Applied Bodybuilding Research - 02-19-09!

Learn more from these studies about probiotics, smoking & alcohol, shock therapy and more. Check them out.

Article Summary:
  • Probiotics won't help with muscle gains, but do have other benefits.
  • Smoking and drinking causes more damage than previously known.
  • Literally shocking your muscles can be beneficial.

  • Probiotics... What Are They Good For?

    Turn on the television today and you can't help but see a commercial or advertisement for pro-biotic enhanced dairy products, promising health and improved vitality.

    In fact, probiotics have become so popular that, not surprisingly, less scrupulous companies have begun making non-food probiotic supplements, promising enhanced nutrient delivery and, ultimately, greater muscle growth.

    What Are Probiotics?
    Probiotics are dietary supplements of live bacteria or yeasts thought to be healthy for the host organism. According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotics are: 'Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host'.

    Sadly, studies have shown that probiotics are useful only for people with already impaired intestinal health and unbalanced intestinal microflora counts - and that for healthy people they appear to be of no benefit. That is, until now.

    While probiotics still have little to no direct muscle building abilities, a double-blind, placebo controlled randomized study published in Nutrition Research shows that a probiotic mixture containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum significantly reduced abdominal pain and stomach upset for people suffering from chronic stress.

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    It's obvious that training stresses affect the whole body - the Central Nervous System, the Skeletal Muscle System and even the intestinal systems. By significantly reducing the effects of stress on the gastrointestinal system, probiotics may be beneficial at preventing or helping to lessen the effects of stomach upset brought on by, say, a hard day of squats.

    Source:

    1. Laurent Diop, et al. Probiotic food supplement reduces stress-induced gastrointestinal symptoms in volunteers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Nutrition Research 28 (2008) 1-5.


    Smoking And Drinking... Worse For You Than You Might Think...

    Let's face it: everyone loves to drink now and then, and some of us even smoke. It can help to relieve stress or to make a party with friends even better. But for bodybuilders there is a cost: alcohol and smoking are harmful - and everyone knows it. What we haven't known until now, however, is just how bad smoking and drinking is for your health. It turns out that smoking and drinking are far worse than we ever thought.

    Everyone Loves To Drink Now And Then.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Everyone Loves To Drink Now And Then.

    A study done by Korean researchers examined the effects of smoking and drinking on bone formation in 463 healthy young Korean males, aged 20-26 years. The researchers measured alcohol consumption and smoking behaviour, in addition to measuring the subjects diets. Prior to the start of the study, researchers measured the bone density of the study subjects as well as their total alkaline phosphate activity (ALP) and osteocalcin concentrations.

    Measuring the same values again at the end of the study, researchers found that smoking and drinking significantly lowered total ALP levels. Researchers concluded, therefore, that smoking and drinking have a negative effect on bone metabolism and reduce born formation, especially during youth.

    This study is important for bodybuilders because strong bones are critical for strong, functional muscles. The fact is, bone formation and bone turnover occur throughout life - in youth, in middle-age, and in the advanced years - and bodybuilding stresses subject bones to more stress than average.

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    This study shows that there is even more reason than ever before for bodybuilders to avoid alcohol and kick the smoking habit.

    Source:

    1. Mi-Hyun Kim, et al. Negative effects of alcohol consumption and tobacco use on bone formation markers in young Korean adult males. Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 104- 108.


    No Pain No Gain?

    The adage is so old that it's become cliché: "no pain, no gain." But is it true? Is pain really necessary for making progress in the gym?

    Proponents of High-Intensity Training (HIT) would argue yes, while others promoting endurance training would say no. Thankfully, science has at least part of the answer.

    A recent study examined the effects of HIT training on metabolism and found that by just doing six HIT sessions over a period of two weeks for a total exercise time of 15 minutes both increased muscle oxidative capacity and increased endurance. The shocking conclusion of the study was:

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    Recent evidence suggests that in young healthy persons of average fitness, intense interval exercise is a time-efficient strategy to stimulate a number of skeletal muscle adaptations that are comparable to traditional endurance training.

    So, while HIT training may cause pain, science shows that the results are worth it, and even save you time.

    Source:

    1. Martin J. Gibala, et al. Metabolic Adaptations to Short-term High-Intensity Interval Training: A Little Pain for a Lot of Gain? Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 58Y63, 2008.


    Shock Therapy...

    We've always been told that we have to "shock the muscle" if we want growth. Almost always we know that this involves subjecting a muscle to a new stimulus, or a greater weight load. Now, science shows that taking this advice literally may indeed produce results in your neuromuscular system.

    RELATED POLL
    Would You Try Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation To Gain Strength Or Muscle Mass?

    Yeah It Seems Worth A Shot.
    I'm Nervous It May Be Dangerous.
    Maybe If It Saved Me Time In My Busy Schedule.
    I May Try It As A New Stimulus When I Hit A Plateau.
    Nothing Beats Weights And Sweat.

    While neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) has been used as a rehabilitative therapy for years, helping patients contract muscles when they're unable to do so voluntarily, studies now show that repeated bouts of NMES in healthy subjects can trigger strength increases and gains in muscle size. The key is that only low-voltage stimulation must be used, as this will ensure maximum motor unit recruitment.

    Source:

    1. Marc Vanderthommen, et al. Electrical Stimulation as a Modality to Improve Performance of the Neuromuscular System. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 180Y185, 2007.