Monthly Archives: May 2012

New York City Mayor Plans to Ban Big Soda

New York City often takes the lead on health and diet issues. They were the first U.S. city to ban trans fats and to require chain restaurants to display the ...

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raisinsDo you like raisins? I do. They're easy to store and they add a little sweetness to my morning oatmeal, or maybe my lunch-time salad. Did you know they were ...

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Summer Salads!

The days are getting warm here in the northern hemisphere and as spring turns into a hot summer, many of us will be wanting cooler foods. A salad with ...

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Episode #46: Your Questions Answered

The Wellness Guys answer your questions from iTunes, Facebook, Twitter and email. The Wellness Guys get an enormous amount of questions through all forms of social media every single week and not only do they answer them all in person they … Continue reading

Low Volume Training: Getting The Most Out Of Every Set

The following workout is a short, low volume training back and shoulders session aimed at adding muscle.  To be very clear, as with all workouts, it is crucially important to contextualise what you are about to read.  This is a session that followed two very high volume back and shoulders sessions, Read more . . .

Related posts:

  1. Tips to lose fat and get lean (6): Lift weights
  2. Cramping Calves and Body Part Splits!
  3. Advanced Shoulder Workouts!

Tip 353: Improve Lower Body Flexibility and Jump Higher with Eccentric Training

Improve lower body flexibility and jump higher by doing eccentric training. Eccentric training in which a muscle lengthens while producing tension, is excellent for building strength and it is transferable to many sports. New research shows it is more effective for increasing flexibility than a static stretching protocol.

Optimal flexibility is necessary to prevent injury and to be able to perform many traditional training exercises correctly. Plus, lack of mobility in the hip flexors and ankles can make you a weak jumper because it’s been shown to cause faulty jumping mechanics . Increasing range of motion at these joints can increase the motor units used during explosive hip extension, leading to increased vertical jump height.

If your deep squat, deadlift, power clean, or front squat technique suffer due to poor flexibility in the ankles, hips, shoulders, or wrists, you won’t be able to get the most out of your training—and you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Eccentric training is the solution.

A new analysis in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed six studies that looked at the effect of eccentric lower body training programs on flexibility. All six studies produced clinically significant increases in flexibility in the ankle and hip joints after participants performed eccentric training programs that spanned 6 to 14 weeks. For example, at the hamstring, a 6-week eccentric program increased joint ROM increased by as much as 13 degrees. A 14-week eccentric training program increased hip ROM by an average of 22 percent. 

Researchers suggest the reason eccentric training is so effective at increasing flexibility and joint ROM is that it results in the addition of sarcomeres in series within the muscle, which increases the joint angle at which peak torque is generated. Remember that sarcomeres are the basic unit of a muscle that make it contract. More sarcomeres means a longer muscle fascicle length. In the studies reviewed, fascicle length was found to increase significantly in the hamstring, calf, and quad.

There’s no downside to including eccentric training in your program (besides soreness afterwards) since it will help you maintain or increase flexibility , while making you stronger. It’s also been shown to improve neuromuscular control, which is good for athletes and the general population needing to perform “functional” movements.

If you are new to eccentric training, I suggest you begin by manipulating tempo to perform eccentric-enhanced lifts. You don’t need to use extra heavy eccentric loads or special devices such as eccentric hooks, bands, or chains. Just start by performing the eccentric phase of your lift on a 4-second count and the concentric phase on a 1-second count. This can be varied to use a longer eccentric phase and an explosive concentric motion.

O’Sullivan, K., McAuliffe, S., et al. The Effects of Eccentric Graining on Lower Limb Flexibility: A Review. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.


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The Muscle-Building Joy of Soy

Soy protein has been around since about the time Jesse Owens was kicking some major German ass in Berlin, at the ’36 Olympic Games. Yes, indeed, a long time. When I think of soy, edamame comes to mind. I’m not really a heavy soy consumer, but then again, I don’t drink milk either. That said, what’s the data on soy? It may not be as good as whey protein, but then again, what protein is?

The data on soy is actually quite intriguing. Recently, scientists determined the influence of soy protein intake and weight training on resting energy expenditure in postmenopausal women. The 160-week study divided women into four groups: G1, soy protein plus exercise; G2, placebo plus exercise; G3, soy protein and no exercise; and G4, placebo and no exercise. The subjects got 25 grams of soy per day, and the exercisers performed a standard weight-training regimen.

