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By PJ Braun

‘Even though I have been locked up a year, it could be so much worse.’

As I write this it’s February 8th, just nine days shy of a year since being incarcerated. For that reason, I decided to recap my year for you, guys. I am going to break it down CliffsNotes style. February 17th was probably the worst day of my life. Driving to the courthouse awaiting my fate was brutal. Leading up to that day I was focused on spending as much time with my fiancée Marissa and my family as I could. It still makes me sad at times when I think that it took coming to prison for me to realize I was living life way too fast and missing out on what really matters to me.

The last couple of months before coming to prison was a special time for me, however the upcoming sentencing was always looming in my mind and anxiety and depression were consistent feelings that consumed me. This contributed to me being lazy and sloppy with my training and nutrition. I had stopped taking growth hormone about a month before the incarceration and I noticed that I had softened up quite a bit and lost some fullness and vascularity. I stayed on testosterone all the way to the sentencing and was hoping to be able to stay on the test because of my doctor’s recommendation letter. When I was pulled out of court in handcuffs and taken to intake at the main jail in Fort Lauderdale, I found out quickly that the BOP [Federal Bureau of Prisons] does things much different than I thought.

I was told I could not be on any of my prescription meds, stripped of my clothing and tossed in a detox room for a week before being able to meet with a doctor who put me back on Paxil at a higher dose of 40 milligrams instead of my normal 30 milligrams. The reason I mention this is because one of the side effects of Paxil is weight gain, which I will get to later. I went from Main Jail to county jail for another week and then to the FDC Miami, where I spent the first 38 days in quarantine locked up 23 hours a day and barely eating. This was very hard. In the beginning of that quarantine phase was when I knew my hormones were crashing after being on testosterone for most of the last 20 years. It was very strange.

Sometimes I would get so depressed and emotional out of nowhere that I would face the wall of my cell and tears would be coming out like faucets. A year later the emotions are in check, but my energy is low.

I did have some great experiences in Miami, though. My “celly,” Francisco, got me back to God and was an excellent guide on how prison works. I learned how to move the right way. When you are in a facility with guys who have spent most of their time in high-level security, you learn a lot about the way the system works, and you develop a different level of respect that isn’t seen in most of the self-surrender guys at the camp. It is a privilege to be at a camp and many of the guys here worked their way down over many years. At the same time, I don’t think you should have to be at a “pen” to know manners and respect. I learned how to make weights with garbage bags filled with water that were tied up inside laundry bags and sheets and I started training hard.

When I left Miami, I went back to lockdown again in Atlanta for a month before I got on the bus to Montgomery. I felt like I was starting all over again but I was ready. Unfortunately, there are no weights here so I got creative with bodyweight exercises and developed a full-body routine that I was doing every day until I came to RDAP [Residential Drug Abuse Program]. At that point back in August, I started training one body part a day with a ton of volume. I am talking 30 sets or more and with supersets. Along the way, much of this has been a blur but a few moments really stick out. Cedric McMillan and Bostin Loyd, RIP. These were hard phone calls with my dad that broke my heart.

I did a lot of reflection on life outside of bodybuilding this year. I thought about my drug and diuretic use while I was competing and my desire to be the biggest and best. I was pretty conservative for the most part but also took some chances toward the end, and I wonder if those chances will catch up to me later. We are always quick to say, “The steroids did it” but we are also quick to say, “Well, he must have had a preexisting condition.” Regardless, guys are dying young and I feel there has to be more time spent getting blood work done, and working with doctors no matter what. I know guys who have died young that were the picture of health on the outside, but that doesn’t mean shit if you don’t know what’s going on inside. Then you have guys who just don’t care and want to be big at all costs and if that’s their decision, then so be it because it was their choice. I have had guys tell me they want to die young and jacked and not old and frail. Who am I to say what a person can and can’t do, when they are aware of the potential risk and ignoring it out of pure self-will? I would like to die old and mentally strong, but I want some muscle too.

The moment that sticks out as by far the best was when I finally got to see and touch Marissa for the first time after almost nine months. I have never felt that combination of nerves, anxiety and excitement at such a high level in my life. When we ran to each other in visitation and embraced with a kiss, it had to look straight out of a blockbuster Hollywood romance movie and I will never forget the way we cried together in pure jubilation with her saying, “Why is your heart beating like that?!” And me replying, “Because I am so excited to see you again.” I thank God every day for her love.

And speaking of her and her love, it’s kept me really motivated and strong. A lot of guys don’t have anyone on the outside, and that can be a struggle. I see it and live with it; guys who literally have no one. I am blessed, and I have so much gratitude for the people in my life. My dad has done awesome with Blackstone Labs™, and I never have to worry about anything with him and my partner, Jared Wheat. I am not a momma’s boy, but I sure do love the love my mom shows, day in and out.

What I am trying to say with all this is even though I have been locked up a year, it could be so much worse. I have learned to have more positive self-talks with myself and find the silver lining in everything. I have learned to trust God and his process for me, and I have learned to be present in the moment and not worry as much about things I can’t control. What I can control is myself and my actions, and I choose to get up before count every day and be first outside to train. It makes me feel great and accomplished.

