Friday, 2 January 2015
Starting a new exercise program can seem daunting, and with so much contradictory information out there, it’s really hard to make the right choices and get with a solid program. So here are a few pointers on how to get started – the right way!
1. LISTENING TO FRIENDS – I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve seen teach someone poor form or give them horrible advice. Friends can’t teach you the right way if they don’t know it themselves. Be sure to put the same effort into learning about exercise and nutrition that you do when researching other areas of importance. Read and learn from various sources – magazines, books, websites, etc. After all, we’re talking about your life here. I’m not saying to never take your friends comments under advisement, but certainly don’t take it at face value.
2. TOO MUCH, TOO SOON – I’ve mentioned this before – a person gets so excited for their new program that they go to the gym every day. Most of the time, around the 2-3 week time frame they stop going completely. Why? It’s called burnout, and it’s because a person simply didn’t allow time to get used to a new program. Incorporating fitness into you life should be a slow, not speedy, process. Remember you can always add more intensity and weight at a later date.
3. WRONG EXERCISE SELECTION – Many people never reach their goals for one simple reason – they don’t use the right modes of exercise. Just because you’re in the gym doesn’t mean you’re doing the right things. You should primarily choose forms of exercise that you like and also provide the results you’re looking for. See my Why Your Workout Isn’t Working – Exercise Selection piece for more specifics.
4. USING MACHINES – I know many of you feel that starting at the “circuit” is the best way to begin a program. Well, the Angry Trainer disagrees! In my opinion, all new trainees should focus on learning how to control and use their body, not have a machine do it for them. For that reason I recommend body weight, balance or one legged, medicine and resistance band exercises and anything else that requires focus and concentration. Machines usually targets a large, prime moving muscle group, so unless you’re a bodybuilder looking to bulk up, I’d move on.
5. CARDIO OBSESSION – It’s a proven fact that most new members of a gym actually only use the cardio equipment. I’ve seen statistics that say as few as 10% of new members take classes, use circuits or lift weights. This is due to most people once again believing that cardiovascular exercise is the best way to get fit and lose weight. That’s completely untrue – all forms of exercise should be used as part of a complete fitness routine. Check out my Cardio Confusion post for more on this long standing myth.
6. EXCESS EATING – It seems like a no brainer, but some people think that because they’re exercising, they’ve earned the right to eat more food. The result – you obviously end up gaining weight! Certainly exercising regularly may make you hungrier since you’re burning more calories. But exercise is not an excuse to pig out, so make sure you watch your dietary intake and eat sensibly. If you feel hungry then by all means eat, but don’t go eating cheeseburgers regularly just because you joined the gym!
7. AVOIDING STRENGTH TRAINING – For years I’ve heard women saying they avoid training with weights as they don’t want big muscles. Unfortunately that means they also miss all of the benefits; improved or maintained bone density, higher metabolic rate, lower body fat, better posture, increased muscular endurance, and long term weight maintenance. Weights are needed in everybody’s routine, no matter your gender.
8. LACK OF FOCUS – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people read the daily paper or a magazine while walking, riding a bike or using some other cardio equipment. First of all, I’ve already told you my thoughts on excessive cardio, and second, if you can read and exercise at the same time I guarantee your workout sucks! I’m sorry to be harsh but seriously, you’re in a gym and you’re going to read? Forget the literature and use the gym for what it is, not as a library.
9. TIME OF DAY TRAINING - It may be more entertaining socially to hit the gym on a Monday or Tuesday night when it’s packed, but it’s also a surefire way to be distracted and slowed down. As I’ve said before, fitness centers are like bars and clubs on some nights, so if you’re serious about your workout I recommend going when it’s less busy. I promise you’ll get a better workout without gazing around at who’s hot, and who’s not. Then show off your new body at a real club!
10. RACKING WEIGHTS – This is the gym manager in me coming out – I can’t stand when people use various bars, dumbbells, medicine balls or whatever else and just leave them on the gym floor. Then when YOU need a piece of equipment, you can’t find it until you trip over it. This is more of an etiquette issue, but I see a lot of new trainees make a mess of the gym. I’ve always put things away, and one of my mottos is ‘if you can lift it – you can put it back’. I just told two twenty-somethings the other day to clean up after themselves, and I don’t even work at the gym!
