mind - squats done correctly actually strengthen the knees; squats done incorrectly can damage the knees. Practice first with an un-weighted bar or a relatively light weight to learn  the movement. Most people are surprised how hard this exercise works your abs once you learn the correct form. This is due to the more upright posture compared with back squats. 



Workouts Need Both Consistency and Variability for Max Results

In the last chapter, I spoke about the fact that you must alter your training variables that make up your workouts if you want to continuously get good results, whether it is losing weight, building muscle, or toning up.

jojopig.comWhile changing your training variables is an integral part of the success of your training program, your workouts shouldn’t be drastically different every single time. If you are all over the place on each workout and never try to repeat and improve on specific exercises for specific set and rep schemes with specific rest intervals, then your body has no basis to improve on its current condition. The best way to structure your workouts to get the best results is to be consistent and try to continually improve on a specific training method for a specific time period. A time period of 4-8 weeks usually works best as your body will adapt to the specific training method and progress will slow after this amount of time. 

At this point, it is time to change around some of your training variables as I described in the “exercise variables” article, and then stay consistent with your new training program for another 4-8 weeks. To refresh, some of these variables are the numbers of sets and reps of exercises, the order of exercises (sequence), exercise grouping (super-setting, circuit training, tri-sets, etc.), exercise type (multijoint or single joint, free-weight or machine based), the number of exercises per
jojopig.comworkout, the amount of resistance, the time under tension, the base of stability (standing, seated, on stability ball, one-legged, etc.), the volume of work (sets x reps x distance moved), rest periods between sets, repetition speed, range of motion, exercise angle (inclined, flat, declined, bent over, upright, etc), training duration per workout, training frequency per week, etc. 

For example, let’s say you are training with a program where you are doing 10 sets of 3 reps for 6 different exercises grouped together in pairs (done as supersets) with 30 seconds rest between each superset and no rest between the 2 exercises

within the superset. If you are smart, I’m sure you are tracking your progress with a notepad (weights used, sets, and reps) to see how you are progressing over time. Let’s say that after about 6 weeks, you find that you are no longer improving with that program. Well, now it is time to change up your variables, and start a new program.

This time you might choose a classic 5 sets of 5 reps routine, but you group your exercises in tri-sets (three exercises performed back to back to back, and then repeated for the number of sets). This time you decide to perform the exercises in the tri-set with no rest between them, and then recover for 2 minutes in between each tri-set to fully recoup your strength levels. 


How to Manipulate Training Variables by Changing Your Routine Off and On

Everyone will inadvertently hit a frustrating plateau in their training at one time or another. You’re cruising along for a while, gaining strength, losing fat, looking better, and then all of the sudden it hits. Suddenly, you find yourself even weaker than before on your lifts, or you find that you’ve gained back a couple of pounds. It happens to everyone. Most of the time, these plateaus occur because people rarely change their training variables over time. Many people stick to the same types of exercises for the same basic sets and reps and rest periods with the same boring cardio routine. Well, I hope to open your mind and bring some creativity to your workouts with this section!

There are many ways that you can strategically modify your training variables to assure that you maximize your fat loss and/or muscle building response to exercise. Most people only think about changing their sets and reps performed, if they even think about changing their routine at all. However, other variables that can dramatically affect your results are changing the order of exercises (sequence), exercise grouping (super-setting, circuit training, tri-sets, etc.), exercise type (multi-joint or single joint, free-weight or machine based), the number of exercises per workout, the amount of resistance, the time under tension, the base of stability (standing, seated, on stability ball, one-legged, etc.), the volume of work (sets x reps x distance moved), rest periods between sets, repetition speed, nrange of motion, exercise angle (inclined, flat, declined, bent over, upright, etc), training duration per workout, and training frequency per week.  Sounds like a lot of different training aspects to consider in order to achieve the best results from your workouts, doesn’t it? Well, that’s where a knowledgeable personal trainer can make sense of all of this for you to make sure that your training doesn’t get stale. Below are a few examples to get your mind working to come up with more creative and result producing workouts.

Most people stick to workouts where they do something along the lines of 3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise, with 2-3 minutes rest between sets. Boorrring ! Here are a few examples of different methods to spice up your routine.
# Try 10 sets of 3, with only 20 seconds rest between sets. Try using a fairly heavy weight and complete 6 sets of 6 reps, doing a 3 minute treadmill sprint between each weight lifting set.  

