New Blog

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http://paleastra-forum.com/ is where you can find me now.

I am in the process of transferring everything over.

 

 

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8 Reasons Every Man Should Learn a Martial Art

bio-helio

Helio Gracie

 

Thanks for find me.

http://paleastra-forum.com/ is where you can find me now.

I am in the process of transferring everything over.

 

1. Managing Fear in Order to Exhibit Confidence. There is no better way to build confidence than than to deal with and eventually manage fear. I will submit that there other ways, such as PRing a squat or jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, to deal with and manage fear. Indeed, such things can build confidence. Consider, however, in martial arts where you are competing with another man; a man who can really hurt you. Those who can stomach the initial ego bruising of understanding that they will lose and get their butt kicked will persevere. After persevering through the fear of pain, of a bruised ego, the fear of falling (as in judo), the fear of competition, you will stop being hammered as a nail. You will eventually turn into the hammer beating the nail. Confidence builds on the mats. Soon you will see that confidence displayed in all areas of your life.

2. Learn Humility. While Confidence’s yin can be thought of as humility’s yang, humility should not be thought of as submission. Understanding that there is always a bigger fish out there who may have the capability to kick your ass will give you the perspective. You shouldn’t just needlessly go out there and start shit. It is a waste of your energy to provoke issues that should not be touched. Still, if shit comes your way, going back to point 1, you’ll have the confidence to deal with it, not submit to it.

3. Improved posture are exhibited from Martial Artists. Your posture will improve and stay improved compared to those of your hunched over CPT suffering peers. Consider this recent study from the University of Leuven Belgium:

“We concluded that individuals engaging in intensive recreational sports have long-term advantages in postural control. However, even in older martial artists with years of practice in their sports, we observed considerable differences favoring the young.”

Nothing we can do about the progression a Father Time, at least for now. Rest assured though, you will have superior posture compared to that of your peers.

4. Improved Strength and Respiratory Fitness. Training, drilling and sparring day in and day out will cause your body to adapt to all of the stimuli being thrown at it. Your muscles will grow and your cardio will improve. This not only includes the short term but the long term as well. Consider the conclusion of this study from the New York Institute of Technology:

The middle-aged martial artists were more flexible in their trunk and hamstrings and had less arterial stiffness compared to the healthy sedentary controls. The flexibility component of martial art training or flexibility exercises in general may be considered as a possible intervention to reduce the effects of aging on arterial stiffness.

Notice that the middle age martial artists were compared to what is thought of as healthy but sedentary middle aged individuals.

5. You will look better naked. See above. All of those grueling drilling, training and sparring sessions will take their toll eventually. They will take their toll on the man you were before. You now have a better body composition that is more attractive to the opposite sex. Good job there slugger.

6. Martial arts will alter your thinking towards positive thoughts. Far too often, all some people ever seem to do is bitch and moan about this, that or the other. It’s Monday. Boohoo, gotta go to work. And on and on the incessant whining goes…

Or is Monday something different for you? For me, it’s the best day of the week. Monday is another great day to chase that paper. This is only a single example, but it’s an insight to how a positive mind can direct one’s future path.

7. Martial arts will keep you younger for longer. Even after reviewing points 3 and 4, there is no doubt that the practice of martial arts will keep you younger longer. More vitality, more productivity, more money and a higher libido than the average schlub out there.

8. Learning Martial Arts is Fun. After setting aside and dealing with your bruised limbs and ego, you begin to see martial arts for what they are. They are a lot of fun. It is a very exciting journey which I have been on and one I will continue to take. I will continue to hit the mats day in and day out for the improved confidence, appreciated humility, extended youth, positive attitude and mostly because it’s fun.

This post was inspired by one of Victor Pride’s initial posts at Bold & Determined: 8 Reasons why every man should lift weights. This writer lifts finds time to lift weights as well currently utilizing The Texas Method.

