Muscle & Body Magazine Mon, 03 Feb 2014 18:51:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Heart and Sochi Sat, 01 Feb 2014 14:00:35 +0000 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Season 2014

The 2014 Paralympic winter games give impaired athletes a chance to perform on the world stage. Meet two of these exceptional competitors from the U.S. team.

Sometimes the best Olympic moments don’t even happen during the Olympics. Since 1976, the official Winter Olympics have made way for the Paralympic Winter Games, a set of competitions involving athletes with physical and mental disabilities (the Paralympic Summer Games launched in 1960). This set of competitions has produced numerous inspirational and memorable moments, and this year should be no exception.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place March 7–16 and will hold events in five categories:

• Alpine skiing
• Biathlon
• Cross-country skiing
• Ice sled hockey
• Wheelchair curling

While the Paralympics don’t receive the attention of the standard Games, Paralympians are world-class athletes who survive rigorous qualification events to make it to the global stage. We spent time with two of these remarkable competitors from the U.S. team and found out how they became involved in the competition and what they hope to achieve this year.

Amy Purdy

Paralympic snowboarding
Birthday: Nov. 7, 1979
Height: 5’8”
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev.

Since losing both of her legs to bacterial meningitis at age 19, Amy Purdy has won three back-to-back World Cup gold medals, founded Adaptive Action Sports, launched successful speaking and modeling careers, and even appeared on “The Amazing Race.” Now she’s “over the moon” that her organization’s efforts have helped add her beloved sport to the Paralympic Games.

When I lost my legs, there were zero resources or support for anybody with a disability who wanted to learn to snowboard.

I founded a nonprofit organization called Adaptive Action Sports years ago. Our big goal was getting snowboarding into the Paralympics.

Once I realized I could snowboard with two prosthetic legs, we started our organization to teach young adults and wounded vets how to snowboard. We put camps and clinics and events together. We’ve hosted an adaptive division to a national competition for the last 12 years.

My mom was a huge inspiration for my sister and me being fit and staying in shape. She worked a full-time job, but got up every day at 5:30 a.m. and worked out for at least an hour. She was in incredible shape.

We grew up skiing. At the age of 15, I started snowboarding and just absolutely fell in love with it and knew that it would be part of my life forever.

[My injury and the aftermath] were incredibly challenging and something you can’t ever prepare for. If someone had said, “At 19, you’re going to lose both of your legs and kidneys and almost your life and be in wheelchair,” that’s not anything anyone can wrap their head around and prepare for.

When it happened, it was a matter of taking things day by day. But having snowboarding and physical fitness as such a passion of mine is honestly what helped me get through it. When you are that sick and weak, you don’t ever want to be there again.

I was still in kidney failure. I was 83 lb and still getting used to my legs. But I had never missed a season of snowboarding before and I didn’t want to miss this season. I wanted to get up on a board on a mountain to see what it felt like.

People think prosthetic legs are these amazing, high-tech things. They honestly are not. They’re high-tech materials bolted together, but they do not move like the human foot, especially for snowboarding. And there’s no snowboarding feet on the market.

Instead of being discouraged, I was able to get more creative and think, How can I make this happen? My prosthetist andI put random pieces together and made this foot that moved in a way that allowed me to snowboard again.

I never looked at myself as a victim. I was very aware of how close I was to not being here. Yes, I lost my legs, my spleen, my kidneys, the hearing in my left ear. But I honestly feel I pulled out in great condition.

They say with two prosthetic legs you burn up to 60% more calories than the average person. And that’s just day to day, so imagine snowboarding three hours a day and training with your trainer three hours a day, four days a week.

I [have] an amazing trainer who I call “David, the Ass-Kicking Trainer.” I’ve gained 10 lb of muscle since May, and hope to gain another 5 lb in the next couple of months.

[I’m] staying focused on my passions, my goals, the things I always wanted to do. It’s amazing that I’m doing everything I set out to do. Just because you lose your legs, life doesn’t end.

Rico Roman

Paralympic sled hockey
Birthday: Feb. 4, 1981
Height: 5’9”
Hometown: Portland, Ore.

An injury by an improvised explosive device in 2007 caused this valorous Iraq War vet to lose his left leg above the knee. But nothing could steal Rico Roman’s competitive spirit—which soon found expression in a rough-and-tumble sport that he’s called “football on ice.” Now the sled-hockey player hopes to repeat his team’s 2012 World Championship win in Sochi.

[After my injury], I could not bend my knee at all. It was swollen. I had steel plates and screws. I had a lot of nerve pain. It was really hard to get around throughout the day. I really wanted to just be active again. I have children, I have a wife.

If I didn’t take pain pills, I’d be really irritable; anybody who’s in pain, it’s hard to be happy because you’re hurting. It’d be really easy to be upset about little things I shouldn’t be upset about. And if I took the pain pills, I was like two different people. I’d be really loopy; I wasn’t really myself.

That guided me to weighing the option of doing an amputation.

After my amputation, Operation Comfort, a group that works with disabled veterans who were wounded overseas, asked me to do an MS 150 bike ride: a two-day, 150-mile bike ride from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, Texas. They [provided me with] a three-wheel bike that you peddle with your arms.

It was a great feeling to get out and be active again. Even though I’m missing a leg, to have had something that’s so tough to accomplish meant everything.

Then they asked me if I’d like to try the sport of sled hockey. I didn’t watch hockey and had no interest in it. But I was approached by a veteran, and he said, “At least give it a shot.”

When I tried it out, it was so much fun. But what really drove me to this team is we’re all veterans who had been injured overseas or stateside. We’d all been injured and separated from our platoons or squads. To be a part of that team again was a great feeling.

Coming from a military background, I kind of like the chaos of having so many things to do. I like a busy schedule.

[Not making the national team in 2009–’10] motivated me a bunch because I got to see the level of play. These guys are world-class athletes.

It’s almost a cross between cross-country skiing and then shooting the puck with those arms—not to mention getting knocked over and people trying to knock your head off. This is definitely one of the hardest sports I’ve tried.

Being in a basketball wheelchair or playing wheelchair football, you’re pretty stable. Running was pretty tough. To balance on these little blades and to use your upper body—you’re using so much core. I’d be dog-tired from it.

On the ice, I do a lot of stopping and going. That’s really what kills you in the sport—that initial burst of speed. I’m lucky enough to have a local team here who I work with.

Off the ice, I like to do different activities. I play on The San Antonio Spurs wheelchair basketball team. It’s a different sport from sled hockey, using different muscles, so it’s almost like cross-training. I recently tried wheelchair soccer with the STRAPS program.

I feel that God put me in this position for a reason. I really get a kick out of bringing it to the able-bodied community. Yes, I guess I’m categorized as being disabled, but I’m just as regular as anybody else. I eat the same, I think the same. The only difference is I play my sports a little different, I get around a little different.

I’m here to showcase Paralympic sled hockey to the world, and to inspire other kids and adults to try out the sport and bring awareness to the disabled community.

Image courtesy of USOC.

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He’s Still Got It! Sat, 01 Feb 2014 14:00:13 +0000 MB02140035_AlanKing

Former IFBB pro Dave Hawk, 51, finishes his 90-day challenge to get into peak condition. Here’s how he did it.

Even when you’re young, it’s difficult to maintain muscle while losing a lot of body fat to get into top shape. But as the creator and leader of all of M&B’s transformation programs, I had to be able to prove I could get it done.

Participating in my own 90-day challenge was a rude awaking that made me realize that my former bodybuilding glory days in the late ’80s and early ’90s were both a blessing and a small curse to my aging body. Thankfully, I did have some decent muscle memory, which helped me to dial into my training faster and generate some solid results. The downside was that with every good workout, I was conditioned to push harder at the gym, forgetting that my body will no longer respond positively to heavy training. I just can’t recover like I used to. This can lead to overtraining and poor results.

After being crushed from a few needlessly intense workouts, I realized that my championship bodybuilding days are behind me. My mind clearly remembers when my body once weighed around 270 lb in the offseason and 225 lb in competition. When you hit the age of 40, you have to rethink your training and diet process. You have to be very smart about your approach, or you’ll hurt yourself and burn out.