# Try using a near maximum weight and do 10 sets of 1 rep, with only 30 seconds rest between sets.

# Try using a lighter than normal weight and do 1 set of 50 reps for each exercise

# Try a workout based on only one full body exercise, such as barbell clean & presses or dumbbell squat & presses, and do nothing but that exercise for an intense 20 minutes. 

# Try a workout based on all bodyweight exercises such as pushups, pull-ups, chin-ups, dips, bodyweight squats, lunges, up and down stairs, etc.  

# Try a circuit of 12 different exercises covering the entire body without any rest between exercises. 

# Try that same 12 exercise circuit on your subsequent workout, but do the entire circuit in the reverse order. Try your usual exercises at a faster repetition speed on one workout andthen at a super-slow speed on your next workout. 

# Try completing six 30 minute workouts one week, followed by three 1-hr workouts the next week. This will keep your body guessing.  

# Try doing drop sets of all of your exercises, where you drop the weight between each set and keep doing repetitions without any rest until complete muscular fatigue (usually about 5-6 sets in a row).  

There are many more ways to continue to change your training variables. This was just a taste of your possibilities. Be creative and get results! 


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Body Part Isolation vs. Complex Movements in Strength Training

Working as a fitness professional, there is one type of question I get all the time that shows that many people are missing the big picture regarding the benefits of strength training. This popular question usually goes something like this:

What exercise can I do to isolate my _______ (insert your muscle of choice – abs, quads, biceps, triceps, etc)?

It doesn’t matter which muscle someone is asking about, they always seem to be asking how to ‘isolate’ it. My first response to this question is always – “Why in the world would you want to isolate it?” 

jojopig.comThe first thing I try to teach my clients is that the body does not work well in muscle isolation. Rather, it works better in movements along a kinetic chain; that is, large portions of the body assist other portions of the body in completing a complex movement. In fact, there really is no such thing as true muscle isolation. There is almost always a nearby muscle group that will assist in some way with whatever movement you are doing. However, this article compares attempting to ‘isolate’ body parts via single-joint exercises to the much more effective strategy of performing multi-joint complex movements.

jojopig.comWhen you attempt to ‘isolate’ muscles by performing single-joint exercises, you are actually creating a body that is non-functional and will be more prone to injury. Essentially, you are creating a body that is a compilation of body parts, instead of a powerful, functional unit that works together. 

Now if you really want to end up hobbling around in a body bandaged up with joint problems, tendonitis, and excess body fat, then by all means, continue trying to ‘isolate’ body parts. On the other hand, if you would rather have a lean, muscular, injury-free, functional body that works as a complete powerful unit to perform complex movements (in athletics or even everyday tasks), then you need to shift 

jojopig.comyour focus away from muscle isolation. Believe me, focusing on how well your body functions will give you the side effect of a body that looks even better than it would have if you focused on muscle isolation. For example, take a look at the physiques of any NFL running backs, wide receivers, or even world class sprinters. Trust me when I say that these guys pretty much NEVER train for muscle isolation (their strength coaches wouldn’t be crazy enough to let them), yet they are absolutely ripped to shreds! 

Another benefit to moving away from the ‘muscle isolation’ mindset to a more ‘complex movement’ mindset is that you will find it much easier to lose body fat. The reason is that by focusing more on multi-joint complex movements as opposed to single-joint muscle isolation, you not only burn a lot more calories during each workout, but you also increase your metabolic rate, and stimulate production of more fat burning and muscle building hormones like growth hormone and testosterone.

jojopig.comLet’s look at an example. The machine leg extension is a single joint exercise that works mainly the quadriceps, can potentially cause knee joint instability in the long run, and doesn’t even burn that many calories. On the other hand, exercises like squats, lunges, step-ups, and deadlifts are all multi-joint complex movements that work hundreds of muscles in the body (including the quadriceps) as a functional unit, create more stable and strong joints in the long run (when done properly), and also burn massive quantities of calories compared to the single-joint exercises.  


Friday, March 23, 2012

Bad Cardio vs. Good Cardio
It is common to hear fitness professionals and medical doctors prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent heart disease or lose weight.  Most often, the recommendations constitute something along the lines of “perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times per week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level”.  Before you just give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to be.  

First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the most important aspects to consider in your training. This tendency can be seen throughout nature as animals almost always demonstrate stop-and-go motion instead of steady state motion.  In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities.  Most competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To examine an example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stopand-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?

jojopig.comAnother factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body.  Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can cause a pro-inflammatory response in  the body that can potentially lead to chronic diseases. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss).  Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heart rate range and doesn’t train it to respond to various every day stressors.  On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way - Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase rapidly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure. Steady state exercise only trains the heart at one specific heart rate, so you don’t get the benefit of training your entire heart rate

The important aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady state cardio is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially important for the body to elicit a healthy response to an exercise stimulus. Another benefit of variable cyclic training is that it is much more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.