Thursday, 1 January 2015
Looking cool can be very important. Some things like cool clothes and hair styles are great. Messing with your body is not cool.
Performance enhancing drugs, like steroids, were at first used by athletes to improve their athletic abilities and provide them with an advantage in their competitive sport. However in recent years, young people, like you, have been taking these man-made substances.
Steroid use is dangerous and can lead to serious medical and psychological complications. It is important that you understand the consequences of taking steroids.What are anabolic steroids?Anabolic steroids are synthetic or man-made substances related to testosterone. Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is responsible for the growth of bones and muscles, and for the development of masculine features such as, facial hair and a deeper voice.
It also increases muscle mass and muscle strength. Although it may take a little longer, you can get the same effects by following a supervised and safe weight training program and good nutrition.
Steroids are controlled substances, available by prescription and are used to treat specific medical conditions. It is not illegal to possess steroids for personal use, but possession for trafficking is illegal.
Since steroids are illegal to get without a doctor's prescription, this has resulted in a widespread black market supply of steroids. Steroids obtained through illegal means may be counterfeit (not the same as you would get from a doctor) and possibly impure.
Steroids are taken by mouth as tablets or capsules, by injection into muscles, or as gels or creams that are rubbed into the skin. Doses taken by people who abuse steroids can be up to 100 times greater than doses used for treating medical conditions.
Who uses steroids?Steroid users are not necessarily just professional athletes. You may be thinking of using steroids to change the way you look, and 'bulk up' or build muscle to help you feel better about yourself. You may be thinking that you can become more popular and get more respect and sex appeal.
About 83,000 young Canadians, mostly young men, between the ages of 11 and 18 report using steroids at least once.
Of those young Canadians who use steroids, about half use steroids to improve their performance in sports; almost as many use steroids to change their physical appearance.
Most steroid users are male, white, middle class and age 14 or older. The majority are involved in a regular physical activity or fitness/weight training program.
Women between the ages of 11 and 18 are less likely to use steroids. It's mainly a male issue.Do you know the side effects of using steroids?
Steroids have dangerous side effects. However, many of the consequences don't appear until much later. If you are relying on advice from other users and friends, they may not know or tell you about the dangers.
Steroids can affect the way you look:Severe acne (pimples) of face and bodyHair lossIn teenagers, steroids can stop bones from growing, so you may not grow to your full heightIn girls, steroids may cause masculine features like more body hair, smaller breasts, deeper voice, and larger clitorisBreast enlargement in boysSteroids can affect your sex drive:In boys, steroids can shrink your testicles and cause impotenceIn girls, you can have irregular periodsSteroids can affect your personality:'Roid rage' where you may become more aggressive or violent, and have bursts of angerdepressionmood swingsbeing tiredSteroids can threaten your life:If you inject steroids and share needles or vials, you can become infected with Hepatitis B and C, and HIV (AIDSDamage to liver and liver cancerDamage to kidneysHigh blood pressureHigh cholesterol leading to higher chance of getting a heart attack or strokeWhat can you do instead of taking steroids?
Even though steroids increase the size of your muscles, they can damage your health.
You can talk to your gym teachers and/or coaches to get information about nutrition, exercise, and other training techniques for improving performance.
You can ask your teachers and/or coaches to talk to other young people about the dangers of using steroids.
You can feel good about yourself based on other things, not just your physical appearance. You should be proud of your talents, achievements, abilities, intelligence, sense of humor, etc.
It may take you longer, but you can get fit and build muscle without using steroids. You can feel proud of yourself by setting goals and achieving them without the use of steroids.
Adapted by MNT from original media release
Advances in human growth hormone (GH) delivery have been reported recently, offering the anti-aging community, athletes, and physique enthusiasts reason to investigate new advantages and opportunities of this drug/hormone.
1 - Norditropin SimpleXx
Novo Nordisk A/S is a large pharmaceutical company that already manufactures and markets the once-daily GH product Norditropin SimpleXx. Norditropin has proven to be effective and reliable when used clinically; those who obtain it outside of the legal channels for quality-of-life or performance/physique purposes comment positively.1 Norditropin is typical of pharmaceutical GH. It improves linear growth (height) in treated children, reverses aging-related changes in older subjects, improves body composition, and accelerates healing.
