Whey Makes Everything Grow


If you have knee pain when you train, you might want to double up on your whey protein shakes.

A study published recently in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports showed that consuming whey protein can increase the size of tendons, theoretically protecting your knees from injury. In the experiment, scientists had two groups of trained men perform leg extensions three times a week for three months. One group drank 20 grams of whey hydrolysate during the workout, and the other group consumed carbs. After 12 weeks, the protein group not only experienced more growth in their muscles but also in the size of their knee ligament. Since tendon hypertrophy can lessen connective-tissue stress during exercise, whey protein is a prerequisite when recuperating from an injury and most likely contributes to joint health when taken on a daily basis.


Like Butter


After years of being maligned in favor of vegetable oils, butter is getting a retrial.

A brand-new study from the British Medical Journal reports that replacing the saturated fats in butter with linoleic acid–rich fats such as corn, sunflower, and soybean oil not only failed to improve cardiac health markers, but also presented an increased mortality risk in some cases.


Although the American Heart Association stands by its stance that a diet low in saturated fats is heart healthy, swapping butter for linoleic acid–based oils has never been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks or deaths. Scientists believe that the unsaturated nature of the vegetable oils makes them less stable and more prone to oxidation, which then promotes inflammation within the body.


Fatty Acids For Lean Muscles

A new study suggests that your level of omega-3 fatty acid intake prior to a workout can influence how your muscles respond to training and nutrition. A meta-analysis reported in the journal Marine Drugs examined the effects that omega-3s have on skeletal muscle. They concluded that omega-3 fatty acids of “marine origin” (meaning, fish oil or the popular red krill oil, which have higher levels of DHA and EPA than vegetable sources) can have such a beneficial impact on muscular adaptations that regular intake can potentially alter the trajectory of a number of human diseases, including aging. This information points to the benefits that fish-based omega-3s can exert on the size of muscle as well as the function (strength) and whole body metabolism (fat-burning). If you get most of your omega-3s from seeds or avocados, which contain more ALA than DHA and EPA, think about incorporating a fish-oil supplement into your regimen.




Spice It Up


Countless studies have shown that ginger has multiple health-promoting powers, but a recent one from the Tikrit Medical Journal sheds light on the aromatic root’s ability to boost testosterone levels in men. A group of 75 males were given ginger over the course of about three months. The ginger intervention raised the men’s testosterone level by almost 18 percent and boosted levels of luteinizing hormone (which stimulates testosterone production) by more than 43 percent. The experiment did not use a control group, which makes this study less than perfect. However, since ginger is non-caloric, inexpensive, tasty, and a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, there is really no downside to adding it into your daily diet. Buy some whole root, and let’s make America grate again. IM






Don’t Go Hard When It’s Easy

Here are two truths about running hills, a tactic long- used by athletes and bodybuilders to lose fat and rapidly improve conditioning:

1) Running hills hurts. 2) Unfortunately, they really work. A new study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology adds a new pearl of wisdom to this age-old tool. Researchers performed an animal study that examined the muscles of three groups of subjects that ran uphill, downhill, or on a flat surface, and the effect the varying topography had on hypertrophy factors. The scientists concluded that running downhill inhibited muscle hypertrophy and resulted in greater atrophy. Running uphill—and on a flat road, to a lesser degree—actually promoted hypertrophy in some muscles, while doing little in other types of muscles fibers. In the strictest sense, if you’re using hill repeat to improve your physique, the smartest strategy is to run hard while going up the hill, and then slowly walk the descents as a form of active recovery.


Research: Know Your Roll


The foam-rolling craze has been a blessing for some, bestowing greater range of motion and less pain on desk-bound athletes who try to get into a deeper squat or a more vertical overhead pressing position.


While some powerlifters advise against overusing a foam roller before a big lift (wisely reasoning that a joint needs to be strong and tight rather than loose and mobile when moving a huge weight) aesthetic-based gym-goers can still benefit from a pre-workout roll without losing strength. Scientists at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada found that when trained men subjected their quads to two 60-second bouts on a foam roller, they improved the range of motion in their hips by about 10 percent. What’s more, the self-massage had no effect on the amount of force they could generate afterward. Unless you’re going for an extreme one-rep max, a few minutes on a foam roller can help you get into more-advantageous positions to be able to move more weight and help stave off injury. Just don’t be that guy who lightly lolls around on the roller while he texts. We hate that guy.