To summarize, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, reduced muscle wasting, increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity for the heart to handle life’s every day stressors. There are many ways you can reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training. One of the absolute most effective forms of 

jojopig.comvariable intensity training to really reduce body fat and bring out serious muscular  definition is performing wind sprints or hill sprints. Also, most competitive sports such as football, basketball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, etc. are naturally comprised of highly variable stop-and-go motion.  In addition, weight training naturally incorporates short bursts of exertion followed by recovery periods. High intensity interval training (varying between high and low intensity intervals on any piece of cardio equipment) is yet another training method that utilizes exertion and recovery periods. For example, an interval training session on the treadmill could look something like this: 

• Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog
• Interval 1 - run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute
• Interval 2 - walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes
• Interval 3 - run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute
• Interval 4 - walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes 

Repeat those 4 intervals 4 times for a very intense 20-minute workout.

The take-away message from this section is to try to train your body at highly variable intensity rates for the majority of your workouts to get the most beneficial response in terms of heart health, fat loss, and muscle maintenance.  


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2 Very Effective Muscle Building Secrets

jojopig.comBuilding muscle mass is much easier to do when you are armed with the correct information. With the correct information, you'll build muscle mass faster than you thought possible. If you're frustrated with your muscle gain or fat loss goals, I sympathize with you completely, and understand exactly what you are going through. I worked out for years before finally figuring out the correct ways to go about building muscles and losing fat. I finally figured out that the routines and weight lifting tips touted by professional bodybuilders and the muscle magazines just aren't going to work for most people. But take heart, you can start building muscle with effective weight training routines and nutrition programs. Following are a couple of weight lifting tips that I've found to be extremely effective in building muscle and adding strength as quickly as possible. Putting together a program that incorporates the following weightlifting tips will point you in the right direction and get you making gains you hadn't thought were possible. 

Building Muscle Tip 1 - An Intense Twist  

jojopig.comArthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus, pioneered the concept of training with 100% intensity, ie, training to failure. And this is an extremely important part of your routine if you are interested in building muscles as quickly as possible. However, as others caught on toe Arthur's effective training ideas and the training to failure concept became more widespread, an important piece of advice by Arthur was forgotten. Arthur suggested that people go beyond failure. And I'm not talking about some of the more popular high intensity techniques available today such as rest-pause, forced reps, drop sets, etc. I'm talking about a very specific way of training to failure that is very effective for building muscle mass. Arthur Jones suggested that once you could no longer complete another repetition, you should continue pushing or pulling on the weight for approximately another 20 seconds. Obviously, on certain exercises like squats or bench presses, you either need to work in a power rack with safety pins or have a very good spotter. Let's use the bench press as an example of how to use this bodybuilding technique for building muscles. Most people, when they start a rep and get stuck near the bottom, they drop the weight against the safety pins or have their spotter help rack it. Instead, you should continue pushing against that immovable weight for a good twenty seconds. On barbell curls, you would most likely come to a grinding halt about two or three inches into the rep, when your arms are slightly bent. You know you won't make the rep but you continue to pull on the bar for as long as you can before finishing the set. 

Muscle Building Tip 2 - Squat, Squat, Squat  

jojopig.comYou have to fall in love with the squat. It truly is the king of all muscle building exercises, bar none. While some people can build muscle mass on almost any training routine or diet, most of us can't. So put as many factors in your favor as you can control and one of the biggest is work hard on an effective squat program. Hard work on the squat is the single most important thing you can do to ensure your bodybuilding success. Forget about the latest greatest high tech routine or the newest supplement fad. The key component to any program you do is hard work. Building muscle isn't easy. But it can be made easier. Hard work will take you much further than your choice of exercises, sets or reps. But if you get the other components of your training program put together correctly and then add hard work and dedication, you'll be absolutely amazed at the progress you can make. You'll be building muscle so fast, you'll go from a before to an after before you know it. You need to use all the weight you can handle and then add some more. Since the squat is the toughest weight lifting exercise you can do physically, it's also the toughest mentally. Your mind gives in on the squat well before your body does. If you want to gain lots of muscle, you need to put an end to that. Everything you have has to go into your squatting program. The key to the success of rapid weight gain by squatting is the amount of work you put into it. After your warm ups, load the bar to a weight you normally do 10 reps with. Now, do 20 reps. No, I'm not kidding. Like I said before, the squat is the most mental exercise there is. I've never seen anyone, when properly prepared mentally, fail to get 20 reps with their 10 rep weight. These bodybuilding tips are very effective tips for building muscle and getting stronger. Add them to your weight training program and watch your muscle mass increase. Keep in mind that weightlifting workouts like this are the best way for effectively building muscle mass fast but it's also the best way to lose fat, completely change the shape of your body, and keep the fat off. Weight lifting is much more effective for fat loss than aerobics or dieting alone.  