Significant increases in metabolic rate—i.e., resting energy expenditure—were detected in G1 (158 kcal/day, 17 percent) and G2 (110 kcal/day, 9 percent), whereas a 4 percent decrease was detected in G4. Thus, soy protein coupled with weight training can further boost metabolism.1

Another study compared soy vs. whey protein bars. Scientists measured lean body mass in men enrolled in a college weight-training class who were given soy or whey protein bars (33 grams of protein per day) for nine weeks. Both protein groups showed a gain in lean body mass, but the training-only group did not. What’s interesting and rather odd is that the whey and training-only groups showed a potentially harmful posttraining effect on two antioxidant-related parameters, but the soy group did not. So in essence, both bars promoted a lean-body-mass gain, but the soy had the added antioxidant benefits.2

In fact, another study found that soy protein, but not milk protein, supplementation improves the lipid profile of healthy adults.3 Furthermore, muscle protein synthesis was not different between casein, a milk protein and soy.4

So the moral of the story is that soy can help build lean body mass and give you some health benefits to boot!

Editor’s note: Jose Antonio, Ph.D., is the CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (; also check out his site


1 Trevisan, M.C., et al. (2010). Influence of soy protein intake and weight training on the resting energy expenditure of postmenopausal women. Rev Assoc Med Bras. 56(5):572-8.

2 Brown, E.C., et al. (2004). Soy versus whey protein bars: effects on exercise training impact on lean body mass and antioxidant status. Nutr J. 3:22.

3 Wofford, M.R., et al. (2001). Effect of soy and milk protein supplementation on serum lipid levels: a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. In press.

4 Luiking, Y.C., et al. (2011). Differential metabolic effects of casein and soy protein meals on skeletal muscle in healthy volunteers. Clin Nutr. 30(1):65-72.



Carnitine – Diet or Supplement?

Your body needs carnitine for energy production, especially in your muscles, but does taking carnitine supplements give you more energy or aid weight loss? Probably not. And you don't really ...

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Tip 352: Take DHA-Rich Fish Oil For a Healthier Gut: Make Your Brain Work Better Too

Take DHA-rich fish oil to improve your gut health and improve your brain function. Research shows that the DHA-rich omega-3 fatty acid that is found in fish oil will kill dangerous bacteria that infects the gut. Anyone whose taken my BioSignature course knows that an unhealthy gut will lead to poor brain function.

Heliobactor pylori is an unhealthy bacteria that is extremely common, infecting the gastrointestinal tract, and causing ulcers and stomach cancer. It normally requires an intense antibiotic regimen to cure, but new drug-resistant strains of H. pylori have developed, making new treatment strategies necessary. Plus, there are severe side effects from antibiotictreatment, people tend to comply poorly, the medication is expensive, and reinfection is common.

A new study shows that a large DHA-rich fish oil supplement can help cure H. pylori, while improving overall gut health. The study tested the effect of standard antibiotic therapy, DHA therapy, or a combination of the two on H. pylori infection in the gut of mice. Results showed that the combination therapy worked best, completing eradicating the bacteria The antibiotic therapy was more effective than the DHA, but just taking the DHA cured 50 percent of the mice of H. pylori.

Researchers suggest that a large DHA dose should be taken all the time because of its antibacterial properties. That way, your body will be able to kill all pathogenic bacteria before they become a problem. Simply taking DHA may not be sufficient if you already have a problem with H. pylori, but it can support the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy. Additionally, in this study, results showed that the mice treated with just DHA had less inflammation in the gut and stomach than a control group that also had H. pylori, indicating that DHA can protect gut health, while helping eradicate dangerous bacteria.

Taking DHA will also improve brain function because having bacterial pathogens in the gut will impede brain function by inhibiting the healthy production of chemical transmitters. DHA is also a natural component of the human brain and it helps maintain the structural integrity of cell membranes. If you don’t have enough DHA in your brain, cognitive function and memory will be poor, while the whole nervous system will not be able to perform at its best.
This study doesn’t suggest a DHA dose, but other studies have shown cognitive benefits from 3 grams a day. This way you’ll ensure increased blood flow to the brain and support the antibiotic effect in the gut.  It wouldn’t be a bad thing to take larger quantities—I’ve seen the most dramatic fat loss on a high fish oil dose of 1 to 1.5 grams of fish oil per percent of body fat per day.


Correia, M., Michel, V., et al. Docosahexaenoic Acid Inhibits Helicobacter Pylori Growth In Vitro and Mice Gastric Mucosa Colonization. PLOS One. 2012. 7(4), e35072.

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Rise Up, Lift Weights, Be Strong


’m at that point in my training where I don’t know if I’m building myself up or wearing myself out. Am I enhancing my life with the stroke of the iron, or am I subjecting it to excessive overload to serve my incurable and wanting ego? Swell! After 55 years at the forceful end of a dumbbell, I’ve become one (a dumbbell, that is, not the Zen rendition of the catastrophe). Conditioning and physical fitness, applaudable goals, have never been my motives. They have been accidental byproducts in my scrunch-faced quest to become Godzillic.