Get Motivated

For me, the most difficult part of this program was scheduling my training and planning my diet. For any transformation to succeed, the key lies in making time to exercise and finding the exact calorie balance and ratio of protein, carbs, fat and fiber that allows you to maintain your gains while dropping excess fat.

About 80% of results come from diet and nutrition; the other 20% comes from training. I was running at 60% with my diet and nutrition, and about 15% with my training, so my results should be at that level. For my goal of getting in fit shape, that’s more than what I needed. I worked through my left torn elbow joint and my right shoulder tear while trying to manage my borderline type 2 diabetes with my diet.

If you look at my before-and-after photos below, I may no longer be Mr. USA or Mr. World, but I made some nice changes in 90 days. While I didn’t reach my ultimate goal in that time, if I continue for another 30 days or slightly longer, I should hit it.

Sometimes we have to understand that transforming your physique may take longer than we expect, but if you stay focused, good things happen. Fitness is a lifestyle, not necessarily a 90-day challenge. The goal is to keep moving forward. As long as you do that, you’re on the right track for success.

Manage Your Calories And Hunger

When you reach the final weeks of a transformation program, you’re going to be required to reduce your caloric intake in order to look as tight and taut as possible, while whittling down your waistline on your triumphant last day. You can’t just skip entire meals or cut foods and quality calories your body needs.

The two things that were extremely important for me was my protein and fiber intake. With more volume training and cardio stimulation, my body needed slightly higher protein intake (achieved with Amidren Protein) while balancing the right amount of carbs and fats, so muscle doesn’t become catabolic or shrink while supporting greater body cleansing. For the last month, I increased my protein intake to 1.2 g per pound of lean body weight.

The BarnDad’s FiberDX added to my Amidren Protein shake greatly curbed my hunger, helping to provide protein to build muscle while reduce fat, cholesterol and support healthier blood-sugar levels, which is necessary for me.

When trying to lose body fat, a lot of people have a tendency to take in hardly any healthy fats. This is a mistake for anyone trying to gain lean muscle mass while losing weight. A low-fat diet is fine for a general exercise program, but when you want to manage and maintain rock-hard muscle, healthy fats (almonds, flaxseed, olive oil and/or natural peanut butter) become a critical component.

Train Smarter, Not Harder

In my last 45 days, things got a bit crazy. I had to increase my training volume for each body part, which meant doing more sets and reps with moderate weight, working for a good muscle pump. The goal was to maintain the gains I had achieved while cutting as much fat as possible. To do this, I also kicked up my cardio time.

I needed to stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible to create muscle separation and shape, so I pushed myself to do more volume training. Although I would still run a few good heavy compound sets to try and develop some strength and lean muscle, at my age and for my goal, I found it better to keep the volume up. My biggest problem for the program was that I didn’t have more than four or five days a week to work out for 60–80-minute sessions.

Just three months ago, at 51 and weighing 217 lb in fair condition, I was too embarrassed to take my shirt off at the pool. Now, I feel on top of the world.

Four years ago, I found a great partner and love of my life, Lisa. She is a blessing to me. Lisa and I are expecting a beautiful little girl in March. Growing my family gives me even more motivation to keep the dreams of fitness alive.

Thankfully, I know that if you take the time to exercise at least four days a week, watch your diet and use quality nutrition products to boost your health, you can make some great physical changes while improving your health and longevity. You may not become Mr. USA or Mr. World, but you’ll feel great and won’t worry about walking around shirtless anywhere.

Ready to embark on your own transformation? Download Dave Hawk’s training-and-nutrition regimen at


Dave’s Stats

Age: 51
Height: 5’9”

Day 1 Day 90
Weight 217 lb 205 lb
Chest/Back 45” 47”
Biceps 16” 17.25”
Waist 38” 33.75”
Quad 25” 26.5”

In 90 days, Hawk lost 12 lb and 4.25 inches off his waist, and he gained lean muscle:

• 2 inches on his chest and back
• 1.25 inches on his arms
• 1.5 inches on his quads

Building Blocks: Dave Hawk’s Supplement Program

No pill or powder will ever be a substitute for hard work, but as Dave Hawk says, “Good supplementation puts you in a gear to excel and go beyond your normal potential.” Here are some crucial additions to his pantry for this transformation—and beyond.

Test Drive

Never be scared of andropause and its offspring—muscle wasting and obesity—again. This blend of magnesium, zinc, copper, saw palmetto and tribulus helps jump-start natural testosterone production while blocking estrogen and producing a proper ratio that maximizes muscle building, energy and libido.

Fat Chance

Amidren Burner
The body likes to hold on to fat. (Blame cavemen, who skipped a lot of meals.) You can help hit the toggle switch from blubber to burning with Burner, which uses all-natural ingredients to stimulate your metabolism, making sure your gains are lean and existing fat stores are used as energy.

Bulk Strategy

BarnDad’s FiberDX
Forget (for a minute) protein, carbs and fat; fiber might be the most underappreciated macronutrient around. Like a sweeper for your intestines, a good fiber supplement helps catch and release saturated fats and contributes to a feelisng of satiety. It can also be a crucial component in lowering cholesterol, a nagging problem for men over 40. BarnDad’s FiberDX mixes into virtually any noncarbonated beverage and delivers 11 g of a fiber matrix and 7 g of protein.

Recovery Mode

Amidren Builder
Too much exercise can be catabolic, breaking down muscle tissue instead of building it up. Amidren Builder blocks cortisol (a wasting hormone) and primes the body for optimal recovery and a greater anabolic response.

Protein Power

Amidren Performance Protein
With so many protein jugs on shelves, why Amidren? Using highly bioactive whey and pea protein isolates produces an easily digested addition to your diet without the bloating. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Added probiotics boost your immune system and also help the stomach better utilize the nutrients you’re taking in.


GNC Mega Men 50 Plus & Triple Strength Fish Oil
GNC’s multivitamin for men of a certain age can help lower the chances of prostate cancer in addition to providing an energy boost. And since you’re more likely to be sore the morning after a workout, consider adding the most celebrated of solutions: fish oil. It’s proven to reduce joint pain and help get you ready for the next session.

Natural Water Diuretic

MHP’s Xpel 
Xpel is the quick water-loss solution for those who need to lose weight fast. Its gentle yet highly effective water-loss blend goes to work immediately, leaving you with a nonbloated feeling.

Image courtesy of Alan King.

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6 Weeks to Awesome Power Sat, 01 Feb 2014 14:00:09 +0000 MB02140028

M&B’s strength program will deliver incredible gains for function and physique.

Let’s face it: Almost every serious athlete or workout enthusiast—someone who goes to the gym three, four or five times a week—is a high achiever with multiple goals. While this often applies to all facets of life, achieving goals from workouts may include any or all from this list:

• Increasing strength
• Boosting power
• Building more muscle mass
• Shedding more body fat
• Simply feeling better and looking more attractive

In the past, you’ve been told that you can’t have it all, but the M&B Power and Strength Performance (PSP) program helps you roll all these Sisyphean boulders up the hill at the same time. The PSP program includes two strength and one power workout each week.

The combination of strength and power training gives you a synergistic feedback loop: Strength training improves power, and power training improves strength. Together, they provide the beneficial side effects of greater muscle mass, more burned body fat, a more attractive appearance and a general feeling of wellbeing. Missions accomplished.

Knowledge is strength, so let’s explain how and why the PSP program works.

Power vs. Strength

It’s important to understand what’s truly unique about the PSP program. First, let’s define the terms.

Strength is simply the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to elicit maximal contractile force, lifting as much weight as possible through your 1-rep max (1RM). Typically, the best way to increase strength is to build your workouts by performing 3–5 sets of 2–6 reps at 85% or more of your 1RM.

• Let’s boil that down: Lifting very heavy weight a few times helps increase your strength. Adding in a rest period of three to five minutes between sets helps you achieve this safely and more effectively. That’s what you’ll do during your strength-training workouts.

Power is the ability to move a certain amount of weight over a specific distance within a specified amount of time. And, in this case, often doing it several times. Physics explains that this can be expressed as force multiplied by distance divided by time; or more simply, force multiplied by velocity or speed (the amount of distance covered over time).

