Brandon Hendrickson Outlasts Large Field To Win Arnold Men’s Physique

In a hard-fought battle, a new champ emerged in this fledgling category at the 2016 Arnold Sports Festival.

Brandon Hendrickson of Bartlett, Illinois, outlasted a field of nearly 40 competitors to win the Arnold Classic Men’s Physique for the biggest win of his three-year career in the IFBB Pro League. Hendrickson received congratulations from Arnold Schwarzenegger, $ 5,000, a Tony Nowak official champion’s jacket, and the champion’s trophy from Eric Hillman of Europa Sports Products and Eric Torgerson of EAS.

The remainder of the Arnold Men’s Physique top six:

  • Second place: George Brown of Columbus, Ohio received $ 2,000 and a trophy from Jan Tana and MHP.
  • Third place: Jason Poston of Dallas, Texas, received $ 1,500 and a trophy from Blackstone Labs and Muscle & Fitness.
  • Fourth place: Ryan Terry of England received $ 1,500 and a trophy from Lone Star Distribution and Optimum Nutrition.
  • Fifth place: Andre Ferguson of Selden, New York, received $ 1,000 and a trophy from Scitec Nutrition and Rule One Proteins.
  • Sixth place: Raymont Edmonds received $ 500 and a trophy from VPX and Black Skull.

Photos courtesy of Arnold Sports Festival (Dave Emery). Contest Articles

Rory McIlroy Trains To Be Stronger Than His Critics

Once upon a time, golfers were considered anything but athletic. Nowadays, the top pros fill out a golf shirt while dazzling on the green. Are they setting themselves up to fail?

Golfer Rory McIlroy burst onto the global competitive golf scene back in 2007, racking up victories and big dollars at an age when most young men are doing anything but. And he did it despite having a body composition that was, shall we say, nonathletic, and a number of other big physical warning signs.

“I wasn’t really big into the gym,” McIlroy recalled in a Nike commercial in 2014. “I couldn’t stand on one leg for more then 10 seconds. I couldn’t hold a plank for more than 30 seconds.” Combine that with his admittedly “terrible” posture, and any trainer worth his or her clipboard would probably see an injury waiting to happen—particularly in combination with McIlroy’s violent golf swing.

Rory McIlroy and Nike Training Present: Inner Strength
Watch the video – 2:09

So what did the young Irishman do? He got into the gym and transformed himself. His results would seem to speak for themselves—19 professional wins, $ 150 million in winnings, all by the tender age of 26—but he’s had to deal with a steady stream of criticism ever since he turned the corner and got fit.

Here’s the latest shot tossed at McIlroy from behind the mic, courtesy of Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee:

“When I see the things he’s doing in the gym, I think of what happened to Tiger Woods … and it does give me a little concern when I see the extensive weightlifting that Rory is doing in the gym.”

It’s easy to just roll your eyes at a statement like this and say, “Strong is always better, duh,” but let’s give Mr. Chamblee the benefit of the doubt and unpack it a bit.

What happened to Tiger Woods

For years, Tiger Woods was slight of build, while definitely athletic, and he had great success on the golf course. Like, the greatest anyone has ever had.

Then, he started getting hurt all the time. He also started showing up to tournaments looking more like a free safety than your standard golfer. Were the two related? Plenty of people were eager to say they were, stating that Woods was restricted, bulky, and too strong for his own good.

So let’s imagine the torque Tiger’s dynamic swing put on his body. If you’ve ever seen him swing—and you have, because we all have—then you know it’s a lot. Now take into account that he performed this move almost exclusively in one direction, starting in infancy. Don’t forget, he was featured on the Mike Douglas show at age 3, and could shoot a respectable 48 at nine holes at that age. He’s 40 now, and has been a professional golfer since his teenage years. Even by conservative calculations, he has probably swung the golf club several million times in his life.

A photo posted by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on

Honestly, it’s amazing his eyes and his toes still point in the same direction. Criticizing him for having back pain is like blaming a gladiator’s training for the fact that he got stabbed in the back in the arena. Tiger’s weight-training regimen was designed to balance his body and save it from a lifetime of damage from the golf swing, not to blindly add stress or build muscle mass for its own sake.

That he ultimately lost the battle—and is reportedly in near-constant pain as he enters his fifth decade of life—isn’t an indictment of strength training. It’s an indictment of single-minded devotion to individual sports, and a call for more well-rounded athleticism.

Smart trainers—not just talking-head commentators—know this. Virtually every sport causes some form of extreme repetition of movement, often with considerable force. Athletes and their trainers have come to understand this, and they’ve instituted weight-training protocols to correct these imbalances and provide sport-specific advantages.

So what was Rory doing, anyway?

