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Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can help improve performance, recovery, muscle growth and even fat loss. These tips can help you get the most out of each of our formulas.




*THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THESE PRODUCTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE. † When combined with a proper exercise and nutrition regimen. Statements based on early-stage independent 3rd party in vivo and / or in vitro model scientific research data findings for individual ingredients. ▲ CERTAIN PRODUCTS ARE EXCLUDED. See store associate for details on excluded products









The new liquid water enhancers make it easier to drink more water throughout the day by adding a delicious burst of flavor. Plus, each serving helps support your fitness goal – anytime, anywhere.

*THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THESE PRODUCTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE. † When combined with a proper exercise and nutrition regimen. Statements based on early-stage independent 3rd party in vivo and / or in vitro model scientific research data findings for individual ingredients.



Danica Patrick — the most famous and successful female race-car driver in history — talks about her new passion project in the fitness realm, Pretty Intense. By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT



Testosterone is the main hormone associated with muscle mass, strength gains and sex drive. There are plenty of pills out there promising to boost your natural production of testosterone. But do they actually work? Let’s look at some of the best T-booster supplements out there. By Dwayne N. Jackson, Ph.D.


Get fitter, faster and stronger with this six-week program designed to help you get the most out of your physique. By Eric Velazquez, CSCS



This quick guide explains when to ice, when to heat, when not to and why. By Jill Schildhouse


Your heart is the most important muscle in your body, so here’s how to strengthen it for a long, healthy life. By Jill Schildhouse

DEPARTMENTS 12 PERFORMANCE NEWS: The Latest Training, Nutrition and

Supplement Research • By Joe Wuebben and Dwayne N. Jackson, Ph.D.

16 FITNESS 101: 5 Biggest Misconceptions for Beginners

By Eric Velazquez, CSCS

18 WORKOUT TO GO: Pull-Up Beatdown • By Eric Velazquez, CSCS 20 MOBILITY: Get Rolling • By Eric Velazquez, CSCS 22 BUILD: Quad Dominance • By Lee Boyce, CPT 24 LIVE HEALTHY: The Art of Being Present • By Jill Schildhouse 26 BRAND SPOTLIGHT: Get to Know: Finaflex • By Jill Schildhouse 64 PRODUCT INSIDER: A Breakthrough for Men 66 TOP 5: … Ways to Get Your Cardio When It’s Cold • By Eric Velazquez, CSCS

ON THE COVER › Athlete: Danica Patrick • Photographer: Copyright © 2017 by Danica Racing Inc. /MuscleandPerformance





DISCLAIMER: MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE is an Active Interest Media publication. AIM, as publisher, does not endorse and makes no representation, warranty or guarantee concerning the safety or effectiveness of either the products and services advertised in this magazine or the weightlifting or other techniques discussed or illustrated in this magazine. The publisher expressly disclaims any and all liability relating to the manufacture, sale or use of such products and services and the application of the exercises discussed or illustrated in this magazine. The purchase or use of some of the products, services or techniques advertised or discussed in this magazine may be illegal in some areas of the United States or other countries. Therefore, you should check federal, state and local laws prior to your purchase or use of these products, services or techniques. The publisher makes no representation or warranty concerning the legality of the purchase or use of these products, services and techniques in the United States or elsewhere. Because of the nature of some of the products, services and techniques advertised or discussed in this magazine, you should consult a physician before using these products or services or applying these exercise techniques.

Photo by Action Sports Photography /

Vitamin C? Check. Iron? You bet. But what about these other key nutrients? Are you getting enough of these less-celebrated nutrients? Probably not. Here’s what you’re missing and how to change that. By Matt Kadey, MS, RD


ENERGY • STRENGTH • PUMP • INTENSITY † Introducing a perfectly engineered pre-workout designed to maximize your extreme training. If you need super-intense, explosive workouts with performance-driven ingredients in easy to mix, delicious formulas...You need Dymatize PreW.O. Learn more:









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© 2018 Dymatize Enterprises LLC. All Rights Reserved. † These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

For more information on branded ingredients visit:

FEBRUARY 2018 • VOL. 10 NO. 2


ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Donna Diamond Riekenberg EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maureen Farrar ART DIRECTOR Paul Duarte

COPY EDITOR Jeannine Santiago

ONLINE EDITOR Michael Nystrom


PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Patrick Sternkopf CONTRIBUTORS Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT; Lee Boyce, CPT; Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD, CPT, CDE; Todd Bumgardner, MS, CSCS; Erin Calderone, MS, CSCS, NASM-CPT; John M. Cissik, MS, CSCS; Jenessa Connor, CPT; K. Aleisha Fetters, CSCS; Justin Grinnell, CSCS; Dwayne N. Jackson, Ph.D.; Matthew Kadey, MS, RD; Peter Lueders; Stephanie Main, NASM, CF-L2, RYT-500; Robert Reiff; Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT; Jill Schildhouse; Cory Sorensen; Steven Stiefel; Eric Velazquez, CSCS; Joe Wuebben

PRESIDENT & CEO Andrew W. Clurman





Muscle & Performance is printed monthly in the U.S.A. © 2018 by Active Interest Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. The information in Muscle & Performance is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals. Consult your physician before making changes in your diet, supplement and/or exercise program. MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE, 5720 Flatiron Parkway, Boulder, CO 80301 - Toll Free: (800) 423-2874


Aminolase is a highly specialized protein digesting enzyme blend formulated by a team of experts to work. When dietary protein isn’t broken down into its smallest components, large peptides are created that can cause bloating, nausea and cramping. Generally, the underlying cause of protein-induced stomach discomfort is peptide sensitivity, not food intolerances. Aminolase breaks down these large peptides, reducing the potential for discomfort. The effectiveness of Aminolase has also been the subject of a recent study performed by biochemists and PHDs showing higher protein and amino-acid blood levels when ingested protein is supplemented with Aminolase. Learn more about how science, stats, and standards play a role in supplement selection and why you should always CHECK3 at

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Growth Factor-9™ is the FIRST and ONLY patented‡, non-prescription, non-injection dietary supplement clinically shown to NATURALLY increase the body’s own human growth hormone (hGH) levels up to 682%. How can hGH make you better? hGH has been associated with youthful vitality, increased lean muscle mass, energy, improved recovery, and even enhanced sex drive.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



Time Is of the Essence With BCAAs BY DWAYNE JACKSON, PH.D.

Supplement timing has been a major topic of discussion among exercise scientists, nutritionists and coaches. Amid all the banter, however, one thing stands for certain: Focusing supplementation around the workout window (i.e., before, during and/or after workouts) provides a significant boost to your gains. Lately, branched-chain amino acid timing has been under the microscope, with several studies illustrating numerous benefits when BCAAs are taken preworkout, intraworkout and postworkout. Case in point: a recent study that aimed to compare the effects of BCAA supplementation taken before or after exercise on delayed onset muscle soreness and exercise-induced muscle damage. In the placebo-controlled study, 15 college-aged men received BCAAs (9.6 grams/day) or a placebo preworkout after completing high-rep muscle-damaging eccentric exercise (postworkout). Supplementation (or placebo) was started three days before the exercise period and carried on for three days after the period ended. The researchers reported that compared to controls, those who received preworkout or postworkout BCAAs 12



had significant improvements in DOMS and range of motion. However, it was found that those who received preworkout BCAAs had the greatest improvements in muscle soreness, suggesting that preworkout BCAAs provide the greatest protection from training-induced muscle damage. This finding was substantiated in the study, in which blood markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase and aldolase) were most suppressed in those who received preworkout BCAAs.

ACTION POINT: Based on the current data, if you must choose one period for stand-alone BCAA supplementation, you’ll get the greatest protection from muscle damage taking it 30 minutes preworkout. However, if you’re interested in gaining all that BCAAs have to offer in terms of performance and recovery enhancement, we suggest taking 5 to 10 grams of BCAAs 30 minutes before training, 5 grams during the workout and 5 to 10 grams immediately afterward. If you’re on a budget and use a whey protein isolate supplement postworkout, this will suffice because whey isolate contains approximately 5 grams of BCAAs per serving, plus a ton of added benefits.



Magnesium: A Critical Element BY DWAYNE JACKSON, PH.D.

❱ Magnesium is essential to good health. It’s needed for

many biochemical reactions in the body, including those that help maintain bones, support nerve function and strengthen the immune system. Magnesium taken alone or in combination with zinc before bed has been shown to significantly improve slow-wave sleep, a necessary environment for GH release. Unrefined grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables, and nuts and seeds provide us with most of our daily magnesium. Emphasis on “most.” If you train hard on a regular basis, you may not be getting enough of this important mineral. Studies illustrate that magnesium can become depleted during strenuous exercise — possibly because of the direct loss of minerals from sweating and urination and/or because of the increased need for magnesium to support increased energy production during workouts and elevated protein synthesis afterward. Regardless, adequate daily magnesium intake is required to sustain high-caliber exercise performance. There’s also a correlation between strenuous exercise, magnesium deficiency and decreased immunity. The latter has been associated with increased inflammation in MAX STACK

Hold the Caffeine, Please

the body, which may hinder recovery time from workout to workout. Under such conditions, magnesium supplementation has been shown to decrease catabolic cortisol levels and boost immunity, especially during periods of heavy physical stress. In other studies, low magnesium levels have been associated with decreases in the anabolic hormones testosterone and insulin-like growth factor-1.

ACTION POINT: To reach your potential, it’s critical that you get at least the Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium — about 400 milligrams for males and 310 milligrams for females, ages 18 to 30 (needs increase slightly with age). As such, we suggest all highly active individuals take a multivitamin formulated for athletes (as directed). Of note, since magnesium bioavailability can decrease when it’s taken with certain foods (i.e., sugar and alcohol) or other supplements, we suggest taking up to 450 milligrams of magnesium before bed. Note: Too much magnesium can give you stomach cramps and diarrhea, so when starting out, use a low dose and work up based on tolerance.

❱ Looking for a good fat burner but sensitive to caffeine? You

have your work cut out for you because most fat-loss products on the market are loaded with caffeine. But that’s what we’re here for — to help you find the ideal product for your goals and individual preferences. In this case, fat burning is the goal and “caffeine-free” is the preference. Here are three highly effective ingredients to look for instead of caffeine: Conjugated linoleic acid: This healthy fat has been found to

enhance fat loss in addition to muscle. Although there are numerous mechanisms by which CLA may work, one of them involves facilitating the transport of fat into the mitochondria where it can be burned away. Coconut oil powder: Though high in saturated fat, coconut oil has been shown in studies to increase calorie burning and fat loss. The key lies in the type of saturated fat present: medium-chain triglycerides, which are metabolized more easily in the body than the long-chain variety. Phenylalanine: Research has shown a link between the amino acid phenylalanine and appetite control. This could make a significant difference in calorie control by helping you eat less and curb junk-food cravings during the day. Find all these ingredients and more in CLA + Coconut Oil + Aminos by BPI Sports. MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM




Baked Cod With a Kick Nutrit ion Fa servin cts (per g ; s er 282 ca lorie ves 2): protein s, 37 grams , 1 5 gra carbs, 15 gra ms ms fat

❱ It doesn’t take a creamy, calorie-laden sauce to make a piece of

whitefish taste its best. This recipe — courtesy of “Muscle Chef” Carlo Filippone, CEO of Elite Lifestyle Cuisine — shows you how to season a piece of cod just right to enjoy all its healthy fats and protein guilt-free. Ingredients: 2 cod fillets (about 4 oz each) ¼ cup all-natural fish stock or clam juice (low-salt) 1 /3 cup uncooked brown rice 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 pinches dry crumbled thyme 2 pinches salt 1½ cups fresh green beans ¼ Spanish onion, chopped 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 1 pinch (dusting) cayenne pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking sheet with olive oil spray. Place cod on baking sheet and top with thyme, one pinch of salt and cayenne pepper. Place fish in oven and cook for about 10 minutes. While fillets are cooking, add olive oil to saute pan. Heat on low flame, then add onions. Cook until onions are slightly brown, stirring often. Add green beans, then immediately add fish stock and one pinch of salt. Cook for about three minutes on medium-high heat. If you choose to include rice with the meal, cook it according to package instructions and set aside. Top with cod fillet and green beans, then sprinkle cayenne pepper. If not using rice, put cod and green beans on plate and enjoy.