• Let’s boil that down: You’re going to lift lighter weights as explosively as you can for several reps on power-training days. Improving your power production depends on your ATP cycle, and your rest intervals will depend on how long it takes your body to replenish creatine phosphate. That’s what you’ll do during your power-training workouts.

Rest Time Between Sets for the PSP Program

Much of the science of powerlifting suggests that you need four minutes to fully replenish between sets, but this workout generally calls for only 90 seconds of rest between sets. While it typically takes three to four minutes to fully replenish phosphocreatine stores from high-intensity exercise (that is, if you are actually resting that long), this is really only applicable to heavy strength-training exercises with high loads. The PSP program is not high-load powerlifting, but rather power training, where the goal is to increase work capacity in shorter time frames. Therefore, 90 seconds of rest between sets will suffice.

The Schedule: Three Workouts, Six Weeks

This is the training schedule you’ll follow during your six-week PSP program. M&B has laid out every workout you’ll perform in one grid to make it easy to follow. Note that you alternate between strength and hypertrophy (muscle-fatigue) training each week. Yet you include power training for your third weight-training workout each week on Fridays.

Training on Tuesdays and Thursdays is optional; these can be rest days. We’ve built in a cardio/core workout for those who want a higher training volume. Keep in mind, though, that the primary purpose of the program is to increase strength and power, and an important component of supporting both of these goals is recovery between heavy-weight and intense workouts.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Workout style Strength Hypertrophy Strength Hypertrophy Strength Hypertrophy
Monday Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 1 Workout 2
Tuesday Cardio/core Cardio/core Cardio/core Cardio/core Cardio/core Cardio/core
Wednesday Workout 2 Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 1
Thursday Cardio/core Cardio/core Cardio/core Cardio/core Cardio/core Cardio/core
Friday Power Up — Workout 3 Power Up — Workout 3 Power Up — Workout 3 Power Up — Workout 3 Power Up — Workout 3 Power Up — Workout 3
Saturday Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
Sunday Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest

The Three PSP Workouts

In this section, we give you the specifics for each of your main workouts, performed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You’ll perform strength workouts on Monday and Wednesday, and a workout that emphasizes power training on Fridays.

Note, also, that you’ll alternate between strength and hypertrophy training each week. This means that during Weeks 1, 3 and 5 you’ll emphasize very heavy weights, allowing you to reach failure with very few reps for the last set of your most challenging moves. For Weeks 2, 4 and 6, you’ll use slightly lighter weights that allow you to complete more reps per set.

Then on Fridays you’ll perform a workout that emphasizes explosive moves performed with control—power, in other words.


Workout 1: Upper-Body Strength Overload

This workout is designed to improve upper-body strength as well as full-body strength. Three of the four major moves primarily target improving upper-body strength, while one (Romanian deadlifts) targets the lower body. You’ll perform these after a full warm-up (see “The Warm-Up”). Note that each strength move begins with a lighter weight that you can easily perform for 15 reps before you move to the much more challenging heavy-weight/low-rep scheme. You should come close to failure on the last rep of the last set of each of these strength moves. The last working set is kettlebell swings, performed for one minute with no rest to provide a metabolic boost at the end of your workout.

Objective Exercise Strength Sets Strength Reps Hypertrophy Sets Hypertrophy Reps
Warm-up Choose from exercises in “The Warm-Up” 1 As described 1 As described
Strength Romanian deadlift 4 15, 5, 5, 3 4 15
Strength Standing overhead barbell press 4 15, 6, 6, 4 4 15
Strength Bench press 4 15, 5, 5, 3 4 12, 8, 8, 8
Strength Cable face pull 4 15, 8, 6, 5 4 15, 8, 8, 8
Finisher Kettlebell swing 1 60 seconds 1 90 seconds
Regeneration Full-body foam roll 1 5 minutes 1 5 minutes

Workout 2: Lower-Body Strength Overload

Workout 2 emphasizes encouraging greater strength production in the lower body. It’s good to complement the upper- and lower-body training by having one workout each week that targets the other, while providing a secondary stimulus for the other. This workout provides two exercises that primarily target the legs and two that emphasize different upper-body groups (chest and back). You’ll perform a strength workout each week that primarily targets lower and upper body. Then, during each of these workouts, you’ll also hit the other group as a secondary focus. That will also allow a break between exercises targeting these groups to help you recover (a bit).


Objective Exercise Strength Sets Strength Reps Hypertrophy Sets Hypertrophy Reps
Warm-up Choose from exercises in “The Warm-Up” 1 As described 1 As described
Strength Squat 4 15, 5, 5, 5 4 15, 10, 10, 10
Strength DB incline bench press 4 15, 6, 6, 6 4 10
Strength Pull-up (weighted on strength days) 4 15, 5, 5, 5 4 15, max
Strength Deadlift 4 10, 4, 4, 4 4 12, 8, 7, 6
Finisher “The Complex” 1 4 1 4
Regeneration Full-body foam roll 1 5 minutes 1 5 minutes

Workout 3: Power Performance

When you want to increase strength, power or muscle mass, you need to understand the synergy between these different styles of training. This workout uses explosive moves that will help you generate more power, which leads to greater strength, which leads to greater muscle mass.

We’ve given you a sample workout to perform on Fridays, but you’ll get even greater benefits if you switch up the power moves from week to week. To help you with that, we’ve provided a list of additional moves in the “Power Options” section on page 48. Each week, you should swap out a couple of moves for those you didn’t perform during your power workout on the previous Friday.


Objective Exercise Power Sets Power Reps
Warm-up Choose from exercises in “The Warm-Up” 1 As described
Power Weighted walking lunge 3 6 per legs
Power Medicine-ball overhead throw 3 12
Power Goblet squat 3 10
Power Plyometric push-up 3 5–6
Finisher “The Complex” 1 4
Regeneration Full-body foam roll and stretch 1 5 minutes

Elements of the PSP Workouts

The Warm-Up

This should be a collection of moves that helps your body prepare for intense strength, hypertrophy or power training. An ideal warm-up for any workout is to begin with five to 10 minutes of moderate cardio, followed by range-of-motion stretching—but don’t go crazy with stretch moves before intense weight training. It’s a good idea to spend about 15 minutes warming up, especially if you’re about to train for strength or power with exercises you’re unaccustomed to performing.

Here are a few moves you can include in your warm up to help you get ready for the intense training to come.

• Cardio: any form, but consider a form such as an elliptical trainer or a rowing machine that also includes your upper body. Often, five to 10 minutes is enough to warm up your body.

• Foam roll for two to three minutes, emphasizing the muscle groups you’re about to train: upper back, hips, shoulders, quads

• Walking lunge with rotation (about 20 steps per leg)

• Jumping jack (about 20–25)

• Plyometric push-up (about 20–25)

• Core activation such as abs wheel or Roman chair leg lift

The Complex

This series of moves was designed to help you reach fatigue and build power to assist in strength and muscle gains. Using an empty bar or other weight that’s appropriate for you, here’s what you should do:

Complete your Romanian deadlifts, then go straight to a bar and perform one combo move of hang clean to front squat to overhead push-press. Lower the bar behind your head and perform 6 reps per leg of reverse lunges.

Perform “The Complex” three or four times, resting no more than 90 seconds between each round. You should be able to complete 4 rounds in about 10 minutes.

Exercise Reps
1) Romanian deadlift 12
2) Combo:
Hang clean
Front squat
Overhead push-press
3) Reverse lunge 6 reps per leg

Cardio/Core Techniques

(Tuesdays and Thursdays)
These days are optional when you’re on the PSP program. They’re designed for the guy who has to go to the gym five days a week, but who still wants to increase strength. On these days, you can perform 20–30 minutes of moderate-level cardio and up to 8 sets of moves for core.

On Tuesdays, you can also perform 3 or 4 rounds of “The Complex” with very light weights to get your heart rate up, resting only 60 seconds between sets. For core moves, you can perform any from this list or other favorites:

• Ball crunch
• Cable crunch
• Machine crunch
• Hanging leg raise
• Plank
• Abs wheel

Power Option

For the Power Performance workouts, do 4 sets of every power move. Each week, you should switch out at least two moves to encourage greater power production without allowing your body to accommodate to one particular workout. Also, consider shifting up the order of these moves. For each move, perform reps continuously for about 60 seconds, unless otherwise specified.