To hear his critics describe it, you’d think McIlroy had entered the CrossFit Games. But the truth? He was “caught” performing squats. Here’s his selfie-described workout:

  • Squat: 3 sets of 10 reps, 225 pounds
  • Squat: 3 sets of 3 reps, 265 pounds

A photo posted by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on

He’s also been pictured deadlifting a similar amount, and doing easy sets with 225 using the trap bar. In the Nike video, you can also see him doing push-ups, renegade rows, and some rotational medicine-ball work.

None of this is indicative of someone trying to break into powerlifting. It’s not bodybuilding, either—and McIlroy has been quick to note that he still weighs just 165 pounds. It’s really indicative of someone who has simply done the work to develop a healthy body composition and build strong legs, hips, and core. All of those muscles are integral to the golf swing—and to being a healthy, functional athlete and human being.

A video posted by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on

Honestly, this training protocol and the one captured in the video are more likely to help extend McIlroy’s career than they are to shorten it. Having a solid base of muscle mass and stronger spinal stabilizers—an advantage that squats and deadlift variations definitely provide—helps prevent accumulating injury from performing the same explosive twisting move, say, a couple of million times.

The Bottom Line

Of course, we can all point to someone who does it wrong—someone who gets big and simultaneously begins spiraling down an endless series of injuries, big and small. Are the two related? Sometimes. And sometimes, that person was going to get injured one way or another.

Each of us can also probably point to someone who got fit and strong and watched their back pain disappear, saw their quality of life skyrocket, and felt and performed better than they ever dreamed possible. McIlroy has a long road ahead of him, but the success he’s achieved in his early years says more than Chamblee ever could.

“It’s a necessity. It’s what I need to do,” McIlroy says in the Nike video. “And I feel like getting in here gives me the best possible chance to go out on the golf course and perform to the best of my ability.”

He’s earned the benefit of the doubt. It’s the repetition, unbalanced, that causes damage. That, and opening your mouth when you have nothing informed to say. Sports Articles

From Dad Bod To Dat Bod

Cary went from motocross and free time to kids and family time. Along the way, his diet slipped—until tragedy led him to take control.

Cary Higginbotham was in good shape throughout high school and college. His weight had never been an issue. “At 5-foot-11, I’d stay between 175 and 185 pounds, and I always felt athletic,” he recalls. “I even raced motocross when I was in college and during the first few years of my marriage, which kept me in great shape.”

Soon, however, things began to slow down. “My weight issues started out as the now-popular ‘dad bod,'” he says. “I was still working out occasionally, but I was eating whatever I wanted. Initially, I only gained a few pounds.”

But poor diet combined with inertia caused Cary’s weight to increase. Healthy activities took a back seat to adult responsibilities, and a desk job and diet of sugary drinks and fast-food lunches set Cary back even more.

Binge-watching TV on the couch replaced an active lifestyle. It wasn’t until his mother passed from heart complications associated with type 2 diabetes that Cary decided to implement change.

This is Cary’s story.

Cary Higginbotham, What Was Your Spark? The Spark
Watch the video – 7:19

You were fairly active as a child and teen. What caused things to slow down?

As I got older, my metabolism slowed, and I focused more on being a good father, husband, and provider, and less on my personal health. I had a desk job, and my daily diet consisted of a high-calorie latte first thing in the morning, followed by sugary drinks throughout the workday to keep me going. For lunch, I’d grab fast food and down some high-calorie vending-machine snacks. I started slowly inching toward having a “middle-age bod,” which is not a popular look.

Once I got home, my diet didn’t improve. I would eat another unhealthy dinner, or I’d overeat even if it was healthy. Then you have to finish the night off with dessert with the kids, right? This poor diet combination and zero physical activity shot my weight up to 220 pounds by 2009, 40 pounds more than I’d weighed in college.

Did you have a wake-up moment?

My wake-up call was twofold. The “wow, you’re out of shape” moment came at work one day when I had to renew a badge. I was astonished how different my face looked when comparing it to my photo from five years before. I could see the weight gain in my face, and I took notice of my overall weight gain looking in the mirror. I hated what I saw.

Before 220 lbs.

After 181 lbs.

Age: 39
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 220 lbs.
Body Fat: 30%
Age: 39
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 181 lbs.
Body Fat: 7.5%

When I lost my mom in 2013, due to the heart complications she developed from type 2 diabetes—and the damage it did to her organs—I developed a sense of urgency to turn things around. My mom passed on the morning of her 60th birthday, which was way too early to lose a loved one, especially when it could have been prevented with proper diet and exercise.

My oldest child was in the fifth grade, and I started thinking about all of life’s big moments she would miss. For my children’s sake, I wanted to make sure I’d be around for as long as possible for moments like school graduations, weddings, and grandchildren.

How did you go about implementing change?

In 2010, my job responsibilities changed, and I started working from home. I took this opportunity to start planning better meals and eating healthier. I also got my home gym in order and started working out more. I slowly lost weight and developed better eating habits. I still had cheat meals and desserts with my kids, so my transformation was not in full swing yet, but I was making progress.