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Is Creatine


jojopig.comDuring the past decade, the nutritional supplement creatine monohydrate has been gaining popularity exponentially, with reported annual  sales in the U.S alone climbing from $50 million in 1996 (Bamberger, 1998) to over $400 million during 2001 (Metzl et al., 2001). Creatine supplementation (CrS) first gained popular attention in the early 1990s, after high profile Olympic athletes competing in sprint and power events at the Barcelona Olympic Games believed their performance had benefited from CrS (Anderson, 1993). Since this time creatine (Cr) has become one of the most widely used nutritional supplements with an estimated worldwide consumption of 2.7 million kilograms (Williams et al., 1999). Recently, many athletes and teams have implemented oral CrS in an effort to enhance sports performance, as CrS is not presently (October, 2003) on the banned substance list by the International Olympic Committee (2003). Thus, using this supplement would not constitute anything illegal or unethical on behalf of the athlete or coach. Consequently, Cr has risen to the top of the modern athletes shopping list. This article does not purport to be an exhaustive review of all related published literature, however, it is the purpose of this paper  to outline evidence presented and report on the usefulness of CrS as a performance-enhancing aid by identifying potential ergogenic effects related to this supplement. Readers are referred to other reviews for aspects of this topic that may not be addressed by this article (Volek and Kraemer, 1996; Mujika and Padilla, 1997; Williams and Branch, 1998; Jacobs,1999; Wyss and Kaddurah-Daouk, 2000; Lemon, 2002). A French scientist named Chevreul is credited124 Creatine supplementation and exercise performance with first discovering Cr in 1832 (Williams et al.,1999), however, it was not until 1926 that scientists quantified Cr storage and retention in the body (Chanutin, 1926). Cr is a compound that is both made within the body from amino acids and obtained through diet. Most of the body’s Cr is stored within skeletal muscle where it plays a role in metabolism, with the daily turnover of Cr for the average sized person of about 2 g (for review see Wyss and Kaddurah-Daouk, 2000). Williams and Branch (1998) suggest that the adenosine triphosphate-phosphocreatine (ATP-PCr) energy system has the greatest power potential. Muscle stores of PCr may split and release energy for rapid resynthesis of ATP, although the supply of PCr is limited, with the combined total ATP and PCr capable of sustaining all out maximal effort exercise lasting up to 5 to 10 seconds (Williams and Branch, 1998). Therefore, fatigue may be attributed to the rapid decrease in PCr. Generation of peak anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity in short-term, highintensity exercise may be dependent upon endogenous levels of ATP and PCr, particularly, PCr as a means to rapidly regenerate the limited intramuscular supply of ATP for anaerobic capacity (Williams and Branch 1998). Thus, an increase in muscle total creatine (TCr) through exogenous CrS may provide an ergogenic effect by enhancing the rate of ATP synthesis during intermittent, highintensity, short-duration exercise and by improving the rate of PCr resynthesis during recovery (Snow et al., 1998). This contention is supported by the findings of Kurosawa et al. (2003) who evaluated the rate of ATP synthesis through PCr hydrolysis and glycolysis and mean power output during a 10 second maximal dynamic handgrip exercise (Ex10) using 31-phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy before and after CrS (30 g· day - 1 for 14 days). ATP synthesis rate through PCr hydrolysis positively correlated with mean power output during Ex10 in all subjects after CrS (r = 0.58, p < 0.05). The authors concluded that a daily dose of 30g CrS for 14 days improved APT synthesis through PCr  hydrolysis and mean power output during shortterm, maximal exercise. Moreover, it is strongly indicated that an improvement in performance during Ex10 was associated with the increased PCr availability for the synthesis of ATP. The body has several different ways in which it restores ATP. As previously stated, energy is released when one of the phosphates in ATP is cleaved off. When this happens, ATP becomes adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Returning ADP to its high-energy state of ATP by adding another phosphate group to it can then recycle ADP. One such ATP producing system is glycolysis, which is  achieved anaerobically. Another system that the body extracts energy from is oxidative phosphorylation, which incorporates oxygen to yield ATP (for review see Mommaerts, 1969). The degree to which skeletal muscle will use PCr may be intensity and duration dependant. When intensity exceeds the power of the aerobic system the muscle begins to rely on the anaerobic system, which includes the use of PCr and muscle glycogen as fuels. Consequently, during the most intense periods of exercise or sport, the muscle will tax the PCr store most highly (Wyss and Kaddurah-Daouk, 2000). Therefore, some have argued that CrS may benefit certain athletes in particular sports (Dawson et al., 1995;  Meir, 1995; Schnedeider et al., 1997; Izquierdo et al., 2002). CrS has been suggested as a means to "load" the muscle with Cr and increase storage of PCr (Dawson et al., 1995;  Snow et al., 1998; Finn et al., 2001). Theoretically, this would serve to improve the ability to produce energy during explosive, highintensity exercise bouts and/or enhance the ability to recover from intense exercise. In support of the contention research has shown that CrS increases intramuscular PCr concentrations (Harris et al.,1992; Vandenberghe et al., 1997;  McKenna et al., 1999; Stout et al., 2000). Furthermore, the CrSrelated increase in PCr concentration may allow a ‘mopping up’ the acid producing hydrogen ions produced during the breakdown of ATP and other anaerobic processes (Vandenberghe et al., 1997; Stout et al., 2000). Therefore, PCr may contribute to the maintenance of optimal pH levels within the muscle and allows continued performance with minimal fatigue (for review see Volek and Kraemer, 1996).