Cardio For Bigger Muscles

Many physique athletes stay away from cardio in fear that it will burn up their precious muscle.

A new study, published in the journal PLoS One, followed two groups of trained male subjects. One group switched off between performing continuous cycling (varying between 30 and 60 minutes,) or interval cycling (6-8×2 minutes,) before hitting the iron, while the other group only lifted weights and did no cardio. Both groups received a protein supplement immediately post-training. After seven weeks, the group that did the cardio experienced greater increases in lower-body muscle fiber size as well as more training-induced alterations that lead to hypertrophy. Scientists theorized that the cardio did not boost growth by inhibiting catabolism, but rather contributed to various anabolic factors that triggered muscle stimulation.



Research: Going Nuts Over Fat Loss

If you include nuts in your daily feedings, you’re most likely leaner than the guy who doesn’t, say researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand.

After analyzing data on 4,721 participants, they found that those who regularly ate whole nuts (including pistachios, walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and macadamias) were on average five-and-a-half pounds lighter than the non nut-eaters, and their waists were three centimeters tighter. Scientists believe that somehow the body does not absorb all of the calories in energy-dense nuts. Another theory is that certain substances, such as the anacardic acid found in the unsaturated fats of cashews, for instance, actually helps speed up metabolism at the cellular level. If you do opt for a healthy handful of nuts, just make sure you’re cutting back on other, hopefully less-healthy, sources of fat in your diet.









The Raspberry Is Having A Moment

Is raspberry the new kale? A tornado of positive research has recently been published about red raspberries.

So much, in fact, that a recent issue of Advances in Nutrition compiled a comprehensive review of the latest scientific literature. Much of it centers around the bright berries’ impressive results in helping to fight against metabolically based diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. While these may not seem like dangers to young gym-goers, research indicates that raspberries are a positive influence on metabolism, oxidation, and inflammation, three concepts that clearly effect those who train intensely. Additionally, red raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and boast eight grams of fiber per cup. At 64 calories and only seven grams of impact carbs per cup of raw berries, what do you have to lose?



Wheat, Wheat, Don’t Tell Me

A gluten-free diet for non-celiac sufferers has experienced more debate than Ben Affleck as Batman.

Is it paleo-rubbish or a legitimate way to reduce inflammation and boost overall health? While the answer may depend heavily on the individual, one recent study found that a gluten-free diet can lead to more effective fat loss, even when calories remain the same. In an animal study conducted by researchers at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, scientists put two groups of mice on a high-fat diet. One group was given meals containing gluten while the other group noshed on gluten-free food. After eight weeks, the gluten-free mice had put on less weight than the mice in the control group. The researchers noticed fewer inflammatory reactions in the gluten-free group and a better insulin response, and summarized the study by writing, “Our data support the beneficial effects of gluten exclusion in reducing bodyweight and adiposity gain, inflammation and insulin resistance.”


Solving The Fat-Testosterone Conundrum

While many experts sagely advise overweight men to get their training and nutrition act together (when is that ever a bad idea?) before trying therapeutic testosterone, a brand-new study sheds light on what happens when fat guys combine exercise, diet, and supplemental testosterone.


In the study, lead by members of the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, obese men were placed on a calorie-restricted diet and encouraged to exercise moderately for 30 minutes a day. Every 10 weeks, one group was given intramuscular testosterone injections while another group was given a placebo. After 56 weeks, both groups lost roughly the same amount of bodyweight, about 24.2 pounds. However, the testosterone group lost almost exclusively body fat, while the placebo group lost a combination of fat and muscle.


The testosterone group lost 6.6 more pounds of body fat than the placebo group who lost 7.7 more pounds of muscle than the men taking testosterone. IM

Industry Insider: Pich Perfect

Live Fit. CEO Randall Pich combined his passion for fitness, skateboarding, and Southern California culture to strike the perfect notes for his lifestyle apparel brand.


By Mike Carlson


Southern California has been a muse for great fitness minds since the very first surfboards and bikinis hit the sand. Joe Weider was the first to package and sell the SoCal zeitgeist of beautiful tanned bodies bathed in the natural golden light. Live Fit. founder and CEO Randall Pich has a decidedly more urban aesthetic than Joe Weider, but the influence of West Coast beach and street culture has been just as profound for the 28-year-old fashion entrepreneur.