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Know Your Fats by Mary Enig

KnowYourFatsKnow Your Fats as the title states is the complete primer for understanding the nutrition of fats, oils and cholesterol. The book took a few reads for me to fully absorb as the book starts out with the author describing in detail the chemical composition of each fat, technically lipids. Essentially all lipids are formed by molecules called triglycerides (TG) which is glycerol molecule with three fatty acids attached. Lipids, compared to the other sources of energy, protein and carbohydrate, are extremely energy dense at nine kilocalories per gram. This is true of all fats, whether we’re talking about those so bedeviled saturates or those so praised omega threes; all fat has nine kcal per gram.   Both protein and carbohydrate, by contrast, have four kilocalories per gram. This energy density makes fat extremely easy to store for energy to be used by the body later. Stored fat isn’t very metabolically taxing for the body as the other energy sources making fat beneficial for later use, -ahem- in the fasted state.

The book goes on to describe all of the different types of fats and how they interact with the human body. Interesting things I learned is the the human body stores is that palmitic acid, a 16 carbon chain saturate, is the human body’s go to source for storing energy as it is the first fat that is created from fatty acid synthesis. As well, the human body creates quite a bit of oleic acid, the same 18 carbon mono-unsaturated fatty acid found in Olive Oil. Indeed, one thing the human body does exceedingly well is produce its own fat, both of the saturated and MUFA varieties. The human body is constantly producing different types of fat for different purposes. The only two lipids the human body can’t create are linoleic acid, popularly known as omega 6′s, and alpha-linoleic acid, popularly known as omega 3′s. Both Omega 3′s and Omega 6′s are referred to as essential fatty acids. They are the only fatty acids that cannot be produced by the human body and they both must therefore come from the diet.

Beef, Eggs, Fatty Cuts of Cheese pan fried in coconut oil. Going to town on a fatty meal.

Saturates aren’t the Culprit; synthetic trans-fats are. Dr. Enig seems to have written this book as response to all the hysteria surrounding fats, and specifically saturated fats. The author does a good job of laying the case for why the various types of fats are useful for the body. Steric acid, a saturated acid commonly found in beef, pork dairy and dark chocolate, is a well known precursor to testosterone, for example. Dr. Enig also has a lot of praise for the tropical oils, specifically coconut oil. Coconut oil, for the most part, is purely saturated fats with a little more than half of the oil being made up of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are saturates with eight to twelve carbon chains. Interesting thing to note is that human mother’s milk is mostly made up of MCTs which is why you’ll find coconut oil in many baby formulas. MCTs have many benefits for health as well that work in the prevention of certain diseases. As well, I would just note that coconut oil is extremely useful in the kitchen with its high smoke point and the stuff lasts forever.

The actual danger lurking in our food supply are the hydrogenated vegetable oils, often referred to as trans fats. Oftentimes these fats and oils are rancid, or heavily oxidized. Consuming oxidized fats will wreak havoc inside the body leading to many disease states such as cancer and heart disease. It’s best to do your best to avoid these fats, but the problem is that they are everywhere. The best way to avoid or limit your intake of transfats, as stated before, is just to avoid eating at restaurants that use vegetable oils and any pre-packaged foods. 

Dietary Fat Recommendations

The book ends with a simple recommendation which is to use a mixture of natural healthy fats in moderation. But what is moderation? Dr. Enig makes the point that fat historically has taken up about 30% of the kilocalories consumed in the American diet. If you’re looking for a hard and fast number, I like Alan Aragon‘s idea. Average out your daily fat intake to be about one half of your body weight in pounds. So a 120lb female should consume an average of 60g of fat per day or a 160lb male should consume roughly 80g of fat per day.

Summing up

This book is a no-nonsense primer on everything you wanted to know about fats. While the tone is a bit confrontational at times, it is understandable due to the anti-fat hysteria of the past few decades. Truth be told, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any type of fat even of the saturated variety, so long as you consume them within your caloric tolerance. About the only fats to avoid are the man-made synthetic transfats that have made their way throughout the food supply. Dietary fat should should take about roughly 30% of all consumed calories, or 0.5g per body weight in pounds. While saturated fats are okay to consume, strive to consume a variety of fats. Remember also that the human body does an incredibly great job of producing its own saturated fat as well as mono-unsaturated fat. The only fats that are technically necessary are omega 6s and omega 3s. So eat plenty of meat and fish, help yourself to some olive oil as a topping for the salad and don’t feel like you need to be bashful with the butter.