jojopig.comFollowing the first reports by Harris et al. (1992), that PCr content in human muscle can increase up to 50% following daily CrS (5 g Cr monohydrate 4-6 × day for ³ 2 days), a number of studies have examined the effects of CrS on muscle metabolism and/or high-intensity exercise performance. Studies that have measured muscle total creatine (TCr) (phosphocreatine + creatine) have reported an elevation in TCr after CrS involving loading phases of 20-30  g· day -1 for 3-6 days. Some studies found that both resting TCr and PCr content increased (McKenna et al., 1999; Smith et al., 1999; Kurosawa et al., 2003), whereas others reported significant increases in only TCr (Greenhaff et al., 1994; Becque et al., 2000) or PCr (Smith et al., 1998; Stout et al., 2000).Theoretically, an increase in TCr stores may provide an ergogenic effect during high intensity exercise by enhancing the rate of ATP synthesis during contraction and by improving the rate of PCrBird 125 resynthesis during recovery, which may be beneficial for repeated sprint activity. A recent investigation by Mujika et al. (2000) supports such a contention, concluding that acute CrS favourably affected repeated sprint performance and limited the decay in jumping ability in highly trained soccer players. However, on the whole, experimental evidence supporting an ergogenic effect for CrS is  somewhat mixed. Several studies have demonstrated improved high-intensity exercise performance after  CrS (Dawson et al., 1995; Meir, 1995; Jacobs et al., 1997; Vandenberghe et al., 1997; Volek et al., 1999; Mujika et al., 2000), whereas others have reported no beneficial effects (Barnett et al., 1995; Snow et al., 1998; Deutekom et al., 2000; Gilliam et al.,2000; Finn et al., 2001; Syrotuik et al., 2001; Biwer et al., 2003). 

A possible explanation for the conflicting findings may relate to the experimentaldesign used to examine the effects of CrS on exercise performance. Most studies have employed a crosssectional experimental design or an ordered treatment allocation. However, few studies have utilised a crossover experimental design, possibly due to the time required for muscle TCr to return to basal levels after CrS was unknown. Lemon, (2002) indicates that a variety of factors including, but not limited to, sample size, exercise modality, rest and recovery intervals, residual effects of cessation of CrS, non-responders, gender and age effects and methodology used, make any interpretation of existing Cr literature extremely difficult.


