| Article Summary:
It seems that more people are depressed today than ever before. With the state of the world and the pace of modern life, it's no wonder. And, for bodybuilders there is an additional depression risk: training itself. Because bodybuilders train hard day in and day out, the risk of overtraining and the depression it brings is a real and constant threat.
Thankfully, most bodybuilding-related depression occurs because of stresses placed upon the central nervous system by lifting heavy and hard - and scientists have now found a cure to depression that has, for so many, meant taking time off altogether from the gym. The answer? Endurance cardio training.
Scientists evaluated the effects of a long-distance cardio endurance program on 38 study participants and found that after simply doing endurance cardio, one session per day for 10 days, depression was lifted significantly over participants in a control group who did no exercise.
So, if you find that you're depressed and suspect that it's training-related, consider ditching the weights for two weeks, or lightening up your workload, and doing cardio instead. It will give your body a needed break, allow you to maintain or improve your overall conditioning and recharge your mind.
- K Knubben, et al. A randomised, controlled study on the effects of a short-term endurance training programme in patients with major depression. Br J Sports Med 2007;41:29-33.
Prednisolone is a popular drug among athletes - it's a glucocorticoid (GC) that most trainers and experts agree dramatically enhances performance. Not surprisingly, it is banned by almost all athletic federations, but athletes can still obtain it.
Bodybuilders have been known to use Prednisolone because of its effects on endurance, allowing for greater work volume, greater working intensity and overall better growth.
A new study aimed to look at the effects of this drug on endurance, metabolism and hormone levels during sub-maximum exercise. Researchers had 14 male athletes complete two cycling trials at 70% and 75% after ingesting Prednisolone three hours prior.
Scientists collected blood samples from the test subjects immediately after they completed the exercise test, and then again at 10, 20 and 30 minutes post-exercise to measure growth hormone, DHEA, ACTH, prolactin, insulin, blood glucose, lactate and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
| What Is ACTH?
Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH or corticotropin) is a polypeptide tropic hormone produced and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. It is an important component of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and is often produced in response to biological stress (along with corticotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus). Its principal effects are increased production of androgens and, as its name suggests, cortisol from the adrenal cortex.
What Is Prolactin?
Prolactin (PRL) or Luteotropic hormone (LTH) is a peptide hormone primarily associated with lactation. In breastfeeding, the act of an infant suckling the nipple stimulates the production of prolactin, which fills the breast with milk via a process called lactogenesis, in preparation for the next feed. Oxytocin, another hormone, is also released, which triggers milk let-down.
What Is Lactate?
Lactate is a by-product of anaerobic metabolism that is produced during exercise, when lactate acid is produced.
What Is Interleukin-6?
Interleukin-6 is an important hormone that plays a role in obesity regulation. Interleukin-6 is a pro-inflammatory hormone that promotes and sustains the inflammatory cascade - the same inflammatory cascade that's triggered by the acidosis caused by exercise.
Researchers found that while prednisolone did not significantly enhance endurance when exercising at sub-maximum levels, blood glucose levels remained high in the GC group, and DHEA and ACTH levels were decreased along with levels of IL-6.
So, a word to the wise: prednisolone seems to work only when going all-out, and its effects come with a price - your DHEA and ACTH levels take a nosedive. Naturally, these results call into question the efficacy of using this drug year-round, and show that it is best used in a limited fashion in specific situations that call for all-out performance.
- A Arlettaz, et al. Effects of acute prednisolone administration on exercise endurance and metabolism. Br. J. Sports Med. 2008;42;250-254.
Despite the research that's been done in the past on glutamine, and despite the fact that it's an essential amino acid for hard-training athletes, there are still some detractors that claim glutamine to be of little or no value for bodybuilders. Well, another study can be added to the mountain of evidence that shows just how wrong and ignorant these critics are.
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- Getting The Facts Straight On Glutamine! - By Shannon Clark
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- Skinny Guy's Thoughts On Glutamine! - By Vince DelMonte
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A study by scientists in Brazil had 30 European Football players assigned to one of two groups, and one group completed an interval exercise activity and the other a continuous exercise activity. Group one was given a glutamine solution, and group two was given an alanine solution, to be consumed prior to exercise.
Immediately following exercise, researchers measured ammonia, creatinine, urate and urea levels, and found that levels were elevated in both groups, but the glutamine group had lower levels of ammonia following exercise, and researchers confirmed that this effect was also noted with continued supplementation long-term.
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Ammonia is a waste product, and bodybuilders should use glutamine not only for its host of other benefits, but also for its ability to lower exercise-induced ammonia increases.
- A Bassini-Cameron, et al. Glutamine protects against increases in blood ammonia in football players in an exercise intensity dependent way. Br. J. Sports Med. 2008;42;260-266.
Sports medicine is a constantly evolving field of knowledge that draws on expertise from other fields and contributes its own new knowledge so that experts and the athletes that train them can maximize efficiency and performance in ways previously only imagined.
Drawing on biochemistry and genetics, sports scientists from the University Of Grenada obtained blood samples from 20 people with confirmed sports-induced muscular injuries and blood samples from 48 people without muscle injuries. Researchers performed various tests on the blood samples, and scanned for alpha-actin - a protein.
Researchers found that while almost all other variables were the same between the two groups of injured and non-injured, blood samples from injured participants contained roughly three times the level of alpha-actin.
Click To Enlarge.
Blood Samples From Injured Participants Contained
Roughly Three Times The Level Of Alpha-Actin.
This led researchers to conclude that alpha-actin is a reliable marker for muscle injury and testing for elevated alpha-actin levels can allow for better diagnosis of injury and, hopefully, better treatment.
- Antonio Martinez Amat, et al. Role of a-actin in muscle damage of injured athletes in comparison with traditional markers. Br J Sports Med 2007;41:442-446.
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