For more healthy and delicious recipes from chef Carlo Filippone, visit


(FREQUENTLY ASKED FOOD QUESTIONS) Answered by Marina Rösser, nutrition specialist at, a leading online resource for all things fitness and nutrition

Q: How should vegetables be cooked to preserve the most vitamins, minerals and antioxidants possible? A: MARINA RÖSSER: Although cooking time for

preserving nutrients depends on each vegetable individually, there are some rules of thumb that can be applied across the board: 1. At Freeletics, we often recommend cooking methods like blanching or steaming, as they take the least amount of time and use the least amount of heat. Essentially, the shorter the cooking time, the lower the heat, and the least amount of water, which preserves more vitamins and minerals. 2. If a vegetable can generally be eaten raw, it should only be blanched (and then shocked with cool water) or fried over medium heat for three to five minutes. The same rule can be applied for vegetables with relatively short cooking times like cabbage varieties or green beans. With this method, most of the vitamins and the color of the vegetables are preserved without having a bitter taste. 3. With other vegetables that take longer to cook, you should save the water to use it for other purposes like making stock as a base for soups and sauces. Examples of this would be potatoes (20 to 30 minutes) and red or white beans (30 to 60 minutes). 4. Baking vegetables is another method. We recommend cutting harder vegetables into smaller pieces than softer vegetables. Cover the chunks in olive oil and/or aluminum foil to preserve as many micronutrients as possible. This method allows everything to be cooked through in the same amount of time — anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. 5. Steaming vegetables slowly for 15 to 20 minutes is one of the more gentle methods available. The minerals don’t get “washed out” into the water, and the sensitive vitamins don’t get totally destroyed by heat.


O’Coconut Hemp & Chia What It Is: A supremely delicious, guilt-free snack that only contains 60 calories. No,

not 600 — 60. The bites are certified organic; contain no corn, soy or cane sugar; and are bolstered by a dose of chia seeds, a true superfood rich in antioxidants, omega-3s and other healthy nutrients. This is by no means a meal replacement, but it’s great for satisfying junk-food cravings without wrecking your diet. What It Tastes Like: A coconut treat on par with an Almond Joy or Mounds candy bar — the 3 grams of fat in such a small package give it a rich, satisfying flavor. What’s in It: 60 calories, 1 gram protein, 8 grams total carbs, 3 grams fat, 1 gram fiber Where to Get It: The Vitamin Shoppe and; $19.99 for a box of 24 bites/bars. 14





Performance Jump Rope by Sports Research Corp. ❱ When it comes to the ultimate “bang for your

buck,” no piece of training equipment beats the good old-fashioned jump rope — it’s insanely inexpensive, insanely portable, and delivers an insanely great high-intensity, fat-burning workout whenever and wherever (at home, on the road) you need it. Here’s a great one: The Performance Jump Rope by Sports Research Corp. It’s lightweight and durable, and it also has a pair of ultra-comfortable handles for easy gripping. The upgraded vewrsion is the cable Performance Speed Rope, which is only $8 more than the basic model. Buy the Performance Jump Rope at vitamin for just $17.99 and/or the Speed Rope for $25.99.


Accelerate Your Fat Loss ❱ If you typically stand around between sets, start filling these

slivers of time with cardio instead. It’s called cardio acceleration, a technique based on a 2008 study performed at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In between all sets of lifting exercises during your workout, you do 30 to 60 seconds of the cardio activity of your choice instead of resting. Obviously, the cardio will burn more calories than doing nothing, but the Santa Cruz researchers found it also may enhance recovery, thus keeping your training intensity high for maximal fat loss. If you’re new to the technique, start with only 15 to 30 seconds of cardio between sets (rest the remainder of the time), and gradually work your way to being active the entire “rest” period. As for what types of cardio to do here: anything that’s convenient and near your training station. Walking over to the treadmill or elliptical will probably be impractical, so think jumping jacks, jumping rope, running in place and bench step-ups. Best thing about cardio acceleration: You won’t have to do a separate cardio session because you squeezed it into your lifting workout!


Proportion of American adults that get a combined 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 


D O N ’ T J U ST W I S H FO R G O O D H E A LT H . Neprinol is a blend of all-natural systemic enzymes formulated by a team of experts. Simply put, it’s created to work. An abundance of contaminants in the bloodstream can lead to a wide range of symptoms including pain, sore joints, tissue damage, and other undesirable states of health. Neprinol’s superior enzymatic potency can help cleanse your blood of these contaminants and support your body’s natural inflammatory response and repair processes.* By helping cleanse your blood, Neprinol also serves to increase and maintain healthy cardiovascular and liver function.

Learn more about how science, stats, and standards play a role in supplement selection and why you should always CHECK3 at *From everyday activity

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Learn more by calling (800) 385-9596.


5 Biggest Misconceptions for Beginners Start off on the right foot by sidestepping popular gym mythology and ego-focused training. BY ERIC VELAZQUEZ, CSCS


nlike the pioneers of fitness culture who wrote the book on physique building exclusively through trial and error, contemporary lifters suffer from an overwhelming amount of often-conflicting information. Sure, a great number of programs and tips you’ll find here and on the web in general are incredibly valuable and effective, but some of that info is also gym-perpetuated bro science. Here are a few of the traps to avoid when starting a new program. 1. Go Heavy, Bro

Eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman famously said, “Everybody 16



wanna be a bodybuilder but don’t nobody wanna lift no heavy-ass weights.” Well, beginners and those of us with sub-Olympia-level genetics may want to take a slightly different path, Big Ron. Training with “heavyass weights” over-generalizes the very specific concept of progressive overload, which basically requires you to incrementally push your body by placing more weight on the bar or reaching for heavier dumbbells. However, there’s no need to put your joints or muscle bellies at risk of injury for the sake of ego. A 2014 study revealed that training in the 25- to 35-rep range provided muscle-

building benefits on par with training heavier in the six- to eight-rep range, only without the inherent risk of bigger weight loads. 2. Use Every Angle

As a beginner, it’s common to fall into the trap of training each muscle group through every conceivable angle in order to forge a more complete physique. For example, it seems to have become standard practice for newbies to do flat, incline and decline bench presses on International Chest Day (read: Monday). It’s important to note, however, that the benefits you will reap from early angle work


are minimal at best. When you’re just starting out in the gym, your focus should be on base building, not spot training. Focus on basic movements — such as the flat bench, back squat, deadlift, pull-up, overhead press and dip — for the first few months and you’ll build proper movement patterns, not to mention heaps of strength and size. 3. Steady-State Cardio

So often, programming for beginners includes the age-old prescription of “20 to 30 minutes of steady-state cardio, two to three times per week.” Not that it’s a bad suggestion, but there is no reason your cardio game has to omit high-intensity interval training. HIIT is a great choice, even for beginners, because “intensity” is relative. Interval training is also more time-efficient and can preserve or even increase muscle size, a bonus for beginners looking to get bigger without increasing body fat. New lifters needn’t totally discount the idea of steady-state cardio, either. If you’re going to stick to two to three sessions per week, one to two of them should be HIIT oriented.

myth that your supplement cabinet needs to look like you airlifted a shipment of pills and powders in. The good news for beginners is that your body will respond well to your training program with almost no dietary changes whatsoever. However, a few key supplements

— along with clean, protein-centric eating — will bolster your recovery game. A quality whey protein, basic creatine monohydrate and a multivitamin should form the heart of your supplementation plan. Start small and let your supplement stack grow with you. 

Interval training is more timeefficient than steady-state cardio and can even increase muscle size.

4. Train Often

If training three times a week is good for adding size, then four times must be better. Right? Negative, noob. Increasing training frequency may seem like a good idea for your hard-charging, low-mileage physique, but in time, you will learn that adequate rest and recovery are the greatest difference makers in physique building. Beginners should stick to the three-times-weekly equation at the outset, focusing on different muscle groups each time. This respects the reality that weight training breaks down muscle tissue and that the days that follow are when the repair and growth actually happen. Hit each major muscle group (i.e., legs, chest, back, delts) hard once per week and allow five to seven days of rest. 5. Buy All the Supps!

Serious training requires serious supplementation. But don’t get sucked into the gym-perpetuated MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM




Pull-Up Beatdown D

edicated back trainers love to pay homage to the rowing gods every week: cable rows, barbell rows, dumbbell rows, Pendlay rows, Smith-machine rows and isometric rows. But have you ever met a devout disciple of the almighty pull-up? If you have, chances are you were in the presence of a wide-backed dynamo whose rowing game was probably still pretty strong. Turns out, rows and pull-ups can peacefully coexist.

The pull-up holds tremendous benefits for lifters of all experience levels and can help develop the muscular, tapered aesthetic you’ve always wanted. Try one of the three programs listed here to start getting your lats the love they really deserve. BEGINNER

If you’re just stepping up to the bar for the first time, the 18



Try one of these death-bypull-up programs to get your lats tricked out quick. BY ERIC VELAZQUEZ, CSCS

goal is to simply develop strength and muscle memory. That is done through volume training — more total sets — rather than intensity. EXERCISE




For this routine, you’ll simply perform 10 sets of pull-ups to failure with 90 to 120 seconds of rest between sets, even if this means 10 singles. Track how many reps you are able to complete each set and jot down your total for each workout. Perform this workout twice each week, even as a complement to your existing back routine, allowing three to four days of recovery between sessions.


Once you can manage 50 total reps in a single session, or more than 10 reps on your first set, it’s time to graduate to a more intermediate setup. INTERMEDIATE

If you’ve already developed basic pull-up proficiency — i.e., you can complete 10 reps or more for three or more sets — it’s time to take things up a notch. This pull-up routine is a close relative of the beginner program in that it is volume-centric, only here the focus will be on total reps. WEEK















When was the last time you did 100 pull-ups in a single workout? For most, the answer will be “never.” If you haven’t, this calculated lat-shocker routine will trigger a) substantial soreness and b) marked growth in your upper, outer lats. The goal each week is to simply hit the target number, using as many sets as it takes to get there. Rest as much as you feel necessary before getting back up to the bar. Each week, your target number will grow, forcing your lats to adapt and overcome. ADVANCED

Just add weight. Sure, you might be able to do a set of 10 with the whole stack at the lat-pulldown station, but

few lifters can actually display similar alpha mastery at the pull-up bar. Performing weighted pull-ups not only sends a message to the rest of the gym that you’re serious about strength, but it will also drastically accelerate your lat growth. WEEK




Weighted Pull-Up Bodyweight Pull-Up Lat Pulldown

5/5 3/to failure 2/15


Weighted Pull-Up Bodyweight Pull-Up Lat Pulldown

6/4 4/to failure 3/15


Weighted Pull-Up Bodyweight Pull-Up Lat Pulldown

7/3 5/to failure 4/15


Weighted Pull-Up Bodyweight Pull-Up Lat Pulldown

8/2 6/to failure 5/15

For your weighted sets, you’re selecting a poundage that brings you to failure two to three reps beyond the listed target. (For example, for five-rep sets, choose a weight you can handle for seven to eight reps.) Rest a full two to three minutes between sets to ensure maximum performance on subsequent sets. On the bodyweight pull-ups that follow, push yourself to complete at least 10 reps per set. A few sets of lat pulldowns at the end of the session maximize blood flow to the area and reinforce the movement pattern while using less total resistance. 

