Applied Bodybuilding Research - 7-06-04!

Boarding schools for fat kids, what you can take for arthritis, what an individuals nutrition program should consist of, green tea and if it works for fat loss, exercise and depression and more...

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Obesity, the saga continues…

As childhood obesity continues to spread out of control, the state of California is putting into action a bold new plan. Instead of sending children to so-called "fat farms", and instead of spending millions of dollars on advertising campaigns that appear to be less than effective, California has decided to try a new approach: boarding schools for obese children.

The boarding schools will provide a calorie reduced diet, and emphasize physical activity and behavioral counseling.

While this concept is helpful, without similar supports in the home environment, it's likely that any benefits derived from the program will be lost when the students return to their home environments.

The bodybuilding lifestyle with its emphasis on nutrition, exercise and education is the only lifestyle that offers a permanent solution, and that will make obesity a temporary problem.

Source: United Press International.


Arthritis is a crippling condition that afflicts millions around the world. While science has advanced, and while supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin are available for over-the-counter purchase, relatively little treatment options are available from the medical community.

A study by Scottish researchers has found that administering statins to arthritis patients may offer some relief.

The study was comprised of 116 volunteers who were randomly assigned to a control or placebo group. The control group participants were given statins in addition to therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, while the placebo group was given a placebo.

Prior to administration baseline symptom severity measurements were taken, and were taken again post-statin administration. After six months of treatment with statins, the manipulation group reported a small but significant improvement in the severity of their arthritis symptoms.

This study should not be confused by bodybuilders who are familiar with so-called "myostatin" protein powders. Myostatin protein powders will not be effective for treating arthritis.

Source: United Press International

Individualized Nutrition…

There is little question that nutrition plays a key role in a successful training program. Without adequate macronutrient intake, the body will fail to adapt in response to stimulus.

But nowhere is there more confusion among athletes than when it comes to nutrition. When should I eat? What should I eat? And, how much should I eat? These are some of the questions that athletes ask when they are trying to plan an exercise-appropriate nutrition plan.

With the advance of science, we find that nutrition must be individualized. In breaking from the cookie cutter molds of times past, it is now clear that each person has individualized nutritional needs that must be met to maximize their efforts in the gym.

So, how does one determine their individual nutritional requirements?

A paper written by Canadian researchers has shown that the following procedure works best:

  1. Select a macronutrient (ie. Protein, Fat or Carbohydrates).
  2. Keep energy intake constant, manipulating one of the three macronutrients at a time
  3. Consume an excess of the macronutrient for 1 week, followed by a week of eating almost none of the macronutrient
  4. Watch for any observable physical changes
  5. Repeat the process while narrowing in on the true number

In the words of the researchers "Ideally, a range of graded levels should be fed above and below the requirement point, as this allows for a more precise definition of the requirement level."

It is similar to filling a tire with air: Too little and the tire is flat; too much and the tire bursts. By finding the middle value, the ideal state is achieved.

Many athletes go years without obtaining this data, but it doesn't have to be that way. By obtaining this data early on in your career, you can save yourself years of frustration.

Source: Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2003. 23:101-16.

Green Tea and weight loss…

It is accepted that green tea is helpful for weight loss, and for years green tea has been a standard ingredient in many weight-loss supplements. Aside from its weight loss benefits, green tea is also high in anti-oxidants, and for this reason is used for its immune-system protecting properties.

What is less well known is its role in helping to prevent rebound weight gain. Often when users cease administration of weight loss pills, the body rebounds and weight gain can occur.

A randomized, parallel, placebo-controlled study on 104 overweight and moderately obese male and female subject was conducted by Danish researchers in an attempt to determine green teas effectiveness at maintaining bodyweight after a period of green tea administration and energy restriction.

The researchers found that after a 7.5% bodyweight loss and green tea administration, green tea administration did not improve body-weight maintenance when compared with the placebo group. The researchers speculate that habitual caffeine intake may affect the effectiveness of green tea administration, and that this tolerance may be to blame for green teas inability to maintain weight loss after extended periods of reduced energy intake.

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For athletes, this suggests that all caffeine sources should be minimized or eliminated when using green tea for weight reduction.

Source: British Journal of Nutrition (2004), 91, 431-437.

Taurine and weight loss…

For years L-carnitine has been promoted as a beneficial weight loss supplement. While anecdotal evidence and research support the efficacy of L-carnitine for this purpose, the focus on L-carnitine has caused some to overlook Taurine as a supplement for weight loss.

Japanese researchers conducted a study on thirty healthy college-age students, using double-blind randomization to assign the students to a control or placebo group. Prior to the study researchers measured TC, HDL-C and plasma glucose levels in all subjects. Both groups had similar readings.

Subjects in the control group were then administered 3g of taurine per day for a period of seven weeks. Significant changes in triacylglycerol and total cholesterol levels were noted in the control group, as well as significant losses of fat body mass.

This suggests that taurine administration has a marked effect on lipid metabolism, and can therefore be beneficial to persons looking to lose body fat.

Source: Amino Acids (2004) 26:267-271.

Exercise and depression…

It has long been anodically known that exercise helps to improve mood and alleviate stress. But the exact mechanisms by which is accomplishes this feat have remained a mystery.

A recent case study done by Belgian researchers has shown that exercise does not affect adverse mental states directly, but rather through the utilization of coping mechanisms designed to sustain challenging exercise.

Exercise challenges individuals and is somewhat aversive. This aversion brings about coping mechanisms that allow the individual to sustain the activity. The researchers speculate that in exercise created aversive states are similar to the aversive states found in depressed persons, and that the coping mechanisms induced by exercise are helpful when dealing with depressed mental states.

Source: Psychology of Sport and Exercise 5 (2004) 153-167.

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