Jump to content
Northern Lifters


Super Moderator
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


musclebeauty last won the day on January 1

musclebeauty had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

398 Awesome


About musclebeauty

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Really, We Should Have Known This One nasty effect of cancer and cancer treatment is something called cachexia. That's when the patient loses an enormous amount of muscle and fat. In fact, about 20 percent of cancer deaths are related to cachexia. This is something that's been largely ignored during cancer treatment. Oh sure, we've done our best on the nutrition side of things, but food solutions haven't worked very well. The patients still rapidly drop body mass, leading to even more fatigue and weakness. Many end up bedridden, causing even more muscle loss. Luckily, cancer patients may have another option: testosterone. Honestly, we should've thought of this before. The Study Patients suffering with squamous cell carcinoma were treated with standard chemo and/or radiation. Some of them were given testosterone (100 mg testosterone enanthate per week) for 7 weeks while others were given a placebo. Note: 100 mg per week is about what's prescribed to most men receiving testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The Results Those getting testosterone shots maintained total body mass and increased lean body mass by 3.2 percent. They also "demonstrated enhanced physical activity" according to Dr. Melinda Sheffield-Moore. It's important to note that the survival rate was about the same in those getting the T, but quality of life and physical performance were greatly improved. Adjunct testosterone treatment basically kept them from being bedridden and more able lead their normal lives. And you'd have to believe that not losing muscle mass would make their recovery much faster. Also, while it may sound shallow, it would be nice to not look like you've been ravaged by cancer, even if you're currently fighting it. How to Use This Info If you or someone you know is getting chemo or radiation as part of their cancer treatment, show the doc the study referenced below. For the average person, it could mean a great improvement in quality of life. For the gym-goer, it might mean retaining more of that muscle you've worked so hard for.
  2. TRT or 'Roid Cycle? Here's a question I recently received: "Would 250 mg. of testosterone a week be considered testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) or a low-dosage cycle? Would you recommend taking something to regulate estrogen with it?" Well, 250 mg. of testosterone a week doesn't qualify as testosterone replacement unless you used to be lead castrati for the 17th century Vienna Boy's Choir. It's definitely a low-dose steroid cycle, but I can see why you're confused. More and more TRT docs are starting their patients out at 200 or more milligrams of testosterone a week and automatically starting them on something like the drug Arimidex to regulate estrogen. This practice isn't exactly criminal, but it is kind of smarmy. Most doctors, when they're prescribing drugs, try to start you out on a low dose of a drug to see how you respond. That allows them to call an audible and increase the dosage if needed. Not so with most TRT docs. They wink and give you an amount of testosterone that's more suited for TRT in a bull moose or lowland gorilla. As far as reducing estrogen, it shouldn't even be attempted unless you're manifesting symptoms like itchy or puffy nipples, depression, moodiness, or an anemic sex drive because having the right amount of estrogen is crucial to male health. Too little estrogen, though, and you get funky arteries, brittle bones, achy joints, and run a risk of heart problems. TRT should start at about 100 mg. a week and be given in bi-weekly (twice a week) subcutaneous injections (not intra-muscular). Giving the shot subcutaneously (in the lower abdomen with an insulin needle) appears to lead to less aromatization (conversion to estrogen), as does giving a shot twice a week instead of once a week (it lowers the testosterone spike you'd get from a single injection, thus automatically leading to less conversion to estrogen). Noted TRT specialist Dr. John Crisler, who pioneered these seemingly unorthodox methods, even believes that subcutaneous testosterone injections give you more bang for the buck, even suggesting that 80 mg. of testosterone given sub-Q works as well as 100 mg. given intramuscularly, which is all the more reason to give Arimidex based on symptoms rather than dosage. If, however, you're paranoid about estrogen, you can eat more cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) or take resveratrol, a polyphenol that has a whole host of effects, including regulating estrogen.
  3. The Study Researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that relatively short-term use (14 days) of ibuprofen can induce a state of "compensated hypogonadism" in human males. That's a condition where men have normal levels of testosterone but higher levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), which is the stuff that stimulates the testicles to produce testosterone. What that means is that your balls start to act like old men themselves. LH knocks on the chemical door throughout your life and when you're younger, your balls "hear" the knock and answer the door (make more testosterone). When you're old, your balls don't hear the knocking and keep watching reruns of CSI. LH has to knock louder and louder (send more and more LH) for the balls to hear, but oftentimes, they don't and fall asleep in the Barcalounger. The doctors found that regular use of ibuprofen can bring about this condition way early. It's a problem because conditional hypogonadism is often followed by real hypogonadism (low testosterone and all its related ailments). But that's not all. They also found that regular use of ibuprofen affects other aspects of testicular function, including a diminished sperm count. What They Did This study was a bit unusual (but admirable) in that they tested the effects of ibuprofen on both real live young men and in adult testicle explants from donors (ex vivo). They also did some additional testing in test tubes (in vitro). First, they gave a daily 600-mg. dose of ibuprofen to young, healthy volunteers and evaluated their testicular physiology after 14 days and again after 44 days. They also exposed the testicular samples to doses that were equivalent to the oral doses given to the young men, testing them at 24 hours and again at 48 hours. What They Found The ibuprofen didn't affect the testosterone or estradiol levels of the young men at all, either after 14 days or 44 days. However, it did affect their LH levels and their LH/free testosterone levels. LH increased by 23% after 14 days and 33% after 14 days, in effect creating a state of conditional hypogonadism (explained above). Further, the ibuprofen affected Sertoli cell activity, and that's where sperm cells are made. Specifically, it reduced inhibin B/FSH ratios by 4% after day 14 and 12% after day 44, along with reducing AMH levels by 9% after day 14 and 7% after day 44. Add 'em up and it means potentially gimpy sperm and not many of them, to boot. The results in the ex vivo samples were even more dramatic. Testosterone levels dropped after administrating ibuprofen. The effects were dramatic, dose-dependant, and worsened with time. In fact, ibuprofen "generally inhibited all steroids from pregnenolone down to testosterone and 17B-estradiol." The samples of testicular tissue also suffered impaired Sertoli cell function, which was also seen in the testicles of the human subjects. (The impairment to the testicles is likely reversible upon cessation of ibuprofen use, though.) What This Means to You Lots of athletes use ibuprofen to ease their aches and pains. More and more evidence suggests that this is bad strategy. For one, it's almost unequivocal that ibuprofen, along with other NSAIDS, impairs the post-exercise acute inflammatory phase, which is crucial to muscle growth. As such, taking ibuprofen to quell annoying pain allows you to work out harder, but the drug also prevents you from growing additional muscle. Furthermore, indiscriminate and excessive use of ibuprofen might actually be harming the testicles' ability to make sperm, thus contributing to falling male fertility rates. The researchers went so far as to say that the striking dual effect of ibuprofen on Leydig and Sertoli cells suggests that ibuprofen, of all the chemical classes considered, has "the broadest endocrine-disturbing properties identified so far in men." Not good. As always, more studies are needed, but in the meantime, use something like the polyphenol curcuminfor post-workout pain management. It does the job without affecting testicular physiology or muscle adaptation to exercise. SourceDavid Møbjerg Kristensen, Christèle Desdoits-Lethimonier, Abigail L. Mackey, et al, "Ibuprofen alters human testicular physiology to produce a state of compensated hypogonadism," PNAS January 23, 2018 115 (4) E715-E724.