• Walking lunge with medicine-ball slam
• Mountain climber
• Explosive push-up (5 or 6 reps)
• Dumbbell squat jump
• Medicine-ball chest throw (with a partner or against wall)
• Weighted step-up
• Burpee
• Weighted jump rope
• Box jump


After a workout, perform a few minutes of regeneration activity on a foam roller or a tennis ball or two, then be sure to stretch for a few minutes. This will help to reduce soreness and risk of injury as the stress on your body accumulates over the six-week program.

The Exercises: How to Do Them Right

Romanian Deadlift 
Grasp a barbell that’s resting on the ground, making sure that your knees are only slightly bent. Keeping your arms and back extended, raise the weight using a controlled motion and by hinging your hips forward, maintaining a neutral position in your back. Lower the bar by pushing your hips back and keeping only a slight bend in your knees.
Check out the video: Romanian Deadlift 

Cable Face Pull 
Stand and face a high pulley adjusted so it’s level with your head. With a rope or dual handles attached, pull the weight directly toward your face, separating your hands near your ears as you do so. Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground throughout. Squeeze your upper lats and traps at the midpoint of the movement, and then return the weight to the starting position. You can also include kneeling, half-kneeling or split stance variations.
Check out the video: Cable Face Pull

Kettlebell Swing 
Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart. Lean forward at your waist slightly and bend your knees so as to go into a semi-squat. Keep your back arched/neutral and head facing forward. Let your arms hang loosely and raise the weight using your hips and hamstrings while keeping your back in neutral spine. Use your hips to power the kettlebell up with both hands to just over chest level, but NOT ABOVE YOUR HEAD. Then, swing the weight with both hands in between your legs while sitting back with your hips to return to the starting position. Move the kettlebell using a hip-thrust motion from the posterior chain to the finish position. Use a powerful hip snap on every rep.
Check out the video: Kettlebell Swing

Mountain Climber 
Start in a push-up position. Then, flexing your knee and hip, bring one leg toward your chest until your knee is approximately under the hip. This is essentially the starting position, or the initiation of the exercise. From here, you explosively reverse the positions of your legs, extending the bent leg until the leg is straight and supported by the toe, and bringing your other foot up with the hip and knee flexed. This can be repeated until completion of reps, or for time (i.e., 30 seconds).
Check out the video: Mountain Climber

Explosive Push-up 
These are performed the same way as regular push-ups, except you press so explosively from the lowered position that your hands raise off the ground (you can clap them in between reps, if you like). Catch your weight and lower with control and perform the next rep. Due to the plyometric nature of this move, you should only perform 5 or 6 reps or so until you’re well accustomed to the move.
Check out the video: Explosive Push-up

Goblet Squat 
Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell against your chest. With the weight cradled, squat down, allowing your elbows, pointed downward, to slide between your thighs. You can allow your elbows to press your legs out. Go as deep as you comfortably can, then press through your heels until you’re standing.
Check out the video: Goblet Squat

Power and Strength Supplements

Try these supplements to support all of the goals of your workouts. Many of these nutrients are included in popular preworkout formulas. Also, see our article on betaine (page 66) for another supplement that studies say may increase muscle power and strength.

Caffeine: This supplement not only gives you more energy, but research shows that it also increases strength when you take it before workouts. It also helps pull body fat from storage for greater training fuel.
Suggested dose: For best results, take about 100–400 mg (depending on your tolerance) about 30–60 minutes before workouts.

Creatine: This nutrient not only helps build muscle mass, but it’s also extremely effective in helping you produce strength and power. That’s because creatine is a potent contributor to your ATP cycle, the short-term energy that helps you produce more power.
Suggested dose: Take 3–5 g before workouts, and follow up with the same dose afterward to support recovery.

Beta-alanine: This amino acid combines with histidine, another amino acid, to form carnosine. Production of this compound supports increases in both strength and power. Beta-alanine drives this process, boosting performance in single bouts of high-intensity exercise of 60 seconds in duration or longer (power); multiple bouts of high-intensity training (power and strength); and single sets of high-intensity training while fatigued (strength). Research also shows that it boosts the benefits of creatine.
Suggested dose: For best results, take 1–1.5 g of beta-alanine before workouts and immediately after.

HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl-butyrate): The supplement is a metabo-lite of the BCAA leucine, and adequate supplemental doses help prevent muscle breakdown. In other words, HMB helps you recover more quickly for the rigorous training of your next workout. Research shows that it’s particularly beneficial for those new to training or following a new program.
Suggested dose: For best results, take 3–6 g of HMB up to three times a day with meals.

Protein: Research shows that the most effective source of supplemental protein is a combo of whey, casein and soy protein. Each of these is rich in muscle-building amino acids. This supplemental combo helps protect muscle mass when taken before workouts and supports recovery when taken afterward.
Suggested dose: Get in a protein shake approximately 30 minutes before workouts (30–40 g), and another of the same dose immediately afterward.

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Get Ready for the Betaine Revolution Sat, 01 Feb 2014 14:00:08 +0000 MB02140022

New research reveals amazing hidden power in this nutrient.

Best known for its role in taming inflammation, betaine, also known as trimethylglycine, has many other functions in the body. This derivative of the amino acid glycine helps

• protect cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress
• maintain normal cell volume
• support liver and heart functioning
• stimulate the body to make both carnitine and creatine

But that’s not all: Now scientists have solid data supporting betaine’s beneficial effects on muscles. When combined with an effective strength-training program, betaine supplementation can give you better results by increasing strength, power and muscular endurance, while also helping you shed more body fat than you would through training alone.

Clearing The Arteries Of Danger

Despite years of speculation that betaine may be important for muscle, scientists couldn’t figure out exactly how it worked. Recently, multiple clues to this complex puzzle have started to emerge by examining betaine’s most notorious role in the body: as a methyl donor. This process, called methylation, is essential for many functions that keep the body running smoothly. In particular, betaine donates a methyl group to the amino acid homocysteine, converting it to methionine, which effectively reduces blood homocysteine levels.

This seemingly simple step affects multiple parts of the body. For starters, some evidence suggests that elevated homocysteine may increase the formation of clots that damage the inner lining of arteries, thereby promoting the buildup of fatty deposits in blood vessels (atherosclerosis—hardening of the arteries). Therefore, high levels of homocysteine in the blood are not only a known marker of inflammation, but also related to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (fatty deposits in peripheral arteries).

Keep in mind that arteries are throughout the body, and therefore clogging doesn’t happen in isolation; what hurts the heart hurts every other part. And though scientists haven’t determined if homocysteine itself is harmful or if it’s just an indicator of increased risk for heart disease, many different health agencies recommend reducing homocysteine levels.

Betaine’s ability to decrease homocysteine results in two beneficial side effects that impact muscle.

• First, decreasing excess homocysteine is beneficial since this amino acid directly impairs insulin signaling, which affects muscle protein synthesis—the processes that underlie increases in strength and muscle size over time.

• Secondly, this process results in the production of methionine, a compound that increases muscle protein synthesis.

Decreasing homocysteine may therefore help your heart, arteries and muscle.

Jacking Up Growth Hormone, Reducing Cortisol

As the story on betaine unfolds, a 2013 study provided more direct evidence indicating that betaine does indeed affect the underlying physiological mechanisms that impact muscle and body composition. In this particular experiment, researchers gave weight-trained men 1.25 g of betaine or a placebo twice per day for two weeks, and put them through a battery of resistance-training tests at the beginning and end of the two-week trial. In addition, they also examined how betaine and the placebo affected anabolic hormones and muscle-signaling proteins.

Although the placebo didn’t alter any of these measures, betaine supplementation resulted in an average 10% increase in growth hormone, a significant increase in insulin-like growth factor-1 (which plays a major role in the regulation of muscle growth), and a significant decrease in the stress hormone cortisol after the resistance-training session at the end of the two-week period.

Despite evidence that betaine affects the processes underlying muscle growth, study results have been mixed, with some studies finding increases in muscular force and power, and others finding no changes, or changes in some muscle groups but not others. Despite these differences, more recent well-designed studies show that betaine can improve measures of strength, power and even body fat.

Testing Betaine On Real Athletes

Here’s a roundup of studies that should interest those who train intensely on a regular basis.