Did you hit any stumbling blocks along the way?

I did a complete 180 and became so focused on dieting and eating healthy that I took things too far. My weight dropped down to the 160s that year—much less than I weighed when I graduated high school! My wife told me I looked like a skinny version of Tim McGraw, which was not the look I was going for. After that, my diet fell by the wayside, and by January 2015, I was back to over 200 pounds.

For my children’s sake, I wanted to make sure I’d be around for as long as possible for moments like school graduations, weddings, and grandchildren.

How did you turn things around and find that balance?

I saw the 200K Transformation Challenge advertised, but initially, I didn’t make the decision to commit. Then, on my 39th birthday, after overeating at dinner and not liking what I saw in the mirror, I promised myself to see my abs again before turning 40.

I had my wife snap a photo and uploaded my “before” pics to complete my 200K transformation registration before I could change my mind. Even though the photo was initially embarrassing, uploading it forced me to be accountable. It was one of my best fitness decisions.

What do you think was the real catalyst in sparking change?

It’s amazing how motivated you can get from knowing how bad your first picture looks and wanting to improve your body before your next progress photo rolls around.

There was just something about knowing that my bodybuilding peers would be looking at them that gave me the extra kick to keep going. It lit a fire underneath me. Not only did I see my abs before turning 40—I saw them by the end of the 12-week challenge!

How did you accomplish your goals?

Diet, diet, diet! Oh, did I mention diet? I started eating above maintenance calories before the challenge started. After that, I dropped my calorie intake to 10 times my body weight, about 2,000 calories. I adjusted it as my weight dropped. I ate about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, and only my fat and carb intake changed.

Carbs started off at about 1.5 grams per pound of body weight per day and dropped to 0.5 grams per pound of body weight per day as I started cutting. I only ate only three or four meals per day while cutting. This helped me tremendously with cheat meals at night, which is usually my worst time to cheat.

What aspect challenged you the most?

By far, the most challenging part of my transformations was my diet. By just cutting calories and working out, I was able to get under 20 percent body fat. I had to be much more disciplined with my diet and cut out all cheat meals to get under 10 percent. To get lower than 8 percent, I had to change my whole way of thinking.

I had to start eating what I needed versus what I wanted. It required me to say “No thanks” a lot, when I really want to say “Yes, please!” This was especially hard at social events with friends and family. I had to eat ahead of time or plan ahead and take my food with me. In the end, it was worth the extra effort.

What did your meal plan look like?

I started skipping breakfast, since I was busy working and could keep my mind off food. This also gave me a bigger window to perform fasted cardio before lunch, which was usually my first meal of the day. Then I would have one or two small meals or snacks before my workout at 5:30 p.m. I had a smaller post-workout shake immediately after my workout, then ate a big meal later for dinner.

This approach allowed me to eat more calories at night, kept me full until bedtime, and eliminated the cheat snacks. It was sort of my unique twist on intermittent fasting.

What does your diet look like these days?

Meal 1

Coffee 2 cups

Whole milk 1/2 cup

Meal 2

Chicken breast or tuna 8 oz.

Broccoli 1 cup

Brown rice 1/2-1 cup (depending on macro goals)

Olive oil 1 oz. (on low-carb day)

Meal 3: Pre-workout
Protein shake:

1% milk 4 oz.

Water 4 oz.

Egg whites 4 oz.

Rolled oats 1/4-1/2 cup

Banana 1

Meal 4: Post-workout
Protein shake:

1% milk 4 oz.

Water 4 oz.

Egg whites 4 oz.

Waxy maize 30 g

Meal 5

Chicken breast or tuna 8 oz.

Broccoli 1 cup

Brown rice 1/2-1 cup (optional, depending on macro goals)

Olive oil 1 oz. (on low-carb day)

What supplements helped you along the way?

With Meal 1

With Meal 3

How is your workout program set up?

I trained three days on and then took one day off. I’d “rinse and repeat.” This was challenging at first, but I think it had the largest impact on my results other than my diet.

I trained three days on and then took one day off. I’d “rinse and repeat.” This was challenging at first, but I think it had the largest impact on my results other than my diet.

I did ab work and cardio workouts before my first meal in the morning to help drop my body fat. I also added weekend lunchtime cardio sessions as my schedule allowed. My workouts focused primarily on compound exercises, because they are so effective and efficient.