jojopig.comMost studies that have investigated the ergogenic value of CrS have reported significant increases in strength/power, sprint performance, and/or work performed during multiple sets of maximal effort muscle contractions (Table 1). The improvement in exercise capacity has been attributed to increased TCr and PCr content, thus resulting in greater resynthesis of PCr, improved metabolic efficiency and/or an enhanced quality of training promoting greater training adaptations. The following literature reports ergogenic benefits of CrS. Maximum Strength/Power For athletes such as weightlifters and bodybuilders, 
gains in strength/power are often accompanied by muscle hypertrophy. Consequently, ingesting a nutritional supplement that can promote strength gains during training may be particularly beneficial.  Vandenburghe et al.  (1997) reported that CrS 20g· day -1 for  4-d followed by 5 g· day -1 for 66-d 
promoted a 20 to 25% greater gain in 1-repetition maximum (RM) strength in untrained womeparticipating in a 70-d resistance-training program than subjects receiving a placebo. Furthermore, the gains in strength observed were maintained in subjects ingesting creatine during a 70-d detraining period. These findings indicate that CrS during resistance training promotes significantly greater gains in strength. Data presented by Pearson et al. (1999) revealed that athletes ingesting 5 g· day -1, in conjunction with a 10 wk heavy resistance training program, significantly increases strength and power indices, and body mass when compared with a placebo group. These data also indicate that lower doses (5  g· day -1) may be ingested, without a shortterm, large-dose loading phase (20  g· day -1), for an extended period to achieve significant performance enhancement. A well-controlled study by Francaux and Poortmans (1999) investigated the effects of 42-d strength training and followed by 21-d of detraining on muscle strength and body mass. Subjects ingested 21 g/Cr for  5-d, following which the dose was reduced to 3 g/Cr for 58-d. No change in body mass was observed for either the control or placebo groups during the entire experimental period, while  the body mass of the Cr-group increased by 2 kg. This increase was attributed partially to an increase in body water content, and more specifically, to an increase in the volume of the inter-cellular compartment. However, the relative volumes of the body water compartments remained constant. The authors suggest that the gain in body mass observed after medium-term CrS is not attributed to water retention in the cell, but probably to dry matter growth accompanied with a normal water volume.Volek et al. (1999) randomly  assigned nineteen healthy resistance-trained in a double-blind  fashion to either a CrS or placebo group (25 g· day -1) for 1 wk followed by a maintenance dose (5 g· day-1) for the remainder of the training. Heavy resistance training was performed for 12 wks. Significant 
increases in body mass and fat-free mass were greater in CrS (6.3% and 6.3%, respectively) than  placebo (3.6% and 3.1%, respectively). Increases in bench press and squat were greater in CrS (24% and 32%, respectively) than placebo (16% and 24%, respectively) subjects. Compared with placebo subjects, CrS subjects demonstrated significantly greater increases in Type I (35% vs. 11%), IIa (36% vs. 15%), and IIab (35% vs. 6%) muscle fibre crosssectional areas. The authors concluded that CrS enhanced  fat-free mass, physical performance, and muscle morphology in response to heavy resistance training, presumably mediated via higher quality training sessions.While it is understandable that if CrS allows an athlete to train harder, athletes may become stronger over time, however,  studies  also    indicate that short-term CrS may enhance peak power. Dawson et al. (1995) reported that CrS (20 g· day -1 for  5-d) significantly increased peak power during the first set of 6  ´ 6 s sprints performed on a cycle ergometer.  An investigation by Becque and coworkers (2000) involved twenty-three male volunteers with at least 1 yr of weight training experience tested arm flexor  1-RM, upper arm muscle area, and body composition. Subjects ingested  20 g· day -1 for 5-d, after which, CrS was reduced to  2 g· day -1 for the remainder of the study. Results indicate that  6 wks of CrS during arm flexor strength training lead to greater increases in arm flexor muscular strength,  upper arm muscle area, and fat-free mass than strength training alone. Multiple Sets of Maximal Effort Muscle Contractions One of the potentially most beneficial effects of CrS for power athletes is that supplementation has been reported to increase the amount of work performed during a series of maximal effort muscle contractions.  Volek et al.  (1997a) reported that CrS (25 g· day -1 for  7-d) resulted in significant improvements in exercise performance during five sets of bench press and jump squats in comparison to a placebo group. CrS resulted in a significant increase in repetitions performed during bench press for set 2, while peak power output significantly increased in the jump squat during set 5. The authors concluded that increases in exercise performance and body mass (1.3 kg)  associated with 1 wk of CrS are not due to any measurable alteration in circulating concentrations of steroid hormones, as pre- and post-exercise testosterone and cortisol values did not differ significantly between groups. Additionally, when CrS was extended for a further 11-d (Volek et al., 1997b), significant increases were recorded in all 5 sets of bench press repetitions (~26.6%) and jump squat peak power output (~4.7%). Improvements are most likely related to an increase in energy substrate availability and resynthesis. Moreover, results from Vandenberghe et al. (1997) indicate that CrS (20 g· day -1 for  4-d) increased muscle PCr concentration by 6%. Thereafter, this increase was maintained during 10 wk of training associated with low-dose creatine intake (5 g· day-1). Compared with placebo, maximal strength of the muscle groups trained, maximalintermittent exercise capacity of the arm flexors, and fat-free mass were increased 20-25%, 10-25%, and 60% more, respectively, during CrS. Sprint/High-Intensity Performance It has also  been reported that CrS may improve single effort and/or repetitive sprint performance particularly in sprints lasting 6 to 30 s with 30 s to 5 min of rest recovery between sprints. Dawson et al. (1995) found that CrS  (20 g· day -1 for  5-d) significantly increased work performed during the first of 6  ´ 6 s cycle ergometer sprints with 30 s  recovery between sprints. These results are supported by Schneider et al. (1997), who reported that CrS (25 g· day -1 for 7-d) significantly improved 5  ´ 15 s cycle ergometer sprints with 60 s recovery between sprints. A case study by Meir (1995) investigated the effectiveness of repeated CrS loading phases consisting of 20 g· day -1 for 4-d; 1 ´ month, followed by a  3 week 3-d abstinence period on professional  rugby league players. The author indicates that the work/rest ratio for athletes participating in this sport is approximately 1:6-1:8.  This would suggest that professional rugby league could be considered an interval activity. Meir (1995) employed a 12-question survey relating to player compliance, preferred time and ingestion method, perceived side effects, and perceived benefits. The survey was complete after the third loading cycle. Of the perceived benefits 35.3% reported fatiguing less quickly, 29.4% reported quicker recovery from sprint type activity, and 23.5% reported quicker recovery from training sessions. The author concluded that CrS may be useful in sports such as rugby league that require repeat sprint efforts and 
that CrS may be advantageous as an aid improving both training and performance. However, it is difficult to validate such conclusions, as several limitations appear within the experimental design. First, the loading dose (20 g· day -1 f o r   4-d) may not be adequate to achieve maximal increase in TCr concentrations. Majority of research report loading phases of 20-30 g· day -1 for 5-7-d (Hultman et al., 1996; Volek et al., 1997a; Snow et al., 1998; Francaux and Poortmans, 1999; Finn et al., 2001; Wilder et al., 2001; Louis et al., 2003). Secondly, the subjects undertook no dietary control. Thirdly, several methods of ingestion were employed including dissolving Cr powder in tea or coffee, cold water or juice, and taken dry washed down with fluid.  Hultman et al. (1996) suggests that when CrS is in powder form doses be dissolved in ~250 ml of warm water. Alternative methods may affect the rate of absorption. Finally, the author alludes to the fact that it is not unusual for a placebo effect to be experienced by subjects taking various forms of supplementation. Therefore, caution is warranted in the interpretation of the above findings.


