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Train Hard, Stay Healthy

Methylsulfonylmethane, better known as MSM, has long been used by athletes for its ability to promote joint health. A new study, published in the Journal Of Sports Medicine, shows that supplementing with MSM can quench post-workout inflammation that might otherwise keep you out of the gym. In the study, trained subjects were given three grams of OptiMSM, a patented form of MSM, for four weeks. They then performed 100 eccentric knee extensions in order to get a massive inflammation response.
After testing the blood for markers of inflammation, scientists found that the group who supplemented with OptiMSM had a significantly dampened inflammation response compared to the group who took a placebo. The authors of the study suggest that this indicates a reduction in post-training suppression of the immune system that comes with intense training, leaving the user less likely to get sick and with more cellular resources to train hard on consecutive day.

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Omega Man

How fish oil supplements can promote growth and combat crippling muscle soreness
By George L. Redmon, PhD, ND
 
PQ: “These fatty acids decrease exercise-induced elevation of cortisol, known as the muscle-wasting hormone.”
“Our research demonstrates that 3,000 mg·d-1 omega-3 fatty acid supplementation minimizes the severe, delayed-onset muscle soreness that results from strenuous eccentric strength exercise. This information has obvious relevance to athletic populations but also to other groups such as physical therapy patients and newly admitted cardiac rehabilitation patients, as muscle soreness, if left unchecked, can slow the progress in adapting to a new exercise program.”
—Doisy College of Health Sciences, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Saint Louis University
 
Over the last decade, the list of products and foodstuffs that help improve muscle performance and assist individuals engaged in a variety of athletic endeavors recover more efficiently have skyrocketed. Some of those well-known products are arginine, beta-alanine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), carnosine, casein protein, citrulline malate, creatine, glutamine, leucine, whey protein, as well as various antioxidants ( N-acetylcysteine-NAC, resveratrol, vitamin E, vitamin C). Despite these heavy hitters, one of the most underutilized and underpublicized recovery agents that is gaining more attention is omega-3 fatty acids. Best known for their ability to reduce the risk factors associated with heart disease, which is based on research conducted by two Danish scientists in 1978. These scientists discovered that Greenland Eskimos had less coronary heart disease than Americans, Europeans, and even present-day Japanese in spite of existing on a diet predominantly composed of fatty fish. Today, it is now a widely known fact that omega-3 fish oils comprise exceedingly high amounts of polyunsaturated fats called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that play a major role in maintaining heart health. In 2002, following years of conclusive data and a mountain of established research findings, the American Heart

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Just Say NO

Get the ultimate muscle pump with these proven nitric oxide boosters.
By Jenevieve Roper, PhD, CSCS, CISSN, SFN
 
Let’s face it, one of the best things that happens in the gym is about mid-workout when you see that sick muscle pump in your arms. You know, when your veins are popping and you look super shredded because you’re so vascular. I know I get a little excited when that happens to me. There is a specific reason for this effect and an even better reason to have it happen all the time.
When you work out, your body releases a series of hormones, one of which is nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide resides in the endothelium, which is a thin layer of special cells that surrounds smooth muscle vessels (arteries). When certain hormones attach to specific receptors, NO gets released and acts on the arteries to reduce vascular tone, causing the blood vessels to dilate and allow for increased blood flow. This vascular dilation increases the flow of substrates, or fuel, to the muscle, which can help improve your performance in the gym by reducing fatigue.
While there are many ingredients that claim to boost NO, we went through the research and found a few of our favorite ingredients that we think will keep your muscles pumping and make your gym session one for the ages.

Arginine
Arginine is an amino acid found in the diet that directly produces NO by increasing the enzymes that make NO. It is metabolized from citrulline and plays an important role in immune function, cell division, and the release of hormones, among other things. It is also necessary for the synthesis of creatine and facilitates mTOR signaling and activation, which is one of the main pathways for protein synthesis. It has been shown to improve nitric oxide levels; however, the

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IM Ask Us Anything #2

Expert advice for over-40 athletes about training, supplementation, nutrition, hormones, and more.
By Jay Campbell and Jim Brown
 
Chris: Are there any benefits to doing cardio sessions immediately after my strength training as opposed to one single 60-minute cardio-only session? My goal is fat loss.
Overall, if you get cardio in, it will add to your calorie deficit, ultimately leading to fat loss. There are a couple of things to consider. If you start cardio with glucose in the bloodstream, you must train through it to get into burning fat. If you do fasted cardio, you are cutting through a little time to get into fat-burning mode (when waking up) due to lower blood sugar (reduced insulin signal), as your body will burn fat preferentially. This assumes you’re not doing high-intensity exercise (like intervals), which demand glucose, forcing your body to break down proteins to accommodate the energy demand. We personally like to perform 15- to 20-minute cardio sessions post-weight training. We have always felt this helps recovery and keeps metabolism elevated, in addition to managing body-fat levels. When we are dieting, we will add another 30-minute session either before bed or fasted upon waking.
 

 
Sam: Please comment on the shortcomings of a traditional 5×5 program for older individuals.
For strength alone it can be effective; however, for muscular hypertrophy … not so much. If we’re talking about an older person, 38 and above, the tendons and ligaments just aren’t as pliable. You also don’t possess the same amount of synovial fluid in your joint capsules that you had in your late teens and twenties. What this means is that subjecting those same tendons to heavy loads isn’t the best choice. Taking these factors into account, it’s why we have always recommended a higher rep range for an aging athlete. If you’re an individual whose

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Protein Trends

The latest anabolic innovations to your favorite supplement.
By Adam M. Gonzalez, PhD, CSCS, CISSN
 
Protein powder continues to be one of the most effective and well-established supplements for building muscle, burning fat, and improving overall health. Consumer demand and painstaking research has lead to several innovations in the last few years. Some modest tweaks simply reflect the attitude of the buyer and a desire for convenience, while other developments represent years of scientific discovery and hard-earned lessons from the trenches. Together, these new innovations in the protein-powder market are a good indicator of the future of sports supplements.
Native Whey Proteins
All proteins start as long strands of amino acids constructed into highly specific three-dimensional shapes. A protein in its native state has a properly folded structure and the protein integrity is fully conserved. This is in contrast to the denatured state, in which the structure is disrupted and the strands of amino acids begin to unravel. Most whey protein powders undergo two processes of filtration and pasteurization. Native whey protein eliminates the second filtration process in effort to provide the pure native proteins from milk.
Several high-quality whey protein supplements are now manufactured as primary products of milk rather than as a by-product of cheese manufacturing. Native whey protein comes from milk rather than cheese. The filtration process can affect protein structure by altering the molecular interactions in the native proteins, which could potentially alter the digestibility of the protein. All whey protein sold in the United States needs to first be pasteurized, which means the whey protein will be exposed to a level of heat that may cause changes in some of the proteins. However, native whey only goes through one high-heat pasteurization process (other types of protein are pasteurized twice). All of the remaining processing steps to native whey proteins are

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