Day 1: Legs


5 sets of 5-8 reps

Barbell Squat Barbell Squat


Leg Press

5 sets of 5-8 reps

Leg Press Leg Press


Leg Extension

5 sets of 6-10 reps

Leg Extensions Leg Extensions


Calf Raise

4 sets of 15-20 reps

Standing Barbell Calf Raise Standing Barbell Calf Raise

Day 2: Chest, shoulders, and triceps

Bench Press

5 sets of 5-8 reps

Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip


Incline Dumbbell Press

5 sets of 5-8 reps

Incline Dumbbell Press Incline Dumbbell Press


Barbell Incline Press

5 sets of 5-8 reps

Barbell Incline Bench Press Medium-Grip Barbell Incline Bench Press Medium-Grip


Military Press

5 sets of 10-12 reps

Standing Military Press Standing Military Press


Cable Lateral Raise

5 sets of 10-12 reps

Cable Seated Lateral Raise Cable Seated Lateral Raise



5 reps of 10-12 reps

Dips - Triceps Version Dips - Triceps Version



5 sets of 10-12 reps

Lying Triceps Press Lying Triceps Press

Day 3: Back, biceps, and traps

Stiff-Legged Deadlift

5 sets of 5-8 reps

Stiff-Legged Deadlift Stiff-Legged Deadlift



5 sets of 10-15 reps

Pullups Pullups


Lat Pull-down

5 sets of 6-10 reps

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown


Bent-Over Barbell Row

5 sets of 6-10 reps

Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row


Seated Row

5 sets of 6-10 reps

Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows


EZ-bar curl (reverse incline)

5 sets of 6-10 reps

Barbell Curls Lying Against An Incline Barbell Curls Lying Against An Incline


Seated incline curl

5 sets of 6-10 reps

Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl

Day 4: Rest

How do you feel now?

At less than 8 percent body fat, I feel so much better and love what I see in the mirror each day. I also know that maintaining a lean body increases my odds of staying healthy, while also providing a good example for my three children. Knowing that is what drives me each day. I am going to make sure I do everything possible to stay healthy and live a long life so that I am there for all my children’s and grandchildren’s major life events.

What suggestions do you have for aspiring transformers?

Do your research, and find a workout plan and diet that work for your lifestyle. Workout and diet templates are great starting points, but customize the plans so that they work better for you. You don’t have to eat a set number of meals or do a certain workout on a specific day. Making things work for you will increase the chances that you’ll stick with it instead of getting frustrated and quitting.

Plan out your meals and workouts. Juggling life and your fitness goals is hard enough as it is. Simplify things as much as possible, and you will be successful.

Do your research, and find a workout plan and diet that work for your lifestyle. Workout and diet templates are great starting points, but customize the plans so that they work better for you.

How has helped you reach your goals?

I’ve always worked out at home and never had a training partner. became that partner to help lead me through my journey. I got—and continue to get—all of my information, motivation, and supplementation information on the website.

I gained motivation through the transformation challenges and encouragement from the BodySpace community. I would have never thought I could get so much support from hundreds of people I have never met, but our common fitness goals brought us together.

The store helped me choose products based on my goals, and user reviews helped me make my selection. Fast shipping ensured I had my supplements when I needed them.

Cary’s Favorite Gym Tracks

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Rob Zombie
Powerman 5000
“When Worlds Collide”
Marilyn Manson
“Sweet Dreams”
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Rob Zombie
Powerman 5000
“When Worlds Collide”
Marilyn Manson
“Sweet Dreams”

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How To Eat For Maximum Muscle Growth At Any Age!

As you age, your body’s protein, carb, and fat needs change, making it harder to hold on to muscle. Here’s how to build a diet to sustain you for a lifetime!

From teens to people in their 80s, improving one’s physique is a truly “ageless” pastime. Sure, not all of these people call themselves bodybuilders, but more of them in all age groups are eating and training with the pursuit of more muscle in mind. And with good reason! The further on we get in age, the more pronounced the benefits of a little more muscle mass become in terms of quality of life and longevity.

In short, you’re never too old to see the benefits of getting stronger. But while training plays a major part in giving your body the stimulus to change, there’s plenty you can do with your diet, as well. In fact, structuring your diet around your age and goals is essential to great results.

Of course, I’m not going to hit you over the head with some “one magic food” baloney here. Just the opposite. I’m going to help you utilize the classic way bodybuilders balance the three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fats—to ramp up muscle growth and fat loss. The only difference: You’re going to optimize them for your age!

It turns out there’s been an extensive amount of research into how people at different ages respond to different levels of the macronutrients, and it’s not hard to make some recommendations that could pay off big-time for you. Let’s chow down!

Protein Are you getting enough?

You are probably aware that dietary protein is important for stimulating muscle growth (through muscle protein synthesis, or MPS) and optimal recovery from training. But how does age affect this anabolic (muscle-building) response to protein?

Research suggests that younger individuals are very sensitive to the anabolic effects of amino acids.1-3 The old cliché of a young man who can seemingly put on muscle just by looking at a steak? Yeah, there’s probably something to it. The opposite might also be true, as several researchers have shown that comparatively large doses of amino acids are required to maximize the anabolic response in older individuals.1,2,4-8

As you age, a diet rich in protein can help prevent age-related decline in muscle protein synthesis.