You can Purchases Know Your Fats by Dr. Enig here.

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Book Review: Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon

“By following the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle you are able to lose weight by using an uncomplicated and stress free style of eating that balances your fed and fasted metabolism. This allows you to reap the health and metabolic benefits of short periods of fasting, including weight loss, decreased inflammation and improved metabolic profile, all while reducing the amount of time you stress about what you are eating.” – Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat

Eat Stop Eat is perhaps the easiest dietary lifestyle to incorporate for anyone that is looking for a simple way to diet off any excess pounds permanently. The basic premise of Eat Stop Eat is to begin taking periodic breaks from eating, or intermittent fasting (IF), lasting up to twenty-four hours for best results. The book is an easy read discussing the benefits of fasting and why his style of intermittent fasting works for best for fat loss and improved body composition. With almost 340 references cited, Eat Stop Eat is the best resource out there for anyone interested in using IF as a weight loss tool.

Eat Stop Eat’s ease and simplicity comes from the idea that you really don’t need to obsess over the macronutrient composition of your diet like other programs out there have you do. Indeed, Brad makes the point that fat is the result of any unused surplus of calories no matter if they come from protein, fat or carbohydrate, a premise that I agree with. Conversely, losing weight requires that you shift the energy balance equation to favor fewer calories than the daily expenditure of what your body uses, also referred to as the metabolic rate. Simply put, losing weight requires a person to eat less. Eat Stop Eat’s simple solution to this conundrum is to take periodic 24-hour breaks from eating. Depending on your goals, you can choose how to eat, when to eat as well as when and how to fast. The suggestion is those looking to maintain weight should aim to fast once every week and those looking to cut weight should aim to fast twice – but now more than twice – per week.

While calories are important, it’s important to understand that we don’t eat calories or even macronutrients; we eat food. Therefore, Eat Stop Eat’s recommendation is to eat within your tolerance on non-fasting days by looking at what you are eating. You should pay attention to haow much your eating and not worry about how many calories are in a given food. Not having to count calories only adds to the simplicity of Eat Stop Eat.

Done correctly, a person fasting twice per week will see roughly a 15% to 25% drop in their weekly caloric intake. This is what is often referred to as the sweet spot of any fat-loss diet. Of course, this is another reason I like the Eat Stop Eat approach to fat loss which is that it is best to think in terms of weekly caloric intake instead of daily caloric intake. Far too often dieters stress that they need to cut calories every single day or their diet is absolutely ruined. Nothing is further from the truth. Dieters need to learn to be more flexible in their diets and that means taking a longer-term view of their goals. Mess up and grabbed a cookie? No problem, tomorrow is another day, you can fast then or even the day after. Just be flexible and take the long view. So maybe you don’t even have to worry about your weekly calorie or food intake, just think long term and be flexible.

Fasting Beyond Weight Loss

Eat Stop Eat also outlines the benefits of fasting beyond weight loss and improved body composition. Many of these benefits are seen with better hormonal profiles and cellular cleansing, a process referred to as autophagy. One of the hormones that receives a lot of attention in Eat Stop Eat is Growth Hormone, the same hormone that celebrities inject daily into to their backside in the hopes of staying younger. The good news is that higher levels of growth hormone can be seen in those who fast. Also, autophagy, the process by which cells empty out waste from their systems, has been shown to prevent diseases such as cancer and diseases resulting from a chronic inflammatory state. Lastly, there is also compelling evidence that those who adhere to a calorie restrictive diet or fast intermittently have longer lifespans. Essentially, you’ll look younger, die later and be leaner while doing it.

The rules of the fast are pretty simple according to Eat Stop Eat. First you have to fast or not eat. Well, duh. However, you will still need an adequate amount of fluids during your fasts. Eat Stop Eat fasting means abstaining from calorie intake. This allows and encourages water, tea and black coffee to be taken during fasting hours. Also, diet colas and even zero-calorie sports drinks are allowed as well. Zero calorie gum is also fine. Any type of sugar, cream or even milk, even the non-fat variety, is discouraged. It is best to drink your coffee or tea without any additives save for a little bit of the zero calorie sweeteners.