• Increase in upper-body power. In a randomized, double-blind, crossover study, 12 men with resistance-training experience (a minimum of three months) completed two 14-day experimental trials where they took either 1.25 g of betaine or a placebo twice a day. At the beginning and end of the study, they performed a high-intensity strength-and-power challenge, which included bench-press, squat and jump tests. Betaine supplementation led to increases in power and force in selected performance measures, particularly in the smaller, upper-body muscle groups, while there were no significant changes resulting from the placebo.

• Increase in muscular endurance. In another double-blind, crossover study, resistance-trained young men (who worked out three to five days a week on free weights and machines) were given 2.5 g of betaine or a placebo for 14 days. At the end of the study, betaine supplementation resulted in a 6.5% increase in reps and total volume load on the bench press, signifying an increase in muscular endurance. Like the previous study, taking the placebo resulted in no changes.

• Increase in muscle mass and arm size. A 2013 study followed 23 young men, ages 18–35, who worked out regularly over the course of a six-week periodized weight-training program consisting of three two-week microcycles. One group was given 1.25 g of betaine twice a day, for a total of 2.5 g daily, while the other was given a placebo. The men taking betaine increased muscle mass and arm size (by almost 5 cm!) and decreased body fat by about 18%, whereas the placebo group saw no changes in muscle mass or body fat.

What makes these results even more impressive is the fact that these men weren’t novice weightlifters, but instead had an average of 4.8 years of weightlifting experience behind them, yet they saw significant changes in just six weeks. Additionally, this study provides evidence of the synergistic effect of betaine with a well-designed resistance-training program. If you want results, you can’t just supplement; training is the most important factor. However, you may get better results by supplementing with betaine.

Where To Find Betaine

There are three main ways you can ramp up your betaine levels.

• Whole foods. Betaine is found in wheat bran and germ, spinach, beets, pretzels, shrimp and wheat bread. Although there is no data on the average amount of betaine consumed from diet, researchers estimate intake levels ranging from 0.5–2 g per day, with many people falling toward the lower end of this range.

• Choline. In addition to consuming betaine directly, the human body can make it in the liver and kidneys from the essential nutrient choline. Like betaine, choline is a jack-of-many-trades, assisting with metabolism and reducing homocysteine. Choline is found in several foods, including egg yolks, turkey meat, beef, pork and whey.

• Dietary supplements. Supplementation with betaine anhydrous leads to rapid absorption and distribution in body tissues. And though betaine anhydrous is generally considered safe, and no serious side effects have been reported in any of the studies, betaine hydrochloride (or betaine HCL), which at one point was used in over-the-counter medications to increase stomach acid, may cause heartburn when taken in high doses. Because of this, betaine HCL was yanked from the over-the-counter marketplace because there wasn’t enough evidence to consider it “generally recognized as safe and effective.” Look for other forms like BetaPower or regular betaine anhydrous.

How To Use Betaine

Try taking 1.25 g of betaine twice per day. Because it has a good safety record and there are no major side effects associated with betaine, it’s a supplement worth trying. Many manufacturers have noted this research and added betaine to their workout formulas, so read labels to see if betaine is included.

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Titanic Trio Sat, 01 Feb 2014 14:00:08 +0000 MB02140013

The three BCAAs are a must for serious bodybuilders.

Supplements come and go, but there are certain nutrients that are so crucial for body systems that they’ll never fade into the sunset. These include “essential” amino acids, which means that they can’t be manufactured by the body; they need to be obtained by external sources, via whole foods or supplements. Of the most important in this category to bodybuilders and other athletes are the three amino acids that make up the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

Major Factors In Muscle Growth

BCAAs consist of the three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, with leucine being the most important. In fact, studies indicate that without leucine, the body can’t correctly decipher cellular instructions that stimulate protein synthesis. Leucine also assists in growth-hormone production and inhibits catabolism of muscle tissue, especially postworkout.

BCAAs are not broken down in the liver; instead, they enter the bloodstream and are directly metabolized and absorbed by muscle tissue. This enhances their ability to act almost immediately in building and repairing damaged muscle tissue after training. This is an important fact about BCAAs that isn’t emphasized enough, as total muscle mass accounts for about 40% of body weight, and BCAAs comprise about one-fifth of all muscle proteins.

BCAAs Preserve Muscle Tissue

BCAAs’ anticatabolic capabilities are an exceptional way to inhibit muscle protein breakdown. This makes BCAAs a foundation product that should be utilized daily, especially before and following a workout. The anticatabolic abilities of BCAAs were validated by the following studies:

• Delaying muscle soreness. Researchers at the Department of Cellular and Molecular, Physiological and Pharmacological Sciences at the University of Pavia in Italy discovered that BCAAs delayed the onset of muscle soreness, which usually occurs 24–48 hours following an intensive physical activity or workout.

• Reduced muscle damage after endurance events. Scientists at the Department of Physical Therapy & Human Movement Science at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut reported that BCAA supplementation reduced muscle damage during bouts of prolonged endurance events, even in untrained college-aged men.

• Reduced inflammation after hard workouts. Investigators at Nagoya University in Japan recently conducted a double-blind, crossover study of participants who were administered either BCAAs or dextrin. After Days 2 and 3, DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) was significantly lower in the BCAA trial than in the placebo. Additionally, researchers reported that the BCAA group had experienced almost no decrease in muscle force on Day 3 as compared to a 20% decrease in the placebo group.

Protein Translation: Initiating Growth

To add fuel to BCAAs’ varying anabolic capabilities, researchers at the School of Physical Education and Sport at the University of São Paulo in Brazil recently reported that BCAAs play a key role in initiating protein translation and muscle proteolysis in situations of severe muscle wasting. This is relevant to bodybuilders because these conditions far exceed that of normal exercised-induced muscle catabolism.

When muscle tissue is highly inflamed, muscle wasting soon follows. Despite this impending negative catabolic abnormality, researchers found that when BCAAs were administered to subjects experiencing muscle-wasting syndromes, the BCAAs quickly transaminate into glutamate. This reestablishes normal anabolic processes, as glutamate converts into glutamine.

The amino acid glutamine also plays a major role in accelerating protein synthesis. In fact, as cited by Ray Sahelian, MD, a well-known hormonal-and-nutritional-supplement researcher, both glutamate and glutamine are needed to form muscle and provide energy to the cells.

Similarly, BCAAs also increase fatty-acid breakdown after exercise, which allows the body to use more energy from fat to repair damaged muscles and replenish nutrients to your cells. This speeds up the healing process and minimizes the amount of protein the body uses by breaking down muscle tissue to be converted into glucose for energy.

BCAAs And The Energy Continuum

When glycogen stores are depleted, the body breaks down muscle proteins into amino acids to re-establish blood glucose levels. This process is known as gluconeogenesis. This is different than the process of creating energy by breaking down carbohydrates.

Of all the aminos that stimulate gluconeogenesis, glutamine is considered to be the most important. According to investigators at the Department of Biochemistry of the Mie University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, BCAAs play a key role in kick-starting gluconeogenesis by serving as energy sources.

This unique process, which refuels muscle tissue, could be compared to refueling your car. However, BCAAs turn on this process even in a weakened state, when fuel sources get low and catabolic markers in the blood begin to rise. This extraordinary attribute is another reason why BCAAs are an exceptional foundational supplement to any bodybuilding program.

BCAAs Increase ATP

In a new study appearing in Cell Metabolism, BCAAs were found to help increase life span by inducing mitochondria biogenesis (the spontaneous generation of new mitochondria cells). Mitochondria cells are the main intracellular place where the chemical manufacture of energy takes place. This is housed in the energy compound called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is referred to as the body’s life force.

Essentially, this built-in cellular-energy source drives the cellular protocols that genetically perpetuate growth. ATP also enhances physical energy, fat burning and assists with the removal of waste by-products and muscle repair. For this reason, your cells live and breathe to make and remake ATP. This is why many sports-medicine scientists refer to the mitochondria/ATP axiom as the silent but ultimate muscle builder.

BCAAs For Antiaging?