Why is this? It appears the decreased response may be explained by a decrease in the activity of the protein mTOR and the enzyme p70S6K, both of which are involved in initiating protein synthesis.2,4 Furthermore, it appears that the decreased anabolic response in the elderly may be due, at least in part, to the natural increase in oxidative stress that accompanies aging. Oxidative stress is the type of damage that all those antioxidants are meant to mitigate. As levels of certain molecules known as “reactive oxygen species” go up, levels of protein synthesis go down.9

There is hope, however. Consuming a diet rich in protein—specifically, the amino acid leucine—can help prevent the age-related decline in muscle protein synthesis.

Muscle-building protein recommendations by age:

  • < 18 years: 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight
  • 19-40 years: 0.8-1.1 grams per pound of body weight
  • 41-65 years: 1.1-1.3 grams per pound of body weight
  • > 65 years: 1.3-1.5 grams per pound of body weight

Even if you don’t measure out your protein to the gram, the lesson here is that as you age, you need more protein. If you can have it with antioxidant-rich foods, all the better. You can’t go wrong with a diet rich in meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds here.

Designed to Increase Lean Body Mass and Support Recovery! Go Now!

Carbohydrates Eat less over time

Like protein, adequate intake of carbohydrates can positively affect muscle protein synthesis rates. However, compared to their younger counterparts, older adults may need fewer carbs to experience muscle growth.

The primary way carbohydrates influence muscle growth is by increasing insulin secretion. Insulin helps shuttle available amino acids to cells to jump-start the muscle growth and repair process. In this sense, a fair amount of carbohydrates are still needed even in your later decades of life to help maintain and grow muscle.

Carbohydrates consumed together with protein appear to have a greater anabolic effect in adults than simply consuming protein alone.10 It also appears that insulin can still guard against protein breakdown in adults, meaning it could have a “muscle-sparing” effect. Additionally, there is some evidence that eating carbs can prolong the body’s muscle-building response to amino acids.11

Compared to their younger counterparts, older adults may need fewer carbs to experience muscle growth.

In short, you can still benefit from carbs as you get older. But because physical activity and metabolic rate tend to decline as you age, you probably don’t need nearly as many of them. As your protein intake goes up with age, your carbohydrate intake can comparatively go down.

Muscle-building carbohydrate recommendations by age:

  • < 20 years: 1.8-2.6 grams per pound of body weight
  • 21-40 years: 1.5-2.3 grams per pound of body weight
  • 41-65 years: 1.2-2 grams per pound of body weight
  • > 65 years: 0.8-1.7 grams per pound of body weight

It’s worth repeating here that these recommendations are for maximizing muscle gain, so they will need to be adjusted for individuals wanting to lose body fat. Additionally, as I mentioned in my PH3 Power and Hypertrophy Trainer, individuals vary wildly in their ability to “tolerate” carbs—that is, eat them without turning them into body fat.

So consider these numbers simply to be a start to the conversation. While I think the protein numbers are more or less solid, these carb recommendations definitely aren’t set in stone.

Fat Go up as carbs go down

The classic way for bodybuilders to construct their diet plan is like this: Protein first, and then tinker with the balance between carbs and fats until you find the sweet spot that works for you. Often, the protein stays consistent, regardless of whether the goal is muscle gain or fat loss.

This approach works wonders because it prioritizes the nutrient most people neglect most—protein—and gives endless room for customization in the other two macronutrients. Appropriately, I advise that, as you age, your fat intake should largely be determined by your carb intake.

Protein first, and then tinker with the balance between carbs and fats until you find the sweet spot that works for you.

In other words, while someone who is younger and still sensitive to the anabolic effects of carbohydrates may be better off consuming lower fat (never lower than 0.2 grams per pound of body weight) with more carbohydrates, an older individual may want to consume fewer of their calories from carbohydrates, and more from protein and fat.

Muscle growth fat recommendations by age:

  • < 20 years: 0.25-0.45 grams per pound of body weight
  • 21-40 years: 0.35-0.55 grams per pound of body weight
  • 41-65 years: 0.45-0.65 grams per pound of body weight
  • > 65 years: 0.55-0.75 grams per pound of body weight

Never Stop Growing

As they age, far too many people in their middle years and older take what is effectively a haphazard approach to their diet. If they want to lose weight, they keep eating the same things in the same balance, but simply cut serving size. If they want to gain muscle, they eat their normal diet, plus a protein shake or bar every now and then.

That can work to a limited degree for certain people, but it’s far from ideal. You deserve better—and getting your macros in the right ballpark is the best place to start! Get just a little more systematic about what you’re eating to go along with your training, and you can amaze yourself with what you’re able to achieve at any age!

