Monthly Archives: September 2012

Nutrition and Anti-inflammatory Foods

Can nutrition and the foods you eat have an impact on inflammation? Quite possibly, yes. Some foods promote conditions in your body that may make inflammation worse, while ...

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Set Goals to Grow

www.ironmanmagazine.comGoal setting is extremely important for success. As Ben Franklin famously said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

First, you need to write down specific goals, both long term and short term—don’t type them on a computer, but make it personal by using a pen and paper. Then review those goals every night before you go to bed. You need to internalize them and always keep them in your current state of awareness.

After you establish your goals, set specific and measurable ways to achieve those goals and set deadlines. The more precise you are, the better it is. For example, “I want to move up a weight class [seven kilograms] by December 1, 2012” is a specific and measurable goal. By comparison, “I want to be the biggest and strongest I can be” is worthless, as it is not specific and not measurable. If there is no deadline, you will procrastinate.

One great book on goal setting is 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman. In it the author provides practical, scientifically supported methods that will help ensure that you achieve your goals. You need to set goals that are “S.M.A.R.T,” says Wiseman, which means they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. Wiseman also advises you to tell your friends about your goals so they can help you achieve them, and to focus on how much better your life will be when you achieve your goals.

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic medalists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit   IM


Food Facts

www.ironmanmagazine.comCarrots and other orange vegetables high in beta-carotene can give the skin a healthy glow over time. According to the May ’12 Prevention, the skin eventually builds up a healthy, darker tint—no sun needed.

Water can aid in your weight-loss efforts—and not just by flushing away toxins from your body. According to the May ’12 Bottom Line Health, “People who are trying to lose weight can lose 44 percent more in 12 weeks just by drinking a glass of water before meals.”

Resveratrol, found in red wine and peanuts, appears to make carbohydrate metabolism more efficient. So, according to the November/December ’10 Well Being Journal, it can help you lose weight by “supporting healthy blood sugar levels.”

Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble compound that has been shown to help the body cope with environmental toxins and improve the function of the mitochondria, the energy structures of the cells where fat is burned.

—Becky Holman


Episode #64: Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type with Dr. Peter D’Adamo

This week The Wellness Guys interview Dr Peter D’Adamo, author of the fantastic book Eat Right For Your Blood Type. In this incredibly informative episode Dr D’Adamo shares with The Wellness Guys how your blood type and even your genetic … Continue reading

What is the best curling machine for developing the biceps?

Q: What is the best curling machine for developing the biceps?

www.ironmanmagazine.comA: If you had asked Nautilus inventor Author Jones that question when he was alive, he would have said the Compound Position Curl Machine, a contraption he invented. Jones believed the only way to achieve full contraction of the biceps was with the hand supinated—palm up—with the forearm “bent back as far as possible against the upper arm” and the upper arm “raised in relation to the torso.” So he designed a machine that enabled the user to do just that—however, it wasn’t very popular, and he discontinued production of it.

I agree with Jones in a lot of areas, but his obsession with trying to find a single-best exercise for every muscle doesn’t fly. To work all the motor unit pools of a muscle, you need to train the muscles from a variety of different angles. For example, an incline dumbbell curl is great for emphasizing the long head of the biceps, and the prone one-arm incline curl effectively works the short head of the biceps.

If you get the opportunity to visit the Poliquin Strength Institute, you’ll see that I have a wide variety of machines for training the biceps. I have machines with selectorized weight stacks attached to pulley systems and machines that work on leverage. Regarding which is best,  I would say, “The one you’re not using.” Again, variety is key for developing the maximum number of motor units that influence growth.

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit Also, see his ad on page 147.   IM


Tip 444: Gain Strength and Develop Muscle with Eccentric Training—One of The MOST Effective Training Methods to Get Results

Gain strength and develop muscle by doing eccentric-enhanced training. Focusing on the eccentric phase of your lifts is one of the MOST effective training methods to get results—and the gains are well worth the effort. It is well accepted that eccentric-enhanced training produces muscle hypertrophy, and new research tells why.

The study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise had active men perform 300 high force eccentric knee extensions and then did muscle biopsies on their quad muscles. Researchers tested the increase in satellite cells, which are considered “quiet” or dormant cells until they are activated by exercise. Once activated, satellite cells will grow, producing increases in muscle cross sectional area. The more satellite cells are activated, the more muscle growth occurs.

After the workout, the type II satellite cell content increased by 73 percent, and in mixed muscle that had type I and II fibers, satellite cell content increased by 25 percent. The type II growth was considered a robust growth, whereas the mixed muscle increase was not significant, which highlights the preferential activation of heavy eccentric training on the more powerful type II fibers.

