Monthly Archives: February 2013

Harris – Benedict Formula

The Harris - Benedict formula is used to determine how many calories you need each day so it's usually part of the formula found in calorie calculators. It's a good ...

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Tip 457: Lose Fat With High-Intensity Resistance Training

Lose fat by doing high-intensity resistance training. A new study from Italy shows that a metabolically intense weight training program performed to failure will help you lose fat because it burns much more energy than a traditional training program.

The term “intensity” in this case doesn’t refer to the intensity of the load, but to the workout protocol causing metabolic stress so that it favorably increases energy use in the 24 hours after the workout. Known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC, post-exercise calorie burn is often discounted by trainers and public health officials for fat loss because it requires you to work hard and push through some physical pain—it’s not easy to get that extra calorie burn, but when you do it will pay off. This tip will show you why the effort is worth it.

Researchers used weight-trained young men and had them perform one of two weight training programs: 1) a Traditional program of 4 sets to failure of 8 exercises with an intensity of 75 percent of the 1RM, or 2) a High-Intensity program of 3 sets per exercise of leg press, chest press, and pull-downs performed using an intensity of 85 percent of the 1RM lifted to failure with two subsequent 20-second rest-periods followed by additional lifts to failure.

Results showed that the following:

The Traditional program took 62 minutes, resulted in 7835 kg being lifted, and produced an elevation in blood lactate of 5.1 mmol/L post-workout. At 22 hours after exercise, this group experienced a 5 percent increase in calorie burn, increasing from an average 1901 to 1999 resting energy expenditure/day. An insignificant increase in the use of fat for fuel occurred as measured by the respiratory exchange ratio of 0.822.

The High-Intensity program took 32 minutes, resulted in 3872 kg being lifted, and produced an elevation in blood lactate of 10.5 mmol/L post-workout. At 22 hours after exercise, this group experienced a 24 percent increase in calorie burn, increasing from an average 1909 to 2362 resting energy expenditure/day. A shift to use fat for fuel occurred as measured by the respiratory exchange ratio of 0.798.

As you can see, in half the time and performing about half the volume, the participants burned significantly more calories. An increase of 452 calories in resting expenditure, which is what the High-Intensity group experienced, is not negligible and would be highly effective for producing rapid fat loss if the workout was performed 2 to 3 times a week. Take note that the 452 calories is resting expenditure and doesn’t account for any additional energy burned during the workout.

Researchers suggest the High-Intensity weight lifting protocol produces a similar “perturbation of energy homeostasis” as sprint intervals that have also been shown to significantly elevate EPOC and produce fat loss. Here’s why.

First, it appears beneficial to lift to failure and use very short rest to produce a major build up of lactate. The need to remove blood lactate—a waste product—will elevate energy expenditure.

Second, during high-intensity training, the body will shift to burn fatty acids to satisfy the high energy cost of exercise, leading to the use of fat stores for fuel. The High-Intensity protocol favorably shifted the body to use fat rather than stored glycogen for fuel, which occurs as the respiratory exchange ratio nears 0.7.

Third, though not measured in this study, it’s probable that the high metabolic stress of the workout and short rest periods elevated growth hormone, a hormone that mobilizes fat to be burned for energy.

Researchers note that an increase in EPOC is not guaranteed: Previous studies investigating EPOC show that it can be elevated by metabolically stressful training or by lifting a very high volume, neither of which are normally achieved by the average person throwing weights around in the gym. For example, scientists quantify volume by calculating the total weight lifted during a workout and have found that for trained athletes, volumes above 25,000 kg lifted in traditional workouts may be necessary to elevate EPOC.

Take away the following points:
If your goal is to strip body fat quickly, high-intensity training is ideal, but it must be programmed correctly. This method of short rest periods using moderately heavy loads lifted to failure with additional short sets to failure in a rest-pause manner is effective.

Be sure to sequence exercises so that as you become fatigued you don’t put yourself at risk of injury due to poor technique.

Sprint workouts are another effective fat loss method, especially if your weight training goal is diverse from fat loss, such as building strength or power.

Paoli, A., et al. High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training Influences Resting Energy Expenditure and Respiratory Ratio in Non-Dieting Individuals. Journal of Translational Medicine. 2012. 10(1), 237.

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Fenugreek: The Insulin-GH-Tesosterone Link

ironmanmagazine.comIt appears that fenugreek has the ability to increase the effectiveness of insulin, growth hormone and testosterone—three of your most anabolic hormones. It’s also known as trigonella foenum graecum and is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs—used to maintain respiratory and stomach health. Recently, there has been intense interest in fenugreek in the medical community as mounting data indicate that it’s an antidiabetic agent thanks to its ability to increase insulin sensitivity. Athletes are interested because fenugreek contains a number of anabolic growth agents.