The pull-up holds major benefits for lifters of all levels and can help develop the muscular, taper aesthetic you want.





Get Rolling While it’s necessary to work hard during your workouts, it’s equally as important to make sure your body gets the recovery it needs. Here’s why you need to foam-roll. BY ERIC VELAZQUEZ, CSCS


ey, Meat, we found your gym checklist:

Show up Lift heavy things Go home

Solid plan. The problem is, this narrow set of goals completely ignores one of the most important methods of mobility development: SMR, or self-myofascial release. Most people are at least minimally familiar with the concept of SMR, even if they don’t know it, but fewer have adopted it as a standing task on their workout checklists. SMR is the practice of manually attempting to release or eliminate muscular adhesions and scar tissue, usually by way of foam rollers, lacrosse balls or deep-tissue massage. It’s the most tedious and painful investment you can make in the durability of your chassis, health of your connective tissue and the longevity of your training life. Research published in a 2015 issue of the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy examined 14 different peer-reviewed studies on the effectiveness of SMR. The goal was to determine whether SMR could a) improve joint range of motion (ROM) without affecting muscle performance, b) enhance post-exercise muscle recovery and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and/or c) negatively impact muscle performance. Range of Motion

Researchers found that subjects who used a foam roller for 30 to 60 20



seconds before and after exercise may offer short-term benefits on hip, back, knee and ankle mobility. But how? Quoting the study, “It has been postulated that ROM changes may be due to the altered viscoelastic and thixotropic property (gel‐like) of the fascia, increases in intramuscular temperate and blood flow due to friction of the foam roll, alterations in muscle‐spindle length or stretch perception, and the foam roller mechanically breaking down scar tissue and remobilizing fascia back to a gel‐like state.” Put simply, it’s keeping your myofascial complex healthy and making it more efficient at doing what you want it to do. Muscle Recovery and DOMS Reduction

It’s as crippling as it is rewarding, but foam rolling may be one of the best ways to combat DOMS and speed recovery. Researchers found that a 10- to 20-minute tussle with the ol’ foam roller postworkout helped reduce perceived pain in

subjects while reducing expected drops in performance. Why? It is thought SMR helps to facilitate blood lactate removal while reducing swelling and bathing your muscles in recovery-inducing oxygenated blood. Effect on Performance

Research has steered us away from the old practice of cold-stretching muscles or spending too much time static stretching between sets. This is because placing the muscle under stretch may acutely weaken the muscle. But foam rolling — which helps increase muscle pliability and blood flow — shows no such risk of performance issues. Subjects who foam-rolled for just 30 seconds preworkout (after a dynamic, lowerbody warm-up) demonstrated a longer time-to-fatigue than those who did not roll. It should be noted that the inclusion of the SMR protocol did not necessarily enhance performance but no negative effects were shown.



Many SMR protocols exist, and there is no meta-analysis that will soon arrive at a conclusion on which way is best. As a general rule, try rolling for 30 to 120 seconds before training but after a dynamic warm-up and again for 10 to 20 minutes postworkout on key areas, including, but not limited to, the following: Lower Body Glutes Quads Lower back Hamstrings Calves IT bands (the fibrous band of connective tissue on the outside of your upper thigh)

viable alternative to floor work. If you hit a tender spot, focus additional attention on that area because the local pain could signal an existing or developing problem with your

fascia. Bottom line is that if you don’t already own a foam roller, it may be time to invest in one. Try the TriggerPoint Core Foam Roller, available at for $29.99. 

Foam rolling may be one of the best ways to combat delayed onset muscle soreness and speed recovery.

Upper Body Trapezius Thoracic (midback) spine Anterior deltoids Note: For some upper-body SMR

interventions, a lacrosse ball against a wall while standing is a strong, MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM




Quad Dominance It’s a good thing. No, really. BY LEE BOYCE, CPT


alk into any big-box gym, and you’ll probably be told you’re “quad dominant” as part of your cookie-cutter fitness assessment. This sales tactic is designed to encourage you to purchase some training sessions with a dude who will work to “balance you out” and “wake up” your glutes and hamstrings and make them pull their own weight — and yours.

Send that salesman back to his cubby because truthfully, your quads should be the dominant muscle group in your legs. And while you should not ignore your glutes and hamstrings by any means, you should not focus on them to the detriment of your quads. Made up of four large muscles (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, rectus femoris), your quadriceps contribute mightily to any and all lower-body movements. They are responsible for extending the knee and are one of the main powerhouses for running, jumping, kicking and pretty much any other athletic movement you can think of. Weak quads can obstruct strong deadlift and squat numbers, and having powerful quads can actually help prevent knee pain because they act as shock absorbers when decelerating. Developing an X-frame physique also requires great quad development — specifically, in the outer sweep of the leg (vastus lateralis) — and since they are such a large muscle group, training them will further encourage the release of musclebuilding hormones. 22




When developing a training program for your quads, it’s useful to examine the programming used by athletes with traditionally quad-dominant sports: cycling, speedskating, skiing and Olympic weightlifting. For cyclists, skiers and speedskaters, their crazy quad development comes from high training volume and extended time under tension, which leads to incredible muscular endurance and, yes, thighs that could crush a coconut. For Olympic lifters, a freakishly high volume of front squats monopolizes their training schedule, since the power clean

and the clean-and-jerk require excellent front-squat capacity because it is an essential base component of both those lifts. Moreover, Olympic-lifting shoes have an elevated heel, which forces the knees over the toes while keeping an upright torso, causing even greater reliance on the quadriceps. With all this in mind, here is the perfect quad-training program: a hybrid of strength and hypertrophy work that uses the front squat for volume and the remainder of the moves for growth, shape and endurance. Consider this your absolute permission to be quad dominant. 




A1) Front Squat



B1) Rear-Leg Elevated Split Squat


10 (each leg)

B2) Leg Extension



C) 10-Minute Leg Press EMOM (every minute on the minute): At the top of every minute, perform 10 reps of a leg press at 60 to 70 percent of your max and rest any remaining time. Continue in this manner for 10 minutes.



The Art of Being Present

While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more available when we practice it on a daily basis. Become a master of everyday mindfulness to achieve real-life awareness with these six tips. BY JILL SCHILDHOUSE

Music can bring your attention to the present. Using headphone or ear buds can help you focus or shut out external noise.


ave you ever watched TV while simultaneously checking social media on your phone only to discover that you’ve missed a bunch of important dialogue and now you have to rewind it to figure out what’s going on? You weren’t living in the moment. How about going to the gym and working out but not remembering what you did? Your brain was on autopilot. What about running to the grocery store for that one ingredient you need, only to buy everything but said ingredient? You weren’t focused on the task at hand. If these scenarios hit home, you’re in good company. It seems mindfulness — being aware of what you’re doing, when you’re doing it — is a lost art in today’s fast-paced, multitasking society. So how do we snap ourselves out of this daily trance, 24



especially when we’re already overextended and strapped for time? “By being present in your body, aware of your breath and focused on what it is you’ve set out to be doing right now,” says Pedram Shojai, OMD, New York Times best-selling author of The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace (Rodale Books, 2016) and founder of “I recommend doing little bouts of five to 10 minutes of mindfulness practice multiple times throughout the day in order to build a micro-habit. Over time, much like a virus scanner on your computer, mindfulness becomes part of your operating system and is with you all the time.” Shojai shares a few of his practical mindfulness activities — found in his latest book The Art of Stopping

Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People (Rodale Books, 2017) — that can easily be incorporated into anyone’s lifestyle: 1. Randomly Smile at People.

Practice smiling throughout your day — every time you make eye contact with another person, give them a warm smile from the bottom of your heart. This helps you come out of your shell and engage with others. It also helps break the ice and send some good vibes to someone who may need it. 2. Listen to a Song. Listen for

the nuances of the tones, the silence between the notes and the changes in tempo. Let the music bring you into the present as you appreciate the symphony of sounds and layers of complexity.


3. Stop and Take Five Breaths.

Your breath is an anchor into your very mortality. Taking five deep breaths down to your lower belly can trigger a change in your nervous system that’ll pull you out of “fight or flight’ mode. Set a timer for every 30 minutes, and when the timer pings, stop what you’re doing and simply take five deep breaths. It’s a quick remedy to reset your rhythm. 4. Notice Nature. Nature is our

guiding light when it comes to cycles and rhythms. It has a flow that’s soothing and comforting. Whether it’s

5-MINUTE BREATHING MEDITATION ❱ How do you cultivate mindfulness? One easy way is to meditate. A basic method is to simply focus your attention on your own breathing — a practice called “mindful breathing.” After setting aside time to practice mindful breathing, you’ll find it easier to focus attention on your breath in your daily life — an important skill to help you concentrate and deal with stress. HOW TO DO IT The most basic way to do mindful breathing is to focus your attention in your breath — the inhale and the exhale. You can do this standing, but you will probably be more comfortable sitting or even lying in a comfortable position. Your eyes can be open or closed, but you may find it easier to concentrate with your eyes closed. Although you can set a designated time for this meditation, you can practice it whenever — and wherever — you’re feeling stressed or anxious. MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM

a bird in a tree or a leaf dancing in the wind, stop to notice and appreciate this beauty. 5. Stop Checking the News. It’s

seldom good. If something really monumental is happening, chances are you’ll hear of it. Get the basics and then disconnect from the bad news for the whole day. You’ll be happier.

6. Get Your Heart Rate Up. What

goes up must come down. Learning to slow your roll through mediation is great, but what about the other end of the spectrum? Work to get

your heart rate super high, and then allow yourself to fully recover before doing it a few more times. This builds range and resilience. It helps you change the channel and deal with different speeds of time as life serves them up. “We’re not really good at much when we’re frazzled,” Shojai says. “Slowing down helps us catch our breath and be more intentional in our actions. We can eat more than we want while being distracted, we can miss our exit or drop the ball on a project at work. Mindfulness makes us better at everything we do. It’s a habit to be cultivated.” 

5 TO THRIVE ❱ Aromatherapy has gone more mainstream in recent years. Basically, aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils extracted from flowers, bark and other plant parts to improve health and well-being. The inhaled aroma from these essential oils is widely believed to stimulate mental alertness and focus and improving mood. There are a wide number of essential oils available, each with its own beneficial properties, and there are many ways you can incorporate them into your mindfulness practice. You can simply place a few drops in the palms of your hands and inhale them, but you also can diffuse them or place a drop or two on a cool lightbulb. Here are five products to incorporate into your mindfulness practice.