jojopig.comA number of studies have reported no ergogenic benefit from CrS, although the reason for the lack of 128 Creatine supplementation and exercise performance ergogenic effect observed in these studies is sometimes not clear (Table 2). However, it is possible that individual variability in response to CrS may account for the lack of ergogenic benefit reported in these studies. For example, Greenhaff (1997) estimates that as many as 30% of individuals who undergo Cr loading protocols may not respond with augmented TCr. Using a double-blind, placebo-control designinvolving 32 elite male and female swimmers from the Australian National Team, Burke et al. (1996) reported that CrS (20 g· day -1 for  5-d) did not enhance performance in maximal single effort swim sprints of 25 m, 50 m, and 100m each interspersed  with ~10 min recovery period. Given the length of the recovery period, resynthesis of ATP would be complete without CrS, therefore, an increase in performance would not be expected. In a similar study, Mujika et al. (1996) assigned 20 male and female swimmers in  a randomised, double-blind manner to either CrS(20 g· day -1 for 5-d) or placebo groups in order to  investigate the effect on 25 m, 50 m, and 100 m swim sprint performance. They reported no performance differences between the groups, however, a significant (p < 0.05) increase in body weight was found in the CrS group. The authors suggested that the increase in body weight experienced by subjects following CrS could result in a concomitant increase in drag force and altered stroke mechanics. Such a mechanism is a likely reason why no ergogenic effect was present. Performing 30 s maximal cycling (Wingate) task after CrS (20 g· day -1 for  3-d) Odland and coworkers (1997) found that CrS did not increase resting muscle PCr, nor did it affect the single shortterm maximal cycling performance. The most likely explanation for this is that the increase in muscle TCr content after CrS was insufficient to induce an enhanced sprint performance and to allow an improved rate of PCr resynthesis after exercise. Alternatively, it is also possible that CrS does not enhance sprint performance during brief maximal exercise. Following this line of investigation Snow et al. (1998) utilised a double-blind crossover design on untrained men performing 1 ´20 s maximal sprint on an cycle ergometer after CrS (30 g· day -1 for 5-d). 