  4. A little-known, or at least little discussed, side effect of the pill is that it can kill female sex drive. It often suppresses ovarian production of testosterone and can increase levels of SHBG by almost 10-fold. In turn, SHBG binds up most of the remaining testosterone, thereby lowering libido, muting or nullifying orgasms, and making intercourse all but impossible without a petroleum jelly product. Sure, the pill may allow women to enjoy largely worry-free sex, but they may no longer want to take advantage of this freedom. It's like making a drug for female sailing enthusiasts to combat seasickness that also makes them not want to go sailing. A man could show a woman his jib and she'd feel nothing, which is kind of what happens with birth control pills. Unfortunately, researchers discovered another unfortunate, little-discussed side effect of birth control pills: They can impair muscle and strength gains in women. Fortunately, there's a fix. What They Did Back in 2009, exercise physiologist Chang Woock and fellow researchers at Texas A&M recruited 73 young women to see if oral contraception affected how women respond to resistance training. The women worked out with weights three times a week for 10 weeks, completing 13 exercises each workout. The programs were all individualized so that each participant used weights that approximated 75% of her 1 RM. What They Found Thirty-four of the women were on birth control and they, as a group, gained 40 percent LESS muscle mass than the women who weren't using oral contraception. Further, the birth control group exhibited lower DHEA, DHEAS, and IGF-1 levels (all of which play a part in muscle growth, among other things), along with increased production of cortisol. Chang also noticed that some of the women on birth control didn't have as hard a time putting on muscle as the others, so he took a closer look at the formulation each woman was using. He realized that many of the women were using combination birth control pills that contained progestin, which is a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone. It was at that point he had his aha moment. Progestin binds to the same receptor sites as DHEA and the other growth factors, which means that, biochemically, progestins were occupying the same parking space sought out by the growth factors. They couldn't "pull in" to their regular parking space and activate muscle growth. To further complicate the situation, there are many kinds of progestins currently in use. Some are categorized as medium or highly "androgenic," which means that they bind more tightly to the androgen receptor mentioned above. The women on low-androgenicity progestins put on muscle just fine, thank you, while those using high-androgenicity progestins struggled. What to Do With This Info If you're a woman using birth control and gaining strength and/or muscle is important to you, you need to examine your combination birth control formulation and see what kind of progestin it contains. Here are the 8 most common ones, along with their androgenicity "rating" and primary benefits: Norethindrone: A first-generation progestin. It's less androgenic than some, but more androgenic than others. It does, however, generally improve lipid profiles.Norethindrone Acetate: A first-generation progestin. Like norethindrone, it's less androgenic than second-generation progestins, but more androgenic than the newer ones. Good for women who experience nausea, migraines, or fluid retention from other pill combos.Ethynodiol Diacetate: A first generation progestin. It has little androgenic activity. The drug is often associated with mid-cycle breakthrough bleeding, though.Levonorgestrel: Second generation progestin. It's the most widely prescribed contraceptive progestin in the world, but has high androgenic effects. Negatively effects lipid profiles.Norgestrel: Second generation. High androgenicity.Desogestrel: Third generation progestin. It has minimal androgenic effects. Shows less of a negative impact on metabolism, weight gain, and acne than older progestins.Norgestimate: Third generation progestin with low androgenic effects. It's been shown to successfully treat acne.Drospirenone: Low androgenic activity. It seems to lessen symptoms associated with PMS. If you spotted the progestin used in your combination birth control pill and it's ranked as having "high" or even medium androgenicity and you struggle to make progress in the gym (along with maybe having a sluggish libido), it may be time for you to discuss alternate birth control pills (or methods) with your gynecologist.
  5. If you've bought into all the buzz surrounding intermittent fasting, you better ensure you know all the basics before starting the diet. Read on! Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Also known as intermediate fasting, it is not a diet but rather a style of eating. You already fast every day while you sleep. Intermittent fasting simply extends that fast a little bit longer. For example, if you eat your last meal at 8 pm, skip breakfast and then ate your first meal at noon, you fasted for 16 hours and restricted eating to an 8-hour eating window. The 16/8 method is the most popular form of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is very easy to do and most people actually report feeling better and having more energy during the fast. Hunger is usually not an issue, although it can be a problem in the beginning while your body is getting used to not eating for extended periods of time. The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting The main benefit to intermediate fasting is lowered insulin levels. This allows for optimal fat loss and detoxification. Related: 3 Things You Can Learn From Intermittent Fasting Now don’t make the mistake of thinking that insulin is all bad. Insulin is an essential hormone that is needed by the body to absorb and utilize the food you eat. The tricky thing about insulin is that insulin is a storage hormone. Fat loss and detoxification are opposite bodily processes. Your body cannot burn fat and detoxify itself optimally when insulin is present. The benefits of intermittent fasting go far beyond weight loss. Intermediate fasting has also been shown to improve heart health, reduce cancer risk, prevent type 2 diabetes, reduce inflammation and improve metabolic features important for brain health. Heart Health: Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve cardiovascular disease risk factors including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and fasting blood sugar1.Cancer Prevention: Fasting has several beneficial effects on metabolism that may lead to a reduced risk of developing cancer. There is also evidence on human cancer patients showing that fasting reduced side effects of chemotherapy2.Diabetes Prevention: The main feature of type 2 diabetes is high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance. Anything that reduces insulin resistance and helps lower blood sugar levels protects against developing type 2 diabetes. Human studies found that intermediate fasting reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 3-6% and reduced fasting insulin levels by 20-31%3.Reduced Inflammation: Several studies show that intermittent fasting enhances the body's resistance to oxidative stress and helps fight inflammation4.Improved Brain Health: Several studies show that intermediate fasting increases levels of the brain hormone brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which deficiencies have been linked to depression and various other brain problems5. Animal studies have also shown that intermittent fasting protects against neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s6.What Can I Consume While Fasting? No food is allowed during the fasting period, but you can drink water, coffee, tea and non-caloric beverages. Most forms of intermittent fasting allow small amounts of low-calorie foods such as greens powders and amino acid supplements during the fasting period. Although they contain calories, the calorie content is so small that it won’t break you out of the fast. Similarly, taking supplements is generally allowed while fasting as long as they are non-caloric. Safety and Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting Hunger and irritability are the main side effects people experience while intermittent fasting. These side effects are usually only temporary as it takes time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule. Related: 5 Things "Diet Gurus" Don’t Want You to Know If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting. This is particularly important if you: Have diabetes.Have problems with blood sugar regulation.Have low blood pressure.Are underweight.Have a history of eating disorders.Are a woman who is trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding. All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about fasting if you’re healthy and overall well-nourished.
  6. I love intermittent fasting been doing the omad fasting eat once a day and now so much leaner plus tons more energy too.. also your GH production is active when you're not eating so therefore if you eat four or five meals a day you're shutting your own natural growth hormone off all the times that you're eating cant beat that......
  7. Learn everything you need to know before starting the Intermittent Fasting plan including it's history, guidelines & components, & all the science behind it. Intermittent fasting is a dietary philosophythat either involves long periods of fasting followed by short windows of feasting or 24 hours of fasting followed by 24 hours of feasting (this is known as alternate day fasting). There are several variations of intermittent fasting with the most popular fasting protocol being a 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour feasting window. The basis of intermittent fasting hinges on a few key ideas: Maximizing the time your body spends oxidizing fatMinimizing overall insulin load to the systemImproved energy levelsIncreased longevity. Recently several key studies have been carried out to examine how these claims stack up to the research and the results have been quite interesting. History Behind Intermittent Fasting Intermittent fasting as it is currently understood and practice is often believed to have begun with Martin Berkhan as he is largely responsible for the widespread adoption of the diet amongst body building and figure competition circles. However, the idea of fasting as a dietary principle dates back much further than that. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates wrote, “To eat when you are sick, is to feed your illness”. Another ancient Greek writer and historian Plutarch is also credited with penning “Instead of using medicine, better fast today”. In more recent times one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, stated, “The best of all medicines is resting and fasting”. Thus, while the recent popularization of intermittent fasting has brought this approach to main stream health and fitness culture, the idea of fasting is as ancient as the dawn of civilized man. General Overview of Components & Main Principles of Intermittent Fasting Intermittent fasting is a dietary philosophy that utilizes fasting and feasting periods. There are several variations of intermittent fasting with the most popular fasting protocol being a 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour feasting window. Intermittent fasting does not by design prescribe specific calorie allotments, macronutrient ratios, or provide a list of good or bad foods to eat and is generally not restrictive of any foods. Meal Timing/Frequency Unlike many other dietary frameworks or plans, intermittent fasting relies almost solely on meal timing and meal frequency. As typically thought of, intermittent fasting usually adopts a 16 hour fasting window, followed by an 8 hour feasting window. Most people will consume 1-2 very large meals during the feasting window, although one can consume several small meals throughout this time. Other fasting approaches, such as the alternative day fast employs a 24 hour fast, followed by a full 24 hours of feasting. Restrictions/Limitations Aside from the timing restrictions and limitations, there are no hard and fast food restrictions of limitations. This is often interpreted as an “anything goes” during the feasting window. However, in practice, the people who achieve the best results using intermittent fasting typically apply another dietary framework (such as IIFYM or flexible dieting) to give them some structure to their food intake during the feasting window. Does it Include Phases? Intermitting fasting does not include any phases in its dietary protocol, although some people will go through fasting cycles where they go long periods of adhering to the fasting protocols and then periods of normal eating. Who is it Best Suited For? Intermittent fasting is best suited for people who have busy schedules and would prefer to lump their eating into 1-2 meals a day rather than spreading them throughout the day. Fasting can also be excellent for people learning to manage hunger cues and retraining their eating habits. Intermittent fasting is also an excellent way to help people control calories as often times shortening the amount of time one eats during the day can reduce overall calories. How Easy is it to Follow? Intermittent fasting is easy to follow in that it does not limit or restrict food, allows one to eat without tightly tracking calories, and will not place a burden on your social life (i.e. not being able to go out to dinner and order something on the menu). It also can make life much easier as there is less time spent cooking, eating, and cleaning up. It can be difficult for some people who enjoy the process of cooking and eating; people who struggle learning to manage hunger during the early phases of adopting the diet may also find it difficult to follow. Mainstream Belief Behind Diet The mainstream belief behind intermittent fasting is that it unlocks aspects of our evolution as human beings and conveys some health and weight loss benefits when compared to our traditional 3 meals per day approach. Several of the beliefs underlying intermittent fasting are: Maximizing the time your body spends oxidizing fatMinimizing overall insulin load to the systemImproved energy levels,Increased longevity.Scientific Studies and Interpretation of Data There are quite a few studies that delve into the benefits of intermittent fasting as a tool to promote fat loss. As mentioned prior, the ideal of fasting to promote health benefits has been around since ancient civilization. Today, many of the general speculations regarding the general health benefits of fasting still ring true, however whether or not this has more to do with caloric restriction is still up for debate. Below we will outline some of the studies that have been conducted that lay out these benefits in an unbiased platform. Fat Loss Benefits One of the major claims of intermittent fasting is that it is an excellent tool for fat loss. There have been several studies that have examined the role of meal frequency in fat loss, including things like alternate day fasting and even the intermittent fasting protocol. For a long while these studies were brushed off by social media and fitness forums as they were not truly studies of the specific intermittent fasting protocol; however, recently one study was done that followed the traditional 16/8 fasting/feasting protocol as prescribed by traditional intermittent fasting protocols1. In this study, the group following the intermittent fasting protocol did lose about 3.5 pounds more fat than the normal dieting group; however, this also occurred concurrently with lower calorie intake than the normal diet group so it is likely the greater fat loss was due to lower calorie intake. One of the more interesting notes about this study, as mentioned by Greg Nuckols is that, “Testosterone and IGF-1 levels decreased, levels of several pro-inflammatory cytokines decreased, cortisol levels increased, insulin and blood glucose levels decreased, triglyceride levels decreased, T3 levels decreased and RER decreased slightly. Those are all things you’d expect to see in a calorie deficit. And while it’s true that the IF group was in a calorie deficit, it was a very small one (less than 10% below maintenance) – probably not a large enough deficit to explain those effects. On the whole, this study makes it seem that IF “tricks” your body into thinking you’re dieting, even if you’re at (or at least close to) caloric maintenance, in a manner that’s generally consistent with improved health and longevity”2. Muscle Building Benefits When you look closely at the fasting literature it appears that intermittent fasting does not appear to convey any additional benefits to muscle building when calories are held equal. That being said, periods of fasting may improve the quality of muscle tissue by increasing its cellular cleaning processes (e.g. autophagy and heat shock protein response)3,4,5. However, this research is currently preliminary and is mostly speculation at this point. Overall Health Benefits Of all the areas of research on fasting, the effects of fasting on overall health and longevity perhaps the most interesting. Several studies in animal models have shown that periods of fasting increase lifespan and improve several metabolic parameters as these animals age6,7. Perhaps the best known phenomena of fasting is increases in autophagy, a cellular “cleaning process”. There is some good animal evidence to also suggest that fasting may increase longevity; however, the data in humans is short term and long term data is not available, so much of this is still speculation8. Conclusion Intermittent fasting offers a food-flexible approach to dieting and may have some unique metabolic benefits for health and longevity. From a fat loss perspective, intermittent fasting can be an excellent tool, mainly due to controlling calorie intakes. Intermittent fasting can be used in its widely known format of a 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour feasting window; the alternate day fasting approach with a 24 hour fast followed by a 24 hour feast. Intermittent fasting is easy to follow in that it does not limit or restrict food, allows one to eat without tightly tracking calories. ReferencesEffects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained malesThe “Leangains” Intermittent Fasting Study Is Finally HereAMPK Activation of Muscle Autophagy Prevents Fasting-Induced Hypoglycemia and Myopathy during AgingAutophagy is required to maintain muscle mass.Long-Term Calorie Restriction Enhances Cellular Quality-Control Processes in Human Skeletal MuscleApparent Prolongation of the Life Span of Rats by Intermittent FastingFasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical ApplicationsEffect of 6-Month Calorie Restriction on Biomarkers of Longevity, Metabolic Adaptation, and Oxidative Stress in Overweight Individuals A Randomized Controlled Trial
  8. Learn everything you need to know before starting the Keto Diet plan including it's history, guidelines and components, and all of the science behind it. The ketogenic diet is a diet that capitalizes on a very interesting aspect of human physiology, namely ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when we consume carbohydrates in such low quantities fatty acid oxidation becomes the main source of fuel. When fatty acid oxidation reaches a certain point and carbohydrate availability is low enough, the body begins producing ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are then used preferentially in specific tissues, especially the brain. The ketogenic diet allows us to survive on without food intake or on very low (down to virtually zero) carbohydrates for long periods of time. From an evolutionary, biochemical, and physiological perspective, ketosis appears to be a survival strategy/mechanism. For the purposes of the ketogenic diet as a fat loss tool, a focal point of the ketogenic diets is that it allows us to live for long periods of time on virtually no carbohydrate intake and theoretically lower insulin levels than normal. As it has been hypothesized that insulin plays a role in body composition by regulating fat storage, this is one of the key points the ketogenic diet attempts to capitalize on. History Of The Keto Diet The history of the ketogenic diet is quite fascinating. Unlike most other diets that have arisen from health and fitness circles or popular text books, the ketogenic diet most likely arose from the medical field. The ketogenic diet was initially used to help control seizures in children with epilepsy as brain metabolism can be regulated more “evenly” being in ketosis in some circumstances. Over the years it has been adopted by the mainstream and utilized as a diet for fat loss. General Overview of Components & Main Principles of the Keto Diet Ketosis arises from a lack of dietary carbohydrates and lower intakes of dietary protein, coupled with either fasting or high dietary fat intake. When fat metabolism reaches a level where the key substrates for the Krebs Cycle are depleted (namely oxaloacetate), the body, more specifically the liver, begins producing ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone) which then become a substantial fuel source for select tissues in the body (e.g. the heart and the brain). Ketogenic Versus Low Carb A low carbohydrate diet is based on the same fundamental idea of a ketogenic diet: reduce carbohydrate intake to reduce calorie intake and lower insulin levels. While they operate under the same premise, they are physiologically very different, specifically in their effect on blood ketones. During a low carbohydrate diet ketones do not accumulate in the blood to any appreciable degree, this changes the type of substrates used in key tissue like the brain and the heart. It could probably be argued that if you go low-carb you should probably go ketogenic to help tissues adapt better; however, that remains to be debated. What About Ketoacidosis? The ketogenic diet differs substantially from diabetic ketoacidosis, primarily in that having low insulin (a ketogenic diet) is completely different than no insulin (diabetic keto acidosis). In diabetic ketoacidosis, insulin is not present to regulate ketogenesis. Below are the respective levels of blood ketones for “normal” levels, nutritional ketosis, and diabetic ketoacidosis: Normal Ketone Levels= 0.0 -0.5 mmol/L Nutritional Ketosis Ketone Levels= 0.5 - 3.0 mol/L Diabetic Ketoacidosis= > 5.0 mmol/L with concurrently high blood sugars and lack of insulin How to Stay in Ketosis In order to enter and stay in ketosis dietary carbohydrate intake needs to remain below a certain threshold. This threshold varies from person to person, but a good guide for most people is between 