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  1. Paddon-Jones, D., Sheffield-Moore, M., Zhang, X. J., Volpi, E., Wolf, S. E., Aarsland, A., … & Wolfe, R. R. (2004). Amino acid ingestion improves muscle protein synthesis in the young and elderly. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 286(3), E321-E328.
  2. Cuthbertson, D., Smith, K., Babraj, J., Leese, G., Waddell, T., Atherton, P., … & Rennie, M. J. (2005). Anabolic signaling deficits underlie amino acid resistance of wasting, aging muscle. The FASEB Journal, 19(3), 422-424.
  3. Drummond, M. J., Miyazaki, M., Dreyer, H. C., Pennings, B., Dhanani, S., Volpi, E., … & Rasmussen, B. B. (2009). Expression of growth-related genes in young and older human skeletal muscle following an acute stimulation of protein synthesis. Journal of Applied Physiology, 106(4), 1403-1411.
  4. Guillet, C., Prod’homme, M., Balage, M., Gachon, P., Giraudet, C., Morin, L., … & Boirie, Y. (2004). Impaired anabolic response of muscle protein synthesis is associated with S6K1 dysregulation in elderly humans. The FASEB Journal, 18(13), 1586-1587.
  5. Katsanos, C. S., Kobayashi, H., Sheffield-Moore, M., Aarsland, A., & Wolfe, R. R. (2006). A high proportion of leucine is required for optimal stimulation of the rate of muscle protein synthesis by essential amino acids in the elderly. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 291(2), E381-E387.
  6. Katsanos, C. S., Kobayashi, H., Sheffield-Moore, M., Aarsland, A., & Wolfe, R. R. (2006). A high proportion of leucine is required for optimal stimulation of the rate of muscle protein synthesis by essential amino acids in the elderly. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 291(2), E381-E387.
  7. Dardevet, D., Sornet, C., Bayle, G., Prugnaud, J., Pouyet, C., & Grizard, J. (2002). Postprandial stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in old rats can be restored by a leucine-supplemented meal. The Journal of Nutrition, 132(1), 95-100.
  8. Rieu, I., Balage, M., Sornet, C., Debras, E., Ripes, S., Rochon-Bonhomme, C., … & Dardevet, D. (2007). Increased availability of leucine with leucine-rich whey proteins improves postprandial muscle protein synthesis in aging rats. Nutrition, 23(4), 323-331.
  9. Patel, J., McLeod, L. E., Vries, R. G., Flynn, A., Wang, X., & Proud, C. G. (2002). Cellular stresses profoundly inhibit protein synthesis and modulate the states of phosphorylation of multiple translation factors. European Journal of Biochemistry, 269(12), 3076-3085.
  10. Volpi, E., Mittendorfer, B., Rasmussen, B. B., & Wolfe, R. R. (2000). The response of muscle protein anabolism to combined hyperaminoacidemia and glucose-induced hyperinsulinemia is impaired in the elderly. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 85(12), 4481-4490.
  11. Wilson, G. J., Layman, D. K., Moulton, C. J., Norton, L. E., Anthony, T. G., Proud, C. G., … & Garlick, P. J. (2011). Leucine or carbohydrate supplementation reduces AMPK and eEF2 phosphorylation and extends postprandial muscle protein synthesis in rats. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 301(6), E1236-E1242. Nutrition Articles

Ask The Supplement Guru: Is Organic Whey Protein Worth The Money?

Trying to decide whether or not to splurge on organic whey? The Supplement Guru’s insight will make your decision whey easy!


Is it worth paying a little extra for “organic” protein powder? Are there any additional benefits to using it?

Let me start by saying that I’m a big believer in organic dairy products like milk, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt—especially if they come from well-raised, grass-fed cows. I also like organic fruits and vegetables, which are worth the extra cash because less pesticides are used. But organic whey protein powder? Not so fast.

Some readers might find my thumbs-down on organic whey contrary to my thumbs-up on organic dairy, since whey protein comes from milk. After all, whey protein powder manufactured from organic, grass-fed milk must be better than plain-old whey, right? Not necessarily!

The Fat is Where It’s at

First, you need to consider what exactly makes milk from grass-fed cows better for you. It’s the fat! Organically raised, grass-fed cows have higher amounts of the all-important and essential omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and vitamin E (a fat-soluble vitamin) than their grain-fed counterparts, and these nutrients are found in the milk fat.

But whey is processed to isolate the protein from the carbs and the fat. In fact, a quality whey protein isolate has close to 100 percent of the fat removed. This means that if a protein-powder manufacturer is using whey protein from organic milk, nearly all of the extra omega-3 fats, CLA, and vitamin E have been removed during the manufacturing process anyway!

The protein in milk from grass-fed cows has the same amino acids and structure as protein in grain-fed milk. Amino acids are amino acids.

When you look at it this way, there is little sense in paying more for whey protein from organic milk given the fact that all the additional health benefits are completely removed in the manufacturing process.

As for the protein content, the protein in milk from grass-fed cows has the same amino acids and structure as protein in grain-fed milk. Amino acids are amino acids.

But What About Those Pesky Pesticides?