2 - Drug Design
There are a number of challenges in creating a drug that can be inhaled with the intention of absorbing the drug into the bloodstream. First, it cannot be an irritant to the lungs or airways to avoid sneezing it out, or worse yet, induce an asthmatic reaction (bronchoconstriction). Second, the drug cannot cause an unwanted drug response in the lungs/airways (e.g., bleeding). Third, the drug must reach the alveoli (the tiny air sacs where oxygen is exchanged) to be absorbed into the circulation. Fourth, it cannot interfere with gas exchange (oxygen for carbon dioxide).3 There are other considerations, but this gives you an idea of the challenges.
3 - Growth Hormone Delivery: It Doesn’t Come Easy
An inhalable form of GH has proven itself to be an effective substitute for injectable GH in human clinical trials; as yet, this product has not completed FDA approval. Inhalable GH has been shown in adults and children to be bioequivalent in delivering GH, and the drug kinetics— time to peak concentration, clearance, etc.— are similar, as well as the metabolic effect (IGF-1). Both injected and inhaled GH reached peak concentration approximately 2 hours after dosing, and were cleared within 8-10 hours.5 The downside to inhaled GH is that it is inefficient in regard to how much of the drug is absorbed.
4 - Injection
Traditionally, GH is injected subcutaneously (into the fat you can pinch) into the abdomen or thigh.6 This allows GH to disperse relatively quickly and near-completely. The abdomen and thigh are chosen due to the access (people can self-inject into these sites), and circulation is good. Other fat depots do not have adequate blood flow— slowing the release or even “trapping” the drug, rendering it unusable by the body. GH can be injected intramuscularly (IM) to greater effect, but IM injections are more painful and have additional complication risks.7
5 - The New Variation on GH–pGH
A variation on GH has been developed, attaching a long polyethylene glycol chain to the protein structure to prolong its presence in the bloodstream; this is called pegylated GH (pGH).8 Pegylation does not alter the activity of GH, rather it makes the protein bigger so that it is not filtered by the kidneys and pissed away, literally. It may help to think of pegylation as carrier-protein substitute, protecting the hormone and prolonging its presence in the blood. Novo Nordisk A/S, the manufacturer of Norditropin, recently reported the results of studies comparing once-weekly pGH to daily Norditropin, in regard to tolerability and bioequivalence.8 The studies used healthy, non-smoking, non-obese men, aged 20 through 40. None of the subjects showed any injection site reaction, demonstrating the tolerability of pGH. When blood tests were analyzed, pGH was shown to be equivalent to GH on a molar basis within the dose range normally prescribed to adults.
6 - Growth Hormone In Your Body
GH is normally produced in spikes several times through the day and night. It can be stimulated by certain amino acids, exercise, low blood sugar, etc.9 The effects of GH are fairly short-lived, but longer term effects are the result of IGF-1— a secondary protein hormone produced primarily by the liver when stimulated by GH.10 Skeletal muscle is also a significant source of IGF-1, but most of the muscle-derived IGF-1 effects are local (limited to the tissue that produces it).11 Liver-based IGF-1 would be rapidly cleared if it did not bind to a carrier protein complex (IGFBP-3 and ALS).10
7 - Primitive Side Effects Of GH
Early adaptors of GH for bodybuilding and anti-aging suffered a number of side effects, including carpal tunnel syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, facial bone distortion, elongation of hands and feet, organ growth, etc.12 This was due to their inappropriate use of excessive doses, following the treatment routines given to GH-deficient children (around 20 IU/day). This resulted in IGF-1 levels that were higher than the body could accommodate; most GH-related side effects can be managed by keeping IGF-1 values within or near the physiologic (normal) range.
8 - Know The Risks
Of course, as with anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, the maximal response requires maximal risk— many are willing to make that trade. IGF-1 induced muscle growth, one of many anabolic effects of growth hormone, is dose related.15 For years, athletes believed that GH increased strength, as well as muscle size. Then research was published stating emphatically that GH-increases in muscle size were either due to fluid retention or increases in non-contractile components in muscle tissue.16 In other words, the muscles may get bigger, but they do not get stronger or perform better.