5-15% of daily total calorie intake should serve as a starting point. Typically checking ketone levels can help each person find their range of intake that allows them to stay in ketosis. Protein consumption must also stay low in order to stay in a ketogenic state. Ingesting protein above certain quantities is glucogenic, meaning it can produce glucose your body will use for fuel. This can effectively “kick” your body out of ketosis. In practical terms, consuming protein at or above around 15% of your total daily calorie expenditure can be enough to render your ketogenic diet non-ketogenic. Meal Timing/Frequency On principle, the ketogenic diet does not explicitly prescribe specific timing of meals nor does it specify meal frequency. However, as it is often easier to maintain ketosis while fasting, many people often combine ketogenic diets with types of fasting, usually intermittent fasting. That being said, if consuming a very high fat, low protein, very low carbohydrate diet, one can maintain ketosis eating quite frequently. Restrictions/Limitations The ketogenic diet does not explicitly restrict any foods or food groups, but by the nature of the required macronutrient intake it often restricts large groups of food by nature. As carbohydrate intake must be kept between 0-15% of daily energy intake, foods such as rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, fruit, and other carbohydrate rich foods become practically impossible to include in one’s diet, unless in very small quantities. Additionally, protein must also be kept fairly low, between 5-15% of daily energy intake in order to stay in ketosis. Does it Include Phases? The ketogenic diet does not included phases as typically prescribed and followed. Some people will adopt a cyclic ketogenic diet in which they use a ketogenic diet and stay in ketosis for 4-5 days at a time and then have a carbohydrate refeed. Who is it Best Suited For? The ketogenic diet is best suited for individuals who enjoy not tracking calories, do not mind having limitations on the types of foods they eat, and who are not high-level athletes. Individuals who have rapid fat loss goals(e.g. figure competitors prepping for a show) can have success with slight modifications to the ketogenic diet. How Easy is it to Follow? Asking how easy the ketogenic diet is to follow is like asking who people voted for at thanksgiving. You will get answers flung at you from both sides with fervor. Some people will say it is really difficult to follow and some will say it is the easiest diet in the world to follow. When you really look at adherence rates to the ketogenic diet in the scientific literature it appears that adherence to the ketogenic diet is not all that much worse than other dietary frameworks7, 8, 9. There are several aspects that can make it difficult to follow. The first is the “adaptation phase”. Many people report the “low carb flu” where their body is transitioning from relying on carbohydrates and fatty acids for energy to a more ketone-based metabolism, this often causes lethargy and sometimes even flu like symptoms in some individuals. The second is that to stay in ketosis people must keep their dietary protein and carbohydrate intake to fairly low levels, changing food choices to this extreme can be difficult for some people. On the other side, the lack of calorie counting and ability to eat ad-libitum and have success for large numbers of people makes this diet an attractive choice. Mainstream Belief Behind Diet The mainstream belief behind the ketogenic diet is that it hacks an interesting aspect of human physiology and allows us to live on very low carbohydrate intakes for long periods of time. This is believed to allow us to maintain lower levels of insulin, which may help increase fat loss. Scientific Studies and Interpretation of Data Of all the diets out there, perhaps only the mediterranean diet has more scientific studies conducted on it. A pubmed search for the term “ketogenic diet” returns 1913 references, indicating substantial interest in the topic. There have been several main areas of investigation in to the ketogenic diet and its benefit on weight loss, epilepsy, cancer, and most recently human performance. Fat Loss While there is a long history of ketogenic diets on fat loss as it has been proposed that the suppression of insulin signaling by removing dietary carbohydrates will improve fat loss For decades these studies did not provide robust enough control to remove key cofounders like total calorie intake. Only recently have we seen studies conducted with a high enough level of control to provide enough hard data to answer this question. One study fed people either a restrictive carbohydrate diet or a restrictive fat diet for 6 days after 5 days on a baseline diet1. This study found that decreasing carbohydrate intake increased fatty acid oxidation and decreased carbohydrate oxidation, an expected finding as the body usually adapts to the fuel it is given. Interestingly, reducing fat intake led to a slightly greater loss in body fat than the group that restricted carbohydrates. The main conclusion from this study was that an increase in fatty acid oxidation due to eating more fat doesn’t necessarily result in more fat loss, in fact it may be the opposite. So the idea of eat fat to burn fat is likely not the best approach to fat loss. The second study is one of the most tightly controlled and well-designed dietary studies ever done in the nutrition world, especially in regards to the ketogenic diet2. In this study overweight or obese men were admitted to metabolic wards (they essentially were locked in a testing facility), can consumed either a normal calorie restricted diet or a ketogenic diet. When all was said and done, the participants lost more body fat in 15 days (about 1 pound) on the higher carbohydrate diet than while on the ketogenic diet (about 0.5 pounds). These two studies show that there doesn’t appear to be some secret metabolic advantage to the ketogenic diet. Now this does not mean it can’t be an effective tool as there are a plethora of studies showing that the ketogenic diet is highly successful as a fat loss tool, mainly by being a way to easily control calorie intake. Performance One of the more hotly debated areas surrounding the ketogenic diet is the impact it has on performance. There have been several studies done on the topic and going through them in a bit of detail will help us highlight the benefits and pitfalls of adopting this diet with regards to performance. In one study looking at how ketogenic diets effect moderate intensity running, athletes lost weight, including lean mass, with no change on their VO2 max3. However, they had a reduced ability to recover. In a different study looking at the effect of a ketogenic diet on cycling performance the ketogenic diet improved body composition and also improved relative VO2 max. There is a huge caveat to this study, namely the fact that VO2=ml/kg/min, so if you reduce body mass you reduce the number in the denominator thus you increase the relative value4. This is actually proved by the study itself as their max effort work decreased and the breakdown of the variables in the VO2 equation show that the improvement in relative VO2 was indeed from their lower body weight. What exactly does this mean? Ketogenic diets likely help with weight loss through calorie restriction but often times lower maximal effort capacity in metabolically demanding activities. The same theme of weight loss, typically due to spontaneous reduction in caloric intake and no improvement in performance has been seen in several more studies5,6. Another key piece of information is that muscle biopsies from studies showed that the keto diet reduced muscle glycogen to almost half of normal. That alone is enough to indicate high-intensity performance might be impaired. Conclusion Ketogenic diet, the diet is a tool and can be used appropriately or inappropriately. If you are a practitioner know the scope and circumstances in which you should and should not use this tool. There are a host of studies showing that ketogenic diets work for weight loss, however it may not convey any magical properties compared to other dietary approaches that control calories and protein intake. Additionally, it appears that ketogenic diets can be used in low-intensity athletes or individuals who are less active with no major detriments to their performance. However, high intensity, high volume athletes are likely to see decreases in performance and recovery following a ketogenic diet. References Calorie for Calorie, Dietary Fat Restriction Results in More Body Fat Loss than Carbohydrate Restriction in People with ObesityEnergy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese menA pilot case study on the impact of a self-prescribed ketogenic diet on biochemical parameters and running performance in healthy and physically active individualsThe effects of a ketogenic diet on exercise metabolism and physical performance in off-road cyclists.Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts.The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: preservation of submaximal exercise capability with reduced carbohydrate oxidation.The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitusA Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia: A Randomized, Controlled TrialEffect of 6-month adherence to a very low carbohydrate diet program
  9. When we discuss diet plans we can typically put them along a spectrum where food quantity is on one end and food quality is on the other. Diets like If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) fall as far to the food quantity side as possible while clean eating falls as far to the food quality side as possible. Additionally, in direct opposition to diets like IIFYM it imposes guidelines of what types of foods to eat and does not regulate calories of macros to any meaningful degree. The main principles of clean eating are centered around focusing on the quality of the foods you consume and ensuring they are “clean”. The principles can be summarized in one tenant: Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate processed foods. The core principles of the diet can be listed as follows: Avoid processed foodsAvoid refined foodsAvoid artificial ingredients Avoid alcohol Avoid soda and fruit juiceHistory of the Clean Eating Diet As clean eating is not a well-defined dietary program it is difficult to trace the history of it as a dieting paradigm back to a singular beginning. One could give credit to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates who penned one of the first works on dietary principles and is responsible for the famous quote, “Let food by the medicine and medicine be thy food”. General Overview of Components & Main Principles of The Clean Eating Diet Clean eating is based on the principle of eating whole, natural unprocessed foods. Most proponents of clean eating will suggest it is not truly a diet, but rather a view on what to eat and what not to eat. It focuses on food quality and not quantity, so calorie counting is not utilized in this dietary framework. Meal Timing/Frequency On principle, clean eating does not have strict requirements for meal timing or meal frequency (read: how many times a day you eat). However, in application most clean eating programs suggest people eat 5-6 smaller, clean food, meals and snacks throughout the day rather than 3 main