You might have also heard that organic whey protein is free of antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides. But due to the rigorous processing that whey protein already undergoes to isolate the whey protein from everything else in the milk, none of those contaminants should be left behind to make it into the jug of protein powder you’re buying.

Furthermore, none of those chemicals alter the structure of the whey protein molecules that are isolated from milk protein. So, again, there’s no difference between regular whey protein and grass-fed protein in regards to any contaminants.

Are You Wasting Money on Whey?

If you prefer to use grass-fed whey protein powder for ethical reasons, then by all means, fork out a little extra cash for the stuff. If, however, you think it’ll offer up superior health benefits, or you’re concerned about antibiotics and hormones, your money may be going to waste.

A high-quality whey protein isn’t going to contain any contaminants, and if you are at all concerned with what could be in your whey, stick with a whey protein isolate.

Don’t get sucked into this trap and waste your money on organic whey protein. A high-quality whey protein isn’t going to contain any contaminants, and if you are at all concerned with what could be in your whey, stick with a whey protein isolate, as it contains the lowest possible amount of hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides.

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The Simplest Weight-Loss Diet Ever!

Hardcore dieting can become a mess of food scales, portions, and hunger that very few survive. If you’re looking to lose weight without the stress, this article is for you!

From extreme calorie restriction, to sprawling “off-limit” food lists, to tracking every single morsel of nourishment, strict dieting can be a major turnoff. The so-called “best diet in the world” is useless if you can’t stick to it, and many popular restriction-based diets are downright hard to stick to!

If you want to lose weight without following a complicated rule book that dictates when and what you can eat, this article is for you. If you want to drop fat without feeling like you have to drop your social life, this article is for you. Simply put, if you want to shed excess weight and the stress that usually comes along with it, this article is for you.

Read these eight steps, start living them, train for fat loss a few days per week, and reap the benefits of a healthy diet without having to abandon the fun in your life.


Eat Protein and Vegetables at Every Meal

Protein is the key player when it comes to muscle growth and recovery. But outside of its invaluable muscle-building benefits, protein slows down digestion, keeping you fuller for longer, which means you’ll be less likely to stuff yourself silly if you eat an ample amount of it.

Which proteins sources have lean cuts of meat? The fewer legs, the better.

To keep overall calories at bay, choose lean proteins at every meal, ball-parking around 30 grams. If you’re unsure which lean protein options to choose, keep this advice in mind: “The fewer legs, the better.” Think about it: Between fish, two-legged poultry, and the four-legged cow and pig, fat content increases as the number of legs increases. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but this is a solid starting place when you’re unsure.

Lean protein sources: Chicken or turkey breast (no skin), pork tenderloin, filet mignon, sirloin, tenderloin, egg whites, low-fat Greek yogurt/milk, bison, venison, soy protein, whey protein, casein protein

Vegetables contribute to your fullness because they’re high in both water and fiber. Water fills your stomach, and fiber slows down digestion, both of which can keep you from steering toward extra calories and sweets. Eating veggies is also a surefire way to increase vitamin and mineral intake, which is important for optimal health as well as cognitive and physical performance.

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Eat Carbohydrates at Three Meals

Eat direct carbohydrate sources like oats, rice, and potatoes at three meals per day. Make sure that two of these meals include your pre- and post-workout meal. Carbohydrates are your body’s primary energy source, so consuming them at your pre-workout meal will help “top off” your fuel tank. This will help you give 100 percent effort during your training. In your post-workout meal, carbohydrates can enhance recovery and replenish your used fuel, so to speak.

Note: On nontraining days, when your activity is probably much lower, reduce carbohydrate-focused meals to two per day to account for the reduction in energy expenditure.


Choose Complex Carbs

Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates, due to their high fiber content. Choose complex carbs over simple, quick-digesting options to enhance fullness and provide your body with longer-lasting energy throughout the day.

Complex carbohydrates are often dark, or browner in color, compared to simple carbohydrates.

A quick way to identify complex carbohydrates is by observing the color of the carbohydrate. The darker, more brown in color, the better the option usually is. For instance, opt for brown rice over white rice, or whole-wheat bread over white bread.

Carbohydrate Comparison

  • Complex carbs: Oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, fruits, vegetables.
  • Simple carbs: Cookies, cakes, chips, pretzels, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy.

Eat More Healthy Fats

Fat is a (ridiculously delicious) nutrient that promotes fullness because it digests slowly. Fat is very calorie-dense, so the type of fat you choose is critical. Eating primarily “healthy,” unsaturated fats has been suggested to improve blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and weight loss.1-6

The Fat Facts

  • Unsaturated Fats: Avocado, fatty fish, olive oil, canola oil, omega-3 fish oil supplements, nuts, seeds, nut butters, flax seed.
  • Saturated Fats: Coconut oil, reduced- and full-fat milk, cheese and yogurt, butter, egg yolks, animal meats.

