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Amino acids such as glutamine, arginine and perhaps tyrosine seem to get most of the attention in sports nutrition circles. One amino acid that may be being overlooked is taurine.

Taurine is a ubiquitous non-essential amino acid found throughout the human body, similar to glutamine. It’s considered non-essential because the body can make taurine from the amino acids methionine and cysteine with the help of vitamin B6.

taurine molecule

Taurine may be non-essential and ubiquitous in the human body, but that does mean taurine does not have some potentially interesting effects that athletes may benefit from. Although taurine is listed as being non-essential, it should probably be listed as conditionally essential, which means under certain circumstances, it becomes essential to the human body.

Much of taurine’s exact role in human biology is still being elucidated, but what has been looked at is compelling. Taurine is intimately connected with cell volume, blood pressure, insulin metabolism, the ability of muscles to contract correctly and hundreds of other functions known and yet unknown.

For example, there is a steady decline in taurine levels as we age, which may lead to a host of problems. One study that rats fed taurine at 1.5% of calories found taurine supplementation blunted age-related declines in serum IGF-1, an important anabolic hormone essential to muscle growth and protein synthesis.

Another study found that supplemental taurine in aging rats corrected the agerelated decline in the ability of the rat’s muscle to contract. The study suggested that an age related decline of taurine content could play a role in the alteration of electrical and contractile properties of muscles observed during aging and that supplemental taurine corrected the decline.

Another exciting area of research for taurine is its possible role in managing diabetes and improving insulin sensitivity. Several studies in both rats and humans suggest taurine can play a role in improving several indices of diabetes, such as insulin metabolism, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, as well as others and diabetics appear to be chronically low in taurine.

taurine product

For example, one study found Taurine attenuated hypertension and improved insulin sensitivity in rats made insulin resistant by a high fructose diet. Treatment with 2% taurine put in the rats drinking water prevented the blood pressure elevation and attenuated the hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels) in fructose fed rats and prevented the large spike in glucose levels in response to an oral glucose load. The study concluded, “thus, taurine supplementation could be beneficial in circumventing metabolic alterations in insulin resistance.” Several studies have found this effect in rats fed taurine and made diabetic.

One human study looked at the ability of taurine to prevent blood platelet aggregation or “sticky” blood cells in diabetics. This is important because “sticky” blood platelets are related to the development of heart attacks and is a particular issue to diabetics. The study found that supplemental taurine made the diabetic’s blood aggregation or “stickiness” equal to that of healthy controls.

So what use does taurine have to athletes and healthy people? Well again, as is so often the case, human studies in healthy athletes are lacking, so it’s difficult or near impossible to make solid recommendations at this time. Taurine might be a great supplement to healthy athletes or it may only work in those populations who chronically lack taurine in their tissues, such as the aging, diabetics and others.

One thing is for sure, as with pretty much all amino acids, multi gram doses will probably be needed for any effect and any product that sprinkles in a few milligrams will be of little use to the buyer. It would be great if we had solid data showing some positive effects in athletes.

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tuna and cheese meal

Ingredients

6 ounce can of tuna, 1 egg white (stirred beaten), 2 tablespoons of oatmeal (USA tablespons, UK you need 4 TS), 2 tablespoons of diced onion, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, 2 teaspoons of mozarella, some salt and pepper

Preparation

Throw all the ingredients (except the mozarella) into a bowl. Heat the pan, spray with non stick spray (you can use olive oil if you want). Make 2 patties by just dumping half the mixture into each pile and sort of shape it much as you want to.Cook one side until brown (not long) then turn , when the second side is nearly done, sprinkle cheese over it. (I have used plain old cheddar cheese instead of Mozeralla and it still works fine, but Mozeralla seems better.Place under grill for about 1 minute tops to melt the cheese. You can then serve with your choice of carbs, potatoes, ovenchips/fries etc or a just a good salad

Nutritional Structure

Calories :145

Protein (g) 25.5

Carbohydrates (g) :4.5

Fat (g) : 2

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Inadequate Sleep Increases Blood Pressure
Sleeping
less than 7-8 hours per night can ruin your health and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and dia­betes. Poor sleep patterns impair meta­bolic health, which promotes abdominal obesity, increased insulin levels, poor blood sugar metabolism, and abnormal blood fats. The combination of these health problems is called the Metabolic Syndrome. The Cardia Sleep Study, conducted by sci­entists from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, found that inadequate sleep increased the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure; greater than 140/90) by 37 percent. Warning signs included snoring and daytime sleepiness. Americans are getting less sleep because they are working more to make ends meet and worry­ing about economic problems. Getting enough sleep has a positive effect on your health and the risk of disease. High blood pressure is easily treated. See your doctor if you are hav­ing sleep problems.