jojopig.comThe data demonstrated that CrS increased muscle TCr content, but the increase did not induce an improved sprint exercise performance or alterations in anaerobic muscle metabolism. In conclusion the  authors reported that a small, yet significant, increase in muscle TCr content occurred but this  increase, however, did not result in an improved sprint-exercise performance or any alterations in markers of muscle anaerobic energy metabolism during,and in recovery from sprint exercise. Similar results were observed by Finn et al. (2001), who investigated the effect of CrS (20 g· day -1 for 5-d) on 4  ´ 20 s maximal sprint onan air-brake cycle ergometer, with each sprint separated by 20 s of recovery. The authors reported that, while CrS elevates the intramuscular stores of FCr, this does not have an ergogenic effect during intermittent exercise. Furthermore, Finn et al. (2001) suggest that the contents of PCr at the beginning of the second and subsequent periods of exercise could be influenced by the recovery time between the periods as well as by the initial PCr content at rest, the rate of PCr utilisation in the preceding exercise(s) and the rate of PCr resynthesis between the exercise. Since neither Snow et al. (1998) nor Finn et al. (2001) achieved a significant increase in PCr the absence of an ergogenic effect is not surprising. Gilliam et al.  (2000) examined the effect of CrS (5 g/Cr + 1 g· glucose -1 four times per day for 5-d) on the decline in peak isokinetic torque of the quadriceps muscle group during an endurance test. Subjects performed isokinetic strength tests that consisted of five sets of 30 maximum volitional contractions with a 1 min rest period between sets. Based on within and between group comparisons they were unable to detect an ergogenic effect of CrS on the decline in peak torque during isokinetic exercise. In a most recent study, Delecluse et al. (2003) investigated impact of short-term (7-day), high-dose (0.35 g· kg -1 · d
-1) CrS on single sprint running performance (40 m, < 6 s) and on intermittent sprint performance in highly trained sprinters. The maximal sprint performance, the relative degree of fatigue at the end of intermittent sprint exercise (6 × 40 m, 30 s rest interval), as well as the degree of recovery (120 s passive rest) remained unchanged following CrS. There were no significant changes related to CrS in absolute running velocity at any distance between start and finish (40 m). It  was concluded that no ergogenic effect on single or repeated 40 m sprint times with varying rest periods was observed in highly trained athletes. The explanation for this result may be inferred from Snow et al. (1998), who outlines that the increase in muscle TCr content after CrS was insufficient to induce an enhanced sprint performance and to allow an improved rate of PCr resynthesis after exercise.


There is no definitive evidence that CrS causes gastrointestinal, renal, and/or muscle-cramping  complications. A most recent investigation by Kreider et al. (2003) examined the effects of longterm CrS   (up to 21 months)  on  clinical markers ofBird 129 health status in 98 athletes. A loading phase of 15.75 
g· day -1for 5-d was followed by a maintenance dose averaging 5 g· day-1 thereafter, with a comprehensive urinary and blood chemistry panel determined. The results indicate that long-term CrS (up to 21 months) does not appear to adversely affect markers of health status in athletes undergoing intense training in comparison to athletes who do not take CrS (Kreider et al., 2003). The only significant side effect reported in the literature is that of weight gain within the first few days (Mujika et al., 1996; Kreider et al., 1998; Pearson et al., 1999; Volek et al., 1999; ACSM, 2000; Biwer et al. 2003), which is likely due  to water retention related to creatine uptake in the muscle. 

jojopig.comThis review has discussed some of the actions of CrS on muscle metabolism and exercise performance. The available research indicates that CrS can increase muscle PCr content, but not in all individuals, which may improve performance involving short periods of extremely powerful activity, especially during repeated bouts. However, not all studies have reported ergogenic benefit, possibly due to differences in subject response to CrS, length of supplementation, exercise criterion evaluated, and/or the amount of recovery observed during repeated bouts of exercise. It does not appear that CrS increases maximal isometric strength, the rate of maximal force production, nor aerobic exercise performance. Therefore, at this point in time CrS appears to be a safe nutritional strategy that may enhance exercise performance in sports participants requiring maximal single effort and/or repetitive sprint bouts. However, further research should focus on gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms of action that elevated Cr stores have on energetics and metabolism. 


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