SpaRoom AromaHarmony Ultrasonic Diffuser With Bluetooth

AromaHarmony works as a speaker and an ultrasonic diffuser to perfectly blend your music selection with soothing aromatherapy. The built-in sound system can wirelessly connect to your Bluetoothcapable device up to 30 feet away.

Nature’s Alchemy Frankincense Essential Oil

The Vitamin Shoppe Lemongrass Essential Oil

Known as the “king of oils,” frankincense promotes feelings of peace and calm and mindfulness.

Now Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender Essential Oil is calming, which makes it perfect for easing tension and improving calming focus.

Lemongrass is milder than lemons and is known for its mood-boosting effects.

Evolution Salt Co. Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamp

Salt lamps or HPS (Himalayan pink salt) lamps are essentially large pieces of pure Himalayan salt with a small bulb inside. The soothing, light glow is thought to improve mood and energy levels. FEBRUARY 2018 Ÿ MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE





A BRAND IS BORN: Best friends of 20 years, Kyung Kim and Bryan Krause founded Finaflex in the back of a retail store. Finaflex was the name of the first product introduced and eventually became the name of the company because of the popularity of the product.

ON A MISSION: The Finaflex mission statement is to introduce innovative and effective products to the market at a price consumers can afford, complete with results that are undeniable. This relentless commitment to the customer has allowed Finaflex to stay in front of market trends, evolving to consumer demands. 

“Slow and steady wins the race,” says Krause, president of Finaflex. “The Finaflex brand is a decade in the making as we continue to strive for greatness. Greatness means not only success to Finaflex but also sticking to our core values and leaving a lasting legacy on this industry. Staying relevant in an ever-changing industry and continuing to grow while others fade away means we have done something very special.” A DECADE OF MOMENTUM:

BEST-SELLING PRODUCTS: Stimul8 is the original super preworkout that delivers unparalleled energy in every dose. Its formula includes IrisinXD, a patent-pending blend of stimulants. PX (Pro Xanthine) is a weight-management product that delivers the energy, focus and appetite suppression needed to get you through the day in just a one-capsule serving. 26


NEWEST PRODUCTS: BCAA Max Pump is a new intraworkout built with ingredients designed to increase workout performance by promoting muscular strength, endurance and “pump” while also assisting in muscle recovery and reducing muscle fatigue and muscle soreness. Stimul8 Loaded is a powerful new preworkout supplement designed for both men and women to help promote activity levels during workouts. It’s built with an unmatched formula that features fully disclosed amounts of all active ingredients, providing a precise description of what is being consumed in each and every scoop. GIVING BACK: Since 2009, Finalex has donated more than 300 full meals on Thanksgiving to needy families in the Atlanta area. Dubbed the “Finaflex Feast,” employees from Finaflex headquarters work with local charities to distribute turkeys and all the fixings — including rolls, canned veggies, potatoes and gravy — to 50 families every year.  FREE SAMPLES: Finaflex spends the majority of its marketing

dollars on samples — in 2016, the company shipped out more than 2 million sample products to retail stores.

SNEAK PEEK: Get ready for Keto Hydrate, a sugar-free and caffeine-free ready-to-drink performance hydration beverage built for athletes. The formula — which will debut at the end of 2018 — includes 4 grams of BHB (ketones) for energy along with four vital electrolytes all in one naturally flavored beverage.


“Finaflex has always stayed focused on effective innovation, creating novel products in sometimes novel categories,” Krause says. “We recently reworked our logo. The original packaging contained a phoenix over the Finaflex name — however, some people believed the bird was a raven, an eagle or even a penguin. A re-branding of the logo to twin opposing F's is inspired by the original logo and dominates all re-branded labels, apparel and marketing. The re-branded and reformulated products launched in 2017 with tremendous acclaim and acceptance.”  MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM

Danica Patrick

the most famous and successful female race-car driver in history, talks about her new passion project in the fitness realm, Pretty Intense. Interview by Michael Berg

Action Sports Photography /

Photo Copyright

© 2017 By Danica Patrick Racing Inc.


Danica Patrick

is no stranger to challenges. A trailblazer in the sport of racing, the Wisconsin native — who started her career in go-karts at age 10 — faced down all the typical stereotypes and disdain that comes with competing as a woman in a maledominated sport as she debuted in the IndyCar Series in 2005 and later moved to NASCAR in 2010. Along the way, she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500, in 2005, and later, the first to win an IndyCar Series race, the 2008 Indy Japan 300. Thanks to her spirit and talent — and, it has to be said, her stunning beauty — she’s also earned the devotion of fans, nabbing the IndyCar Series “Most Popular Driver” award six years running while more than proving her mettle over 366 races in the IndyCar and NASCAR circuits. Now, as that career comes to a close in 2018 with two more races planned — the Daytona 500, where she won the pole in 2013, and one final chase for that coveted milk bottle at the Indy 500, where her best finish to date was third in 2009 — Patrick is ready to turn to another of her beloved pursuits. Since the age of 14, Patrick — who lives in Morehead, North Carolina — has been honing her body through exercise and nutrition, and recently she put her favorite workouts, recipes and mindfulness strategies to paper in her just-released book Pretty Intense (Avery, 2017). Here, the yoga and CrossFit enthusiast maps out her fitness history and the highlights of the new tome in an exclusive interview with Muscle & Performance.


“I’ve been racing since I was 10. I started working out so that I was strong enough to race my go-kart — the tires are sticky and the track has a lot of rubber on it, making the gokart physically hard to drive. But I also did plenty of other things when I was younger, like track, cheerleading, volleyball, basketball, tumbling, T-ball. … I did just about everything when I was a kid.”


“When I was young, I didn’t know what to do in the gym, so I’d run on the treadmill, then I’d go do a set of biceps curls, leg extensions or whatever. Then I got into running with my mom — we’d get up at 5:30 and go run. From [ages] 16 to 19, I lived in England and had a trainer who would take me through workouts, MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM

or sometimes it was running and sprinting and hill work. I tried yoga before I left England; that’s probably the thing I’ve kept with the longest. In 2013, I started doing CrossFit. That’s kind of how [my training has evolved]. I wanted to write the book because I finally felt like I had done something that really worked — not just like, ‘Oh, eat less, move more.’ My [combined] style of working out has been so much more effective than anything else I’ve done. So I felt it was worth writing about.”


“Yoga is more stretching and mental confidence as you’re holding poses. I have really come to love the mental and meditation side of yoga … feeling your body open up and breathing. Similar to yoga, in CrossFit, there’s always another level. You can go further, you can lift more, you can do the next level of the movement. If you can do handstand push-ups,

now you try strict handstand pushups, then deficit handstand pushups. I love the challenge, the timer, the go, go, go.”


“In my documentary (Danica, which premiered on Epix in November), there is a part where I’m being interviewed when I was really young. I said that ‘the power is within me to do anything I want to do.’ All my life, I’ve had exposure to the power of positive thinking. My dad is a big dreamer, and my parents knew the power of the mind, how it’s critical to everything. And when you’re constantly put into an arena, like racing, where you’re being tested and challenged mentally to either be confident or stay strong or overcome adversity, you get a lot of practice at how the mind works.”


“If you wake up, drop your toothbrush and stub your toe and you say to yourself, ‘It’s going to be a horrible day,’ how can it be anything else? Instead, try just waking up and saying it’s going to be a great day. Walk out and be like, ‘OK, it’s kittens and rainbows today. It’s going to be amazing. Feel so great. Whoa, the sun is shining, woohoo!’ You know, you can seriously transform your whole energy field and your emotions into being positive just by the thought of it — and faking it if you don’t yet believe it.”

DON’T HIT ‘REPEAT’ “I literally just make up my workouts every day. I enjoy that. In Pretty Intense, all the workouts are structured differently. Maybe they’re EMOMs (every minute on the minute), maybe it’s an AMRAP (as many reps as possible), maybe it’s Tabata (a pattern of 20 seconds



of activity followed by 10 seconds of rest), maybe it’s going for rounds, maybe it’s doing 50/40/30/20/10 of something. I just like to break it down in different ways. Otherwise, you get bored when you know what to expect.”


and then I thought later in the day, ‘I need to keep moving.’ So I would take my dogs for a walk, and then I thought, if I’m going to walk the dogs, I should just work out while I do it. I’ll cover more ground, they’ll get more exercise. So that’s when I added interval cardio workouts.”


“I give CrossFit credit for the Paleo diet — that’s the style of eating that’s in the book, for the most part. I think the core of it is just getting back to real food and not eating things that have multiple ingredients beyond, say, five things. That’s really what I [strive for], and that’s essentially what Paleo is, too. I would say the most common things I eat are sweet potatoes, salmon, almond butter, spinach, apples, berries, chia


“If I’m cooking, you eat what I make — I don’t make two meals, so you either eat it or you fend for yourself. Maybe my approach is a tough-love sort of thing, but I think that it’s important [to have family support]. One of the hard things about health and fitness is that it’s not always

Action Sports Photography /

“In the book, I talk about what inspired me to push a little harder, having done IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatment — with the effects of hormones, I gained a few pounds and I was like, ‘Where did this come from?’ It happened in, like, 10 days, and after a month or so, I realized it’s not going away. So I was like, ‘All right, I have to dig deeper.’ It started off with CrossFit-style workouts,

pudding. … I think that’s a good food because when you don’t have dairy anymore, you kind of miss that spoon-feeding feel like you get with yogurt. Chia pudding is a great substitute. I like maca pumpkin pancakes [from my book], too. Pumpkin is super low in sugar and really beefs up any recipe. Who doesn’t want pancakes when you can eat them and realize that they have just seven ingredients total?”





something that everybody in the house is doing, so sometimes it feels uncomfortable. … You’re out of place in a way. But I feel like anyone who really loves you and wants you to do better for yourself should be on board. Maybe it’s a sign if they aren’t.”


“It’s not about reward and punishment. That’s just the worst relationship possible with working out and dieting. Realizing that working out makes you function better and feel better, and eating right makes you function better and feel better — once you develop that relationship with food and working out, then it becomes a lifestyle. It’s not about doing a three-month thing and being done. It’s more like, ‘No, I want to change the way that I live for the better, permanently.’ While the program is 12 weeks, it’s meant to show you over that time when you commit to it, you won’t want to go back.”

Photo Copyright

© 2017 By Danica Patrick Racing Inc.


“You’re either adding to or subtracting from your health with every decision. You’re either eating bad and sitting around doing nothing, or you’re moving and feeding it vitamins and nutrients. When you add, you have so much energy and optimism, happiness and joy — you feel better about yourself. You do more, period. So sometimes if I’m a little tired, I’ll tell myself, ‘Go work out to get energy.’ I think that the most powerful thing about eating well and working out is that while it takes a little time, you get so much from it that I feel like you have more to give in all aspects of your life. Taking care of yourself is not selfish if it benefits everyone else [around you], too. You’re happier, you’re more confident, you don’t feel like you’re running on empty … you’ve taken a little bit of time for yourself. You have more to give on a daily basis when you feel better.”