Use Your Hands

Measuring out every morsel of food can be a real pain in the butt. Fortunately, you can absolutely lose weight without weighing all your food. Of course, portion control is still an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but there’s an easier way: Just use your hands!

Get a grip on portions by using your hands to estimate.

Palm of protein: Consume a palm-sized portion of protein each time you eat. Choose complete protein options (animal, soy, or quinoa) for most of your meals to ensure you’re getting all the essential amino acids necessary to optimize muscle growth and recovery.

Fist of carbs: For both vegetables and more starchy carbohydrates like oats, rice, and potatoes, use your fist to eyeball the right portion size. You can always go over on nonstarchy veggies to get more vitamins, minerals, and food in your tummy.

Thumb of fats: For liquid fats such as oils, spreads, and butters, incorporate two thumb-sized portions 3-4 times per day, preferably not too close to your training session. For solid fats such as nuts and seeds, count out one serving according to the package, which typically provides around 15 grams of fat. (For example, 24 almonds is one serving.)


Eat More Frequently

Let go of the traditional three-meals-per-day mindset and provide your body with the fuel it needs every 3-4 hours to stay full and maximize protein synthesis (MPS), which is the body’s muscle-building process. Whether you have big meals or small snacks, you should have protein every time you eat! Eating protein every 3-4 hours will help you maintain that precious, hard-earned muscle while on a fat-loss diet.

Around 20-30 grams of complete protein turns on muscle protein synthesis for approximately 90 minutes, and then MPS returns to baseline within three hours. By eating every 3-4 hours, you “turn on” your body’s ability to build muscle as often as possible throughout the day.

Also, keep in mind that the longer you go without food, the more likely you are to indulge in a high-calorie, high-sugar option. This is because your brain recognizes sugar as a rapidly available fuel source. Hello, cravings! Even more, long periods without food will reveal your hangry side, which nobody likes—not even you.


Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep hunger under control. Filling up on fluids stretches your stomach, which is a satiety signal in and of itself. Additionally, your brain and muscles prefer to operate in a hydrated state, so you’ll avoid common consequences of dehydration such as increased irritability, decreased focus, and suboptimal strength and power.

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep hunger under control.

Make sure you choose calorie-free fluids. A bottle of your favorite soft drink or sweet tea can easily contain over 200 calories! If you’re trying to cut back on calories, there’s no better place to start than with liquid calories, especially alcohol. Stick with water, diet beverages, and calorie-free additions.

If you’re ever feeling randomly hungry, don’t just dive into your candy drawer. First, try consuming 12-16 ounces of fluids before eating, and then re-evaluate your hunger situation 15-20 minutes later. You’ll be surprised how often you feel hungry when you’re actually dehydrated.


Cheat Occasionally, but Consciously

Chances are you’re not prepping for a photoshoot anytime soon, so there’s no reason to ramp up restriction or remain glued to your Tupperware every day. Break up your weekly routine with an occasional “free” meal, whether it’s eating dinner at your favorite restaurant or enjoying larger portions than usual.

A weekly indulgence will mentally solidify the idea that this isn’t a diet—it’s a way of eating to feel good and perform well. Enjoying the food should be your top priority, but make sure you still get your protein in at this meal!

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  1. Fernandez, M. L., & West, K. L. (2005). Mechanisms by which Dietary Fatty Acids Modulate Plasma Lipids. The Journal of Nutrition, 135(9), 2075-2078.
  2. Riccardi, G., Giacco, R., & Rivellese, A. A. (2004). Dietary fat, insulin sensitivity and the metabolic syndrome. Clinical Nutrition, 23(4), 447-456.
  3. Vaughan, R. A., Garcia-Smith, R., Bisoffi, M., Conn, C. A., & Trujillo, K. A. (2012). Conjugated linoleic acid or omega 3 fatty acids increase mitochondrial biosynthesis and metabolism in skeletal muscle cells. Lipids in Health and Disease, 11(142), 2090-2098.
  4. Maroon, J. C., & Bost, J. W. (2006). Omega-3 Fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surgical Neurology, 65(4), 326-331.
  5. Xu, Y., & Qian, S. Y. (2014). Anti-cancer activities of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Biomedical Journal, 37(3), 112.
  6. Grosso, G., Pajak, A., Marventano, S., Castellano, S., Galvano, F., Bucolo, C., … & Caraci, F. (2014). Role of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of depressive disorders: a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. PloS One, 9(5), e96905. Nutrition Articles

Before You Try the TRX Workout

On the off chance that the weight room is about as well known to you as a space station, TRX will be your new quality preparing closest companion. TRX makes different muscles of your own body to get solid. Yet, before you make the plunge, Crunch wellness director Mitch Rice separates the rudiments of this powerful workout rather than hammering weights Schwarzenegger-style, you’ll be pushing and pulling your way through a wellness schedule that is really fun. Come perceive how it functions!
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