I conduct myself with respect and integrity and when it comes to fitness and bodybuilding on the compound, there hasn’t been a day in a while that I haven’t been asked for help and taken the time to explain and help as much as I can because I know how positive bodybuilding and fitness can be for everyone, physically and spiritually. I have missed the bodybuilding shows but I have friends like Guy Cisternino, Billy Gagliardo and Nick Trigili, who email what is going on. I have Muscular Development magazine in my corner giving me a voice, but I also rely on the magazine to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry and get so excited when the mail comes, and my MD is there.

My training is going as good as it can be and I am a big but kind of chubby 275 pounds, but if you know me like my Blackstone Labs™ family does, then you would know that means next year’s BEAT PJ contest is going to be our biggest ever and NO ONE is going to beat me this time!

Thank you all for reading. If you have requests on what you want me to write about, submit them to the Blackstone Labs™ Instagram. I love you all, peace out, bye!

GJP 17 10 2010 PJ Braun05 copy 1 682x1024 1

Instagram @pjbraunfitness

Instagram @blackstone_labs

The post First Year in Prison: Review appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: First Year in Prison: Review
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Published Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2023 15:20:39 +0000

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Mens Health

The Case for Competing as You Age



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By Marc Lobliner


All of you reading this, from the 20-year-old single guy to the 50-year-old married guy, don’t lose that competitive edge. Do epic sh*t and stay young mentally and physically – COMPETE!

As you can see on “Ronline” and as many of you may know, yours truly competed in this year’s New York Pro. My prep for the Chicago Pro and Tampa Pro were cut short last year by skin cancer and a minor bout of rhabdo. As I look back, my cancer-removal surgery wasn’t recovered enough to compete in the Tampa Pro, so it was a blessing that I didn’t.

After the Tampa Pro drop, I told the world I would not compete again. I felt like a failure, like I wasn’t meant to stand onstage next to these amazing pros. I felt like God was sending me a message.

I misinterpreted what God was telling me.

The Bible is full of tests from God. As I thought it over, this was a test. I was blessed to earn an IFBB Pro Card and the thing about IFBB Pro Card is that they don’t mean a damn thing if you don’t use them. Cancer changed my entire outlook on life, and this was my second round with it. My mindset is different, and I cherish every moment I get to reside on this earth.

But still, with multiple businesses, three kids, a wife, and hundreds of kids I coach daily at Legacy at Carbon … what is the point?

Competing as you age is all about mindset. If you don’t use it, you lose it, and that savage beast that helped YOU build your career, buy a house and be a kick-ass father will soon shrink down to a kitten just getting by. Challenging yourself develops a mindset and makes you uncomfortable. Some simulate this “suck” by taking ice baths, fasting, or simply training hard.

I do all of this, and it’s not enough.

I need to go head-to-head with someone. I need to CHALLENGE greatness and win or lose, I want to fight. This is why I loved boxing – you have two big-ass men trying to beat the hell out of one another. This is primal and men need primal sh*t. Men have become weak in this modern, EASY day in age and in my opinion, part of it is because of the convenience society. We don’t even get out of our cars to get our b*tch-ass lattes from Starbucks, we use the drive-thru! To balance this out, we must fight, and we must compete!

And beyond this, I want my kids to know that if you set goals and work for them, you might not win, but you will kick ass. I want my kids to know that their father is a badass, a hard worker, and a COMPETITOR!

All this needs to have an asterisk that we MUST preserve our health. Bodybuilding is an enhanced sport, and all of this means nothing if you’re dead. Keep your goals in perspective, get your blood work done and LISTEN TO THE RESULTS AND ADJUST every 6-12 months or even more often and supplement wisely. I recommend Ambrosia Nektar, Nattokinase (4,000-8,000 FUs per day) to keep things in check – WE STRESS THE HELL OUT OF OUR BODIES! Heart health and organ health are numero uno! No use looking dry and hard if the reason is rigor mortis.

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Adult softball, basketball, pickleball … get off your ass and COMPETE! Here are some reasons why!

1. Health benefits: Participating in sports or fitness competitions can improve your overall health and well-being, regardless of your age. Exercise can help lower your risk of chronic diseases, increase your strength and flexibility, and improve your mental health. By having a constant competition or GOAL at the end of the rainbow, you will be exercising for a purpose and not just because of habit and obligation. Training in turn will be more fun, harder and with a purpose!

2. Personal growth: Competing can challenge you to push past your limits and achieve goals you may not have thought possible. It can also give you a sense of accomplishment and pride, which can boost your confidence and self-esteem. Mental health is everything and this will make you a better employee, better father and husband and better MAN!

3. Role model: By competing at an older age, you can serve as a role model for younger generations and inspire them to stay active and pursue their passions. This is the MAIN REASON that I compete, to set an example for my kids and the kids that I coach.

4. Experience: As an older competitor, you likely have more life and competition experience than younger competitors, which can give you an edge in terms of strategy and mental toughness. While they might have a couple of steps on you, you can compensate for this by outsmarting them.

5. Community: Participating in competitions can introduce you to new people and help you build a sense of community with others who share your interests and passions. All my friends are from work or bodybuilding, and the IFBB Pro community is one like no other.