Once an ATP molecule is used, it must be quickly recycled and primed again for use. Scientists estimate that every molecule of ATP in the human body is re-energized and recycled for use about 2,000 times a day. However, during intense physical workouts, the body has difficulty replenishing ATP fast enough. Also, the membranes that surround mitochondria cells and its contents can be easily damaged by free radicals generated during workouts. All of these chemical transactions can cause these powerhouse cells to sputter, lose power and age, as the body itself ages.

Because of past research at the University of Florida demonstrating BCAAs’ ability to prolong life in a yeast species called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, researchers have been studying how BCAAs may impact a wide range of physiological processes that deter aging and extend life. In a new study that appeared in Alternative Medicine Review, researchers reported that BCAAs upregulated the expression of a gene scientists have labeled sirtuin-1. This is the same gene that the powerful antioxidant resveratrol affects.

Forget the scientific jargon here, but as a bodybuilder, consider the fact that mitochondrial biogenesis involves more than 1,000 genes and is responsible for producing 20% of the body’s total cellular proteins. Just know that BCAAs have a positive impact on this complicated chemical process, essentially creating healthy new cells.

BCAAs: Extraordinary Effects

Due to this newfound attribute of BCAAs to promote mitochondrial biogenesis, you can expect them to help reduce the production of muscle-wasting chemicals created from extreme stress, such a hard workouts. Ultimately, BCAAs can renew cellular energy, which accelerates growth and repair, supplies more oxygen to new, vibrant cells, as well as ignites systemwide increases in metabolic and anabolic activity. This distinction definitively puts BCAAs into a league of their own.

For decades, bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts have relied on BCAAs to help increase muscle strength and improve performance. With BCAAs’ ability to promote mitochondrial biogenesis, they will likely gain additional prominence, not only within the sports-medicine community, but also that of the antiaging community.

• Suggested Dose: 5 g before workouts and 5 g postworkout.

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Are You a Resolution Breaker? Sat, 01 Feb 2014 12:00:54 +0000 Most people are. Here are five reasons you’re not fulfilling your New Year’s goals.

It’s that time of year again—the time you start to make excuses for why you’ve given up on your New Year’s resolutions. If you are rocking and rolling toward your 2014 vows, you’re in the minority. Despite all of our good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions. Research from the University of Scranton suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.

Let’s beat the odds. This month, I’m here to crack the whip and get you back on track!

But instead of telling you how to reach your resolutions, I’m going to tell you why you most likely haven’t joined the 8%.

1. You’re Eating “Diet” Foods

This may seem contradictory, but the truth is diet foods are often the most unhealthy foods on store shelves. Most are highly processed and packed with chemicals, artificial ingredients, unhealthy fillers, and have very little nutrients.

It’s time to ditch the idea of diet foods and jump on the whole-food bandwagon. Stick with foods that don’t have nutrition labels and have only one ingredient. Here’s a list to get you started in each macronutrient category.

• Carbohydrates: Sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, all veggies and fruits (frozen counts)
• Proteins: Greek yogurt, eggs, lean meats, beans and fish
• Fats: Nuts, coconut, avocado, olives and seeds
• Use a variety of herbs and spices to add flavor and fun to your meals and you’ll not only feel satisfied, but also you’ll reap more nutrition from your food.

Bonus tip: Skip the 100-calorie processed-food packs and assemble your own snack-size bags with nuts and seeds, or grab a piece of fruit.

2. You’re “Trying”

Yoda said it best: “Do or do not, there is not try.” There are very few things in life that we have 100% control over, but what we eat and how much we move our bodies is 100% in our control. You don’t try to go for a walk, and you don’t try to order a salad instead of fries; you “do or you do not.” It’s that simple.

Bad habits can add up and keep you from reaching your goals. For example, your daily monster coffee drink could be packed with sugar and calories, or maybe you settle in for a nightly snack of ice cream or chips while relaxing. We all have those little things that we justify because we “need” them. Try to limit them to once a week or find a healthy replacement. They really do add up.

3. Too Much Stress

In our multitasking society, stress is inevitable, but mismanaged stress can be detrimental to your fitness. Not only does stress affect motivation, it also affects your hormone levels.

When we feel stressed, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode and release hormones, one of which is cortisol. Cortisol can slow metabolism, increase blood pressure, impair thyroid function, lower the immune system and increase visceral (midsection) fat. Reach out to friends and family to help you manage stress, and take time to reap the stress-management benefits of exercise.

4. Too Little Sleep

If you don’t get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, your weight-loss goals are much harder to reach. The importance of sleep is greatly overlooked when it comes to losing weight. Sleep affects everything from appetite to glucose metabolism and hormone balance. It also aids in recovery and gives you energy to be more active during the day.

Lack of sleep is associated with reduced leptin levels and elevated ghrelin levels. Leptin and ghrelin are hunger hormones. When leptin levels are low, it signals your body to eat more food. So be sure to turn off the TV and computer and sign off the social media sites and hit the sack early.

5. “All or Nothing”

I believe that we all possess the “all or nothing” mentality to an extent, and while I’d love for everyone to be “all” health food and daily exercise, let’s face it, that’s pretty tough. I’m here to tell you that every small change you make will produce a big difference in the end. Take a year to reach your goal if you need to. Do it one day at a time, one healthy decision at a time, and you will see the results. It doesn’t have to be “all,” but it has to be more than “nothing!”


Kim Lyons, NASM CPT, PES, CES and Prenatal Specialist, is an internationally known fitness trainer who worked on “The Biggest Loser.” For more information on about Kim, visit

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Power Play Sat, 01 Feb 2014 12:00:42 +0000 Brian Shaw, the World’s Strongest Man, will look to reclaim his Arnold Strongman Classic title this year.

One look at Brian Shaw, and you wouldn’t be surprised that he could lift a Miata. At 6’8” and more than 400 lb, he’s almost as big as one. The official World’s Strongest Man, the 32-year-old Shaw has won 14 different Strongman contests over the years, including the Arnold Strongman Classic in 2011. After finishing runner-up at the Arnold last year, Shaw intends to earn his title back this year at the Arnold Sports Festival on February 28–March 1.

You need to see him in action to fully comprehend his raw power. There’s a YouTube video of Shaw deadlifting the weight of a teenage hippopotamus. There’s another one of him setting the World’s Strongest Man record for the Atlas Stones event, which involves hoisting increasingly heavier boulders onto stands. There are videos of him lugging heavy objects everywhere, yet you can’t grasp the sheer size of the man and his dedication to his sport through a click on your computer. The Colorado native is a fascinating study in extreme physical power, and was the subject of a profile in The New Yorker magazine in 2012.

To really learn what makes the World’s Strongest Man the world’s strongest man, you need to talk to him. In this exclusive interview, Muscle & Body did just that.

Muscle & Body: You’re 6’8” and over 400 lb. What kind of meal plan do you have to follow to maintain that kind of mass?
Brian Shaw: My diet fluctuates a little bit, but typically in a day I’m eating around 8,000–9,000 calories.

M&B: How much of that is protein, and how often do you have to eat?
BS: Well, the diet is the hardest part for me. I have to cook a lot. I eat about 4 lb of meat a day. I try to do a combination of meats between chicken and beef, and I have to eat every two or three hours—and they’re not small meals.

M&B: How do you keep it from getting boring?
BS: I try to use a variety of seasonings and sauces. I really do enjoy eating clean foods. I crave what I eat, but the challenge is in the quantity. When you’re going through your day, you have to plan on when to eat and you have to have things cooked and ready to go. But I look at it as part of my job.

M&B: The other part of your job is lifting insanely heavy objects. Do you just walk down the street and think to yourself, I could lift that SUV?
BS: It’s funny you say that. Some of the process of being a strongman has become normal for me. I will seriously look at a car on the street and think, That would be a good car to train with. I’ll see a truck driving down the road and I’ll think, Man, it would be really fun to pull that.

M&B: During the World’s Strongest Man competition, you could be asked to pull an 18-wheeler, an airplane, a loaded train on tracks—or you could be tossing kegs, carrying refrigerators or hoisting a giant log. Are there any events that prove to be tougher for you than others?
BS: Pulling a truck is very physically demanding, but I enjoy it. The thing that I’ve had to work the hardest to get better at has been the overhead-press events, like a log overhead press or axle overhead press. It’s the hardest part to get better at. Lifting the Atlas Stones and other objects like that has always come naturally to me.

