Friday, May 15, 2015

3 ways to build more muscle and get stronger….

Today’s Post:  Friday, 5-15-2015

1.  Slow repetition strength training.

Saw an ad from a company called The Perfect Workout about two years ago.

*Their ad said that they used slow rep strength training because between the slower movement and lighter weight it caused fewer injuries.

But the two really important ideas they added were

*Do your best in each set to do all the repetitions you could --
AND only stop doing them when you either just barely were able to do the last one –
 or you tried to do one more and gave it your best but couldn’t do it and only were able to do a partial repetition.

**Secondly, this is a GOOD thing because every time you do this your body builds back more size and strength in the two or three days they recommend between sessions. 

They even call it “muscle success!”

This is frustrating when you do it which is why their system has a coach to cheer you on to help overcome that. 

But with their key insight, that it’s a success when you do it NOT a failure! -- I’ve found you can do it on your own.

When I was younger I read that doing the exercises and simply doing more repetitions and adding more weight when you did become able to do more repetitions and repeating the process would eventually cause you to be stronger and grow larger muscles.

But once I went far enough I ran into the situation where I couldn’t make the weight move more times, I thought I’d failed and couldn’t do it.  So I quit. I thought why do it if it doesn’t work for me? 

Later when I joined a group of guys who did power lifting I still felt I was bad at it; but I kept going regularly for the fun of working out with them and found that if I just kept doing it anyway, I got stronger over time.

So, when I read the ad for The Perfect Workout it made sense to me. 

So I decided to try using their super slow reps on the exercises I was already doing at home.

WOW!  The difference was HUGE. 

Before, I did the exercises with normal speed repetition and felt virtuous and burned calories and got minor muscle gains out of simply doing them a few times a week.

But the size of the weights was limited and I wasn’t really getting stronger or getting the larger more calorie burning muscles I needed to help with my fat loss.

What happened when I tried the exact same exercises but used the slow reps?

WOW!  The difference was HUGE. 

I did find it limited how many repetitions I could do in each exercise.  But I simply wrote down how many I WAS able to do and went on to the next exercise.

BUT then I realized that my muscles felt 10 times harder-worked immediately at the end of each set than they had been with the normal speed reps. 

And, when I was done, every single one of the muscles I used, and some I’d not been aware I was using for support, felt bigger and “pumped” and well exercised.

So, while the last rep I had trouble with on each set was frustrating, I was completely OK with it for two reasons.  I knew I was doing something that would make my muscles bigger and stronger. 

And I felt bigger and successful and rewarded at the end of my workout!

And, I’ve kept doing my slow rep strength training ever since.

Later I was able to go once a week to The Perfect Workout and do one strength training session at home each week so I was able to get that feeling twice a week. Plus their machines exercised parts of me and used heavier weights for the leg press than I had at home.

I’m not currently able to afford to go to The Perfect Workout but now do two slow rep versions at home each week.

For my Tuesday evening workout when it’s a bit warm I do shorter sets of 7 to 12 with heavier weights. 

And on Saturday mornings when it’s much cooler, I do sets of 20 to 30. 

Each is effective since your muscles respond both to higher weights and to more time spent working hard.

2.  Whey

Strength training only works well and adds muscle when you get enough protein in your food to do the after exercise repairs well. 

The Perfect Workout has found that getting less than .75 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight did prevent gains.  But more than that was not needed. 

Meanwhile power lifters and body builders usually aim for at least one gram of protein per pound.  And, one experienced expert with clients who build muscle well teaches them to get 1.5 grams of protein per pound each day.

And, he teaches to use a special kind of protein to do that.

Did you know there IS a kind of protein that works by far the best?

Whey is even better than I thought plus more!

Years and years ago I read a study that found that feeding people who exercised an amino acid mix that exactly duplicated the amino acids found in their body and its muscles increased muscle building by as much as 25 to 40%! 

If your body protein has 10% of its protein as a certain amino acid and 5% of another etc, they found that if your protein intake did too, you gained more muscle from strength training.

But, though I remembered this study I had no funds to go get this analysis of my muscle protein done nor any ability to buy individual amino acids to keep eating that way every day or add the amino acids as a supplement.

But then I found out that Whey is about 95 to 98% the same amino acid breakdown as human muscle.

BINGO!  It seems I could just go and buy exactly what I once read about at the health food store.