For example, it contains a variety of amino acids and steroidal saponins, which are the building blocks of various steroids, including testosterone. Analysis also reveals the presence of  protodioscin, a chemical also found in the hormone DHEA, which has been shown to boost testosterone in older men.

Because of fenugreek’s ability to regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, studies suggest that it can assist in stimulating the growth of muscle.

Much of the emerging science concerning fenugreek’s anabolic capabilities has been focused on the amino acid 4-hydroxyisoleucine, a derivative of isoleucine. A growing body of evidence has shown that 4-hydroxyisoleucine improves insulin’s ability to more efficiently transport nutrients and compounds like protein, carbs, creatine and amino acids into the cells.

In addition, in exciting new research conducted at the National Products Research Institute and College of Pharmacy at Seoul National University in Korea, researchers discovered two growth hormone release stimulators in fenugreek—fenugreek saponin I and diosein—that caused 12.5 and 17.7 percent increases, respectively, in growth hormone. Those results were some of the first to demonstrate that steroidal saponins can stimulate growth hormone release from pituitary cells. GH can increase muscle mass, strength and bone development as well as enhance joint and muscle repair and fat burning.

Another compound found in fenugreek, furostanol glycoside fenusides, has shown the ability to increase the effects of testosterone. In fact, male athletes who took 600 milligrams per day of fenuside extracts for eight weeks significantly reduced bodyfat and improved muscular hardness and density, some of which was due to a 6 percent increase of circulating testosterone and up to 12 percent increases in free testosterone. The researchers attribute that to fenugreek’s ability to inhibit the activity of aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.

Fenugreek also regulates 5-alpha reductase, which accelerates testosterone’s conversion to dihydrotestosterone. DHT is linked to male pattern baldness, diminished libido, erectile dysfunction and male breast cancer, so fenugreek could help reduce or eliminate many of those negative effects.

Suggested dose: 500 to 2,000 milligrams taken in two or three divided doses daily. For best results current data suggest following a five-days-on/two-days-off cycle for eight weeks. After that stop taking it for two weeks before embarking on another cycle.



QA: Should I do pulldowns to the front or rear, and which grip is best?

ironmanmagazine.comQ: Should I do pulldowns to the front or rear, and which grip is best?

A: To the front. Regardless of the bar or grip you choose, avoid a wide grip, and don’t pull to the rear of your head. It’s an unnatural action that puts unnecessary stress on your neck, cervical vertebrae and shoulders. Pulling to the rear doesn’t improve the muscle- and strength-building values of the pulldown, but it does increase the risk of injury.

There are several bar and grip options for pulldowns. Use the one that has the most resistance over the fullest but still safe range of motion.

With a straight bar start with a shoulder-width supinated, or curl, grip, and fine-tune your hand spacing for wrist and elbow comfort. A hand spacing that’s a little closer than shoulder width may work best for the supinated grip.

For the parallel grip, a shoulder-width spacing is better than a close grip.

For the parallel and supinated grips use a hand spacing that keeps your forearms vertical—or close to vertical—during the exercise

The parallel grip usually comes with a smaller weight potential than the supinated grip. Comparing the same range of motion, you’ll need about 15 percent less weight with a parallel grip.

If you still find it uncomfortable to use a supinated grip, even after trying different hand spacings, and the bar for a shoulder-width parallel grip is unavailable, try a pronated grip using a straight bar. Take it two to three inches wider on each side than your shoulder-width grip so that your forearms are vertical at the contracted position.

—Stuart McRobert


Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new BRAWN series, Book 1: How to Build Up to 50 Pounds of Muscle the Natural Way, available from Home Gym Warehouse (800) 447-0008 or


Research: Grow More Muscle With Simplified 2-Way Workouts

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #732:
Research: Grow More Muscle With Simplified 2-Way Workouts


Research: Grow More Muscle With Simplified 2-Way Workouts

Q: You guys have opened my eyes to new ways to grow muscle. Your explanation of the myofibrils (force generation) and sarcoplasm (energy fluid) and how they both contribute to size is excellent. To build both of those fast, I want a simple, no-bells-and-whistles heavy-light program. What would you suggest?