The take away is that to grow muscle, you have much better results if you train with a moderate to heavy load and include eccentric-enhanced exercises in your program. You need to use an intensity that is heavy enough to activate the type II fibers to “kick start” muscle building. Previous studies have shown that training with heavier eccentric loads will produce significant elevations in growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which are thought to bind with the activated satellite cells to produce greater muscle growth and less muscle protein degradation.

Also, know that previous studies using lower-intensity eccentric training, or concentric-only training have not produced satellite cell activation. In the longer term, these methods would produce much smaller, slower gains in size and strength. Best results will come if you include some eccentric-enhanced training in your program and the good news is there are many ways to do so.

For example, start by increasing the time you spend on the eccentric phase of all your lifts. Instead of taking a standard 1- or 2- seconds to lower the weight, increase your eccentric tempo to 4 or 6 seconds. Other methods of eccentric-enhanced training include using special equipment like eccentric hooks with added weight that will hang on the end of a barbell and drop off when the barbell reaches the lowest point. Or, use a spotter and a greater than maximal concentric load—lower the weight by yourself and get the spotter to help you complete the up phase. Start conservatively, but studies show you are as much as 1.75 times stronger during the eccentric phase than the eccentric phase.

Cermak, N., Snijders, T., et al. Eccentric Exercise Increases Satellite Cell Content in Type II Muscle Fibers. Medicine and Science and Sports and Exercise. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

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Joints and Achy Runoff

www.ironmanmagazine.comWhen knees are aching, many people stay off their feet for relief—but that may be the opposite of what you need.

According to the February ’12 Prevention, a Duke University study found that exercise, like jogging, reduces the number of molecules that break down cartilage in joints and cause pain.

So hit the trail or treadmill, or even try some higher-rep squats.



Tip 443: Drink Coffee for Better Health and Longevity—Fat Loss Too?!

Coffee and the caffeine that the beverage contains provide a variety of health benefits that can support body composition and longevity. There has been a lot of media interest and marketing claims about using coffee for weight loss—are they too good to be true?

There is compelling evidence that coffee increases your metabolic rate so that you burn more calories, and it can help shift the body to burn fat rather than glucose for energy. In addition, we know coffee enhances the body’s defenses against reactive oxygen species, can help modulate blood sugar, and may even reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Therefore, if you really want to lose fat and maintain a lean body composition, coffee can be your energizing beverage of choice, however, it is not going to save you from a life of fatness if you are not eating right and training regularly. But, let’s see what the new research tells us.

A recent study tested the effect of dark roast compared to light roast coffee on antioxidant status and body weight in a healthy German population. Both coffees contained antioxidants, however the dark roast is high in something called N-methylpyridinium and the light roast is high in chlorogenic acids. Results showed that drinking 500 ml of dark roast coffee daily for four weeks resulted in a better antioxidant status than drinking the same amount of light roast coffee.
Participants in the dark roast group who were overweight lost an average of 2.5 kg, whereas participants who were classified as “normal weight” did not lose any weight. There was no significant weight change in the light roast group.

The drop in body weight in the dark roast group is almost certainly due to the participants eating less since researchers found that total energy intake dropped significantly during the dark roast trial. This was not a planned part of the study. Rather, the participants naturally ate 200 fewer calories a day than they did during a washout period that included no coffee. Presumably, the dark roast coffee influenced hunger and blood sugar levels, leading participants to choose to eat less.

Take away that dark roast coffee will improve your antioxidant status, which is critical for overall health and a component of a healthy metabolism. It may help suppress appetite so that you eat less, and if you pair it will a higher protein diet, you could be on your way to a lifestyle diet that would allow you to achieve optimal body composition. And since we are on the topic of coffee roasting, let’s consider the use of green coffee extract for fat loss.

One study compared the effect of giving participants a high-dose green coffee extract (1050 mg), a low-dose (700 mg), or a placebo for six weeks and found that the large dose resulted in an average 8 kg loss in body weight and a 4.4 percent drop in body fat—very impressive. The low dose and placebo produced no changes in body composition.

An analysis of all published studies on using green coffee extract for weight loss showed an average 2.47 kg drop in body weight compared to placebos. The reviewers caution that many of the studies are of poor methodological quality, but they write that using green coffee extract for weight loss to be “promising.”

The take away is that using green coffee extract and drinking dark roast coffee may help you lose fat, but coffee is not a magic weight loss solution. If your goal is long-term health and lean body composition, start by training hard and eating right, and there’s no reason not to enjoy coffee with a nice dose of caffeine pre-workout.  To read more about coffee and how it can get you ready to train, check out the tip Drink Coffee to Be Healthier and Lift More Weight.

