Lifting: It does a brain good!

We’ve been hearing for many years about the benefits of keeping active on the health of our brain.  If, like me, you are not getting any younger, you are probably trying to do all you can to keep that edge.  Most of the suggestions have focused on maintaining mental activity (sure can’t hurt) or the value of aerobic exercise.  Sometimes, as an avid resistance trainer, I have wondered if I was missing something.  What about lifting weight?

Well, fortunately, although at this point it may only be animal work (and we know that there are shortcomings in applying animal models to humans), research is emerging that suggests that resistance exercise is also good for our brain.  I think most of us suspect this – we know it “works” for us – now we have some evidence for it.  While we don’t tie weights to our tails and climb ladders, I have done a few sets of squats that felt like it.  Rats who do show increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which may generate increases in neurons in the brain.  Behaviorally, they showed enhanced learning and memory.

Nah…we’re not rats….but it seems to me we have a good formula for doing all we can to remain healthy and vigorous Alphas across our lifespan:  Eat healthy (fuel), exercise your mental muscles (attitude) and stay active – both aerobically and anaerobically (architecture).

So…the brains or brawn thing?  Just a myth, a leftover from the old days of body-typing.

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Arginine and the Alpha Male!

Walk into any health food/nutrition store and you will be bombarded with shelves and shelves of pills, potions and powders in colorful cans, canisters and containers, all promising to give you the body of your dreams. Grab one of those products and read the label and your confusion will likely get even worse. There are so many new ingredients out there with fancy names that you have to be a freaking scientist to understand what it is you are putting into your body!

Well, here at Team Alpha Headquarters one of our goals is to help you more easily navigate your way through the sometimes dizzying world of sports supplementation, and provide you with solid, well-documented information about what actually “works,” and what is just hype!

Arginine is an amino acid that has been around for a long time, and was once purported to be a natural growth hormone releaser. However, due to the fact that in most studies it was injectable  arginine that was used to increase GH, and that the oral form had to be taken in way too large of amounts to produce a similar effect, its popularity had gone by the wayside.

In recent years though, arginine made somewhat of a comeback when its role in increasing the body’s nitric oxide production was revealed to the bodybuilding/fitness world. Nitric oxide is a natural chemical that it critical for blood flow control, regulating a process called vasodilation. Greater nitric oxide results in increased blood flow, which in practical terms for us lifters means a far better muscle pump, enhanced nutrient delivery to tissues, and even reduced blood pressure during exercise. Pretty cool stuff!

But, the benefits of arginine do not stop there. In a recent review of literature, by Jason McKnight and colleagues from Texas A & M University, it was concluded that arginine can promote positive body composition changes as well! Yes, that means less body fat and more muscle! It appears that arginine works by decreasing food intake, increasing metabolic rate, and reducing the growth of white adipose tissue (storage fat), all of which can contribute to a leaner you!

I have personally had good success with arginine when taking in 2-3 grams per day thirty minutes before breakfast, exercise and my final meal of the day.

Arginine is a rather cheap and yet effective supplement that can help you further your Alpha Male status.

Note:  The brand new, cutting-edge, scientifically-driven ALPHA MALE ADVANCED WORKOUT E-BOOK is now available! Nothing will transform your physique more radically or quickly than this program! The time is now! www.alphamaleadvancedworkouts.com

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How can you tell if you’ve had a Great Workout?

One common way to tell if you’ve had a terrific and challenging training session is if you accomplished a new personal best in the poundage department.  It’s simple mathematics.  If your previous record was 8 reps at a given weight and now you grind out 10 strict reps at that weight, you’ve scaled a new strength peak!  Great workout!

Of course, handling increased resistance isn’t the only way to have a fantastic workout.  You can juggle other variables of intensity such as number of sets, repetition ranges, rep tempo, or rest between sets, or you can throw advanced intensity techniques like forced reps into the mix.  Whenever you can add intensity to your regular exercises, you’re heading in the right direction.

I say “regular exercises” because most guys tend to gravitate toward certain favorite exercises, and even toward specific machines.  The usual reason?   It’s because they suit our individual biomechanics and we’re good at them (as in, we can handle weights on them that are more impressive relative to the weights we handle on other similar machines). Read the rest of this entry »

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The Ultimate Look-Your-Best Program is Here!!

It’s officially the New Year and the gyms are once again filled with the short-term commitment people.  Most will be long gone by late February, and will never meet their goals of losing fat, building rock hard muscle, and getting into amazing shape.  You can go to the gym and flounder around if you like.  But I’ve got a better solution.  Put yourself in our hands.  My True Alpha brother Eric Broser has worked with James and I to design an absolutely jaw-dropping ten-week advanced program for anyone looking to take their Alpha Male status to new heights! 

The Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program is something completely new, a sophisticated but easy-to-follow, science-based cross-periodized training blueprint that can jack up your body to a whole new level of size, strength and definition in only 10 weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Four Big Benefits of a Training Partner

Over the decades in which I’ve been hitting the iron, I’ve trained alone for stretches but mostly I’ve trained with a lifting partner.  The faces have changed over the years, but I’ve always consistently gotten my best workouts with a partner.  Why do many people get their best results from training with a partner?  Here are my top four reasons!    

Accountability:  There are days when most people don’t feel like working out.  Maybe they’re tired, or upset about something that happened at home or at work.  Maybe things are hectic, and the time could be spent elsewhere.  Maybe they’re just lazy that day.  Regardless of the reason, sooner or later most people will have a day when they physically could go to the gym, and could make time for it, but choose not to.  The occasional missed workout won’t hurt you in the long run, but once it starts happening regularly your results will stop … or go in reverse!  Consistency is the key to progress, and lapses in workout discipline can lead to lapses in diet as well.  That’s where a lifting partner can help. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wrist Wrap Revelation

For the first several years of my training I literally refused to wear wrist straps. I thought that only “girly (non-Alpha!)-men” wore them because they were too weak and lazy to take a good, solid grip on the bar. However, as I began to get stronger, primarily on back exercises, I started to notice that no matter how hard I tried, my grip would give out more quickly than the muscle(s) I was targeting. And that my friends a definite is a no-no! Thus, I reluctantly decided to give wrist straps a try and I was amazed at how much more weight I could lift and how much more productive so many exercises quickly became. In other words, NOT wearing wrist straps was hindering my overall muscle and strength development by limiting my intensity on several essential, basic movements such as bent rows, weighted pull-ups, deadlifts, upright rows, seated rows and DB rows. After just a few short months of implementing the use of lifting straps I absolutely noticed new width and thickness throughout my entire back, which changed my opinion that it is not “girly-men” that use straps, but “burly (True Alpha!)-men!” That said, I should point out that I use them primarily for pulling exercises and only for my heaviest sets. I do enjoy having a powerful grip, so I do not rely on straps for each and every working set. In addition I must mention that utilizing straps properly and efficiently takes some getting used to. There is a definite technique involved when securing wrist straps around a bar and feeling comfortable with them in your hand. Just do not give up and soon enough using straps will become second nature.

So there you have it my fellow Alpha Males (and females too!)…”just say YES to wrist straps!”

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: The Alpha Male Advanced Workout E-Book is NOW AVAILABLE! This is the perfect holiday gift for yourself or a friend who is looking to literally transform their body in the new year! Check it out right here:

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**Note: Interested affiliates for the AMAW E-Book can sign up right here:

http://www.alphamaleadvancedworkouts.com/affiliates.html

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Think Yourself Thin? WoW!

Could thinking about eating your favorite foods, likely ones which aren’t good for you, be the key to resisting them?

Check out this latest story:

http://www.healthnews.com/nutrition-diet/weight-loss/daily-diet-think-yourself-thin-4604.html

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“G” is for Grunt

Are you a grunt?

I’m in the gym doing my workout.  I’m lifting fairly heavy weights, and really giving it everything I got with every rep of every set.  I can hear myself breathing.  Taking a nice deep breath and exhaling on the exertion and interspersed with this are grunts.  Yes, I grunt.  No, not LOUD dramatic grunts.

As I’m hearing myself, it got me thinking.  If I’m giving it everything I got during my workout, I can’t help but let out a few grunts here and there.  I’m also very focused on pushing the weight with correct form and really feeling my muscles work.

Do I grunt for attention?  No.  I’m in the moment.  My own self-absorbed competition. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Obesity Research: Are “Unknown Factors” Responsible?

FOX News Alabama has just reported on a study conducted by obesity researchers at the University of Alabama concluding, in the words of researcher David B. Allison, Ph.D., that “the usual answer of too much eating and too little exercise may be a drastic oversimplification of the true causes of obesity” and that “increasing body weight may involve some unidentified or poorly understood factors.”  The study subjects were a group of primates called marmosets that lived with or around humans.  The researchers could find no explanation for why the marmosets gained weight over time.  A follow-up study with other mammals yielded similar findings, provoking speculations that “light changes, viruses and epigenetics” could be possible contributing factors to weight gain. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Much Should the Government Regulate Our Food Choices?

San Francisco recently became the first major U.S. city to ban toys from kids’ meals that are laden with calories, sugar and fat.  In an effort to fight childhood obesity, the board of supervisors passed the measure stipulating that only meals with less than 600 calories and less than 35 percent of calories from fat, including a beverage, are permitted to include a toy.  Also, fruits and veggies would need to be offered with all kids’ meals.

The measure’s sponsor calls it “food justice” to protect the city’s children, “particularly kids from low income neighborhoods.”  But McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud retorted in a statement, “We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision.  It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for. … Parents tell us it’s their right and responsibility — not the government’s — to make their own decisions and to choose what’s right for their children.” Read the rest of this entry »

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