A: Ah, the no-frills approach. It’s always good to go back to basics every so often, focusing on the force-generating myofibrils with a heavy workout and sarcoplasmic expansion with lighter DENSITY at the next…

That works so incredibly well because, as recent research from Burd, et al. found [PLoS One, 5(8). 2010], a low-load (light) higher-volume workout produces increased levels of a UNIQUE type of muscle protein synthesis than high-load, or heavy, training…

In other words, you stimulate different hypertrophic pathways with each type of training–like myofibrillar size vs. sarcoplasmic expansion. Also, new research shows that lighter-load training with volume boosts anabolic hormones, like testosterone, significantly…

One of the best ways to get ALL of those mass-building benefits is Heavy-Light. Use a standard heavy workout, and then a few days later follow with the 10×10 density-for-immensity method on light day (the poundage is light, but the last few sets will NOT feel light–trust us)…

For 10×10 you pick a weight with which you can get 20 reps–about 60 percent of your one-rep max–but you only do 10 reps. Rest 30 to 40 seconds, then do 10 more–and so on for 10 sets.

The first few sets will be easy–almost too easy. But don’t be fooled. The last few sets will be brutal, and the target muscle will be full and pumped to the max as you crash through the growth threshold.

More good news: You only do one exercise for each muscle, so the 10×10 blast only lasts about 10 minutes max. (Plenty of time left to admire your huge throbbing muscles in the mirror.)

So your "light" workout is 10×10 on ONE exercise. What about heavy day?

For your heavy workout you use simple 3-way Positions of Flexion with a pyramid on the big midrange exercise–3 sets. You follow that with a heavy set or two on the stretch move and one or two on the contracted move as well. Simple.

A complete four-days-per-week Heavy-Light program with those parameters is outlined in The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout (now only $12; see below).

To clarify, here’s how your two biceps workouts look…

Midrange: Barbell curls (pyramid), 3 x 9, 6, 3-4
Stretch: Incline curls, 1-2 x 8-10
Contracted: Concentration curls, 1-2 x 8-10

Barbell curls, 10 x 10

There are variations, which we explain in the 10×10 e-book. And we’ve structured the workout split over four days–Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday–so there is very little muscle overlap and you avoid overtraining and over-straining.

The Heavy/Light 10×10 Mass Workout is your simple size solution. 10×10 hurts but it works for a huge mass burst.

Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.

–Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout ONLY $12…
You get the all-10×10 program for a four-to-six-week max-density phase. Or try the Heavy/Light 10×10 Mass Workout that has you alternate 10×10 on only one exercise at one workout with full-range heavy Positions of Flexion at the next. It’s no frills POWER-DENSITY that will get you growing fast. You also get Vince Gironda’s 8×8 variation and more. Get your copy of The 10×10 Mass Workout for ONLY $12 HERE <==

NOTE: The official Positions-of-Flexion mass-building manual is 3D Muscle Building. Get it for only $14 HERE <==


LIMITED-TIME $14.99 to $19.99 BEST-SELLERS: We’re offering each of these at their lowest price ever to get you big and ripped by spring. Click on the title you’re interested in for more info…

1) The 4X Mass Workout–fast, simplified supersaturation training for X-treme size

2) The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout–the latest update to our original X e-book

3) The X-centric Mass Workout–the negative-accentuated training manual

4) The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout–total body transformation training

5) X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts–10 complete mass programs

6) X-traordinary Arms–includes the 3D HIT workout system with big-arms routines

7) 3D Muscle Building–the original Positions-of-Flexion mass-training manual

8) X-treme Lean—Fat-Burning and Nutrition Guide (with training too)

9) The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout

10) The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout

To follow the ITRC training program in “Train, Eat, Grow,” get a copy of the latest issue of IRON MAN.

This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
The IRON MAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Help us build the IRON MAN Research Team — Tell a friend! If you know someone who would benefit from Supplement Updates, Diet Tips and Freebies, forward them this e-zine or tell them to visit us at and click on FREE Training Newsletter.

*We DO NOT sell any subscriber e-mail addresses.

All Content (c) Copyright 2013 IRON MAN Magazine
All Rights Reserved


Tip 546: Eat Frequent Meals & Take Protein Post-Workout For Peak Muscle Gains

Eat frequent meals and take whey protein or amino acids post-workout to build muscle and strength. Research shows it is essential to eat frequently so as to achieve a steady availability of nutrients for optimal muscle and performance gains. 

In a review presented in October, 2012, at the International Conference of Strength Training in Norway, researchers describe how nutrient availability serves as a potent trigger for muscle building after both resistance and endurance training. Ingesting protein will rapidly enhance protein synthesis pathways in muscle and increase gene signaling. 