Exercise … Yes, It’s Still Necessary

The other lifestyle change that Eat Stop Eat encourages is resistance exercise. It is recommended that exercise three or four times per week, but again be flexible so twice is okay too. While most people, including myself, think of resistance exercise as weightlifting. Brad has been experimenting with other forms of resistance exercise including suspension training. That is to say he is using his body for resistance and not heavy iron. Really, what is important is that you put your body under some type of undue stress that progressively increases over time. This is easy with weight lifting in that all you have to do is continually increase either the load, repetitions or the frequency of the exercise. It can still be done with other activities as well, but you will have to experiment and see what works for you.

The importance of exercise is that your body hold on to any lean body mass while dieting. This is where the important distinction between weight loss and fat loss occur. When people diet they don’t necessarily want to lose weight; they want to lose fat specifically. Cutting calories through fasting will ensure that you lose weight; exercise will ensure that just about all of that weight will come from fat.

Eat Stop Eat Fating and Exercise: Tying It All Together

As previously stated, resistance is an exercise that puts undue stress on the body. Once we recover from that stress, we become stronger. The same is true with fasting. Once we recover from our fasting bout, we are leaner than we were previously as well as having an improved hormonal profile. The interesting thing about resistance exercise is that it promotes a lot of the benefits as fasting. All of the hormonal benefits, including improved growth hormone, and autophagy come from resistance exercise as well as fasting. That is a two for one punch with the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle. Make no mistake, this is a lifestyle change with its own set of unique challenges. However, if you truly desire an improved body composition, then you understand that certain habits must change and those changes cannot be temporary. Still, compared to many other programs out there Eat Stop Eat’s approach is the simplest and easy to follow. You can follow this program without thinking or stressing too much. In my opinion Eat Stop Eat is simplest way to bring about many positive changes.

To learn more about the Eat Stop Eat, you can purchase it here.

Brad Pilon’s blog can be found here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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Film Review: Klitschko

Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko are two 6ft6 sons of a Soviet Army officer growing to be two of the most successful boxers that have ever been seen in the West. The unlikely duo would go on to conquer the boxing world by winning all five major heavyweight titles between the two. As boxers they are both remarkably mature and well educated; each brother has earned a postgraduate degree. Throughout the film, both of the brothers, their trainers, the Klitschko parents, the Klitschko brothers themselves as well as former opponents such as Lenox Lewis and Chris Boyd are interviewed giving a fresh 360 perspective. Interestingly enough, while all of the Klitschkos are fluent in English, they only ever really spoke either German or Ukrainian throughout the film.

The family is quite obviously closely knit. The film makes a point of how closely knit they were when their father was called to help with the effort in Chernobyl and his subsequent bout with cancer. Luckily, the Klitschko patriarch survived and moved to Florida with his wife. As well, he would grow to see his boys become the toughest boxers the boxing world had ever seen. Their mother remains terrified of seeing her sons in the boxing ring and has even asked her sons to never compete against each other in the boxing ring. This is a promise the two sons have kept to their mother to this day.

The two brothers, always humble, look remarkably similar. As the brothers were being interviewed throughout the film, I had a hard time telling them apart. It’s been suggested that this was a trick used by the film’s German director, Sebastian Dehnhardt, in order to further demonstrate how close the brothers are to each other. Both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko make outstanding role models to any young man looking to take up a career in any martial art. Their unique fraternal bond, the dedication they show to their craft and the success emulating from their dedication is something for every man to consider emulating.

The film can’t be viewed for free on YouTube in North America, but those with Netflix or Amazon Prime can watch the film without cost as a part of their package.

