Applied Bodybuilding Research - 04-14-09!

Learn more from these studies about olive oil, caffeine, genetics and more. Check them out.

Article Summary:
  • Olive oil's antioxidant properties can help preserve muscle tissue.
  • Caffeine doesn't actually dehydrate you as was previously thought.
  • Stretching does not actually cause a loss of strength.

  • Olive Oil And Oxidative Stress...

    Many people think that you're building muscle when you're in the gym, under a ton of weight. But this just isn't true. Truth is, when you're working out hard, giving it your all, you're breaking down muscle fuel, muscle tissue and generating harmful oxidants that can waste away your muscle unless you make recovery priority number one.

    Harmful oxidants are harmful because they oxidize your muscles, tissues and DNA, and there's research to show that oxidative stress can, in the most severe of cases, lead to cancers. Although it has been known for some time that olive oil has impressive antioxidant properties, a new study takes a look at its impressive antioxidant powers.

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    Spanish researchers point out that although olive oil contains monounsaturated fat and oleic acid, it is really the minor components of olive oil that are responsible for its antioxidant properties - components like squalene, b-sitosterol, various triterpenes and phenolic compounds like hydroxytyrosol.

    All of these compounds work together to cleanse your body of toxins like heavy metals, and the oxidants that you get from eating and from working out.

    While olive oil is a fat - and as such contains 9 calories per gram - double that of protein or carbohydrates - it's a good fat, and should be consumed in moderation - to prevent weight gain from excess calorie intake.

    While Olive Oil Is A Fat, It's A Good Fat.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Olive Oil Is A Fat,
    But It's A Good Fat.

    A word of caution, however: while olive oil can be anti-inflammatory, it can also promote inflammation if your omega-3 fatty acid intake is not sufficient. So be sure to eat olive oil to reap its benefits, but also intake enough omega-3 that you get balance and the best of all worlds.


    1. Montserrat Fit, et al. Olive oil and oxidative stress. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2007, 51, 1215 - 1224.

    Caffeine Makes You Dehydrated... What?!

    It's a piece of what would seem like common sense advice: caffeine is a diuretic and dehydrates you. We've been told this so many times by trainers and so-called experts that we've come to accept it as true. So, while many bodybuilders take caffeine prior to a workout for extra energy, they're risking their performance. Right? Wrong. It's all wrong.


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    A new study by researchers at the University of Connecticut found that people who used caffeine prior to working out did not suffer from electrolyte imbalances, did not have a reduced ability to handle heat and did not suffer from degraded exercise performance.

    In fact - get ready - they found that caffeine improves the ability to work in the heat and provides energy while also increasing your energy levels - all without making you dehydrated.

    Thermogenics And Calorie Burning: Is It The Caffeine?
    Pick up any thermogenic product and I am willing to bet that it contains caffeine. Caffeine or caffeine-containing botanicals, are often formulated into weight loss products.
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

    So go ahead and have a cup of joe or pop some caffeine pills before your workout - you'll have a great workout.


    1. ARMSTRONG, L.E., et al. Caffeine, Fluid-Electrolyte Balance, Temperature Regulation, and Exercise-Heat Tolerance. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 135Y140, 2007.

    More On Genetics And Your Workout Performance...

    We've all been told for a long time that genetics are critical for bodybuilding success - that your genes determine how much you can lift, how fast you recover and, ultimately, how much and how fast you grow. Some of us are so-called "hard-gainers", while others gain muscle easily. It's all because of our genetics, we're told. Still yet, there is a group of experts that claim that the environment determines all of these things.

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    Now, Australian researchers have authored a new study that investigates how your genes interact with the in-gym environment and have made a startling claim: the debate between genetics and environment is moot - it no longer matters.

    Instead, scientists say, your in-gym performance is influenced not by genetics or environment alone but, rather, your performance is a product of your knowledge base (what you know), your environment, your unique personal biology and your genetics.

    While it's fairly obvious that the conclusions of the study are correct, this is an important study for bodybuilders - especially for the so-called "hard gainers" that are convinced that genetics are the final word on progress, as they've been so many times told.

    Instead, this study raises the possibility that, in fact, hard-gainers simply need to learn more about how to trigger growth, or need to change their in-gym environment to increase productivity or to control for numerous other potential roadblocks to progress.

    Genetics Is Not The Only Difference Between The 2009 Mr. Puniverse Winner And Flex Lewis.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Genetics Is Not The Only Difference Between
    The 2009 Mr. Puniverse Winner And Flex Lewis.

    For the rest of us, this study shows once again that progress is possible only by learning as much we can, and then going and applying that knowledge so we work smarter instead of harder.


    1. Keith Davids, et al. Genes, Environment and Sport Performance. Sports Med 2007; 37 (11): 961-980.

    Stretching And Strength - Negative Or Positive Effect?

    There are two schools of thought on stretching: it's good for you and prevents injuries - or that it's not really needed and can, in fact, hurt your exercise performance by weakening your muscles and causing drops in strength and muscular functionality. With experts on both sides of the issue, it's sometimes hard to tell who is right.

    Importance & Dangers Of Stretching!
    It is generally accepted that stretching is important. However, there seems to be a lot of conflicting advice about how and when to stretch.
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

    A new study appearing in Sports Medicine aimed to examine the effects of stretching on strength performance by seeing how stretching affected performance on isotonic, isometric and isokinetic strength tasks, as well as on jumping performance.

    Researchers point out that although many studies show that stretching decreases strength by as much as 28%, most of the studies done on stretching have so far been done only on the lower body and that the studies used multiple stretching techniques for the same muscle groups - something that would not occur in the real-world conditions of the gym.

    Most Of The Studies Done On Stretching Have So Far Been Done Only On The Lower Body.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Most Of The Studies Done On Stretching Have So
    Far Been Done Only On The Lower Body.

    These facts, combined with other studies showing that stretching has no detrimental effects on strength, the authors conclude that stretching, in fact, does not have a negative impact on strength training while definitely helping to prevent injuries.


    1. Ercole C. Rubini, et al. The Effects of Stretching on Strength Performance. Sports Med 2007; 37 (3): 213-224.


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