M&B: The log you’re talking about lifting weighs more than 800 lb. Are there any traditional exercises in the gym that you do that can translate into improvement in Strongman events?
BS: Having a good deadlift carries over better than anything. There are guys who are very strong in the weight room versus lifting odd objects like a keg or a stone or a tire. Some guys are strong, but for other guys, their strength isn’t functional. Sometimes weight-room strength doesn’t translate. The big strength movements like squats tend to carry over well. The powerlifting movements and multijoint training exercises are good. That being said, if you’re going to be lifting stones in competition, you have to lift stones in training.

M&B: When did you first realize that you had a natural talent for lifting objects?
BS: The first time I got introduced to any type of Strongman event was after college. I played basketball in college and I was into weight training my whole career. In class, I studied strength and conditioning. After school, I got on the Strength and Conditioning staff at Arizona State University, and I worked with the football team. We started doing tire flips and stuff, and I got excited about it and thought I’d try it for fun.

M&B: And that’s when you entered your first competition?
BS: Yeah. I needed a competitive outlet for myself. I won my first amateur contest, and I just kept entering and going to bigger and bigger contests. I just moved up the ranks.

M&B: How did your training change?
BS: Well, for the first contest, I didn’t have anything to train with except for normal gym equipment. When I went to the actual event, I just picked up the objects and lifted them. I realized that I was beating guys who were training on actual Strongman equipment. I just had a knack for it.

M&B: And now you’re the World’s Strongest Man. How are the perks? 
BS: So far it’s pretty cool. I’ve had Arnold Schwarzenegger introduce me to other people who he’s with. I mean, I watched his movies growing up; he’s an icon. To be able to shake his hand and to have him actually know my name is cool.

M&B: You’ve also developed a relationship with World’s Strongest Man legend Bill Kazmaier, right?
BS: Kazmaier is an icon, too. To have conversations with him and have him compliment me on something is so humbling. Ten years ago, I never dreamed I’d be in the position I’m in.

Strength In Supplements

Another important element in Brian Shaw’s strength program are the supplements he takes, which are exclusively MHP products.

“One thing that is important to me is dealing with a quality company that puts out great products,” Shaw says. “MHP doesn’t have any false advertising. They do a lot of research and they’re excited about what they sell.”

Here are Shaw’s favorite MHP supplements, and how he uses them to help maintain his mass and strength.

• Up Your MASS weight gainer: “I use this during the day and postworkout,” says Shaw. “I see great results. It’s a quality protein-and-carb source.” Each serving has 510 calories and 46 g of protein, making it easier for Shaw to get in at least 8,000 calories a day.

• X-Fit Trainer: According to Shaw: “X-Fit helps you work out with more intensity for longer. It’s an energy booster that delays fatigue and allows me to get more out of my workout.” This preworkout supplement contains creatine, beta-alanine, raspberry ketones and caffeine, among other ingredients.

• Dark Matter: “This is an immediate postworkout supplement. It has a very fast uptake and helps me recover from training while also getting nutrients right away,” says Shaw. In addition to crucial aminos, Dark Matters relies on a blend of waxy maize and glucose polymers, the most effective carb sources for restocking depleted muscle glycogen.

• Paleo Protein: When you want to supplement protein without the extra calories that come with weight gainers, then opt for Paleo Protein. Each scoop delivers 20 g of protein at only 120 calories.

Train Like A Strongman: Deadlift Version

Brian Shaw says that the deadlift is the exercise that translates best to his Strongman feats, and he has the stats to prove it. Shaw performed a Hummer-tire strongman deadlift (with straps) at a weight of 1,122 lb (509 kg) at the 2013 Arnold Strongman Classic. Here’s a sample deadlift workout that keeps his legs in top shape, and also allows him to max out at more than half a ton.

“I’ll do 8–12 sets of deadlifts, with 3 or 4 reps per set,” Shaw says. “I do about 3 warm-up sets at about 20% of my max, and I stretch to make sure my body is ready for the heavier weight. I usually start at 225, then just go up in 90-lb increments until my last set, which could be around 900 lb.”

Deadlift Workout

Start with 3 or 4 warm-up sets. Next, perform 6–8 working sets, beginning at 20% max, then going up in an increment that gets you to 90% of your max on the final set. Shaw rests up to three minutes between working sets.

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The Ice King Cometh Sat, 01 Feb 2014 12:00:35 +0000 Apolo Ohno is the most successful American Winter Olympian in history.

As a 12-year-old boy, what I saw [watching the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer] was these superhero figures on the ice, skating around on, like, samurai swords, and battling each other, jockeying for position. That was the coolest thing I’d ever seen in my life. That’s when I fell in love with my sport.

They were leaning over in impossible angles. I remember watching and it didn’t look real to me. [I’d think,] How do they even stay up?

Even though I was only 15, not making the 1998 Olympic team was a pivotal point in my life. The previous year, I was actually No. 1 in the U.S., so it was a big blow to my confidence.

U.S. Speedskating saw me as this young, prodigal athlete who was supposed to go on and change the face of short-track speed-skating in the United States. Rather, I fell back down the mountain I was climbing.

That loss was much more important than me making that team. If I’d made that team, maybe I’d have never gone on to win any medals. I might have been complacent just making Olympic teams.

My very first Olympics, my very first final in the 1,000m in Salt Lake City [in 2002], I was in the lead with less than a quarter of a lap to go. We all fell down. I was able to get back up and miraculously still won silver.

That was a defining moment of the Games. I was upset. I didn’t know what just happened. But it gave me the opportunity to regroup, recollect, and take a step out of my shoes and really appreciate and respect the reasons why I was competing.

In 2006, I considered retiring. I was very happy with my career; I’d won five medals up to that point. So to go to Vancouver and stand on the podium three more times is something that was extra-special.

I try to give back when I can. It’s a very gratifying feeling knowing you dedicated some of your time and resources in terms of helping others.

I’ve lived it; I’ve trained it. I’ve spent half of my life completely dedicated to the pursuit of Olympic glory and excellence. So hopefully I can report on that from a little bit of a different perspective.

I was very blessed to have a wonderful career and for NBC to have focused their spotlight on me during those [Olympic] Games. It feels amazing, I’m not gonna lie.

When you stand on the podium, you never stand alone. I think that’s something you can share with all those who watch.

I grew up wanting to play football. I wanted to be a boxer. My dad said no to both. He didn’t want me to get injured. I was a competitive swimmer from a very young age and stopped around age 12.

I always wanted to go to the Olympics and represent my country and my team the best that I possibly could. If that meant standing on the podium or not, I wanted to be able to walk away having no regrets regardless of the outcomes. That’s why I trained so hard.

I wasn’t a sprinter. My best races were the 1,500m and the 1,000m, but I didn’t even make the final in the 1,500m [at the 2006 Winter Olympics] in Torino, Italy—which was a big surprise; I was the reigning world champion and [2002] Olympic gold medalist. I made a mistake early on in the 1,000m final, and it cost me from gold to bronze.

The 500m final was my last chance at individual gold in Torino. I needed to skate the perfect race. And every single element and variable happened to fall in my favor so that I did skate the perfect race on that final day.

The third and final defining moment of my speedskating career was probably winning the medals in Vancouver.

The decision to say I’m retired as a competitive athlete in Olympic pursuit probably happened after the 2012 [Summer] Games in London.

I’d taken a step away from the sport. I needed to give myself some internal reflection and focus on some elements that I’d never had time to pursue full time—whether that was philanthropy or my own businesses or ventures in broadcasting or acting or whatever.

My viewpoint on philanthropy is obviously to make the biggest impact and concentrate your focus on one or two or three. When I’m away in Asia with my business partner and we wake up and say, “Why don’t we take the entire day and go buy a whole bunch of kids all the things they need. Let’s go to an orphanage and let’s just give them to them.” This is something we rarely talk about; it’s rarely publicized.

I’m very happily retired. Every single day I’m always seeking out challenges and new opportunities and new obstacles to overcome—whether it’s physical, in terms of training, or in the business world.

I gave every single thing that I had to the sport. I dedicated every single minute of my day to being the best athlete I could be.

I’m now contemplating doing a very interesting competition—I can’t say what it is until probably mid-January. As a retired athlete, you’re always looking for that next challenge and for something you never thought you could do in the past. I’m hungry for something else.