Vinson, J., Burnham, B., et al. Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Linear Dose, Crossover Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of a Green Coffee Bean Extract in Overweight Subjects. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Obesity. 2012. 5, 21-27.

Onakpova, I., Terry, R., et al. The Use of Green Coffee Extract as a Weight Loss Supplement: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Gastroenterology Research and Practice. 2011.

Kotyczky, C., Boettler, U., et al. Dark Roast Coffee is More Effective than Light Roast Coffee in Reducing Body Weight and Restoring Red Blood Cell Vitamin E and Glutathione Concentrations in Healthy Volunteers. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 2011. 55 (10), 1582-1586.

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Put Two Inches On Your Arms in 12 Weeks—Triceps

www.ironmanmagazine.comTraining the arms can be broken primarily into triceps training and biceps training. We’ll start with the triceps because they are the larger of the two muscles groups. Finding someone with great triceps development is more difficult than finding someone with great biceps. Why?

Well, for one thing, it takes focused concentration and near-perfect form to build truly powerful and massive triceps. And let’s be honest, many people neglect their triceps in favor of the more glamorous biceps. That’s a big mistake. The three muscles that make up your triceps comprise a whopping two-thirds of the bulk of your upper arm. So, if you really want to build impressive guns, your best bet is to take your triceps training very seriously.

Now, before I unveil my routine, let’s look at the big picture. My workout schedule looks like this:


Workout frequency: two on/one off/ one on/ one off


That means I work out two days in a row, followed by one day of rest. Then I work out another day, followed by another day off and then repeat the sequence. I never train with weights more than two days in a row because I find that I build muscle faster if I allow one day in between so I get enough time to recuperate. On the day off I will do the cardio to stimulate circulation, which in turn speeds up recuperation and growth. By the way, if you’re not making steady gains with your current program, try adding a few extra rest days each week. You may actually gain more by training less. Here’s my typical bodypart schedule:


Day 1: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Day 2: Back, biceps, abs

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Quads, hamstrings, calves

Day 5: Rest

Day 6: Cycle begins again


You can adapt this schedule to fit your specific needs. For example, if you want to take the weekends off from weight training, try two on/one off/two on/two off. That way you’ll have Wednesday along with Saturday and Sunday off each week.

Now for my triceps routine. Work your triceps following chest and shoulders. That warms up your triceps and also , prefatigues them so that they can be pushed into the growth threshold with minimum work. Got it? Good. Now here come the meat and potatoes of my triceps workout:

Exercise 1: Pushdowns. After warming up, perform three sets of 10 repetitions or to failure, whichever comes first. On the last set drop the weight about 10 percent, and immediately perform another five reps without resting.

Tips: Take a palms-down grip with your thumbs over the bar. Keep your shoulders back and chest out. Fix your upper arms to the sides of your torso.

Avoid: Don’t let your wrists bend upward during, as that puts unnecessary stress on the joint. Keep your wrists straight and fixed, and don’t allow your elbows to flare out. Keep them near your sides.

Exercise 2: Close-grip bench presses. This is one of the best mass developers for the triceps. Once again, perform three sets of 10 repetitions. On the last set drop the weight and do another five reps without rest.

Tips: Using a straight or EZ-curl bar, take a grip that is six inches wide. Lower the bar slowly to your lower chest while keeping your elbows near your sides. Then push straight up to the starting position.

Avoid: Bouncing the bar off of your chest. Always maintain control during the movement. Lower slowly.

Exercise 3: Seated one-arm overhead extensions. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions. On the last set drop the weight and do another five reps without rest.

Tips: While sitting on a bench with your arm straight above you, lower the dumbbell slowly to the base of your neck. Stretch the triceps at the bottom of the movement, and then contract and return to the start position.

Avoid: Performing this movement too quickly and haphazardly. That could result in injury to the neck and head. Don’t let your wrists wobble with the weight; keep them fixed.


Please note that by training your triceps with these exercises, you effectively hit it from three different angles. In the first exercise, the triceps pushdown, your upper arm points down, parallel to the line of your torso. In the second exercise, close-grip bench presses, your upper arm is at a 90 degree angle to your torso. In the last exercise, overhead extensions, your upper arm is once again parallel to the line of your torso, except that this time, it is 180 degrees opposite the angle formed by the pushdowns.

Next month I’ll cover biceps.


Editor’s note: For information on Labrada Nutrition products, visit


Migraine Mineral

www.ironmanmagazine.comMany people suffer frequent headaches, and often they can be severe.

Migraines can be debilitating, and sometimes even over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help—but a mineral may.

According to the March ’12 Better Nutrition, “Low magnesium levels are linked to more frequent and intense migraines and possibly other types of headaches….For headache prevention, take 200 to 600 milligrams daily on an ongoing basis.”