sleeping bodybuilder

Sleep Promotes Athletic Performance
Athletes get more colds and flu fol­lowing intense athletic competitions or periods of heavy training. This is partly due to psychological stress and inade­quate sleep, which increases the risk of upper respiratory illnesses. Athletes can improve performance and reduce the risk of illness by getting more sleep. A Stanford University study showed that tennis players who increased nightly sleep and made up for accumulated sleep deprivation showed improvement in sprint drill times, service accuracy, and hitting depth. Athletes improved by as much as 30 percent in some of the tests. The athletes attempted to sleep 10 hours per night. Sleep is a critical element for maxi­mizing athletic perform­ance

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Muscle tension and time under tension are critical for muscle pro­tein synthesis and increases in mus­cle mass and strength. Skeletal mus­cle is a highly-reactive tissue that increases in size in response to over­load, such as strength training, and atrophies in response to inactivity.

flexingResearchers from the University of Maryland, in a review of literature, summarized the effects of muscle tension and training load on muscle protein synthesis. Mechanical loading (weight training) turns on muscle protein synthesis by activating the mTOR-signaling path­way. Muscle tension also increases the movement of amino acids into muscle cells, which form the build­ing blocks for making new muscle tissue. Muscle tension also activates muscle growth factors, such as IGF-I to stimulate protein synthesis. Sensors in the muscle cell mem­branes detect muscle loading, which trigger chemical pathways that make new muscle protein.

Muscle tension, along with the availability of key amino acids and other nutrients and hormones, are key ingredients for promoting mus­cle growth.

muscles

Turkey – Super Meat

Posted: 11th April 2013 by mistermuscle in Food, Health
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Give thanks to those pilgrims for starting the wonderful tradition of Thanksgiving turkey. It just so happens that this health food disguised as meat is good year-round for weight control.

A four-ounce serving of roasted white meat turkey has 177 calories and dark meat has 211.

turkey meatSadly, many folks are still unaware of the versatility and flavor of ground turkey. Anything hamburger can do, ground turkey can do at least as well, from conventional burgers to spaghetti sauce to meat loaf.

Some ground turkey contains skin which slightly increases the fat content. If you want to keep it really lean, opt for ground breast meat. But since this has no added fat, you’ll need to add filler to make burgers or meat loaf hold together.

Four ounces of ground turkey has approximately 170 calories and nine grams of fat – about what you’d find in 2.5 teaspoons of butter or margarine. Incredibly, the same amount of regular ground beef (21% fat) has 298 calories and 23 grams of fat.

Buying turkey has become easy. It’s no longer necessary to buy a whole bird unless you want to. Ground turkey is available fresh or frozen, as are individual parts of the bird, including drumsticks, thighs, breasts and cutlets.

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An effective training method to use is the addition of chain links to a bar. The chains hang from the bar, and as the bar is lowered, the chains chainsgradually pile up on the ground effectively unloading the bar of the additional weight. For example, if you use 50lbs of chains per side on the bench press and that half the chains are on the floor in the bottom position and none of it are on the floor at the top you have an overload of 50lbs at the top of the range of motion. This allows you to increase resistance at the strongest portion of a lift, making you work hard through all the range of motion to complete the lift.

Chains are often associated with jumpstretch bands because they are used to increase the load during the concentric pchains trainingortion of the movement, as you reach stronger joint angles.

However the chains and bands differ in one very important way: the bands are actually trying to throw down the bar toward you (bench press) or throw you down (squat). So basically the bands provide an eccentric acceleration component that must be countered via muscle action.

The bands on the other hand are only added weight. The more chains are resting on the floor, the less weight is added to the bar and vice versa. However, contrary to the bands, chains don’t have that eccentric acceleration component. They simply allow you to increase the resistance during the movement.

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The huge media focus on low carb diets may have led you to believe that “the low carb lifestyle” is the proper way to get a lean, muscular physique. The truth is, carbohydrates are too important a nutrient for you to completely restrict from your diet. You will never make the gains in size and strength that you’re looking for on a low carb diet.

low carb dietTrue, low carb diets can be effective in reducing body fat. If you have ever followed a low carb diet, odds are that you probably did lose some body fat, but you’ve probably also lost valuable muscle, or at the very least, hindered your ability to gain muscle by restricting carbohydrates. Your energy levels probably suffered as well. Here’s why:

The fundamental theory behind low carb diets is that by restricting carbohydrates, the body’s preferred source of energy, it resorts to stored body fat as an energy source. This is achieved through a process known as ketosis, in which the body breaks down triglycerides to be used as a source of energy. Ketosis is not nearly as efficient as carbohydrates are for energy or glycogen replenishment. It can also result in the body using protein (amino acids) from both food and muscle tissue (gluconeogenesis) for energy. This catabolic process is not desirable because it uses the same precious amino acids you need to build muscle and actually breaks them down instead.