9 - GH Vs. Test
Now, another study challenges the above claim, showing that in healthy adult men and women who exercise recreationally, GH (6 IU/day) significantly increased Wingate sprint performance— a measure of anaerobic power— by 4 percent compared to a control group that was not treated.17 Men experienced a synergistic increase in the Wingate test to 8.3 percent when testosterone was also administered (250 mgs Sustanon/week) along with GH. Interestingly, while testosterone and GH both increased lean mass, GH did so by increasing extracellular water;testosterone actually increased muscle tissue.
10 - GH benefits fat-loss and reduces muscular deterioration
Many of the benefits of GH relate to metabolic changes affecting energy utilization, or buffering in the muscle to reduce the (lactic) acid-related deterioration in performance. Further, fat loss is obviously beneficial in many sports. It is the chronic elevation of IGF-1 that appears to be related to the anabolic effects of GH, suggesting pGH may have greater effect for those seeking size or power gains.
It is probable that pGH will be approved in a few years; prior to that, it will likely reach self-experimenting bodybuilders or athletes. No additional risk with pGH, relative to current GH formulations, has been noted; yet, the report of delayed clearance, potential for hormone “buildup,” and suppression of endogenous (natural) production seem elevated in instances of abuse (dosing for anabolic versus replacement purposes).
1. Orme SM, Sebastian JP, et al. Comparison of measures of body composition in a trial of low dose growth hormone replacement therapy. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf), 1992 Nov;37(5):453-9.
2. Desrosiers P, O'Brien F, et al. Patient outcomes in the GHMonitor: the effect of delivery device on compliance and growth. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev, 2005 Feb;2 Suppl 3:327-31.
3. Hohenegger M. Novel and current treatment concepts using pulmonary drug delivery. Curr Pharm Des, 2010;16(22):2484-92.
4. Siekmeier R, Scheuch G. Inhaled insulin--does it become reality? J Physiol Pharmacol, 2008 Dec;59 Suppl 6:81-113.
5. Walvoord EC, de la Peña A, et al. Inhaled growth hormone (GH) compared with subcutaneous GH in children with GH deficiency: pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and safety. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2009 Jun;94(6):2052-9.
6. Beshyah SA, Anyaoku V, et al. The effect of subcutaneous injection site on absorption of human growth hormone: abdomen versus thigh. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf), 1991 Nov;35(5):409-12.
7. Keller A, Wu Z, et al. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of GH: dependence on route and dosage of administration. Eur J Endocrinol, 2007 Jun;156(6):647-53.
8. Rasmussen MH, Bysted BV, et al. Pegylated long-acting human growth hormone is well-tolerated in healthy subjects and possesses a potential once-weekly pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic treatment profile. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2010 Jul;95(7):3411-7.
9. Devesa J, Lima L, et al. Neuroendocrine control of growth hormone secretion in humans. Trends Endocrinol Metab, 1992 Jul;3(5):175-83.
10. Ohlsson C, Mohan S, et al. The role of liver-derived insulin-like growth factor-1. Endocr Rev, 2009 Aug;30(5):494-535.
11. Frystyk J. Exercise and the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor axis. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2010 Jan;42(1):58-66.
12. Mukherjee A, Shalet SM. The value of IGF-1 estimation in adults with GH deficiency. Eur J Endocrinol, 2009 Nov;161 Suppl 1:S33-9.
13. Faje AT, Barkan AL. Basal, but not pulsatile, growth hormone secretion determines the ambient circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor-1. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2010 May;95(5):2486-91.
14. Surya S, Horowitz JF, et al. The pattern of growth hormone delivery to peripheral tissues determines insulin-like growth factor-1 and lipolytic responses in obese subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2009 Aug;94(8):2828-34.
15. Stevens-Lapsley JE, Ye F, et al. Impact of viral mediated IGF-1 gene transfer on skeletal muscle following cast immobilization. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2010 Aug 24. [E-pub, ahead of print]
16. Rennie MJ. Claims for the anabolic effects of growth hormone: a case of the emperor's new clothes? Br J Sports Med, 2003 Apr;37(2):100-5.
17. Meinhardt U, Nelson AE, et al. The effects of growth hormone on body composition and physical performance.