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Applied Bodybuilding Research: The Latest News - 3-15-04!

Learn about the beneficial effects of creatine supplementation and women, the latest information about electrostimulation, the importance of post-exercise nutrition and much more!

Creatine and women in softball...

Creatine monohydrate is known the world over as a safe and efficacious substance. Millions of people have used it with outstanding results. The majority have also been male. One of the reasons for this trend is the perception that creatine results in being "muscle-bound."

Recently, the trend of male dominated creatine use has begun to change, albeit slowly.

A new study has examined twenty-six collegiate female softball players, and split them into two groups using random assignment. Each group was put on an exercise regimen, and each group ingested twenty grams of creatine for a one week period.

After the first week, the second group consumed three grams of creatine per day for two weeks, while the other group ingested three grams of a placebo substance for weeks three and four.

This double-blind study found that although isometric strength did not differ between groups, twenty grams of creatine drastically improved muscular torque and strength. The effects seen in females, however, were less than the effects seen in males on the same protocol.

SOURCE: Ayoama, R., Hiruma, E., Sasaki, H. Effects of creatine loading on muscular strength and endurance of female softball players. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. Vol. 43, No.4: 481-487, 2003.

Older athletes and weight training...

As humans age, muscle tissue ages and undergoes gradual but substantial qualitative, quantitative and functional changes.

For older persons in particular, muscular weakness is a concern as bone can become increasingly prone to fracture. This is even truer for persons suffering from sarcopenia.

A study examined eighteen subjects with a mean age of 74.3 and subjected them to a fourteen week weight training regiment (light intensity).

After the program, subjects were tested using various non-invasive methods and it was shown that muscle strength had improved by 19%. This study further supports the idea that weight training offers protective benefits that can improve quality of life in persons of all ages.

SOURCE: Reeves, N.D., et al. Effect of resistance training on skeletal muscle-specific force in elderly humans. Journal of Applied Physiology 96:885-892, 2004.

ES: Helpful after all!

We've all seen the advertisements on late night TV for the machine with the sticky patches that, if applied, will supposedly improve your muscle tone through electric stimulation. We've also seen the high price and mediocre results that these machines deliver. Generally, most people regard such devices as a scam.

These machines often make the claim that they can build muscle by using electrical current to force the contraction of muscle fibres. It should be fairly obvious that if you want this kind of exercise for free, a flexing session of about 20 minutes in front of your mirror will do, and you can then pay yourself the cost of the machine, in the form of a box of protein bars, or a steak dinner at the restaurant down the street.

New research, however, has shown that the line of reasoning above may be short-sighted.

A study by Japanese researchers examined eight male subjects with a mean age of 24.8 and applied stimulation electrodes (the patches) to the hamstring, quadriceps, tibialis anterior and triceps surae areas.

After the tests were complete and the data analyzed, it was found that electrical stimulation substantially enhanced energy consumption, carbohydrate oxidization and whole body glucose uptake, when subjects performed low intensity exercise.

These machines, then, would be ideal to use before contests to increase the amount of glucose taken up by muscles.

SOURCE: Hamada, T. Hayashi, T., Kimura, T., Nakao, K., Toshio, M. Electrical stimulation of human lower extremities enhances energy consumption, carbohydrate oxidization, and whole body glucose uptake. Journal of Applied Physiology, 96:911-916, 2004.

Post exercise nutrition: It is critical to your success!

Those of us who have been in the iron game for a while know the importance of post-workout nutrition. In fact, we know that nutrition alone can make, or break, a bodybuilding career.

Recent research has examined 387 healthy adult male marines, from six platoons in the Marine Corps, to test the effect of post-workout nutrition on overall immune functioning.

The results shows that the supplementation group (n=130) who used post-workout nutrition had 33% fewer medical visits, 28% fewer bacterial/viral infections, 37% joint / muscular problems, and a massive 83% fewer cases of heat exhaustion. It was also apparent from the data that the supplementation group had less muscle soreness, 24 hours post-exercise.

This study only reinforces what smart bodybuilders have known for years: Post-exercise nutrition is critical. If you are not paying attention to this aspect of your recovery strategy, you will suffer because of it.

SOURCE: Flakoll, P., Judy. T., Flinn, K., Carr, C., Flinn, S. Post exercise protein supplementation improves health and muscular soreness during basic military training in Marine recruits. Journal of Applied Physiology, 96:951-956, 2004.

Obesity: When a fat bomb goes off in your stomach, can you hear your liver scream?

More and more obesity research is being done daily. Sadly, recent reports suggest that 56% of North Americans are overweight or obese. This research is nothing more than the supply meeting the demand.

An article in the November / December edition of Nutrition Today has shown that not only are obese persons at increased risk of the traditional disease of diabetes and hypertension, but also Steatosis - non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Steatosis is a condition whereby excess body fat is deposited in the liver. These deposits can lead to liver inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis and even death.

A recent study indicated that 75% of adults who are obese showed fatty liver on ultra sonography. The saddest fact so far is that 53% of obese children have been shown to have fatty liver, and are subject to the same kinds of health problems listed above.

Bodybuilding offers freedom from obesity and its debilitating effects.

SOURCE: Coulston, MS, RD, M. New Bad News on Eating patterns, liver disease and shortened life. Nutrition Today, Vol.38, No.1. November / December, 2003. 238-241.

Oxandrolone in older bodybuilders: How effective is it?

In older individuals loss of muscle mass is common. This is due, primarily, to reductions of endogenous anabolic hormone levels.

These drops in hormone levels can lead to fatigue, atrophy, depression and sexual dysfunction.

Not surprisingly, then, many older persons have turned to HRT - Hormone replacement therapy. While some swear by HRT, others claim it has no effect. Others still, and bodybuilders in particular, will often "self-medicate" operating under the belief that they know their bodies best.

A study by a variety of researchers have examined the effectiveness of Oxandrolone on 32 healthy men, ages 60-87.

The men were divided into a placebo (n=12), and a test group (n=20) and were given a placebo, or 20mg of Oxandrolone daily, for a period of 12 weeks.

The study showed that in the men who took Oxandrolone, they experienced a loss in trunk and body fat, an increase in muscle area and strength.

This is yet more evidence that steroids are life-improving substances that should be decriminalized and available to all.

SOURCE: Schroeder, E., Zheng, L., Yarasheski, K., Qian, D., Stewart, Y., Flores, C., Martinez, C., Terk, M., Satter, F. Treatment with Oxandrolone and the durability of effects in older men. Journal of Applied Physiology. 96:1055-1062, 2004.

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