For example, researchers compared the effect of a calorie-restricted diet with a regular diet using frequent meals on muscle protein synthesis for 10 days. Participants were recreationally active men and both the calorie-restricted and regular diets provided a daily dose of 1.5 grams/kg/bodyweight of protein. 

Results showed that the group on the calorie-restricted diet experienced a 20 percent decrease in muscle protein synthesis and significantly lower gene signaling in muscle compared to the energy balance group. The calorie-restricted group lost about 1 kg of muscle mass. 

Clearly, for athletic performance and muscle building, calorie restriction, even in the presence of a moderately high protein dose, is not the best choice. Researchers suggest that a higher daily protein intake with regular 2 to 3 hour feedings providing at least 10 grams of essential amino acids at each meal could provide better fat los results without compromising muscle building. Carbs should be restricted as well.

Note that training in a glycogen depleted state was shown NOT to compromise protein synthesis or impede recovery in a study of strength-trained males doing moderately heavy strength training (80 percent of the 1RM load for 8 sets of 5 leg presses). The key is to provide adequate amino acids to the body at regular time points before and after training.

This outcome highlights that carbs are not an essential part of post-workout nutrition if your goal is dual fat loss and muscle building, and training in a glycogen-depleted state (glycogen is how carbs are stored in the body) will not compromise muscle development. If you are lean and highly insulin sensitive, taking quality carbs with protein post-workout may enhance protein synthesis due to a greater release of insulin. That said, it is not advised to go carb crazy at meals other than post-workout because this may cause persistently high insulin levels, putting you at risk of diabetes down the road. 

The take away is that with frequent meals that are high in protein, whole food-based (except post-workout when liquid is ideal) and low-carb, the twin goals of fat loss and muscle development can be achieved. With the systematic manipulation of training protocols and optimal nutrient availability you can build muscle, enhance physical capacity, and optimize body composition. 

These studies further validate why the faddish intermittent fasting is not the way to go for optimal physical performance.


Hawley, John. Optimizing Muscle Mass Through Exercise and Nutrient Availability. International Conference on Strength Training. October 2012. Oslo: Norway.

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Shut Up and Work Out

ironmanmagazine.comAccording to Rasmussen polls of likely voters, incumbent President.… Word out of the White House today regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to.… It appears Congress will seek contempt charges against … The State of Arizona and the Federal government go separate.… E.U., EBC and IMF pursue bankruptcy protection under unanimous UN… Drug cartel members fight for union and pension reforms this coming… Late report from Washington: The economy is roaring and jobs are.… Syria, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Egypt, Burundi, Russia, China and Secaucus join happy hands in drafting universal Green Peace guidelines.…

I love politics, don’t you? World and local news are a lot of fun too: drive-bys, suicide bombers (no relation), home invasions…the usual jolly stuff. Other things I enjoy: running out of toilet paper, dead rats under the house, traffic en route to the gym, loose dumbbells, bent Olympic bars, fraying cables, pimples, depression…the list goes on.

Because life is a blast, I go to the gym to toil, struggle and wrestle with the iron so that I might establish balance, restore order and regain a proper perspective; soften the blows, diminish the pain and arouse hope.

It works. Training is deliciously miserable. The first rep is the hardest, the last rep is unbearable and the reps between are loathsome and endless. And then the aches and fatigue begin, lasting for days on end.…

I’m having a bad day. Circumstances have prevented me from training this week, and frustration and gloom are seeping into my usually uplifting—might I say inspiring and awesomely informative—column. You’d think that after 50-some years of arranging and rearranging the iron, I would welcome a week off or at least accept the void like a grown-up.

I miss a workout and my pecs sag. That happen to you, or am I alone on this one? Pecs sag and the belly jiggles more than usual? These grave conditions contribute to my lack of civility and general nastiness. Loose sleeves around unpumped biceps can be downright disastrous when I’m hanging out at the 7/Eleven.

Tomorrow, after a seven-day descent into the abyss, a week in a hellish void, far too long in a vacuum of nothingness, I return to the gym to retrace my sanity, revive my body and restore my soul. The important thing to know is, I don’t need the iron. I’m free, I’m independent, I’m autonomous, I’m me.

Neat note: The menu during the hideous, unsacred interim was perfecto mundo, as they say in Lower Lotsavodka: well-prepared meat, fish, chicken, well-placed fresh vegetables and fruit, plenty of water, enough coffee, no pop or junk or excess. Did I mention Bomber Blend and a balance of supplements? Granola? Yup!