meals. Restrictions/Limitations Clean eating places fairly substantial food restrictions on individuals. Clean eating diets require that people consume only whole, natural foods and eschew everything that is processed. This excludes pastas, breads, crackers, chips, cereals, and anything else that has been processed. This approach also excludes things like condiments (e.g. mustards and spreads) as well as dressings. Additionally most beverages are restricted; this includes alcohol, soda, and juice. Does It Include Phases? As traditionally thought of, the clean eating diet does not usually include phases. Most prescriptions of the clean eating diet as instantiated in books, articles, and programs have people initiate the full spectrum of the diet at the outset. Some even include 30 day challenges in which whole, natural foods must be consumed for the entirety of the 30 days with no deviation from the protocol. Who Is It Best Suited For? Clean eating is best suited for people who are focused on the health properties of food, do not feel the desire to track the calories in their food, and who do not mind fairly restrictive approaches to nutrition. Clean eating allows substantial flexibility in the amount of food one eats, the timing and frequency, and with some effort and diligence the diet can be used for a wide range of people with drastically different goals (e.g. fat loss, muscle gain, or sport performance). How Easy Is It to Follow? How easy it is to follow the clean eating diet really depends on what type of person you are and your food preferences. For people who enjoy eating a wide variety of food, do not enjoy food restrictions, and would rather focus on the quantity of their food (i.e. the calories and macros) clean eating may be rather difficult to follow. For people who are creatures of habit, do not mind eating within restricted dietary frameworks and do not enjoy counting their calories of macros clean eating can be an excellent dietary framework to follow. Most people who practice clean eating long term usually build in small amounts of flexibility and follow either an 80/20 or 90/10 rule where they allow themselves to eat food on the restricted list 10-20% of the time. Mainstream Belief Behind Diet The mainstream belief behind the clean eating diet is that natural, whole foods are optimal for human health and that they naturally control calorie intake. While there are indeed sound reasons behind consuming more natural foods, one cannot truly rely on the “natural” argument as the sole basis for why this diet is effective as the naturalistic fallacy is a common logical fallacy. Scientific Studies and Interpretation of Data To date there are no published studies examining the effect of a clean eating diet which makes it difficult to draw hard conclusions on the scientific efficacy of this diet. However, there are a few things we can glean. Most whole, natural foods are more satiating than their processed counter parts1. This makes controlling calorie intake much easier for a large majority of people. Additionally, higher diet quality is associated with improved health markers and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes2,3. Conclusion Clean eating falls on the opposite end of the dietary spectrum from approaches like IIFYM or flexible dieting and focuses almost exclusively on food quality, not food quantity. The main principles of clean eating are centered around focusing on the quality of the foods you consume and ensuring they are “clean”. The principles can be summarized in one tenant: Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate processed foods. The core principles of the diet can be listed as follows: avoid processed foods, avoid refined foods, avoid artificial ingredients, avoid alcohol, avoid soda and fruit juice. ReferencesA satiety index of common foodsDiet-quality scores and plasma concentrations of markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunctionEffects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers
  10. Here's what you need to know...Female bodybuilding needs to be redefined for the modern woman. If your goal is to build muscle, you are a bodybuilder, even if you don't compete.Early female bodybuilders, like Rachel McLish, had enviable physiques.Sadly, drugs ruined the image of bodybuilding for many women, and scared a generation of them out of the squat rack.Bodybuilding is building the body.Literally. Women need to stop pussyfooting around with nonsense words like "toning."Serious female lifters are tired of getting asked what they're training for.They're training to build muscle, look and feel great, and challenge themselves. In The Beginning... Rachel McLish was one of the first female bodybuilders of the modern era. She won the first Ms. Olympia. She became a star. And then she got out of it before female bodybuilders began to look like male bodybuilders. But before ever stepping on stage, McLish was simply a woman who weight trained. She built her body before there was a real opportunity to compete. She moved heavy weights around without worrying about a panel of judges. And she trained hard without knowing who she'd be inspiring decades later. Sure, there are categories female lifters can now compete in that don't require androgenization. Natural looking women can build muscle, lean down, get a tan, and strike their poses in physique, figure, fitness, or bikini competitions. But is there a place for females who simply want to build their bodies? Bodybuilders Without a Stage Is there a name for women who want to move heavy weights around to look their best – for themselves – and not a panel of judges? Yes. And you can call these ladies bodybuilders. Women who build their bodies and train hard at the gym are sick and tired of getting asked what they're training for, as if the only reason they'd lift weights is to get ready for a competition. It's a back-handed compliment and sometimes even a slap in the face to serious female lifters. Why? Because they'd be training hard with or without a competition. They compete because they can, because that option is always within reach, not because signing up for a show is the only thing keeping them from sitting at home getting fat. Who We Are and What We Do We are bodybuilders, and our muscles are our greatest fashion statement. We work out. We eat well. We fuel our bodies. We don't punish ourselves with food or crash diet. We don't get hung up on meal math. Cardio is optional, tanning isn't required, and judges don't matter. We'd be training with or without their score sheets. We are bodybuilders. And we're redefining what it means to be one. We're taking it back from those who've turned female bodybuilding into a freak show. We're reclaiming it from the juiced-to-the-gills pros and the judges who rewarded their over-the-top androgenized look by handing out trophies to the most extreme physiques. Why does female bodybuilding need to be redefined? Because the stereotype sucks. We're not women trying to look like men. We're women who want to express strength, resilience, dedication, and beauty through built, but natural physiques. The perception of female bodybuilding has been tarnished by pro bodybuilders who forfeited the look of a healthy female figure in order to go pro, become victims of fetishism, and garner attention by making muscle look grotesque instead of gorgeous. We don't want any part of that freak show. A hard female body can be accomplished with sweat, solid nutrition, good supplementation, and the right mindset. And we're tired of dispelling the myths. We are tired of having to reassure other women that weight training is not going to make them massive like competitive female bodybuilders. Think, for a moment, how much better off we'd be as a society if women wanted to make their bodies healthier with weight training. And think of all the women who've been resistant to it because they're afraid of looking manly. Yes, it's a silly fear, but that image – that association between steroidal women and the word bodybuilding – still needs to be retired. It's outdated and not enough women know it. Incidentally, female bodybuilding itself, the competition category, is on its way out of the industry. You read that right: The women's bodybuilding category is slowly disappearing from bodybuilding competitions. It's a shame, and it would no doubt still be going strong had judges not decided to reward women for drug abuse and the resulting disfigured bodies. We should not hate these female pros; we should feel sorry for them. What Women Lifters Now Know We know that the natural female figure doesn't look manly with heavy weight training and a robust diet. That farce should have died when Rachel McLish took the stage. We just want obvious muscle, and we shudder when you use the word "toned" with us. You don't have to pussyfoot around the word muscle. We know we can try our hardest for hypertrophy, aim to get as "big" as possible, and end up achieving a look that's both powerful and sexy. Bodybuilding is literally the pursuit of a built body. It's achieving a noticeable look of power. It's hypertrophy. It's aesthetic, but it comes with the added benefits of strength, confidence, and definition. We know pretty muscles aren't weak muscles. And building them is not for the weak minded. We also know making your body look phenomenal doesn't require an audience. When you're driven to train hard for the purpose of molding your body with muscle, you can call yourself a bodybuilder without ever gracing the stage. Bucking the Catabolism Trend Some women believe working out for aesthetic purposes requires tons of cardio, calorie restriction, and reaching an all-time low on the scale. Many think it requires following an extremely regimented diet, never taking a day off from the gym, and perhaps even dropping a few grand on a coach. These are common misconceptions. First of all, you don't have to have a coach to be a bodybuilder. Furthermore, if you believe an aesthetically-pleasing body is one that looks malnourished, you need to fix your mind. You're not a bodybuilder if you believe that, because by definition you're not building your body. You'd be tearing it down. Achieving your best look has nothing to do with whittling yourself away. No female who dedicates her time to the art of bodybuilding would sacrifice what she's accomplished under the iron. If you're a bodybuilder, the scale is irrelevant to your goals. You know growing muscle creates a body that's efficient – one that doesn't need constant regulation of scale weight, macronutrients, calories, or time on the treadmill. You know it produces a metabolism that's revved up. So cardio and neurotic counting never need to be at the top of your to-do list. They're options, not essentials. Bodybuilding is All-Inclusive Don't have a six pack? Don't worry. Being ripped isn't a prerequisite for identifying as a bodybuilder. You also don't have to stop rock climbing, dancing, running, doing yoga or baking and eating goodies. Bodybuilding is inclusive. It just means that your main goal is growing muscle and achieving the look that comes with it. Because of this goal, you'll never go to the gym to compensate for a big meal, undo any holiday splurges, or punish yourself for missed workouts. It means the gym isn't a prison cell. It's your oasis. It's your place for growth. Female bodybuilders know that a firmer and more compact body is the byproduct of weight training. Yet, ironically, focusing on