Q: I’m 39 and want to get back to how I used to look in college. I was thinking about taking OxyElite Pro to help burn fat. Would you recommend it? Also, do natural testosterone products work? I need energy in more ways than one and want to add a little muscle.
A: OxyElite Pro by USPlabs is a unique and exciting fat metabolizer that naturally helps to speed up metabolism and improve energy output while oxidizing fat. The ingredients found in OxyElite Pro have not only been shown to be powerful antioxidants, but also have strong anti-catabolic properties that can help you maintain muscle while working to increase your body’s fat-burning ability.
There are many great products out there designed to increase your body’s own testosterone levels. I’m a very big believer in Tribulus terrestris, a natural herb that stimulates luteinizing hormone (LH) production from the anterior pituitary gland, which in turn stimulates testosterone production.
Research has shown that tribulus can enhance free testosterone levels in healthy subjects by up to 40%, which is great for muscle building as well as improving the libido. Recommended dosing is about 750–1,500 mg per day in divided doses, taken first thing in the morning and one hour before working out.
A new product by PES called Erase Pro will soon be available in GNC stores. Erase Pro modulates your body’s natural hormone levels to help improve your testosterone-to-estrogen and testosterone-to-cortisol ratios. This mechanism helps put your body into a less catabolic (muscle breakdown) state as it naturally revs you up into an anabolic (muscle-building) state. This leads to more lean mass and faster recovery, while it indirectly supports the decrease of fat storage and helps increase libido. Users of Erase Pro say they notice a “drying out” and hardening effect, resulting in an increase in vascularity and definition.
Erase Pro is made with Androsta-3,5-diene-7,17-dione (also known as 3-deoxy-7-oxo-DHEA), which helps naturally increase your own testosterone production while suppressing estrogen and cortisol levels. Erase Pro is natural compound that is a metabolite of DHEA that already exists in the body.
Remember, there are no silver bullets when it comes to muscle building. Be patient and don’t fall for dangerous shortcuts. A quality natural testosterone booster needs to be taken consistently over a long period of time in order for you to feel and see the benefits. Before taking any supplement, always consult with your health-care professional.
Q: I recently pulled my right elbow tendon doing heavy close-grip bench presses. It’s been sore and tight. I’ve had to quit training chest, triceps and shoulders. It even hurts a little when I do biceps curls. I know I should rest, but I have a bodybuilding contest in 16 weeks. Is there a way to train around this injury, and can any supplements help?
A: For any joint injury, rest is always the best medicine. I know; I’ve been there. I’ve torn my elbow tendon in the past.
First, talk with an orthopedic doctor to determine the severity of your injury and ask if it’s OK if you train as long as you take proper precautions. You certainly don’t want to make it worse. If given the go-ahead, there are a few ways to train without putting too much undue stress on your elbow while still working your pecs, shoulders and triceps. Check out the workout below.
Here are a few tips to remember.
• Begin with light to moderate weight using either machines, cables or free weights. Slightly modify your arm position so it allows you to exercise around the injury while your elbow continues to heal.
• When training your chest, shoulder and triceps, seriously focus on flexing and squeezing the muscle groups, but this time keep your arms slightly bent or fully extended, depending on how your elbow joint feels.
• Perform each exercise with modest weight and work for a good muscle burn and pump without putting too much stress on the elbow joint.
• On your first few reps, concentrate on keeping your rep speed slow. On the last few reps of each set, crank them out slightly faster but continue to squeeze and flex the muscles again, working for a pump and burn.
• Try to lightly stretch your arms and elbow joints between each set. This will help support tissue and cartilage repair.
When I tore my elbow tendon, I used the following supplements.
1. Fish oil/omega-3s are an ideal supplement for joint health, as these fatty acids have been found to naturally reduce joint pain while improving flexibility over time. Omega-3s enhance joint motility through a few different mechanisms, as the EPA and DHA support and decrease the inflammation aspects of cartilage cell metabolism. They also decrease symptoms of morning stiffness, tender or swollen joints and joint pain. They can also help to increase blood flow during exercise.