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Book Review: Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

mindless

In 21st Century America, we often forget just how much variety and choice there is nowadays compared to just a few generations ago. We’ve gone from block long lines at soup kitchens during the 1930s to a Starbucks on every block today. The explosion in choice and variety has led to an explosion in calories which has led to an explosion in our waistlines. Indeed, according to Brian Wansink’s research, we make an average of two hundred food related decisions each day. Should I eat this or that? Is it “healthy” enough? What’s in the fridge? Latte or mocha? Will I eat out? Which restaurant? Mexican or Chinese? What should I have for breakfast? Do you even need breakfast? And on and on it goes.

Do you honestly believe that people living in 1930s Hooverville thought about any of these things?

We are constantly thinking about food. The many choices and calories present in today’s environment have caused us to mindlessly overeat. Of course, we aren’t always feasting to the point of feeling absolutely stuffed. Often times, we eat just slightly above our caloric requirements. Eating  just, if only slightly, above our requirements leads to slow and gradual weight gain. Make no mistake, those calories do add up causing a person to gain as much as thirty pounds in a single year. On the opposite side, when dieting, we don’t have to fast for days on end. Extreme dieting will make us feel hungry and weak. The good news, as Wansink argues, is that by changing a few habits, we can enter a caloric deficit without that much discomfort. This will reverse any unwanted weight gain, though at slower rate. The rate at which we either slightly over eat or under eat is the mindless margin.

samplepic

In order to enter the caloric deficit side of the mindless margin, the author suggests thinking of either two or three habits that you can change right now and right them down. Every day you successfully adjust your new defined habit make a check mark for that day. Even if you don’t make all three, you may make one or two. The idea is that over the long term, more habits are changed and fewer calories are consumed. Wansink admits that the changes towards a better body composition are slow and gradual, but they are doable. Simple tasks such as brown bagging your lunch, chewing gum to relieve stress and boredom to mixing soft drinks with water or iced tea for the heavy soda drinkers can be put on the task list. The key to remember is that losing weight requires changing habits. Changing habits forces us to recognize that we have limited options even in a seemingly optionless world.

Click here to check out Mindless Eating on Amazon or click here to check out the Mindless Eating website.

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Floyd Mayweather, jr. and The Money Team: Hate or Appreciate

When I think of Floyd Mayweather, jr. there is only one thing on my mind, “Damn! How do I get there?” Floyd Mayweather, jr. is currently a five time undefeated welter weight world champion in the WBA. Aside from being a tremendous boxer, Mayweather is also a tremendous promoter. Floyd Mayeather, jr. promotes all of his own fights and is able to raise substantial sums of money doing it too. According to Forbes Magazine, he is the richest athlete in the World currently valued at $105 million.

So, the question is….

Do you hate or do you appreciate?

Those who hate seem to nothing but bitch and moan. They do nothing with their lives. Why? Those who appreciate are those who do; they find a way.

Do you hate or do you appreciate?

Those who hate are embittered by envy. Those who appreciate are motivated and driven by those who do.

Do you hate or do you appreciate?

Those who hate become lazy by the time they reach mediocrity (failure). Those who appreciate have absolutely no desire for average. They will settle for nothing except the best, no matter how much effort and time is required (Success).

So take a look at the life of Floyd Mayweather, jr. and ask yourself:

Do you hate or do you appreciate?

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Book Review: The End of Overeating by David Kessler

Carrots or Carrot Cake?

In the End of Overeating, David Kessler explores the relationships between people and the food they eat. The beginning starts out rather slow with the author talking about the effects on certain foods on lab rats. What scientists discovered was that when mice were overfed their standard pellets, they tended to gain weight initially but then eventually cut back on eating and lost the weight. This was true of the obesity prone rats as well, they just gained a little more weight and took longer to shave the extra weight off. However, when all rats were fed a liquid high in both sugar and fat, they all ate uncontrollably. They all gained weight and kept it. Yet human beings are not rats. Humans don’t always respond to the same stimuli as rats. Sometimes they do, but quite often direct comparisons are tenuous at best.