hypertrophy releases them from the pressure of being smaller. It banishes the idea that exercise has to tear them down. Other upshots besides fat loss include pleasurable yet challenging workouts, better health and vitality, increased insulin sensitivity, big meals that actually speed up physique goals instead of derailing them, and continual efforts that don't feel like martyrdom. When your main goal is building muscle, consistency takes care of itself. Your challenge is to grow muscle through repeated efforts; and, unlike the goal of becoming supermodel thin, it's a challenge that's absolutely within reach. Building muscle and having good workouts is positive reinforcement to continue building muscle and having good workouts. Bodybuilding is the act of impactful workouts – the ones you want to keep coming back to instead of the punishment you want to avoid. Your Body. Your Muscle. Your Flavor. Rachel McLish once said that the thing about bodybuilding is that it showcases our genetics. Let this point sink in because it'll set you free. It means that there's no need for us to worry about what other people look like, or strive for a look that's not within our genetic potential. It means there's no reason to compare yourself to someone else who has different genetics. And we all have different genetics. Can't achieve the same build as another woman? Awesome. Because she can't achieve the same build as you. She has a different anatomical structure, and both of you at your very best will look dramatically different yet equally beautiful depending on who you ask and what you're wearing. So don't worry about what other people's bodies look like. You have a unique set of genetics and your bodybuilding lifestyle will determine the way those genetics are expressed. You might have the potential to build a bubble butt. You might not. Work hard anyway. Squat. Hip thrust. Deadlift. See what your genetic potential has in store for your glutes. A muscular butt is a gorgeous butt no matter what shape it turns out to be, and that shape is going to be determined by a variety of factors including your bone structure and hip width. Build your body and become your own flavor of beauty. Because nobody else can achieve that look but you. What Future Female Bodybuilders Need to KnowCompete. Or don't. It's up to you. It's perfectly fine to use a competition for accountability and extrinsic motivation. Just don't think that you must sign up for one in order to pursue a firm body. Build your body because there's a whole lot of other cool things that come along with having muscle. Then if you decide to compete you'll have a foundation. That opportunity will be there no matter how old you are or how much you've let your fitness slide in the past.Don't think that bodybuilding is any more shallow than what people do on a daily basis. It's not. Most females (and males) want to look a certain way. People use their looks to tell the world who they are. Their appearance communicates many things from socioeconomic status to professionalism, values, vanity, and hygiene. Working out for aesthetic purposes is another tool in that toolbox; it just comes with far more benefits than mani-pedis and designer purses. Besides, if you're going to tell the world something about yourself through the way you look, what's wrong with telling the world you're strong and disciplined?Come as you are. Bodybuilding might sound pretentious, elitist, and exclusive.This is false. We're all pretty down to earth and there's no need to be self-conscious. We won't judge. Newbies are more than welcome, as long as they don't ask us questions while we're in the middle of a set.Balls, bands, TRX straps, and bodyweight exercises won't cut it if you want to transform your body and build a significant amount of muscle. There's nothing wrong with little workout tools and techniques, but think of these as accessories to your main lifts. They can't do for your body what real weights, dumbbells, barbells, cables, and other machines can. So if you're working with a trainer who refuses to show you how to move actual weight around, go elsewhere.What We're Really Training For Female bodybuilders might work out with aesthetic goals in mind, but that doesn't mean they're not pursuing other things and continually challenging themselves. Our lives don't revolve around looks, but we do take pleasure in being able to achieve the shapes and lines that only muscle can create. Muscle is just one of our barometers for progress. It tells us that what we're doing is working. But aside from earning a killer physique, we train for many things. We train to build confidence in our careers and in the bedroom. We train for bone health, insulin sensitivity, and longevity. We train for increased energy, because the work we put into it is an investment that always pays off. We train for mental clarity. We train because the goal of fat loss is soul-sucking, cliché, and mostly unenjoyable. We train because we'd rather look like Wonder Woman than Barbie. We train because building muscle increases our bodies' production of the hormones that burn fat, even when fat loss isn't our main goal. We train to be the type of woman nobody wants to mess with. We train to build grit. We train for habitual excellence. We train for ourselves. We train because we are bodybuilders.
  11. DHB Steroid Today we’re going to talk about the DHB steroid. DHB is also known as dihydroboldenone, it has its own classifications like DHT’s are. They call it 1-testosterone, it really confuses people because they read it and think of Methyl 1-test. But when you think of it that way, Methyl-1test would be like the oral version in terms of the fact that you take Dianabol vs EQ – same thing. One is oral, the other one is not. 100% different side effects and also different effects of the drug. Is DHB strong? So Trevor, is DHB strong and how anabolic is it? The DHB steroid is really strong. It’s actually a lot stronger than what they say on paper, similar to Primobolan. Primo is a DHT derivate. Its a 5-alpha reduced boldenone that’s basically what it is, that is also how it got the name dihydroboldenone. It’s twice as anabolic as Testosterone. A little less androgenic, but you can’t really judge it by paper because the effects are very strong and very apparent. Actually more so than Primobolan although I still personally prefer primo. It hardens you and it gives you tremendous strength. You have to imagine it as the DHT version of EQ (Equipoise). Its very strong in its effects, it’s just a really good anabolic. A very good anabolic, but it produces those really hard dry gains and almost NO side effects. Again, very similar to Primobolan. It can actually help with your SHGB and whatnot, just really no bad side effects. You know Trevor, you use the words anabolic and androgenic quite different than the most of us do. When you talk about those words, you use them like the practical application of the drug whether it’s anabolic or androgenic. Not whether its anabolic: androgenic on paper. Relating DHB to DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), DHT is a naturally occurring hormone in the body, it is what testosterone converts to. Testosterone converts to both estrogen and DHT. Do certain other steroids also convert to DHT? Yes, they do. Do certain other steroids also convert to DHB? Yes. Which steroids convert to DHB? So without taking DHB directly, what other steroids do we take that convert to DHB? Yes, the main one that I give credit to is, well not that it converts but it is a derivative of DHB is Primobolan. A lot of the 5-alpha derived steroids either convert or are derivatives of DHB, which give it some of the strong effects. When you’re talking about it like you said on paper, it doesn’t show this on paper right. Maybe like that, it’s twice as strong as Testosterone but look at Dihydrotestosterone. When you look at the effects of DHT over Testosterone, imagine that of Equipoise. A very strong dry gainer that’s actually very effective with its unique benefits, but a much stronger version with its own properties as well. Why isn’t DHB more popular? When I go on a steroid website or buy from a steroid dealer they only have a selection of a few of the actual steroids that exist. People think that those are the only ones that exist, like Deca, Test, Primobolan, Equipoise and Anavar. But there’s actually a lot of other anabolic steroids out there that NOBODY’s talking about. Nobody is using them and its just because there is no demand for it in the market because people don’t know about it. MENT (Trestolone Acetate) is another good example, perhaps the most powerful steroid available. The only reason it isn’t more popular is because of pure ignorance. Trevor, do you think that the ignorance of people is playing into the fact that DHB isn’t being talked about? As in, DHB is actually something that should be talked about but its not just because people don’t know about it? Yes, big time. There are a few reasons. One, I think even when you educate people they are still going to make the same dumb decisions until they learn the hard way themselves. Because you know, I preach Primobolan and growth hormone. People that have run the real things and have run them enough they will know the effectiveness and will never steer away from certain things. However, people know this but yet they never do this. Just because their minds are somewhere else. And another reason is that handful of steroids everybody knows about, they give you the most side effects, give you the most water retention and strength gains and all that. They work every time, they are very cheap and they have been produced by manufacturers for prescription so it’s easy to refer to them as certain names. People feel comfortable that these steroids have been studied as in opposite to somebody telling you what the side effects are and this is what it does. You know, all these things – they just need to change their mindset. In my opinion, the DHB steroid is a great compound and I would certainly recommend it. DHB Steroid Builds Quality Muscle So are you saying DHB is one of these high-quality muscle builders that don’t result in a lot of bloat? And that one of the reasons it may not be as popular is the same reason why Primo isn’t more popular because you don’t see the instant results of blowing up. That’s because your building quality muscle over a longer period of time and people are more interested in that instant gratification they can get after two days of taking dbol when they put on 5 pounds of water? Is that what you are trying to say? Yes, and I mean even when you refer to Winstrolbecause it’s so popular – it does give you that super dry effect overnight. So, they see instant results and that is what it comes down to. Sure, DHB is a little more expensive, not more than Primobolan though. However, its the same concept. Most people taking it that are 40 pounds overweight, you are not going to see tremendous gains from it because you are so overweight. DHB is stronger than Primobolan because it is pure DHB. But here’s the thing, the effects of Primobolan I still like more because of how it works down the road. DHB is a lot faster in the way it’s going to act, but maybe not as protein sparing as Primobolan. But it does give you these same effects. We will be doing some more videos about the DHB steroid in the future. Especially things like DHB steroid dosages, what effects you feel and the side effects.