Maca Pumpkin Pancakes

Make 4 to 6s panc akes

• 3 teaspoons coconut oil • 2 large eggs • 2 tablespoons almond flour • 1 tablespoon coconut flour • ¼ cup pure pumpkin • 1 teaspoon maca powder (optional) • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large sauté pan, melt 2 teaspoons of the coconut oil over medium heat, swirling the pan to coat completely. In a large bowl using a fork or whisk, mix the eggs, almond flour, coconut flour, pumpkin, maca (if using), and cinnamon. Spoon half the batter into the pan to make 3 small pancakes. Place a fry screen over the pan to help trap the heat. Once the edges are brown and the tops of the pancakes are firm on the edges, flip the pancakes; the second side takes much less time to cook. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon coconut oil and the rest of the batter. Top with any fruit, nut butter, honey, syrup, or butter you like. I use Madagascar vanilla ghee, almond butter, and honey, blueberries, and banana. The recipe is reprinted from Pretty Intense: The 90-Day Mind, Body and Food Plan That Will Absolutely Change Your Life by arrangement with Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2017, Danica Patrick.

Win a copy of Pretty Intense “People say I'm pretty intense. Wouldn't it be cool if ‘pretty intense’ was the way they talked about you, too?” So begins Danica Patrick’s new book Pretty Intense: The 90-Day Mind, Body and Food Plan That Will Absolutely Change Your Life. This book provides readers with the tools they need to attack and achieve their physical and mental goals. Combining high-intensity workouts, Paleo-influenced diets and a mental-conditioning program that features yoga and meditation for people who want to live an intense and successful life, Pretty Intense helps readers take their health and fitness to the next level. You can enter to win one of five copies we’re giving away! Just follow @muscleandperformance and @prettyintensebydanica on Instagram and share a photo of yourself getting intense during your workout, using the hashtag #prettyintensemuscle before March 15, 2018, and you will be eligible to win a free copy of Pretty Intense. 34




TALK FITNESS TODAY PODCAST Grab your headphones, it’s time to tune in to Talk Fitness Today! Talk Fitness Today brings you the latest tips, trends and leading fitness experts. Brought to you by Muscle & Performance, Talk Fitness Today delivers strategies to help you take your workout to the next level. Plus, you’ll get the intel on nutrition and sports supplements to maximize your results. Tune in, train smarter! Listen here:

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CROSSGAINING Get fitter, faster and stronger with this six-week program designed to help you get the most out of your physique. BY ERIC VELAZQUEZ, CSCS


onfucius is credited with coining the deeply philosophical and poignant phrase, “The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” This quote has bearing on the world of physique building, as the body responds best to specific training protocols for specific goals. But for those who have multiple goals — i.e., those who want to get bigger, faster and stronger — periodized specificity can feel too segmented. Certain training phases may not hold your attention as well, leaving you generally unmotivated to chase your end goal too hard.

The good news is, in the absence of purely singular goals, your body will still respond. In other words, if you’re training hard every day but your workouts don’t follow any set pattern, you’ll still reap the benefits of the stimulus applied. Will your body adapt as quickly? Probably not, but if you’re not training for a particular show or event, who cares? If your training is intense and you’re nutrition is on point, you’re still going to look (and feel) like a beast. Bottom line: You can get stronger, faster and develop better overall levels of fitness with a simple, bare-bones

program. Not only will you end up looking better, but you’ll also look forward to your workout sessions a whole lot more.

The program that follows consists of three separate types of training: pure strength, speed and metabolic conditioning. Strength is foundational — without it, all other activities are moot. Getting stronger helps you do everything better while simultaneously fortifying your body against injury. And stronger muscles tend to be bigger muscles. As for speed, you may not think speed is necessary at all — until you see an elite sprinter, that is. Sprinters are what we should all aspire to be: fast, lean and wholly athletic. Metabolic conditioning speaks to the universal desire to have functional, striated muscle and a body that is loathe to retain water or subcutaneous body fat.

The best part: All three of these training modes create the kind of metabolic conflagration that creates tons of wiggle room in the nutrition department. That doesn’t mean you should sit down to a New York pizza every night, but if you follow this plan to the letter, you’ll notice that you may be able to get away with more dietary missteps because your body requires more energy (read: calories) to rebuild and repair from your workouts.

Strength is more than building muscles. Building strength makes you more fit, it keeps your metabolism humming and it protects bones.






Because this program places a huge drain on your central nervous system, you’ll only train three days a week, with an optional fourth workout for more seasoned athletes. But remember, high-intensity work always merits greater recovery time, if you expect to see improvements in strength, speed and stamina. DAY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

GOAL Strength Conditioning Rest Speed Rest Bonus Workout (optional) Rest


Powerlifters have it right. While elite lifters include plenty of accessory work, their focus always remains on the big three — bench, squat and


deadlift. If you’re a master of these three lifts, you can expect to be strong at everything else and to carry heaps of muscle. Simplicity has its value.

For the strength component of this program, you’ll specialize in these three lifts with a higher-intensity scheme that calls for more sets, not more reps. This won’t provide the same kind of “pump” that you’ve come to know and love, but it will condition your brain to handle heavier weight. The more times you settle in for a heavy set of three, the more times your brain will become accustomed to summoning muscle fibers en masse for max-effort activities. For most powerlifters, sets of five or more reps are almost unheard of, and it’s tough to argue with their bar-bending results. But even if you never intend to step up on the platform for a powerlifting meet, similar programming can help you develop the mind-muscle connection for setting personal records in these three major lifts on a regular basis. What you do with that newfound strength at the end of the program is up to you.














Romanian DL







Bench Press







Bodyweight Dip







Weighted Pull-Up








1/to failure

2/to failure

3/to failure

4/to failure

5/to failure

6/to failure*

*Each week, you’ll begin your workout with the deadlift or the squat. Alternate from week to week, or train both in opposite workouts if you do two strength workouts per week. For example, if you start with the deadlift on Day 1, start with the squat on your optional Day 6 workout. **On each lift, aim to add weight each week while completing the prescribed number of sets and reps, even if it’s only 5 pounds. MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM



SPEED WORKOUT WEEK 1 EMOM (every minute on the minute) for 10 minutes Sprint 10 seconds. Rest 50 seconds. WEEK 2 4 sprints x 20 seconds Rest 100 seconds. WEEK 3 EMOM for 12 minutes Sprint 12 seconds. Rest 48 seconds. WEEK 4 5 sprints x 25 seconds Rest 125 seconds. WEEK 5 EMOM for 15 minutes Sprint 15 seconds Rest 45 seconds. WEEK 6 6 sprints x 25 seconds Rest 100 seconds.


High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, should already be a part of your programming, regardless of your goals. HIIT has been shown over and over again to burn body fat, accelerate metabolism and improve speed, all while helping you retain or even build muscle. Sprinting, depending on distance, is primarily a fast-twitch muscle activity. And fast-twitch muscles are the ones most responsible for growth, making sprints a perfect complement to your strength training. Expect to develop wider-swept quads, chiseled hammies and heart-shaped calves in no time if you sprint on the regular. Steady-state cardio is fine, but have you ever heard the truism, “Train slow, be slow?” Well, we want you to train fast to be fast, and this simplified interval sprint program is a strong step in that direction. Prior to each workout, perform five to 10 minutes of dynamic activity to prep your muscles for the work ahead. For novices, a light jog, followed by a few minutes of con-




tinuous jumping jacks, power skips, bodyweight squats, knee hugs and leg swings should do the trick. The idea is to get your heart rate up and convince your muscles and connective tissues it’s time to work. Visit muscleand for more ideas on dynamic stretching.

Each week, you’ll alternate between shorter sprints and longer sprints, which helps to vary your training while also calling on multiple energy systems for fuel. Since your explosive energy system (read: phosphagen) replenishes fairly quickly, sprints are best trained in a 1:4-1:5 work-to-rest ratio. The key is intensity. Run every sprint as if you’re trying to pace Olympic gold-medalist and world record-holder Usain Bolt while being chased by a pack of rabid timber wolves high on angel dust. Feel like you’re decelerating? Dig deeper and find another gear, and remember, your sprint is almost over. The longest workout listed should take a whopping 15 minutes, not including warm-up time. MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM

Metabolic conditioning.

The term “metabolic conditioning” can mean many things to many people. We’re not here to proctor peer-researched debates on the issue. For our purposes, metabolic conditioning can be broadly described as structured, functional-based activity that can both build strength and burn body fat while elevating EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and we like it that way because it affords you the opportunity to freestyle a bit with exercises and activities that you may prefer, with little to no regard for what the guys in the exercise labs think. Choose one of these two workouts, or improvise your own following similar protocols. Share your routines on social and tag us so other readers can see what you’re up to! 

METABOLIC WORKOUT Workout 1 Kettlebell swing x Tabata Speedskater x Tabata 5 Rounds Tire flip x 5 Sledge swing x 30 seconds Box jump (onto the tire) x 10 Rest 30 seconds. Workout 2 Battling ropes x Tabata Jump rope x Tabata Med-ball slam x Tabata 5 Rounds Farmer’s walk x 100 feet Suitcase carry x 100 feet (each hand) Waiter carry x 100 feet

• Rest 30 to 60 seconds between carries. • Use approximately half your bodyweight for farmer’s walks and work up to 1.0 times your bodyweight. For unilateral carries, you may need to start with less — approximately 0.25 times your bodyweight — and work your way up. Keep a tight core and take quick, controlled steps.

The Best Post-Workout Supplements to Help You Refuel

Encourage muscle growth, promote muscle repair and replenish energy stores with post-workout recover supplements. Take these after a hard day at the gym to promote muscle growth and aid in recovery.

GAT Sport Jet Mass: Designed to increase

uptake of creatine to add lean muscle and in-crease recovery time.


Dymatize Nutrition Creatine Micronized: BPI Sports Best BCAA:

This fast-digesting BCAA blend and CLA matrix supports recovery and prevents muscle breakdown.

Creatine monohydrate has been shown to maximize levels of muscle creation phosphate, a critical energy resource during high-intensity actions like sprinting.



Vitamin C? Check. Iron? You bet. But what about these other key nutrients? Are you getting enough of these less-celebrated nutrients? Probably not. HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING AND HOW TO CHANGE THAT. By Matthew Kadey, MS, RD


etween making sure to eat enough protein and trying not to skimp on much-hyped vitamins and minerals like vitamin D and calcium, it can be easy to unknowingly let less celebrated nutrients fall through the cracks. But do so and you risk jeopardizing your health and fitness gains from your workouts. In fact, activities like strength training

and cardio can heighten your need for certain nutrients, meaning not getting enough is a big problem. The following is a quartet of chronically under-consumed nutritional superheroes that keep everything from your brain to your immune system to your muscles operating smoothly — plus ways to make sure you get what you need.


HOW IT HELPS: Consider magnesium the renaissance man of minerals — it’s a vital part of hundreds of incredibly important enzymes in the body that play a role in everything from nerve to heart to bone to muscle functioning. No wonder deficiencies may increase the risk of diabetes, hypertension, weak bones, poor brain functioning (including migraines and depression) and heart disease. And owing to its role in energy production within our cells, low levels could contribute to general fatigue and feeling beaten down during training. If your magnesium is lacking, so are you.