Someone said you can miss a workout sometime, but you must not eat badly at the same time. Another person said you can eat badly sometime, but you must not miss your workout at the same time. I say no cigarettes, drugs or Big Gulps.

Every time I feel like a failure, I think to myself, “At least you don’t smoke, do drugs or drink Big Gulps.”

Works for me. It’s become sort of a mantra over the years.

My plan, subject to impromptu change or spontaneous alteration: Enter gym, stand and stare. Showtime!

Without moving the head—eye rotation and peripheral vision only—check out the scene. Let the seconds tick like minutes. You’re in control. Flex the thighs, shrug the shoulders knowingly, and slowly place your hands on your hips, where your Colt is usually slung. Strange, no gun, but there’s the iron—in stacks, on racks.

Did I ever tell you about rope tucks? Remind me sometime. Very cool, or someone might say, very hot. That is where I start: RTs, 30 reps in tucks, plus 10 in seated lat-pull fashion, combined with freehand deep squats and calf stretches for leg health. From there I’ll go where my body instinctively leads—shoulders I suspect. I’m due for some dumbbell action on the 45 degree incline: front delts, upper pecs and triceps will be grateful…or not. As these are a good fight, I’ll forego supersetting and dying on the spot. Four dedicated sets of eight to 12 reps sounds daring.

I’m thinking thumbs-up curls are next cuz I notice with my various limitations and improvisations that the oafishly modified standing curl action incorporates a lot of delt, trap and torso. Maintaining balance is a large handicap for me. Stand back, broncobuster. Four sets combined with overhead pulley pushdowns (10 reps) and standard pushdowns (six reps), and I am into mounds—small mountains—of hard muscle action, accent on bi’s ’n’ tri’s.

Wrist curls and machine dips anyone? Four sets x 12 to 15 reps, just to be sociable. Why not?

Behold! A secret passage, an escape hatch, a hidden tunnel to the outer world… I must go, Igor…  I wish you God’s blessings.… DPD  (P stands for Pump.)


Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit 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.


LL 6: The Four Stages of a Relationship

There are four stages that every couple pass through if they’re going to make it long-term. Skipping or jumping one of them is not an option! In this episode, Rebecca and Jane hold a detailed discussion about these classic ‘stages’ … Continue reading

Mediterranean Diet Study and Your Heart – Results Overrated

The recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine is receiving quite the buzz this week. I've seen claims of reducing heart disease risk on blogs and media ...

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Tip 545: Take Magnesium To Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Body Composition

Take magnesium to improve insulin sensitivity and body composition. New research shows that even if you aren’t deficient in magnesium, a little extra can act as a natural “insulin sensitizer,” making your cells more receptive to insulin and improving energy use in the body.

Magnesium is the mineral of insulin sensitivity because it exerts direct positive effects on the insulin receptors in each cell in the body. Magnesium also enhances activity of enzymes involved in the body’s use of blood sugar and it regulates calcium, helping to avoid calcium overload, which causes inflammation. Finally, magnesium is a general anti-inflammatory, directly affecting oxidative stress in the blood vessels and cardiovascular system.

And magnesium stands up to clinical tests: A new randomized study performed on overweight people who did not have low magnesium found that giving them 365 mg of magnesium daily for 6 months significantly improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. The participants had lower fasting glucose and blood pressure was reduced a significant amount (systolic by 6 mm Hg and diastolic by 4 mm Hg) at the end of the study.

Even though the participants had “normal” magnesium as measured by blood serum, researchers note that this method is not ideal for assessing magnesium status. Rather, a test for red blood cell magnesium is necessary, and although these participants weren’t deficient, researchers suggest that it’s possible current reference values are not effective for identifying optimal magnesium levels for insulin sensitivity. It’s also possible that people who have a degree of insulin resistance need extra magnesium for some reason.

Additional reasons to make sure you are getting enough magnesium include the following:
•    Magnesium is necessary for optimal testosterone production.
•    It can help you sleep better by calming the sympathetic nervous system.
•    It is needed for optimal brain function and mental focus.
•    Magnesium must be present for vitamin D to function in the body and this relationship is thought to be one reason why magnesium is so important for body composition.
•    It is necessary for athletic performance because it plays a primary role in muscle contractions.

To read about magnesium supplementation, check out How I Replenish Magnesium Levels.

Mooren, F., et al. Oral Magnesium Supplementation Reduces Insulin Resistance in Non-Diabetic Subjects—A RCT. Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism. 2011. 13(3), 281-284.

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