  12. One of the most frequently asked questions on MuscleTalk is how to properly use the Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) drugs Nolvadex, Clomid and HCG correctly. (A note to Americans - when I say 'oestrogen' I mean 'estrogen' - we spell it correctly in the UK!) Why Bodybuilders Use Clomid Clomid is a generic name for Clomiphene Citrate and is a synthetic oestrogen. It is prescribed medically to aid ovulation in low fertility females. Another generic name is Serophene. Most anabolic steroids, especially the androgens, cause inhibition of the body's own testosterone production. When a bodybuilder comes off a steroid cycle, natural testosterone production is zero and the levels of the steroids taken in the blood are diminishing. This leaves the ratios of catabolic : anabolic hormones in the blood high, hence the body is in a state of catabolism, and, as a result, much of the muscle tissue that was gained on the cycle is now going to be lost. Clomid stimulates the hypothalamus to, in turn stimulant the anterior pituitary gland (aka hypophysis) to release gonadotrophic hormones. The gonadotrophic hormones are follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH - aka interstitial cell stimulating hormone (ICSH)). FSH stimulates the testes to produce more testosterone, and LH stimulates them to secrete more testosterone. This feedback mechanism is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-testes axis (HPTA), and results in an increase of the body's own testosterone production and blood levels rise, to, in part, compensate for the diminishing levels of exogenous steroids. This is vital to minimise post cycle muscle losses. Not all steroids do cause shut down of the feedback mechanism. Everyone is different and you must also take into account how long you have been using a certain steroid and at what dose in order to determine if you need Clomid or not. Clomid also works as an anti-oestrogen. As it's a weak synthetic oestrogen, it binds to oestrogen receptors on cells blocking them to oestrogen in the blood. This minimises the negative effects like gynecomastia and water retention that may be a result of oestrogen that has aromatised from testosterone. It's effect as an anti-oestrogen are quite weak though, and it should not be relied upon if you are going to be using androgenic steroids that aromatise at a rapid rate, or if you are pre-disposed to gynecomastia. Arimidex and Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) are far more effective anti-oestrogens. Important note: Clomid does not, as is often thought, stimulate the release of natural testosterone, but rather works at reducing the oestrogenic inhibition caused by the steroid cycle. It does this in a similar manner to the way it and Nolvadex block oestrogen receptors in nipples to combat gyno development, i.e. by blocking the oestrogen receptors in the hypothalamus and pituitary thus reducing the inhibition from the elevated oestrogen. This allows LH levels to return to normal, or even above normal levels, and in turn, natural testosterone levels to also normalise. Inhibition of the HPTA is caused by either elevated androgen, oestrogen or progesterone levels. On cessation of the steroid cycle, androgen levels begin to fall and Clomid dosing is normally commenced according to the half-life of the longest acting drug in the system (see below). This may also explain the reason individuals often find post-deca recovery more difficult, as the progesterone presence is untouched by the Clomid. We know that Clomid and Nolvadex (being very similar chemically) are both ineffective with regard to reducing progesterone related gyno, so it is reasonable to assume that Clomid has little effect against progesterone levels. Clomid During A Cycle When we use anabolic steroids, the level of androgens in the body rises causing the androgen receptors to become more highly activated, and through the HPTA, a signal tells our testes to stop producing testosterone. During a cycle the body has far higher than normal levels of androgens and, as long as this level is high enough, Clomid will not help to keep natural testosterone production up. It will be almost all but completely shut off, in theory. Some heavy androgen users, however, do advocate a small burst of Clomid mid-cycle, though it must be hard for them to say if it really of any benefit, due to the amount of gear they are using. Therefore, the only purpose of Clomid during a cycle is as an anti-estrogen. When To Take Clomid The correct time to commence Clomid depends on the type and cycle of steroids you have been using. Different steroids have different half-lifes (indicates the time a substance diminishes in blood), and Clomid administration should be taken accordingly. As we have seen above, Clomid taken when androgen levels in our blood are still high will be a waste. It is crucial to wait for androgen levels to fall before implementing our Clomid therapy. However, if taken too late we could possibly lose gains. The list below determines when you should start Clomid. Select from the list any steroids you've used in your cycle and whichever one has the latest starting point is the time to commence Clomid. For example, if Dianabol, Sustanon and Winstrol were cycled, the time for administering Clomid should be 3 weeks post cycle, as Sustanon remains active in the body for the longest period of time. How To Take Clomid Clomid has a long half-life (possibly 5 days), so there is no need to split up doses throughout the day. If Sustanon has been used and Clomid is commenced 3 weeks after the last injection, I would estimate that androgen levels are low enough to start sending the correct signals. If androgen levels are still a little high, we need to start at a high enough amount that will work or help, even if androgen levels are still a little high. Try 300mg on day 1; then use 100mg for the next 10 days; followed by 50mg for 10 days. How to take Nolvadex for PCT As an alternative to Clomid, which has been reported to have led to unwanted side effects such as visual disturbances in some users, Nolvadex can be employed. Nolvadex is a trade name for the drug Tamoxifen. Like Clomid, the half life of Nolvadex is relatively long enabling the user to implement a single daily dosing schedule. Administration would start as per the timescales outlined above and the duration would be identical to that of Clomid. Typically, for a moderate-heavy cycle, the following dosages would be used: Day 1 - 100mg Following 10 days - 60mg Following 10 days - 40mg Occasionally, heavier cycles containing perhaps Nandrolone (Deca) or Trenbolone which by definition are particularly suppressive of the HPTA, may require a slightly longer therapy. Likewise, more modest/shorter cycles may require lower dosages, perhaps dropping each by 20mg per day. Some users like to use both Clomid and Nolvadex in their PCT in an attempt to cover all angles. An example of the dosages involved might be: Day 1 - Clomid 200mg + Nolvadex 40mg Following 10 days - Clomid 50mg + Nolvadex 20mg Following 10 days - Clomid 50mg or Nolvadex 20mg Of course, the examples provided are not set in stone and may be adjusted depending on the factors outlined above and individual variances. Using HCG It is our opinion that HCG is probably one of the most misunderstood and misused compounds in bodybuilding. Hopefully this information will go some way towards rectifying that for the members of MuscleTalk. HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin and is not a steroid, but a natural peptide hormone which develops in the placenta of pregnant women during pregnancy to controls the mother's hormones. (Incidentally, this is the reason you may hear of people testing for growth hormone (HGH) with a pregnancy testing kit - If their HGH shows 'pregnant', they've been ripped-off with cheaper HCG - but we digress slightly). Its action in the male body is like that of LH, stimulating the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone even in the absence of endogenous LH. HCG is therefore used during longer or heavier steroid cycles to maintain testicular size and condition, or to bring atrophied (shrunken) testicles back up to their original condition in preparation for post-cycle Clomid therapy. This process is necessary because atrophied testicles produce reduced levels of natural testosterone, this situation should be rectified prior to post-cycle Clomid therapy. HCG administration post-cycle is common practice among bodybuilders in the belief that it will aid the natural testosterone recovery, but this theory is unfounded and also counterproductive. The rapid rise in both testosterone, and thus oestrogen due to aromatisation, from the administration of HCG causes further inhibition of the HPTA (Hypothalamic/Pituitary/Testicular Axis - feedback loop discussed above); this actually worsens the recovery situation. HCG does not restore the natural testosterone production. The typically observed dosing of 2000 to 5000IU every 4 to 5 days causes such an increase in oestrogen levels via aromatisation of the natural testosterone that this has been responsible for many cases of gynecomastia. From the above discussion it is clear that HCG is best used during a cycle, either to: 1) Avoid testicular atrophy, or 2) Rectify the problem of an existing testicular atrophy. HCG Dosage Smaller doses, more frequently during a cycle will give best overall results with least unwanted side effects. Somewhere between 500IU and 1000IU per day would be best over about a two-week period. These doses are sufficient to avoid/rectify testicular atrophy without increasing oestrogen levels too dramatically and risking gynecomastia. This dosing schedule also avoids the risk of permanently down-regulating the LH receptors in the testes. It is important for the HCG administration to have been completed with 6 or 7 clear days before the onset of PCT in order to avoid inhibition of the Nolvadex and/or Clomid therapy. Also, a small daily dose (10-20mg) of Nolvadex would normally be used in conjunction with HCG in order to prevent oestrogenic symptoms caused by sudden increases in aromatisation. Presentation and Administration of HCG Synthetic HCG is often known as Pregnyl (generic name) and is available in 2500iu and 5000iu (not ideal for the above doses!). Administration of the compound is either by intra-muscular or subcutaneous injection. It comes as a powder which needs to be mixed with the sterile water. The powder is temperature-sensitive prior to mixing and should not be exposed to direct heat. After mixing, it should be kept refrigerated and used within a few weeks - though there are sterility issues which need to be considered after mixing. Summary and Presentation of Clomid and HCG Clomid and/or Nolvadex are more effective than HCG post cycle, but some long-term users like to use HCG during a cycle, or to prepare the testes for Clomid and/or Nolvadex therapy. Clomid is available in 50mg tablets most commonly, but also comes in 25mg capsule, often in boxes of 24 tablets. Tamoxifen is made by a number of manufacturers and comes in 10mg or 20mg tablets, most commonly 30 x 20mg tablets. HCG generally comes in kits of three ampoules of powder needing to be mixed with the provided injectable water as 1500IU, 2500IU or 5000IU per ampoule kits.