DO YOU NEED MORE? The average person needs to consume between 300 and 400 milligrams of magnesium a day. Sadly, dietary surveys show that about half of all Americans are not reaching their daily quota for MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE Ÿ


this MVP of the mineral world. This happens when too many processed and refined foods like white rice — which are stripped of magnesium — edge out plant-based whole foods. Modern-day chemical-intensive industrial farming may lessen soil levels of magnesium, so foods will soak up less as they grow, making them a less reliable source. Certain common medications also may deplete magnesium levels in the body (certain diuretics, antacids and acid blockers), and a small amount is lost in sweat during exercise. DISH IT UP: Generally, foods high in dietary fiber also tend to be good sources of magnesium. These include legumes like beans, whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice, nuts, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), potatoes, dark chocolate products like cacao nibs and dark

If you're following a diet that restricts food like beans and grains, you're going to have to work harder to eat enough magnesium.

greens, including spinach and Swiss chard. So if you’re following a diet that restricts items like beans and grains, you’re going to have to work harder to eat enough magnesium. Since meats are generally not a good source of magnesium, a meatcentric diet can set you up for poor magnesium status. SUPPLEMENT SAVVY: If you decide to take a magnesium supplement — either as part of a multivitamin or in isolation — citrate, chloride or glycinate are easier on the gut. Magnesium supplements are likely safe for most adults when taken in reasonable doses of 100 to 400 milligrams a day. Taking it with food or spreading doses throughout the day (e.g., 100 milligrams up to three times a day) may improve absorption rates and reduce the chances of experiencing stomach woes.


CHOLINE HOW IT HELPS: Think of choline as the bassist of the nutrient world — though generally flying under the radar without it, your body won’t play a good tune. The vitamin-like compound is the main building block of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in brain functioning as well as muscular movement. Unsung choline (officially recognized as an essential nutrient by the Institute of Medicine in 1998) also plays a role in our metabolism and nervous system — plus, higher intakes in women may lessen the risk for breast cancer. Symptoms of a prolonged choline shortfall can include poor memory, sagging energy levels, muscle aches and altered mood.

DO YOU NEED MORE? Choline is one of the most poorly consumed nutrients — only about 8 percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of 550 and 425 milligrams each day for

men and women, respectively. And poor intakes might be especially concerning for athletes. One study on long-distance runners published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that choline stores dropped by about 40 percent following a race. The more you exercise, the more acetylcholine is used up for the purpose of stimulating muscular contraction. So without consistently resupplying choline, your muscles may feel less than spunky during training.

DISH IT UP: Your liver does have the capability to make some choline, but your needs can’t be met without eating it. The best way to inhale more choline is to crack open an

egg — a single yolk has about 145 milligrams. Other dietary sources include liver, beef, fish, chicken, milk, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and peanut butter. Still, a 2017 report in the journal Nutrients determined that it’s very difficult for people to nail their daily choline quota without eating plenty of eggs or taking a supplement. SUPPLEMENT SAVVY: Unless you are a big fan of omelets and frittatas, you may want to consider a daily choline supplement to make sure you get what you need. Since many multivitamins contain little if any choline, look for a dedicated supplement providing 350 to 500 milligrams in the form of phosphatidylcholine.

A single egg yolk has about 145 milligrams of choline, which plays a vital role in our metabolism and nervous system.




Potassium helps your body secrete sodium, which eases tension in the blood vessel walls, lower blood pressure numbers.

POTASSIUM HOW IT HELPS: Your body calls on the mineral potassium for a host of functions, including muscular contraction, regulation of fluid balance and maintenance of a normal blood pressure. When you get enough potassium, it helps your body excrete sodium, which eases tension in the blood vessel walls to help lower blood pressure numbers. Potassium also appears to play a role in reducing aortic stiffness for healthy cardiovascular function, and limiting bone breakdown, making it easier to maintain a strong skeleton.


DO YOU NEED MORE? While most Americans have no trouble eating plenty of sodium, dietary data presented in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that not even 2 percent of the population meets their daily potassium recommendaMUSCLE & PERFORMANCE Ÿ


tion — 4,700 milligrams each day as suggested by the Institute of Medicine. Like magnesium and vitamin E, eschewing whole foods for processed packaged ones is largely to blame for the collective shortfall. Since potassium is lost in perspiration, those involved in regular bouts of exercise sweat sessions need to be diligent about the need to replenish stores. DISH IT UP: Though most of us associate potassium with bananas, there are other foods that should be in your shopping cart to get what you need — namely, dark leafy greens, potatoes (white and sweet), avocado, winter squash, yogurt, lentils, beans, dried fruits, cantaloupe, kiwi, mushrooms and (surprise!) fish like salmon and halibut. In general, serving up at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables daily will go a

long way in helping you achieve your potassium requirement. SUPPLEMENT SAVVY: If you focus on eating a whole foods–based diet rich in plants, you should get enough potassium from your diet. Very high potassium intakes may limit your kidneys’ ability to eliminate the mineral, and that can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. Because of this potential risk, especially to those with impaired kidney functioning, the Food and Drug Administration limits potassium supplements to less than 100 milligrams. That’s just 2 percent of the 4,700 milligrams daily recommendation, so the reality is you’d need to pop a lot of pills to get close to this amount. During prolonged exercise sessions, however, sports drinks containing potassium can help replace what’s lost to the sweat stains on your shirt.



HOW IT HELPS: To be accurate, vitamin E is a name given to a group of fat-soluble compounds (tocopherols and tocotrienols) that possess antioxidant powers. Antioxidants like vitamin E reduce the celldamaging effects of free radicals in the body and, in doing so, may offer protection against a range of health woes. There is also the possibility that antioxidants like vitamin E play a role in recovery from intense exercise. Additionally, vitamin E is required for a robust immune system, and scientists recently discovered that it may have a positive impact on an enzyme that

Antioxidants like vitamin E play a role in recovery after intense exercise.

is involved in normal, healthy cell growth.

DO YOU NEED MORE? Recent research paints a grim picture when it comes to vitamin E — 93 percent of Americans aged 20 to 30 have suboptimal vitamin E status, with 81 percent of those older than 30 coming up short. Adults are encouraged to consume at least 15 milligrams (22 IU) of vitamin E each day. DISH IT UP: To get the vitamin E you need, it’s time to fatten up your diet. The nutrient is often present in higher fat foods of plant origin like

nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocado and culinary oils like olive and sunflower. Wheat germ is another good source and can easily find a home in your oatmeal and protein shakes. Some vegetables like spinach and broccoli provide small amounts. In refining grains, vitamin E levels suffer greatly with more than 90 percent of the nutrient present in a whole grain being lost and often not replaced. SUPPLEMENT SAVVY: If you want some vitamin E insurance, you can pop a pill containing 100 to 400 IU of vitamin E. Just keep in mind that many supplements typically provide only one form of vitamin E (alphatocopherol), so you won’t reap all the rewards of consuming the vitamin E mix found in foods. Look for brands that offer a variety of different forms (mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols). Absorption rates of vitamin E supplements are better when taken with a meal containing some fat, and you should never exceed taking 1,500 IU in a day. 

*Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian who can assess your diet and other medications, supplements or herbs you may be taking for potential interactions or adverse effects.

Performance Picks

Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator contains 400 milligrams of potassium per serving to help you meet your daily requirement. MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM

Optimum Nutrition Vitamin E contains a high-potency dose of 400 IU per softgel.

Solgar Calcium Magnesium Citrate offers 1,000 milligrams of calcium (as calcium citrate) as well as 500 milligrams of magnesium per tablet.

Source Naturals Phosphatidyl Choline in Lecithin has been concentrated to contain three times the phosphyatidyl choline.



This quick guide explains when to ice, when to heat, when not to and why. By Jill Schildhouse


ave you ever gotten in your car, reached for your seat belt and tweaked your neck? I have — and it’s basically the lamest way ever to injure yourself. To make matters worse, I tried to ignore my injury out of sheer embarrassment. The pain and inability to turn my head in either direction likely would have been diminished had I just put some ice on it. Or should that be heat? I can never remember, so I chose neither and suffered for nearly a week, using a fictitious story about lifting too hard at the gym as my cover. Whether you’ve slipped in the tub and pulled a muscle, tripped over a barbell and sprained your ankle or have back pain that flares up seemingly out of nowhere, aches, pains and injuries are common. The key is how you treat them, which often begins with an understanding of when to choose ice versus heat the moment pain strikes. “Ice has an anti-inflammatory effect by decreasing blood flow to an acutely injured area,” says Naresh Rao, DO, FAOASM, an osteopathic sports medicine physician who serves as the head physician for the USA men’s water polo team and was on Team USA’s sports medicine team for the 2016 Summer Olympics. “Ice is great for pain associated with inflammation and works best if the injury is superficial enough to the skin so the cold can have an effect. Conversely, heat has a muscle-relaxing effect by increasing blood flow to a chronically injured area. Heat is great for stiff muscles and muscle spasms and can be used to help increase flexibility in stiff or arthritic joints.” In his book Step Up Your Game: The Revolutionary Program Elite Athletes Use to Increase Performance and Achieve Total Health (Sports Publishing, 2016), Rao states that his rule of thumb for the first 24 to 48 hours after an acute injury is to use ice for 20 minutes on the hour along with some elevation and compression (like an elastic bandage). The ice is MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE Ÿ


thought to reduce inflammation that overly ensues and reduce pain. “I recommend heat for more chronic muscular tension or muscle spasm,” he says. “Moist heat will actually help muscles relax. If you have a chronically tense upper back, getting in the shower and using hot water with the beating action, like a massage, can be very effective.” As for the school of thought that advocates alternating heat and cold (i.e., contrast bath therapy), Rao says that while elite athletes follow this technique, the research is not consistent in supporting its use. THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF ICING AND HEATING There’s a bit more to treating an injury than just slapping some ice cubes or a heating pad on it. It requires a bit of TLC, having the right equipment on hand and quick action.

ICE. Rao suggests using an ice pack or frozen veggie bag that is wrapped in a thin cloth or a few paper towels because placing anything frozen directly on the skin could cause frostbite. Plan on 20-minute icing sessions every hour within 24 to 48 hours of an acute injury. To keep the ice in place, try wrapping plastic wrap around the ice pack over the injured area.  HEAT. There are two types of heat: moist and dry. Moist heat can come in the form of a hot shower, hot towel or moist heating pad. If using a heating pad, Rao says it is important for safety reasons not to fall asleep with it — this could lead to burning your skin or even starting a fire. Again, you’ll want to limit usage to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Drugstores carry adhesive heating pads that allow for mobility while treating your injury.


Inflammation Is Actually Your Friend


PRECAUTIONS. If there is broken skin, sign of infection or you are not sure where the pain is coming from (i.e., left shoulder pain without an injury could be coming from the heart), it’s best to seek medical attention instead of self-

treating. Also, those with decreased sensation because of nerve issues — like diabetics who have peripheral neuropathy — cannot perceive temperature well, so they are at risk for cold or heat injury.

A common resp onse to a painful injury is reachin g for the bottle of nonsteroidal an ti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in your medicine cabinet. But co uld it be doing more harm than good? “I generally do no t recommend NSAIDs as firstline therapy since they block inflammation,” Naresh Rao sa ys. “Inflammation is the body’s he aling response, so I do not want to inhibit that process. I will ge nerally suggest acetaminophen first for pain control, and if th e pain is not well-controlled, then I will go wi th anti-inflammator ies for three days, or as need ed.”

“I use a variety of treatments to help patients get back on their feet after injury using a whole-person approach,” Rao says. “Injury is common, so don’t be discouraged when it occurs.” 