Why would I think anything has changed? Because I’m older, I’ve grown up? Not. Insomuch as I cannot remember where I keep the dang weights, what difference does it make? I don’t think so! I’m certain to wind up like those guys who say, “When I go, they’ll have to bury me with dumbbells clutched in my grimy fists.” Tough ole buzzard! But wait.… I said that in a newsletter in the spring of 2005. It was the same issue in which I asked the reader to choose his single favorite word to describe his most desired condition, offering a list of one dozen possibilities: Thick, Huge, Ripped, Sliced, Gargantuan, Beastly, Absurd, Colossal, Enormous, Ridiculous, Svelte or Slick. Nasty, Creepy and Disgusting were summarily ruled out.

Yeah, the good old days.… Beastly prevailed, by the way.

Today, I dragged myself to the gym, made my way up the rear staircase (getting creaky—me and the staircase) and plopped down on the closest bench. A shadow in the far corner called out and waved. I wasn’t alone. The place looked good—well-used, with everything in order. I rummaged through the ugliest gym bag in the world and pulled out my wraps. They’re pathetic, but they do the job. After a slug from the jug, I arose and sauntered—PC  for stumbled—toward the weight rack.

Halfway there I noticed I didn’t feel much like walking, and supersetting sounded complicated. It was one of those days, bombers. “Can we go home now?” Not exactly. Instead, I took a seat at the Smith press and pondered my future, the next 75 minutes of which was dedicated to lifting weights and getting beastly.

I decided to break several laws of the universe and perform the next 10 sets there at the Smith press: a warmup set of 15 reps followed by 12, 10, eight, seven, six, five, four, three and two thoughtful, forceful reps with ever-so-loving increases in weight along the way. It felt great. I sat, pressed to the max and arose (I like the word arose. Say it out loud: Arose. See what I mean?). I added the appropriate weight, sat, focused and pressed again. How cool is that? No walking across the gym floor, no supersetting, no confusion, no, like, which exercise is next, where am I? Just sit and press. It felt almost lazy.

I fell asleep. Just kidding.

I endured no pain, just some grief from the elbows, but those cranky critters complain when I play solitaire and do crossword puzzles. The pump wasn’t anything to write home about, but then, the last time I wrote home about my pump, stamps were 13 cents.

Pressing complete, I shuffled off to the seated lat row machine for some heart-pounding, back-blasting, torso-tormenting and biceps-bursting tugging.

Yeah, whatever!

Seated lat rows can be done politely or they can be done viciously. Having been around for a few winters, I’ve discovered a way to do both at once: Oxygenize sufficiently, reach forward and grasp your favorite handle decisively, set your feet firmly and assume resistance on the cables. You’re in position and ready to go. Can you feel the fire?

Your job isn’t simply to pull, contract and release, again and again till you can’t anymore, oomph. That’s for muttonheads. Your duty, mission, inspiration and delight is to engage the body and mind from toe to cerebral cortex. Get this: I begin in the seated upright position, back slightly arched, knees comfortably bent and arms fully forward. Power and force are supremely evident in every fraction of my flexed being. The static hold suggests the joy of the muscle involvement before me. At the right instant, I release my tight posture and lean forward, enabling the elaborate system of sinews and tendons to energize and engage, extend and contract.

Attention, sensation, muscle understanding and instinct guide the unfolding repetitions. The focused full-forward position demands all the back has to offer, erectors to the sweeping lat formation. The torso, the gut, the midsection, the trunk regions are in there for the heavy haul.

The slow, steady and focused pull (not a quick, abrupt and thoughtless yank) sends a series of muscle-building sensations and messages up the forearms and biceps and into the upper back and ear lobes. You do not want to miss these sensational sensations, painful as they might be to lesser individuals. Be there from start to finish, extension to contraction, smile to grin.

I did five crucial, critical sets of 10 reps, eight reps, six reps, four reps and three reps with adorably tormenting increments in weight along the way. I was beaming.

By now I was significantly pressed and adequately pulled, yet something was missing to the left and the right. I needed to stretch this way and that. I grabbed a pair of 25s (you laugh, you die), positioned myself on a flat bench and did six stiff-arm flyes to the sides of my quivering body, four similar actions 45 degrees head-ward and four repetitions straight in line with my torso. I was hurting good. Before I released the dainty, delicate dumbbells, I did four final reps like heavy flat presses—cuz by now, they were.

I sat up, gasped. Gee, 20 reps. Burn! Pump! I did five sets, the last three of which reminded me of trips to the dentist when I was a kid.

That’s 20 sets total, girls. Puny for a grown man, so I did four sets of wrist curls, 10 to 12 reps,. just to be antagonistic and antithetical. It’s blowin’ in the wind.

Can we go home now?

After you eat your vegetables!

It always somethin’… the Bomber

Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit www.Dave and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.