  13. An important consideration when planning a steroid cycle, in particular the timing of dosing to be administered, is the active half-life of the drug being employed. The half-life may be defined as the time (t) the level is half of the starting level of a given compound; at time 2t, the level is a quarter of the starting level, and at time 3t, the level is an eighth of the starting level, and so on. This information is vital in the timing of the dosing when attempting to achieve a more stable blood concentration, which leads to greater overall results and maintenance of gains. Some fluctuations of concentration levels are acceptable, and are also mostly unavoidable, but should be kept to a minimum. This article covers the half-life's of the most commonly used steroids, esters and ancillary compounds. Oral steroids DrugActive half-life Anadrol / Anapolan50 (oxymetholone)8 to 9 hours Anavar (oxandrolone)9 hours Dianabol (methandrostenolone, methandienone)4.5 to 6 hours Methyltestosterone 4 days Winstrol (stanozolol) (tablets or depot taken orally)9 hours Steroid esters The half-life applies to the ester regardless of hormone attached, for example trenbolone enanthate and primobolan (methenolone enanthate) will act very similarly to testosterone enanthate in terms of release rate. DrugActive half-life Suspension within 1 hour Acetate1 day Propionate1 day Phenylpropionate 1-2 days Butyrate 2-3 days Valerate 3 days Hexanoate 3 days Caproate 4-5 days Isocaproate 4-5 days Heptanoate 5-6 days Enanthate 5-6 days Octanoate 6-7 days Cypionate 6-7 days Nonanoate 7 days Decanoate 7-8 days Undeclenate 8-9 days Undecanoate Approx 20 days Ancillaries DrugActive half-life Arimidex 3 days Clenbuterol 1.5 days Clomid 5 days Cytadren 6 hours Ephedrine 6 hours T3 10 hours A practical example is if one was to inject 100mg of testosterone propionate and allow blood levels to peak. In approx 36 hours time (half-life duration from the above tables) and providing no other injections had taken place, the level would be reduced to 50mg. Again, a further approx 36 hours down the line and levels would have dropped to 25mg, and the value keeps halving every approx 36 hours.
  14. Maintaining a healthy level of testosterone is no easy feat, let alone boosting depleted levels of this all-important anabolic juice. Extremely low levels of testosterone are rare and are always indicative of a more serious health problem. However, 9 out of 10 healthy adult males start experiencing swings in their hormone levels after the age of 30. Whether it's stress, lack of exercise or bad eating habits, any sudden drop in your hormone levels, even the slightest one, can have an enormous impact on your overall health and wellbeing. If you've experienced a drop in your T levels, chances are you've already done a bit of research on the subject. It only takes a quick Google search to see that there are hundreds of different products, supplements and remedies available for boosting your hormone levels. Choosing the right supplement for your particular situation might seem like an impossible task, and that's not far removed from the truth. There are pros and cons to every product you lay your hands on, and it will take a while before you find something that works for your body and your budget. But, when it comes to giving your hormones a much-needed boost, there are actually some powerful and quick ways to do this that don't necessarily always involve taking supplements. These five unusual ways to increase your testosterone may not be as powerful as some supplements when it comes to maintaining hormone levels in the long run, but they'll provide you with a quick and efficient anabolic boost you're bound to notice immediately. 1. Arimistane – Block Estrogen to Increase Testosterone What most people don't realize is that the reason why their testosterone levels start to decline isn't always because they produce less of it – it's because they produce too much oestrogen. As oestrogen is principally a female hormone, having too much of it can wreak havoc on your hormone balance and can cause your testosterone levels to drop fast. Arimistane is a naturally occurring substance in your body that inhibits aromatase, a catalyst for the synthesis of oestrogens. This means that it has the ability to stop testosterone being converted into estrogen. Another thing that Arimistane does is reduce the levels of cortisol in your body. Although a healthy amount of these 'fight-or-flight' hormones is usually a good thing, cortisol is directly responsible for causing bone density loss, increasing insulin resistance and causing testosterone levels to drop. As Arimistane is a naturally occurring substance in your body, Arimistane Androsta-3 5-Diene-7 17-Dione supplements are perfectly safe and have zero side-effects. Arimistane can also be combined with other supplements and medications, and this won't interfere with its ability to block the production of estrogen and boost testosterone levels. 2. Keep Your Testes Cool As you're probably aware by now when in contact with freezing water, your testes shrink and get tight, moving closer to your body. Although it's generally not a pleasant experience, you can train your body to handle cold water and start taking cold showers in the morning. Apart from giving you a much-needed energy boost in the morning, cold showers are a quick and efficient way to provide a boost to your hormone levels. Most of the testosterone in your body is produced in your testicles, and the shock from the cold water will put them in overdrive. There have been studies that show that when the testicular Leydig cells are exposed to heat they don't produce testosterone as efficiently. As a response to a highly stressful situation, your body will pump out all the testosterone it produced during sleep, in an attempt to get you as alert as possible. And, as your testicles are now closer to your body, there's less road to travel so to speak, and you'll notice a significant change in your energy levels in minutes. Don't go jumping into frozen lakes just yet. Get your body gradually used to icy showers by lowering the temperature of the water each day. It'll take a few days, but it will be worthwhile in the long run. 3. Get Busy Under The Sheets There's nothing unusual about sex increasing a guy's testosterone level. It's pretty obvious that getting busy leads to being happier, more energized, and generally feeling more satisfied and confident. That is mostly due to the increased production of dopamine during sexual arousal and after ejaculation. So, getting a slight hormone boost after sex doesn't seem too far-fetched. However, what is unusual in this case, is the fact that having sex can increase your testosterone levels signirficantly. Running low on steroid hormones can have a significant impact on a man's libido, but we advise you to gather all your strength and get busy. If anything, do it in the name of science! Side note: Getting your girlfriend or wife in the mood is sometimes easier said than done. Men and women are just wired differently, and their hormone levels peak at different times. Women's menstrual cycles have a significant impact on their libido, and it can be hard to break the vicious cycle of "not being in the mood". That's why we suggest you encourage her to take Maca. It's a herbal supplement made from the root of the Lepidium meyenii plant, more commonly known as Maca. It's a safe, natural supplement used to treat hormone imbalances, fertility problems and other stress-related side-effects in both men and women. There are a lot of products on the market made especially for women that contain Maca root and are usually combined with other herbal supplements such as Horny Goat Weed, Tongkat Ali and Muira Puama. Get your better half to read some of the reviews of these supplements, and we guarantee she'll be wanting to try some Maca. 4. Get Competitive Winning the Champion's League or the NFL probably won't happen in your lifetime, but it doesn't have to mean that small wins won't count in your battle to increase testosterone. A study done at Georgia State University during the 2014 World Cup showed a 28% growth in testosterone levels in adult men after watching football. The increase was even higher in men whose team had won the game. Another separate study was conducted in Bolivia, on farmers from the Tsimane tribe. Published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the study found a 30% increase in the farmer's testosterone levels after a highly competitive game of football. All of this shows that engaging in competitive sports and activities, even as mundane as watching a football game, can have a huge impact on your testosterone levels. Such a sudden increase in your hormone levels is bound to last at least a few hours, with your testosterone being 15% higher than normal even five hours after the initial peak. Throwing some ball after watching a game with your friends doesn't seem like a bad way to get your testosterone levels boosted at all. 5. Meditate Yes, you've read it right – meditate. We're not talking about sitting barefoot with your legs crossed in a sketchy yoga studio, mind you. The kind of meditation we're talking about is much less dramatic and requires nothing more than finding a few moments of peace to get your thoughts together. Meditating itself won't put your hormones into overdrive, but it will keep you stay calm, relaxed and stress-free. All of that adds up to create a sound basis for your testosterone production to bloom. This is because it's a well known fact that when cortisol is high, testosterone levels decline. Without stress taking over and your cortisol at its lowest, you'll reap all of the benefits of an anabolic boost. You can do it anywhere – at your desk, on the bus, in a traffic jam, while you're having your morning coffee. Take a few deep breaths and try to get rid of any of the stress and anxiety you might be feeling. It takes a minute to get in the zone, and it will keep both your mind and your body at ease. Not at all difficult, but a highly beneficial thing to do – especially when you know it can have an impact on the way your body produces and metabolizes testosterone. By Sean Ward, Founder of Naturally Boost Testosterone, a men's health blog dedicated to providing natural ways for men to boost hormone levels.