✓ ✓



✓ ✓ ✓


Ice for 24 to 48 hours. Ice for 24 to 48 hours, then apply heat, as needed, to help decrease stiffness. If acute, use ice. If chronic, use heat. For tension headaches, use a moist heat source like a shower with a massage head for 20 minutes.


Apply moist heat with a massage and stretching. Contracting the opposite muscle should relax the cramped muscle. For a calf cramp, for example, since the calf moves the foot downward (plantar flexion), contract the foot upward (dorsiflexion).



Ice for 24 to 48 hours to decrease pain associated with inflammation. Heat increases pliability of the soft tissues surrounding the joint. FEBRUARY 2017 Ÿ MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE






Only at

rets c e S a for He

Your heart is the most important muscle in your body, so here’s how to strengthen it for a long, healthy life.

rt ea yH th al




t’s February and that means Valentine’s Day love is in the air — you’re undoubtedly seeing red hearts everywhere you look. But have you stopped to think about your own heart lately? No, not the love you feel in your heart, but how the organ is actually functioning. The heart is by far the most important muscle in your body, yet so many people take for granted its 24/7 job. “Without your heart, of course, all other functions fail,” says cardiologist Steven R. Gundry, M.D., New York Times best-selling author of The Plant Paradox (Harper Wave, 2017) and founder of Gundry MD. “All other muscles cannot receive oxygen and nutrients from blood — even the muscles of the intestines and diaphragm get all their power from the action of the heart muscle.” As a heart surgeon, Gundry has spent his career repairing or replacing failed hearts while also supporting them through diet and supplement recommendations. As such, he knows firsthand how vital the proper care and feeding of the heart is to living a healthy lifestyle.



Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. But if you think your heart still has many more years before it begins to show the MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE Ÿ


wear and tear your diet and exercise routine (or lack thereof) has caused, think again — it’s a process that begins when we are young. “Those of us who do children’s heart surgery see small plaques in the aorta (the main artery that leads from the heart) in children as young as 4 or 5,” Gundry says. “In fact, many soldiers killed in the Korean War in the early 1950s had evidence of plaques in their coronary arteries, even though they were only in their late teens and 20s.” What’s more, this is not a new phenomenon that can be blamed on Western culture or the Industrial Revolution — even mummies from ancient cultures 4,000 years ago show evidence of atherosclerosis.


So what are the important factors to keeping our ticker in tiptop shape?

1. More fat, less sugar. “The heart muscle loves to burn fat as a fuel,” Gundry says. “Our body generates ketones [the energy source we make from fatty acids] when supplies of glucose are low, which is called ketosis.” Ketones also can be eaten, mainly in the form of medium-chain triglycerides oil, coconut oil or red palm oil.


2. Intermittent fasting. “Fat adaptation (burning ketones) preferentially as fuel takes time and explains the usual ‘bonking’ that occurs in athletes who transition from a glucose- to ketone-based fuel source,” Gundry says. “Nevertheless, ketone-adjusted athletes usually perform better than when burning glucose.” To accomplish this on a regular basis, he suggests intermittent fasting while gradually stretching out the time period between meals. For instance, during the winter months for the last 10 years, Gundry has routinely eaten all his calories during the weekdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., fasting 22 out of every 24 hours. While that may seem extreme, beginners can start by skipping breakfast and instead ingesting MCT oil to support metabolism during fasting.

3. All fats are not created equally. “Olive, avocado and macadamia oils are primarily monounsaturated fats that carry a generous dose of good for your blood vessels in terms of polyphenols,” says Gundry, who tells patients that the purpose of all foods is to get olive oil in your mouth. “Omega-3 fats that are found in fish oils, particularly DHA, also have been shown to support blood vessel function and heart health.” He says the polyphenols found in dark chocolate, green and black tea, grapeseed extract, tree-bark extract and resveratrol all have been shown to dilate heart blood vessels and prevent “stickiness” of the blood vessel walls. So whether you’re having eggs or broccoli, pour on the olive oil. 4. Cholesterol is not the culprit. We hear that cholesterol is bad, but that’s not the case. It’s actually the inflammation on the surface of blood vessels that is the real

problem, and all the aforementioned foods and supplements help protect blood vessels. “Moreover, it’s not only your cholesterol count that matters at all but the size of the particles that counts,” Gundry says. “And the best way to make good, big particles is to lessen the amount of sugars and starches that you eat.” Of course, that starts with limiting processed carbs and sugars — but Gundry's research also suggests that limiting fruits and grains can also lower cholesterol.

5. Excessive exercise does more harm than good. Our heart is a real trooper — exercising all day long, never taking a break. “Interestingly, the metabolic rate of a tribal bushman who walks 20 miles a day is exactly like that of a typical overweight coach potato American,” Gundry says. “That American’s heart is doing a lot of work just carrying that extra weight around.” As a former 30-mile/week runner who now jogs with his dogs 2.5 miles a day, he has many examples of the damage that distance running does to your heart muscle. “I routinely measure heart muscle damage in runs over 5 miles, and it’s quite extensive after half or full marathons,” he says. “My wife, who ran the 100th running of the Boston Marathon, hung up her shoes shortly after I showed her the data. Chronic marathoners have measureable stiffness and fibrosis of their right ventricles.” He prefers Pilates, yoga or interval training using weights or machines and not resting between sets. Whatever you do, don’t do it repetitively day after day, he warns; even your heart needs to throttle back every now and then. Gundry recommends limiting stressful, intense exercise — like HIIT or CrossFit— to twice a week. 

EXPERTS WHOLE-HEART-EDLY AGREE ON THESE 5 SUPPLEMENTS High DHA Fish Oil: Take at least 1,000 milligrams a day.


Grapeseed Extract or Resveratrol: Take 100 to 250 milligrams a day. 

Vitamin D: Take about 2,000 IUs a day.

CoQ10 or Ubiquinol Take 100 milligrams a day.

 L-Citrulline: Take 1,000 milligrams a day to aid vasodilation of blood vessels via the production of nitric oxide.



Enhance Your Testosterone Testosterone is the main hormone associated with muscle mass, strength gains and sex drive. There are plenty of pills out there promising to boost your natural production of testosterone. But do they actually work? Let’s look at some of the best T-booster supplements out there. BY DWAYNE N. JACKSON, PH.D.

he importance of testosterone can’t be overstated. It’s a vital hormone that regulates everything from more muscle to less fat, sex drive and bone density. The big T is an androgenic anabolic steroid hormone that is derived from cholesterol and secreted by the testes and — in small amounts — by the adrenal cortex (located on top of the kidneys) in males. The normal range for testosterone levels varies dramatically. In healthy adult males, it’s between 315 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. But testosterone levels naturally decline steadily as you age, typically at a rate of 1 to 2 percent per year after the age of 40. However, other factors can prematurely lower the amount of free testosterone, leading to hypogonadism, even in young men. Hypogonadism is a clinical condition caused by disturbances in testosterone bioavailability and/or its actions. In simple terms, the testicles don’t produce enough testosterone. Hypogonadism may be due to abnormalities of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, testes or target tissues. Environmental factors and increases in the amount of testosterone converted to estrogen by the aromatase enzyme also may cause hypogonadism. Common symptoms of low testosterone are loss of vitality, fatigue, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, sleepiness, depression and poor concentration. Overall, men with hypogonadism tend to gain fat mass and lose muscle mass, bone mass and strength.

The Decline of T

Published research quickly highlights how several common North American behaviors and traits exacerbate the decline in testosterone levels among young and older men. Although aging seems to contribute naturally to this decline, other factors like increasing cases of obesity, work stress, alcohol use, inactivity and lack of adequate quality sleep can advance the decline of testosterone. A large-scale population-level study published in The

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism tell us that testosterone levels have declined among American men by about 17 percent overall in less than 20 years. This is alarming considering the study controlled for health and lifestyle characteristics, like smoking and obesity, known to decrease testosterone levels. This means that although you may be a young and fit nonsmoker, you are still susceptible to several factors that lower testosterone. Testosterone’s profound effects on strength, protein synthesis, recovery, appetite stimulation, energy and aggression highlight the importance to optimize blood testosterone in athletes of all types and at all levels.

Testosterone: Total, Bound and Free?

Optimizing serum testosterone levels goes beyond simply increasing total testosterone because blood testosterone comes in three types — total, bound and free. Total testosterone refers to all testosterone (i.e., free plus bound) found in the blood. Bound testosterone is all the testosterone in the blood that is bound to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and to albumin. The largest fraction of blood testosterone is bound to SHBG, and because it cannot interact with testosterone receptors in the body, SHBG-bound testosterone is considered non-bioavailable. Free testosterone and albumin-bound testosterone are the most bioavailable fractions of testosterone in the blood, with albumin-bound testosterone being slightly less bioactive. However, because albumin binds testosterone weakly, it dissociates from albumin and becomes free testosterone in the capillaries (the smallest blood vessels and the site of molecular exchange in all our organs and muscles).

Options for Raising Testosterone

So is there anything you can do to stall the decline of testosterone? Check out these three ingredients that can help you improve testosterone levels.

Many factors appear to be pulling T levels down — from sedentary jobs to poor diets and lifestyle choices. You can counteract those influences, though.





Increase fat-free mass, reduce bodyfat and increase muscle strength by supplementing with tongkat ali.


(aka Eurycoma longifolia or Long Jack) WHAT IS IT? Tongkat ali is a small flowering evergreen tree that is native to Indonesia and Malaysia. Tongkat ali extract contains high levels of bioactive compounds called quassinoids. Eurycomanone, the major quassinoid found in tongkat ali, has been reported to increase bioavailable testosterone levels. HOW DOES IT WORK? According to research, there seems to be more than one mechanism of action in which supplementation of tongkat ali increases testosterone levels. A study in International Journal of Andrology illustrated that supplementing with tongkat ali for one month raised testosterone to normal levels in men with hypogonadism. Another study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that tongkat ali supplementation increased fat-free mass, reduced body fat, and increased muscle strength and size in healthy resistancetrained men. MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM

HOW TO TAKE IT: Products may vary in potency, so take as

directed on the label. Look for tongkat ali extracts that contain patented LJ100 for highest potency.