One of the earlier examples the author writes about is an account of an obese couple sitting at a Chili’s which can be described as lab of sorts:

“I was sitting at Chili’s Grill & Bar in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport waiting for a late-night flight. At a nearby table a couple in their early forties was deep into a meal. The woman was overweight, with about 180 pounds on her five-foot-four-inch frame. The Southwestern Eggrolls were listed as a started course, but the enormous platter in front of her has been heaped with food. The dish was described on the menu as “smoked chicken, black beans, corn, Jalapeno Jack Cheese, Red Peppers, and Spinach wrapped inside a crispy flour tortilla” and it was served with a creamy avocado-ranch dipping sauce. Despite its name, the dish looked more like a burrito than an egg roll, an only-in-America fusion approach.”

The author goes on to describe how the woman attacked the dish with amazing vigor. I borrow such a scene from this book because these scenes are all too common across America.

The author goes on to provide another example of what can trap people. The little old lady who started Cinnabon was interviewed in the book also. She talks about her secret about how, you guessed it, to add sugar, fat and salt on top even more sugar, fat and salt into all of the doughy cinnamon into each of her products.

Sugar, fat and salt makes us eat more sugar, fat and salt which makes us eat even more sugar fat and salt. On and on it goes. Then we gain weight, we get fat, become obese and our lives become much more complicated. Throughout the book, the author brings us back to an interview he had with an executive from the food and beverage industry. He continually describes the million and one ways in which restaurants and pre-packaged foods are nothing more than dishes and bags full of sugar, fat and salt with clever names. For example, pulling a new dish off of Chili’s menu, The Grilled Chicken and Guacamole Sandwich: “Grilled fajita chicken, Fire-Grilled Corn Guacamole, peppers & onions on white Texas toast” which can be translated as “The Grilled fat, sugar, salt with even more sugar fat and salt Sandwich”.

The sugar, fat and salt phenomenon is not just limited to American chain restaurants either. It is everywhere. When you buy sugary cereal, corn chips for dipping, corn chips at the grocery store, you can bet your bottom Dollar that those foods are packed to the brim with sugar, fat and salt. Thinking of ordering pizza? Sure, but pizza is just another way to order a crap-ton more sugar, fat and salt. What about a “healthy” choice like Subway? I mean Jared just can’t be wrong. Subway is another way to pack on the sugar, fat and salt. Don’t believe me? Next time you walk into a Subway, start counting the number of fat people there. Pro tip: Any time you walk into a restaurant and see fat people, leave immediately.

In sum: American chain restaurants and pre-packaged foods suck. They will all make you overeat and get fat.

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MMA Training Is Not Enough

Be humble.

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The Quick and Dirty on Creatine

Creatine is perhaps the most researched sports and exercise supplement in the history of mankind. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found within the body made up of the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine. The liver and kidneys produce between one to two and a half grams of creatine per day for use throughout the body. Creatine can also come from the diet. Those who regularly eat either red meat or fish ingest a small amount of creatine per day.

The number of proven and purported benefits of creatine definitely makes it a must have, with few exceptions, for any semi-serious lifter or athlete. Creatine’s primary and most direct benefit is being able to re-synthesize adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short, during short and explosive bouts of exercise such as weight lifting and sprinting. ATP is the single energy currency found within all biological systems. Put simply there is more energy available to assist athletes during quick bouts of exercise. You’ll be able to lift a little bit more for another repetition or sprint just that much faster for a little bit longer. Over time and through more training bouts, you’ll be stronger than you otherwise would have been. The little things do add up.

A second proven benefit to creatine usage is its ability to act as a buffer changes in muscle acidosis and spare glycogen during short bouts of exercise. This will allow muscles to endure just a little more pain before fatigue sets in. Beta-alanine, sometimes referred to as Carnosine, has been proven to demonstrate this same benefit. Although, why supplement BA if you’re already using creatine? Something to think about.

A third benefit that is still under investigation is that creatine supplementation in conjunction with regular weight lifting appears to increase the amount of satellite cells around the muscles. Satellite cells, essentially nothing more than a single nucleus, are cells that lie dormant around muscle tissues and spring into action when stress is affecting the muscle. When called upon by stimuli from weight-lifting they wake up, grow and become apart of the muscle tissue. The mechanism by which this is thought to occur is that creatine increases the amount of water into the muscles which send anabolic signalling throughout the body. This signalling is what causes the body to create more satellite cells. Of course, those cells are worthless if they are just sitting there. Driving the point home, you need to wake those cells up by lifting weights. As more and more satellite cells are woken up, the muscle becomes stronger and stronger.