Pich is a former amateur Physique competitor and was a very good one. His design aesthetic is a love letter to the eclectic physical lifestyle that becomes so enmeshed in Southern California kids that things like skating, surfing, and fitness cease to be hobbies and becomes an identity.



Mike Carlson: Cal style?

Randall Pich: I grew up in Long Beach on the east side. When we were young, skateboarding was the thing here. Growing up with that has influenced our style. That whole California vibe is what we represent. That is all I know, personally. We are not just following trends in the fitness industry—if you look around, we are completely different from anyone else—but we fall alongside a certain skate-type of brand. At the end of the day, Live Fit. is a lifestyle brand.


MC: What are Live Fit.’s flagship products?

RP: I think our snapbacks and T-shirts, the general skateboarding streetwear pieces. We are not so extravagant on the cut-and-sew with different crazy fashion pieces. We like to put out what we grew up with and what you see in California: simple text on T-shirts. Fairly clean and simple looks. What skaters wear.


MC: A few years back, skate culture and gym culture were almost antithetical. How were you able to bring skaters and muscleheads together?

RP: Our generation, all the young dudes who grew up in the early 2000s, were skating and surfing at the time. That is also when bodybuilding was huge, with Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler. As we grew up, we realized that we can’t skate the rest of our lives, because our limbs were hurting, so we found fitness. That is when Physique started booming as well. And since skaters and surfers don’t have huge muscles like bodybuilders, we found Physique competitions. I think it all just fell together. If you ask a lot of Physique competitors today, most of them will tell you that when they were young they skated or surfed. It has just evolved in that way.



MC: What does Live Fit. represent to the people who wear it?

RP: I think it’s a place where people connect to fitness without being a crazy enthusiast or a bodybuilder. You want to live a well-balanced lifestyle. That could mean the gym or it might mean surfing or rock climbing or being outdoors. Live Fit. is a connection to that culture.


MC: Do a lot of your sales come from the fitness community?

RP: Yes, I would say most of our consumers are people who are hitting the gym every day and are about that type of lifestyle. And a lot of Physique competitors are wearing our stuff as well, even ones that aren’t sponsored by us. You see a lot of Live Fit. in the NPC division and amateur athletes rocking our boardshorts.


MC: Have you seen Live Fit. pop up in in unexpected places?

RP: Definitely. We have a lot of Major League Baseball players wearing our stuff. We just saw Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers rocking one of our Live Fit. shirts on Fox News. We have a couple NFL guys wearing it. Former New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford is a huge LVFT supporter. We have some big-name DJs, too, like DJ Chuckie from the Netherlands. It’s out there and not necessarily just in the fitness industry.


MC: The phrase “fitness apparel” has some infamous connotations. Do you feel you have to live down mesh tanks and baggy pants?

RP: We are slowly changing that perception. Before Live Fit., the other brands that were out there were just like stringers and baggy sweats, more bodybuilding style. Live Fit. doesn’t even make a stringer. We have regular tank tops and stuff that you can wear out.


MC: Are Live Fit. clothes cut for fitter bodies?

RP: Our cuts are more on the simple side. Our T-shirts are cotton with polyester blends so they’re more form-fitting. The clothes aren’t made specifically for fitness, but we want our customers to be comfortable enough to wear it in the gym as well as outside the gym.


MC: What do you look for in Live Fit.-sponsored athletes?

RP: This is the number-one question I get at expos and all over social media. It’s not about being a pro athlete or placing first in competitions. You don’t necessarily have to be a competitor.  What we look for is how are they influencing the community around them. That is the biggest part.


MC: Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?

RP: I would say try to go out and experience the most you can. The industry is always changing. It can change tomorrow or in a week. The best thing that you can do is be there and experience it. And when you’re trying to start something new, create something that is you. That’s what I did. I only knew skating, surfing, and fitness, so that’s what I did.



MC: How do you find time to train and run a multimillion-dollar business?

RP: Funny you say that. There were some rough times when I had meeting after meeting and my workouts just fell apart. But we just moved into a big warehouse four months ago. So first we built a skatepark just for me to skateboard a little bit, then later we got a meal-prep company to come stock our fridge. A couple weeks ago I started building a private gym downstairs. These past few months I’ve been able to get my workouts back on track. I don’t really have any excuses. Who knows? Maybe I’ll compete again. IM