I did that and have had whey with my breakfast virtually every day since then.

Of course I also have been doing slow rep strength training with weights heavy enough for each exercise to be challenging.

And, I've added some testosterone boosters, see our post on, Three sets of ways to boost your testosterone....Thursday, 3-12-2015,  AND I’ve recently added a new supplement that also has another proven muscle building substance in addition to boosting testosterone. (That’s listed as point 3 in this post.)

It's now working!  My muscles are now visibly bigger and I'm finally beginning to see real strength gains.

But it seems there is even more research that whey not only can help build muscle and strength but that it can help with fat loss too!:

[Doubling my current whey intake and adding a gram or two a day of leucine might help!]

One of my health information emails, from “the Sherpa” sent some confirming research that whey both helps add muscle AND enable you to lose fat better!

:....the Greek physician Hippocrates (446-337 BC), considered the father of Western medicine….used liquid whey-strained off when making cheese-to help his patients build muscle and strengthen their immune systems.”

…. whey is….more easily digested than any other protein.”

Whey is “….a safe and effective way to increase your lean muscle mass and strength, and it can help you burn off body fat.

It's also a rich natural source of many bioactive compounds that reduce your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and more.”

Whey is an “….All-Natural Way to Prevent Age-Related Loss of Lean Muscle...

One of the major disadvantages of aging is a gradual, steady wasting away of muscle mass and strength, known clinically as "sarcopenia."

[People who do not strength train tend to lose 30 to 50% of their muscle mass between age 30 and age 80.  Add to that the reduction in mitochondria, and at certain point, people become less mobile and strong enough to live independently. 

So in the same way you can take action to keep your mitochondria and keep them working well that we posted on in our recent post on slowing aging, you can prevent or reverse that loss of muscle by doing slow rep strength training and eating whey.

In fact, The Perfect Workout sells its service to affluent middle aged people as a way to prevent or reverse sarcopenia and even has a graphic to show how your legs wind up being made out of fat rather than muscle when sarcopenia happens to you.

And, indeed many of their clients do so for that reason. Better yet they report they can resume doing things they used to do instead of being unable to do them!

That’s critical for losing fat and keeping it off because your body uses fewer calories when you lose muscle, yet you tend to eat and be hungry for the foods you are used to eating.  But the combination results in adding two or three pounds of fat for each pound of muscle you lose!

And, it’s an economic and public health issue because people who could have kept working or enjoyed their retirement wind up in expensive nursing homes!]

“….regular consumption of whey, along with....exercise, is a scientifically proven way to trigger your body to make lean, fat-free muscle.”

“A double-blind study reported in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at the effects of whey supplementation on muscular strength and endurance in young men during 10 weeks of resistance training.

36 men were randomly assigned equal quantities of three supplements-carbs alone, whey plus casein (the most abundant milk protein), or whey plus other supplements.

After 10 weeks of resistance training, all three groups had improved their exercise capacity.

However, only the man taking whey plus casein showed the greatest increases in lean, fat-free mass.

There is also convincing evidence that whey consumption with strength training is particularly beneficial for older people.

In McMaster University in Ontario, slightly overweight healthy elderly men were split into two groups. Each group performed resistance exercises before taking 20 g of micellar casein or whey supplement. (Micellar casein is a high quality source of protein, in which casein is carefully extracted from milk without reducing its natural benefits).

While both supplements flooded the blood of study subjects with the right nutrients, more of them entered the blood of men who had consumed whey.

Even more interestingly, muscle protein synthesis in these men was higher both at rest and after exercise.

In other words, regular consumption of whey-along with moderately intense exercise-is a great way to slow down, perhaps even reverse, the loss of muscle mass and strength all of us experience as we grow older.”

“Experts believe whey helps muscles function better because of three essential branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)-leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These cannot be made by our body, and must be consumed in our diet...and whey has more of them than any other protein source.

Of these, leucine is the most potent at promoting muscle protein synthesis,
   isoleucine causes muscles to use glucose for energy more efficiently,
           while valine is believed to be able to increase glucose production and blood glucose levels.”

[These are expensive to get as supplements but are abundant in whey at a MUCH lower cost.]

A 16-week clinical trial looking at the effect of BCAAs on body composition compared diets with high levels of leucine to high levels of carbs in two groups of subjects.

Both groups were fed restricted diets with the same number of calories, equal in fat and fiber content.