Outside of weight-lifting and sprinting, creatine has a large number of benefits for mixed sports for reasons which should be obvious. Basketball players will have more explosive sprints and will be able to sprint more often with less fatigue. Same with football players. Linemen will be able to explode off the ball quicker and with more power. Those who spar MMA know all too well that during each sparring bout, say for five minutes, could always use just a little more intensity. The one area where creatine supplementation seems to be inappropriate is for endurance sports. The primary reason is that creatine increases water weight by anywhere from 2.5 to 5 pounds. The extra weight is thought to slow down any long-distance runners or swimmers. Although there is one study suggesting that creatine reduced the amount of soreness and inflammation after a 30km run. Quicker recovery times from creatine supplementation may positively influence performance for long-distance aerobic activities over the long-term.

There are some concerns and controversies with creatine as with anything else. The first concern is with creatine non-responders. These people for whatever reason are unable to derive any benefit from creatine supplementation. You’ll know if you’re a non-responder if you don’t gain any weight from the initial loading discussed briefly below. If after the initial load, you don’t see a gain of about 2 to five pounds, then you should stop using it as the stuff is worthless to you. A second concern is that of renal damage. As the kidneys produce a lot of the creatine metabolites, it is thought that creatine may cause undue stress on the kidneys. To this day, no toxicity has been observed. In fact, one study on college football players showed absolutely no damage to the kidneys with long-term creatine usage for  periods lasting up to  5.6 years.  A final concern is during the loading period. Creatine loading has been shown to induce both muscle cramps and upset stomach in some people. The solution is a simple one. Just slow down the loading phase.

Creatine Application, Loading and Maintance

Before laying out the instructions on creatine application, there are some things to be understood with who you purchase creatine with. First, there are stores which claim that their version of creatine won’t add weight. Unfortunately, the mechanism with which creatine functions requires added water. So anyone telling you that their version of creatine works without the added water gain is either lying or they have no clue what they are talking about. Second, in just about every case, it is always better to buy supplements, including protein powder, from an online warehouse, as they typically offer superior products at better prices. Other than that, I’ll trust that the reader knows the best places to shop for their creatine.

The application of creatine requires a loading phase followed by maintenance phase. The loading phase is complete once you’ve ingested 100g, roughly 12.5 tablespoons, and the maintenance phase requires a daily supplement of 3 to 5g, or 1.5 to 2 teaspoons per day. Most people like to spend the first five days loading up with creatine by taking 20g, or 2.5 tablespoons, per day. Although, if upset stomach or muscle cramps are a concern you may wish to slow down the loading phase to 10g, or 1.25 tablespoons per day. You may also just skip the loading phase completely and start off at maintenance taking 3 to 5g per day. Just know that it will take anywhere from twenty to thirty days to fully load on creatine going that route. Lastly, it is best to consume creatine with protein and carbohydrate as the insulin spike will help shuttle the creatine into the muscles. In my experience, taking creatine with milk works best. Milk has a unique blend of fast acting and slow digesting protein as well as carbohydrates to ensure proper delivery. The nice blend of electrolytes in milk will help to relieve any relieve any cramping concerns as well.

Summing Up

Creatine has been shown to demonstrate a wide range of benefits for just about all athletes. The limiting concern are those that don’t respond to creatine supplementation. There have been a few concerns of toxicity through continued usage. Those concerns just don’t seem to be borne out by the literature, however. If there is a study demonstrating any type of toxicity related to creatine supplementation, I haven’t seen it. Creatine is a naturally occuring substance produced by the body and can come in through the diet. Although in order to match the levels required by supplementation you would have to eat twenty pounds of steak each day just to reach maintenance levels. For that reason, supplementing with creatine should be considered by those who wish to improve performance.

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