Later, when protein is discussed, you will learn more about these amino acids and protein’s importance. For now, please realize that athletes need adequate protein to support training, muscle growth and recovery. So, having your body cannibalize protein for energy from the foods you eat, or even worse, your “hard earned muscle”, is a catastrophic disaster for anyone looking to improve their physique or muscular performance!

Another reason why low carb diets are not conducive to your goals of increasing lean muscle mass is because they virtually shut down insulin production. As you will soon discover, although you should avoid high insulin levels, you do want keep keep insulin stable, because it’s anabolic and helps promote muscle growth.

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face massage

This is a four‐step process.

Pull hair up in a ponytail before you start so you don’t miss any parts.

1. First, prep skin by gently cleansing and exfoliating. Skip moisturizer, which may interfere with the tanner. Again, apply no creams on the face.

2. Step two: Apply under eye cream. According to major make up artists, you want the color of your skin to be lighter under the eyes; it makes you lookyounger.

3. Step three: blend a few drops of self‐tanner and equal parts moisturizer in the palm of your hand then apply over face and neck. You only want to go one shade darker than your natural color.

4. Step four: Let color develop for three hours then follow up with a sweep of bronzer on forehead, cheeks and nose ‐ areas where the sun naturally shines.

Don’t forget: Smooth remaining tanner over earlobes and upper ears. You don’t want white ears and a darker face! Wash hands thoroughly and most importantly, don’t skip the sunscreen!

Wine For Your Health

Posted: 2nd April 2013 by mistermuscle in Food, Health
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red wine glassIn this article we shall  make no distinction between red and white wine, except to say that red wine generally contains more tannin. Tannin possesses particular therapeutic properties; in particular, the procyanidin it contains helps prevent atherosclerosis, with the polyphenols also present in it having a protective effect on the artery walls.

It is only a short step from this statement to the assertions of many scientists, including Professor Masquelier, that wines rich in tannin contribute to some extent to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. A highly reputable medical survey, carried out in Britain in 1979 and bringing together evidence from eighteen countries, concluded that the death rate from heart attacks was lowest in populations which habitually drank wine (three to five times lower in France and Italy than in Northern European countries).

Wine can form a part of a normal diet, as long as reasonable limits are observed (about half a liter a day for a man, but only two thirds of this for a woman), and as long as it is consumed as late in the meal as possible, once the stomach is full of food.

In Phase I it is as well to stay away from wine if possibred winele. In Phase II it can be drunk on a daily basis without affecting your weight. However, wine consumption will need to be juggled carefully with other carbohydrate intake. I am thinking in particular of chocolate and desserts in general.

While you are in Phase I, the stage where you need to be very strict with yourself, it may prove difficult to enjoy a family occasion or a meal with friends without touching a single drop of wine. If you suddenly announce you are not drinking, others may feel awkward about it.

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This muscle-building technique should form the underlying basis for your entire workout plan. When it comes to structuring a proper approach in the gym, this is the most important overall factor, bar none.

Everyone is so obsessed with all of the specific principles in the gym (such as exercise selection, rep ranges, which days to spend in the gym, how many sets to perform etc.) that they fail to see the big picture.

Regardless of what type of approach you are taking in the gym, the underlying factor for success is progression.

Our bodies build muscle because of an adaptive response to the environment. When you go to the gym, you break down your muscle fibers by training with weights. Your body senses this as a potential threat to its survival and will react accordingly by rebuilding the damaged fibers larger and stronger in order to protect against any possible future threat.

Therefore, in order to make continual gains in muscle size and strength, you must focus on progressing in the gym from week to week in order to consistently increase the stress level.

Progression can take 2 main forms:

a) Increasing the amount of weight lifted on a specific exercise. b) Increasing the number of reps performed with a given weight on a given exercise.

If you’re able to improve on at least one of the above factors each week in the gym, your body will be given continual incentive to grow larger and stronger.

If you neglect these factors and enter the gym without a concrete plan in mind, you’ll be ignoring the very foundation of the entire muscle growth process, and your gains will surely stagnate.