Interestingly, people in the high leucine group lost more total weight (9.8 kg versus 6.7 kg), body fat (8.8 kg versus 5.6 kg), and less lean body mass (0.4 kg versus 1.1 kg) than those in the carbohydrate group.

Clearly, BCAAs in whey are responsible for some of …”whey’s” beneficial actions on body composition and muscle buildup.

Is Whey an Anti-Obesity Food?

Consuming excess dietary carbs such as sweets and cookies raise cholesterol, triglyceride, and insulin levels along with increasing your risk for obesity and metabolic disorders. Logically, limiting carbohydrate intake should reduce risk-and it does…..”

“This can be clearly seen in a double-blind, randomized clinical trial carried out by the USDA, which looked at the consequences of consuming an equal number of calories of whey, soy, and carbohydrate on body weight and composition in overweight and obese participants. Ninety participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups for 23 weeks.

Supplements were consumed as a beverage twice daily-other than that, participants ate freely.

After 23 weeks, body weight and fat mass of the group consuming whey were significantly lower than the carbohydrate group.

While lean body mass did not differ between any of the groups, waist circumference and ghrelin levels (ghrelin is a hormone made by the stomach that triggers hunger) were both at their lowest in participants consuming whey.

In other words, dietary protein suppresses appetite, helps weight loss, and positively affects body composition-and whey is especially effective at doing this, along with causing satiety hormones to be released that make you feel full sooner.

Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Other Metabolic Disorders...

Many studies have reported that long-term consumption of whey reduces blood glucose while raising insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity.

This hypoglycemic (or glucose-lowering) effect of whey was also seen in patients with type 2 diabetes.

In a study conducted at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, the effects of casein, whey, cod, and gluten were examined in 12 patients with type 2 diabetes. Eight hours after ingestion of a high-fat meal along with one of these four proteins as supplements, both the glucose response and triglyceride levels were the most reduced after whey supplementation.

Based on scientific evidence such as this, regular whey consumption appears to be an effective way to manage risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.”


Going over the total of a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight from just whey can cause minor health problems such as bloating and headache. 

But if you avoid wasting the money on more than you need, you don’t get those. 

And, if you get some speed up in bowel movements, that will help shrink your waist and turn off acid reflux or prevent it, so at low levels that is more of a positive than negative.


“People who are allergic to milk and milk products should not consume whey. However, lactose-intolerant people are not affected by most whey, as there is very little lactose in it.”

3.  Ursolic acid

Over a year ago a researcher in Iowa read that a compound called ursolic acid was an effective natural compound that had anabolic effects BUT was NOT a steroid that had negative health effects!

(Ursolic acid is found at low levels in many plants notably spices like oregano and basil.)

And, he was able to show that red apple peels could be processed into an ursolic acid supplement.

But the one time I saw an ursolic acid supplement in the health food store it was $89 for a month’s supply before tax.  Few people knew what was good for and between the two things no one bought it – including me!  So I never saw it again as the store stopped carrying it.

Then Dr Al Sears found that taking the herb supplement holy basil helped men who were fatter than they wanted, had trouble gaining muscle even if they exercised, had fat underneath their nipples aka “man boobs,” and complained of reduced sex drive.  It seems that in men having total estrogen levels of over 100 these things are common.

And within two months of taking holy basil almost all his patients tested as lower than 100 for total estrogens and DID see improvement of these symptoms!

But he missed something! 

Nature’s Way standardized holy basil has enough ursolic acid in two capsules a day to have an anabolic effect too!

AND, since I found that out and began taking two capsules a day of Nature’s Way standardized holy basil -- instead of my hard strength training workouts leaving me less able the following time due to incomplete recovery, I was able to do more instead!

So, it looks as if adding the two capsules a day with the ursolic acid has begun enabling me to actually get the muscle and strength gains I want.

To be sure, this is new and I’ve not yet done it long enough to be sure this will continue.

But, based on the research, I think it will!

And the experience of others shows that in strength training if you keep adding weight gradually long enough to double or triple how much you can lift, the size of your muscles will increase enough to burn more calories.  And when that happens, so does some fat loss and smaller waist measurements!

So, by doing all three actions in this post plus perhaps adding the things that boost testosterone, older men CAN get stronger and add muscle mass. 

And, they can do it WITH NO ANABOLIC STEROIDS!

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