(aka, Indian ginseng or Withania somnifera Dunal) WHAT IS IT? This perennial flowering shrub is commonly used in Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine in India. In Sanskrit, ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse” because it is believed to produce vigor and strength in those who take it. In scientific terms, ashwagandha is a potent antioxidant and is known as an adaptogen, which means it increases the body’s ability to handle stress and fatigue, such as from exercise, by maintaining hormonal balance. HOW DOES IT WORK: Ashwagandha contains many active compounds. The most studied are called withanolides. Research has shown that ashwagandha supplementation with high concentrations of withanolides increases FEBRUARY 2018 Ÿ MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE


blood testosterone levels, promotes a healthy response to everyday stress, supports normal levels of mental clarity and focus, and enhances exercise and sports performance. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition investigated the effects of ashwagandha supplementation on testosterone levels, muscle mass and strength in healthy young men undergoing an eight-week weight-training program. It was reported that those who took ashwagandha root extract had more than a 400 percent increase in testosterone levels, which equated to greater increases in upper- and lower-body strength, upper-body muscle size and fat loss compared to the placebo group. Another study from the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine showed that taking ashwagandha led to a greater than 30 percent reduction in perceived stress during weight loss (compared to placebo), a greater than 20 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol (compared to placebo), and a significant reduction in uncontrolled and emotional eating behavior compared to the placebo group. HOW TO TAKE: As with most herbal supplements, choose products that have been standardized and take as directed. In the case of ashwagandha, look for products that have been standardized to withanolides (at least 1.5 percent). Products with patented KSM-66 ashwagandha have the highest potency (with at least 5 percent withanolides) while retaining the benefits of ashwagandha’s other active compounds.


methionine is a well-absorbed, highly bioavailable form of zinc, which is a nutritionally essential trace element, meaning that you must get it from your diet. It is important in many cellularsignaling events, including those associated with proper liver function, cellular repair and hormonal maintenance. WHAT DOES IT DO? One of zinc’s fundamental roles is to initiate protein synthesis through activating mTOR, a necessary cell-signaling event for muscle growth. Studies show that stress, regular heavy weight training, cycling exercise and even just sweating can lead to zinc deficiency. Studies in humans illustrate that even mild dietary zinc deficiency leads to decreased serum testosterone levels, low sperm count, decreased immunity and loss of lean body mass. Fortunately, zinc supplementation reverses problems associated with zinc deficiency. In a study from the Neuroendocrinology Letters in which elite strength athletes completed four weeks of exhaustive training with and without supplemental zinc, those who did not receive zinc supplements had significant declines in testosterone and thyroid hormone levels, whereas those who received daily zinc had augmented testosterone and thyroid hormone levels. HOW TO TAKE: Take 30 milligrams of zinc methionine before bed.

Research showed that taking ashwagandha root extract increases testosterone levels by more than 400 percent.






BodyTech PrimalJax contains

200 milligrams of LongJax 20:1 extract per four-capsule serving. It also offers 500 milligrams of L-arginine, which increases growth hormone.

MHP T-Bomb 3Xtreme offers its five-phase

testosterone-boosting and estrogencontrol complex, which includes Eurycoma longifolia (Long Jack) 50:1 extract along with tribulus, fenugreek and zinc to increase free testosterone.

Novex Biotech Growth Factor-9 is designed to raise your body’s

own human growth hormone production, which is associated with increasing lean muscle mass and improving recovery and energy.


Finaflex Revolution Test

contains a blend that includes Eurycoma longifolia extract, designed to boost testosterone, reduce estrogen and increase energy levels.

AllMax Nutrition TestoFX contains Sensoril,

a patented form of ashwagandha. It has been standardized to 8 percent withanolides.



Strength and Power

This month’s selection of products will boost your strength and power before, during and after training.

t MuscleMeds Carnivor Beef Protein Everyone knows beef builds muscle! MuscleMeds Carnivor provides 23 grams of 99 percent beef protein isolate and contains no fat or cholesterol, allowing you to get the benefits of beef protein in a delicious, fast-digesting and convenient protein shake — without the excess calories. Plus, it’s lactose-, sugar-, dairy- and gluten-free, making it easier to digest.


Novex Biotech Growth Factor-9 When taken daily, Growth Factor-9 has been shown to clinically shown to raise your body’s natural production of human growth hormone. HGH has been associated with restoring youthful vitality, increasing lean muscle mass and energy, improving recovery, getting better sleep and enhancing sex drive. The patented Growth Factor-9 formula is a nonprescription, noninjection dietary supplement clinically validated to naturally increase your own HGH levels up to 682 percent.

t 62

Dymatize PreW.O. Experience the future of intense training. Dymatize PreW.O. is a preworkout formula that will turn your workouts into extraordinary experiences. Unleash super-intense workouts and explosive training sessions while enjoying an unmatched flavor experience. Amplify the intensity of your workouts with citrulline malate, Nitrosigen, TeaCrine, beta-alanine and caffeine. Dymatize PreW.O. is perfectly engineered to support your goals and make each workout count. It mixes clean and goes down smooth. Never sacrifice taste. Never waste a workout. Dymatize PreW.O. is available in three delicious flavors: chilled fruit fusion, handspun cotton candy and sweet cherry lime.



Arthur Andrew Medical Aminolase TPA u Aminolase TPA allows for nearly 100 percent of ingested protein to be used for muscle building, strength and recovery. In a university study, Aminolase converted 25 grams of protein to nearly 100 percent amino acids whereas the placebo average conversion rate was 15 percent. Experience immediate increases in strength, pump, endurance and sexual function within one hour of consuming Aminolase with your typical protein supplement. Aminolase turns your ordinary protein into extraordinary.

t BodyTech Betaine Anhydrous Betaine anhydrous is a molecule discovered in beetroot that helps to reduce the byproducts of protein metabolism in the body. It is commonly found in preand postworkout supplements and supports athletic performance, strength and power. Use standalone Betaine Anhydrous to enhance your favorite sports products.

Finaflex PX Heat u PX Heat promotes thermogenesis, metabolism and weight loss. You will actually feel the burn as PX Heat literally “brings the heat” and makes you sweat. Powered by clinical doses of nonstimulant ingredients makes PX Heat the most unique nonstimulant formula on the market.

t Cutler Nutrition 100% Amino Pump Cutler Nutrition’s 100% Amino Pump is a powerhouse amino blend created under the guidance of four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler. Thanks to essential amino acids, branched-chain amino acids and creatine, this formula can help you build muscle, recover and improve the effectiveness of your workouts.





A Breakthrough for Men

You no longer have to settle for just testosterone “support.” Get measurable increases in your testosterone levels.






ou know testosterone is one of the key players not only in your body’s ability to perform but also in many aspects of your life. Healthy testosterone levels have been associated with everything from intensified sex drive, muscle mass and strength to improved energy and drive. But in today’s world, unfortunately, it seems like just about everything is out to kill your testosterone levels. Stress, poor eating habits, lack of sleep, alcohol (even moderate consumption) and the hormones in meat have all been implicated to lower your testosterone levels. That’s the bad news. The good news? Thanks to some pretty incredible research breakthroughs, you can now help your body produce more of its own, natural testosterone. And we’re not talking about all the shady, so-called “T boosters” out there that make all sorts of promises but never live up to them. They have a lot of claims but not a lot of science. When it comes to increasing such a vital hormone, you don’t want to take chances. You need a supplement that’s backed by science and shown to increase your body’s natural production of testosterone. That’s why a formula called TestroVax has become one of the top sellers in this category. TestroVax is backed by serious science. Its clinically tested compound was shown to improve natural testosterone levels by an average of 42.1 percent. And the best part? You don’t have to wait weeks to see results. The men in the study experienced that increase in just 12 days. That’s right — a 42.1 percent increase in the body’s natural testosterone levels in just 12 days. Not only that, but three days after they stopped taking the key compound in TestroVax, study subjects still had elevated testosterone levels, which shows TestroVax has a lasting effect. Don’t trust your testosterone levels to chance. Stick with science and see how peak testosterone levels can improve your life. TestroVax is available at the Vitamin Shoppe. Want to learn more? Check out the science at  MUSCLEANDPERFORMANCE.COM


42.1% Increase in

Testosterone Levels... In Just 12 Days!

HERE’S HOW: TestroVax contains a clinically tested compound shown to improve NATURAL testosterone levels by 42.1%. How can that make you better? Healthy testosterone levels have been associated with muscle mass growth, strength, improved energy and drive, and intensified libido.


could be your answer to feeling strong, confident, powerful, and driven. Testosterone is vital to so many aspects of your performance and your life. After all, it’s a huge part of what makes a man a man. And the best part? With TestroVax, you don’t have to wait weeks to see results. The men in the study

experienced an average 42.1% increase in just 12 days. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Individual results will vary. ©2018 All Rights Reserved. BR16804-3 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

THINK 42.1% in 12 days sounds

unbelievable? At first we thought so, too. But you can get all the facts and see the research at Invest in yourself. Invest in your performance. Invest in your manhood with TestroVax. Available

at The Vitamin Shoppe. For more information visit or call 1-800-470-9694.

… Ways to Get Your Cardio When It’s Cold BY ERIC VELAZQUEZ, CSCS

the circulation they need. I recommend shortening your workouts and making them a little higher in intensity to minimize your exposure to the cold.” Here’s more on how to get your cardio in during the cold winter months.

CHANGE A THING 1 DON’T If running is your typical choice of cardio, go

ahead and lace up and hit the pavement. “Just because the weather gets a little cooler doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite outdoor cardio options,” Simon says. “A little more preparation is all that’s required. Waterproof shoes, good socks, gloves and a face shield are necessary to protect your extremities.”

YOUR OPTIONS 2 EXPAND If the weather outside is unreasonably cold —

think blizzard conditions — then it’s probably best to improvise with a solid home workout. “There are so many effective and moderately priced options for home equipment,” Simon explains. “I recommend the TRX or a set of kettlebells. This equipment offers fullbody functional training and provides some of the benefits of strength training while also targeting your cardio requirements.”

BACK THE CLOCK 3 TURN Simon points out that a little creativity can go far


ardio, like war, is hell. But because it’s a prerequisite for a lean, fit physique — at least for most of us mere mortals — you dutifully hit the treadmill a few days per week. Yet for those who keep themselves sane by doing their preferred method of cardio outdoors, there’s another consideration: weather. The bite of winter air can make outdoor activities downright unbearable. Chapped lips and achy, slow-to-warm joints are the last thing you want to worry about during a marathon cardio session. Still, there are benefits to eschewing indoor activity: Studies show that cold-weather training forces your body to burn through glycogen and fat faster. For that reason and others, there’s never an excuse to skip your workout, says Taylor Simon, CSCS, a Canada-based strength and conditioning specialist.


“Training in a climate as variable as Canada’s, we are forced to work out in all weather conditions,” he says. “When it turns cold and snowy, this means we have to make the best of what we have. Working out in the cold won’t decrease your results or the effectiveness of the exercise, but you do have to be more conscious of your safety. Dress in layers, and remember that just because you feel warm doesn’t mean your extremities are getting MUSCLE & PERFORMANCE Ÿ


in the absence of home equipment. High-rep, low-rest work with some old-school bodyweight moves can be effective for your ticker and your waistline. “Remember grade school? Think jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, push-ups, jump squats and jumping lunges,” he says.

4 HYBRIDIZE Resistance training for cardio (see No. 2) paired

with high-intensity bodyweight work (see No. 3) can provide a fast and effective home workout. “The best part is that you can create an endless combination of activities so boredom is never a problem,” Simon explains. “Move from exercise to exercise in 30-second bursts for a five-minute circuit to get a lung-burning cardio blast, then repeat.”

CLASSY 5 GET Getting out and about when it’s so cold outside

that your face hurts isn’t very appealing, but if you can muster the walk to the car, some group activity is an excellent winter option. “During those really cold winter months, a Spin class or masters swimming program at a gym is a great way to keep your workout intensity high and boredom at bay,” Simon says.  Taylor Simon, CSCS, is co-director of Taylored Training in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. For more training advice from Simon, visit


TRAIN LIKE A PRO Formulated with the guidance of 4x Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, every product in the Cutler Nutrition line puts his 20 years of extensive bodybuilding experience to work for you. No fads – just edgy, effective supplements like the ones that helped him become a four-time Mr. Olympia.



† When combined with a proper exercise and nutrition regimen. Statements based on early-stage independent 3rd party in vivo and / or in vitro model scientific research data findings for individual ingredients.

Muscle and Performance February 2018  
Muscle and Performance February 2018