All of you reading this, from the 20-year-old single guy to the 50-year-old married guy, don’t lose that competitive edge. Do epic sh*t and stay young mentally and physically – COMPETE!

Instagram @tigerfitness

Instagram @marclobliner

Twitter @MarcLobliner

YouTube: Tiger Fitness

The post The Case for Competing as You Age appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: The Case for Competing as You Age
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Published Date: Wed, 31 May 2023 12:38:16 +0000

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Mens Health




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The Panatta Power Smith Dual System Upper is an innovative machine made to perform thrust movements of the upper limbs, with independent load and along a particular convergent trajectory that amplifies the range of motion if compared to the traditional Smith Machine for an efficient work and ensuring total safety. The inclination adjustment of the backrest allows thrusting on different movement levels, switching the main focus from high pectorals to delts and trapezius. The height and depth adjustment of the seat and the wide range of the thrust units allow the correct use to users of all sizes and features, while the footrests give stability by enabling the person to have the correct lower back posture when performing the exercise and avoiding forward slippage of the pelvis. Safety is ensured by the hooks on the push carriages, which can be engaged and disengaged with a simple twist of the wrist, allowing them to easily position at different heights even if the set or repetition cannot be completed.

The Power Smith Dual System Upper creates different movements depending on inclination level of the backrest, going from a minimum of 40° to a maximum of 80° with steps of 5° for a total of nine different angles.

• LOWER POSITION (Bench Incline 40°):

Creates a thrust movement on an inclined bench, with a flexion/adduction of the shoulder and simultaneous extension of the elbow; the clavicular portion of the pectoralis major (high chest), the anterior portion of the deltoid and the triceps are mainly activated.

• UPPER POSITION (Bench Incline 80°):

Creates the overhead extension movement like the classic slow forward, with an abduction of the shoulder and simultaneous extension of the elbow involving the deltoid (mainly the anterior and lateral bundle), the upper trapezius and the triceps.

For all the other inclination angles, muscle activation will gradually shift from the high chest to the deltoids and trapezius as the bench inclination increases.


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By: Team FitRx
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Published Date: Wed, 31 May 2023 13:55:07 +0000

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Mens Health




495713365 hi tech cognisport 60ct bottle 768x1024 1

By Bryan Hildebrand

Senior Editor, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals

CogniSport® is a unique combination of botanical extracts and nutrients that support cognitive function, mental focus, and overall visual health. The ingredients in CogniSport® are well studied and have been found to provide tremendous benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time. In addition, CogniSport® can enhance mood and well-being as well as lower cortisol levels to reduce the effects of stress. There are also several ingredients found in CogniSport® not found in any other focus or electronic gaming product.

With the addition of Visual® 2020 to the formula, CogniSport® provides support for optimal visual performance by supporting the ability of the eyes to filter high-energy blue light – from laptops, cell phones, and other blue-light sources. Visual® 2020 also supports visual function under bright light conditions such as the basketball court, gym, football field and other outdoor pursuits.

The alkaloid profile in Thermo-Rx® is unmatched by any other Senegalia species due to its phenylethylamine content, as well as numerous other alkaloids and amines. Phenylethylamine is a sympathomimetic amine found in the leaves of Senegalia Berlandieri. Phenylethylamine also naturally occurs in chocolate, and is responsible for its effects on mood, appetite, and sense of well-being. Researchers believe that Phenylethylamine may be the cleanest stimulant ever studied. Its ability to stimulate the central nervous system without causing a nervous feeling or the “jitters” is remarkable. Phenylethylamine acts on alpha-receptors in the brain, as do norepinephrine and ephedrine. It is also believed by chemists and scientists in the industry to cause the release of dopamine in the pleasure-sensing areas of the brain.

While the idea of providing concentration may seem potentially foreign to bodybuilders and fitness athletes, nothing could be further from the truth. Winding down a day’s training and you still have a few exercises left. Plus, cardio. Plus, the drive home. Plus, dinner for the kids. The energy from pre-workout products have proven they can only take you so far. The clean, long-lasting focal energy found in CogniSport® provides a much longer source of energy and motivation to power even the hardest working athletes, moms and dads through the remainder of their day without that dreaded jitters and impending neurological crash associated with so many high-caffeine pre-workouts and weight-loss products that many use for energy in the gym.

The researched ingredients in CogniSport® have been found to provide huge benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time. The other side of this is the mood-enhancing properties it exhibits. Gamers, athletes, and students who have used it say it provides reductions in stress and an overall sense of well-being. There are also several ingredients found in CogniSport® not found in any other focus or electronic gaming product!

• Maintain a Mental Edge With High Demand, Rapid Sequencing

• Supports Mental Agility in Fast-Paced Sports

• Improve Reaction Times in Rapid Movement Environments

• Helps Reduce Stress in Physical Situations

The researched ingredients in CogniSport® have been found to provide huge benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time.

For more information, visit

495713365 hi tech cognisport 60ct bottle 768x1024 2

The post CogniSport® appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: CogniSport®
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Published Date: Wed, 24 May 2023 17:16:53 +0000

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