2. Cissus quadrangularis is a safe natural herb native to India and Africa that supports some pain relief. Cissus has been used for centuries, as it has exhibited significant analgesic activity similar to taking aspirin. Cissus also builds up the natural chemical composition that improves bone and joint strength.
Also consider a glucosamine-chondroitin supplement. All of these nutrients can help ease you back into your workouts.
Workout for Injured or Sore Elbow Joints
Instead of performing bench or incline presses and deep flyes that require a lot of joint movement, perform the following 4 exercises within 3 giant sets of 12–20 reps per sets. For each exercise, keep your arms fully extended or slightly bent and try to avoid any painful bending.
• Standing high-cable flye (arms extended) working the upper and middle pecs.
• Seated machine flye (arms extended) working the center and outside pecs.
• Flat-bench dumbbell pullover (arms fully extended) working the lower and middle pecs.
• Standing lower cable flye (arms extended) working the lower and outside pecs.
Work your shoulders the same as you did your chest and keep your arms extended (do not bend at the joint). Use light to moderate weight performing 3 giant sets of 12–20 reps per set.
• Standing two-handed single dumbbell raise to the front, working the front deltoid.
• Standing single-dumbbell side lateral raise to the left and right, working the side deltoids.
• Reverse pec machine rear-delt extension (arms fully extended) working the rear deltoids.
Again, follow the same instructions above while training your triceps, performing 3 giant sets of 15 reps per set.
• High-cable straight-arm overhand pushdown working the back triceps.
• High-cable straight-arm reverse-grip pulldown working the front head of the triceps.
Q: I’m 50 and have been working out for almost a year, and believe it or not I’ve actually gained some quality muscle. I’ve been taking whey protein concentrate two or three times a day and eating a lot of grilled chicken and lean beef to help add mass. Recently, my physician said my cholesterol went up almost 15 points. He said I need to reduce my protein and fat intake. Could taking whey protein cause my cholesterol to increase?
A: It’s possible that your high consumption of whey protein concentrate (WPC) and grilled beef and chicken can collectively be contributing to your higher cholesterol. Normally, animal products like WPC and beef naturally have an inherently higher level of cholesterol. When most people begin to exercise and lose excess body fat, their cholesterol begins to drop, but since you’re consuming higher levels of animal protein, this can be a contributing factor, as your doctor has indicated. But remember, just because your cholesterol is higher today doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not lower on other days.
In light of managing your cholesterol, I have a few suggestions on how to improve your results while also maintaining the same great muscle building you’re looking for. I suggest cutting back the grilled meats to once a day at most, then look at other protein-powder sources to replace the animal and/or dairy proteins. Consider using soy or egg-white proteins or even a protein blend, such as soy protein isolate and whey protein isolate. These proteins will have the same muscle-building benefits as WPC but should help you to better manage your cholesterol levels.
Another suggestion is to take fish oil and increase fiber intake up to 30 or 40 g per day.
A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when consuming 40 g of soy protein per day, there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol levels, along with vast improvements in HDL levels, as compared to milk protein. Researches at the University of Mississippi, Tulane University and Kaiser Permanente Southern California said this is the first controlled trial that actually compares the effects of soy protein versus milk protein on serum lipids. The researchers said there is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits while also supporting lean muscle mass.
Consider a quality protein, such as GNC’s Soy Protein 95, or a blended protein, like MHP’s Probolic-SR. Probolic-SR provides a patented 12-hour sustained-release technology and a perfect blend of soy and whey protein isolate designed for maximum muscle feeding. Probolic-SR’s Micro-Feed Technology supplies a continuous supply of the critical five amino acids (glutamine, arginine and the three BCAAs) for 12 hours so that you’ll grow bigger, stronger and fully recuperated muscles.
Research continues to demonstrate that soy protein, fiber and fish oil can be extremely helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol, an important biomarker for coronary heart disease.