[This year] is going to be a very big year for me in terms of what we have planned. I’m excited for the challenges ahead.

His Story

• Born on May 22, 1982 in Federal Way, Wash.
• Was raised solely by his Japanese-born father, Yuki Ohno; has no memories of his American-born mother.
• Named by Yuki after Greek word “apo,” meaning to “steer away from” and “lo,” short for “look out, here he comes.”
• Most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian ever, with two gold, two silver and four bronze medals.
• Youngest U.S. short-track speedskating national champion at age 14.
• Retired from competitive speedskating after 2010 Vancouver Games.
• Made acting debut in a 2012 episode of “Hawaii Five-0.”
• Hosts game show “Minute to Win It” on GSN.
• Is a Special Olympics Global Ambassador.
• Working as an analyst and commentator for NBC’s coverage of 2014 Winter Olympics.

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The Great Vitamin Smear Job of 2013 Sat, 01 Feb 2014 12:00:27 +0000 You may have seen the news story last December on how multivitamins aren’t wonder drugs that cure cancer, reverse aging and make you sing “Kumbaya” during episodes of road rage. OK, so maybe that’s not exactly how the story was reported, but it may as well have been.

At issue are the mainstream media reports on an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine called, “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.” The opinion piece reads like a bad grad-school paper that begins with a conclusion, then struggles to find any available evidence to support it. What’s left is a classic example of an over-the-top hit job that could actually cause people to engage in less preventive-health action than more.

The authors of the editorial cite a trio of studies, one a metadata analysis (cherry-picked research open to interpretation), and two new studies that have little relevance to the role vitamins and minerals are intended to play in the lives of everyday people.

One study gave multivitamins to men over 65 years old who had suffered a heart attack to see if the supplements would heal their cardiovascular system and stop them from having heart attack No. 2. This, of course, is asking nutritional supplements to do the impossible: cure serious disease. No vitamin manufacturers make that claim, and if they did, they would be violating clearly established regulations. The kicker? According to CNN: “…with more than 50% of patients stopping their medications, it was difficult for authors to come to any real conclusions about the vitamins’ effectiveness.”

Seriously. This is what they call “evidence.”

An Unhealthy Population

The other new study looked at men 65 and older who were judged on cognitive health over a period of 12 years. All of the subjects in the study were physicians—not exactly a representative sample of the U.S. population. Doctors occupy a rare strata of society in affluence and access to health-care protocols, and if they’re actively practicing, they would likely engage in behaviors that reinforce cognitive abilities on a routine basis.

The unrepresentative subject samples and unrealistic standards of these studies were reason enough to question the editorial’s strident tone that this was the last word on the subject. Not addressed were the hundreds of studies indicating effectiveness of vitamins and minerals in helping prevent a number of health conditions that result from poor nutrition. The contributions of thousands of scientists and decades of research were simply ignored by the authors.

Such details, nuance and context have no room in a press release or news report, and the mainstream media went to town. The controversial opinions of the “Enough Is Enough” editorial were aired with very few news outlets questioning its conclusions. If you want an example of the good that dietary supplements can do, go to our “News & Research” column for a truly comprehensive research project.

We have a health-care crisis, an obesity crisis, and a fast-food addiction in this country that leave most Americans falling far below the nutritional standards considered for optimal health. Dietary supplements help address this shortfall—period. To argue the opposite is counterproductive to the health goals we are all working hard to satisfy.

Enough is enough, indeed.

Jim Schmaltz

Editor in Chief

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Supplements Help Lower Health-Care Costs Sat, 01 Feb 2014 12:00:26 +0000 Extensive report lists key nutrients that can help solve one of the nation’s biggest concerns.

It seems that everybody is talking about health care these days. But no matter where you stand on the Affordable Care Act and related political hot topics, all Americans are interested in ways to lower the nation’s health-care costs.

One solution to the problem—though it is rarely part of the conversation—is the positive and significant contribution dietary supplements can make in improving the general health of the U.S. population, and, thus lowering the costs of treating chronic disease. This issue was the subject of a massive report: “Smart Prevention—Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements.” Created by global research firm Frost & Sullivan, this report noted the enormous costs of treating preventable diseases, and the ways in which nutritional supplements can help reduce the severity of these conditions and the huge price tag of hospital medical care.

Here are some highlights:

As much as 75% of total health-care expenses are spent on caring for people with preventable diseases, the type of ailments that supplements can help prevent.

Full utilization of omega-3 supplements to the targeted population at preventative intake levels could save an average of $2.06 billion per year in hospital costs for treatment of coronary heart disease.

The use of psyllium dietary-fiber supplements could save an average of $2.48 billion per year in potential health-care costs.

The use of magnesium supplements at preventive intake levels by women over age 55 who suffer from osteoporosis could save an average of $851 million per year in hospital costs.


These are just a few of the revelations in this comprehensive research. To download the entire report, visit For more information on the research firm Frost & Sullivan, visit

Raising The Bar with Chef Robert Irvine

Food Network star Robert Irvine talks about his passion for fitness and the launch of his new Fit Crunch bars!

Fitness has always been a big part of my life. I bought my first set of weights when I was 11 years old. While everybody else was playing around on their bikes, I was working out.

I joined the Majesty’s Royal Navy at the age of 15. While there, I did the Royal Navy Field Competition, which is the toughest 18-man team sport in the world. They no longer hold them because people actually lost their lives competing.

After the Navy, I worked on and off sporadically, but one of the reasons I got back into fitness seriously was that I wanted to be the best me I could be.

My cooking is all low fat, low sodium, as healthy as possible. But it’s not easy always eating clean. I’m on the road 345 days a year. I found that when I wanted nutrition on-the-go, I could never find a protein bar that satisfied me.

I wanted to be strong and true to who I am by creating a nutrition bar that was unique—chef-made, chef-inspired. I partnered with Sean Perich from Bakery Barn, and we created Fit Crunch bars, which are now available at GNC stores. It’s a six-layer baked bar. Everything is done by hand at the moment: We bake the cookie, we toast the nuts, we do everything in the plant.

And, of course, it’s important that it tastes great, because after all, I’m a chef and that’s what I’m known for. If I tell you you’re going to enjoy this bar, you’re going to love it!

The Exercise-Brain Connection is Potent

New research dramatically reveals just how essential working out is for your cognitive health, from birth to the golden years. Here’s what we learned in recent studies.

• Exercise helps kids improve grades. Scientists once again showed that working out helped schoolchildren improve math, science and English scores. (British Journal of Sports Medicine)

• Exercise helps teens reduce depression. Trainer-led workouts three times per week for 12 weeks significantly improved mood and cut depression severity by 63%. (Society for Neuroscience)

• Exercise reduces risk of dementia. This 35-year study found that regular exercise was the strongest factor in reducing risk of dementia by 60%. (Cardiff University’s School of Medicine)

• Exercising while pregnant may improve baby’s brain. Doing 20 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise three times per week altered the fetal brain to be more efficient at recognizing sounds. (Clinical Updates in Women’s Health Care)

Signs Of The Fatpocalypse

Experts report that, worldwide, today’s kids are 15% less aerobically fit than their parents were as children. In the U.S. it’s worse, with the current generation of children 18% less fit than their parents were.

Research Bulletin

Here are some interesting findings that made news recently.

• Chilled fruit loses 80% of its nutritional potency. (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)
Our take: Fruit chilled for seven days had 82% reduced antioxidant capacity. Freeze-drying, however, retained almost all nutritional value.

• Melatonin may help weight loss. (Journal of Pineal Research)
Our take: Researchers found that melatonin can stimulate the development of “beige” fat cells that burn calories.

• Exercise helps reduce risk of esophageal cancer. (American College of Gastroenterology)
Our take: Physically active people were 19% less likely to develop the sixth most common cancer in men worldwide.

• Lack of zinc may contribute to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (Journal of Biological Chemistry)
Our take: The mineral helps key proteins maintain shape and avoid clumping in the brain.

• Mediterranean diet helps fight depression and cognitive decline. (Annals of Neurology)
Our take: The fish-, produce- and healthy-fats diet scored again in this meta-analysis, which found that eating Mediterranean also helps reduce risk of stroke.

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