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Research on the Mediterranean diet indicates that it’s the best long-term fat loss diet for women. The diet’s appetite-suppressing and metabolism-boosting properties have induced weight loss in overweight individuals, but the diet also comes with many unrealized health benefits— the Mediterranean people have a relatively low rate of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other misfortunes that plague other countries. This has led many to conclude that the traditional Mediterranean diet is the answer to the question, “What is the best diet for weight loss?”.

So what makes the Mediterranean diet so effective? Fish, olive oil and red wine, in addition to being delicious, provide essential fatty acids and protein with little burden of excess calories. The U.S. diet, in contrast, contains relatively little omega-3 fatty acids, marine-based protein or essential fats. Read on to learn why the Mediterranean diet is the best fat-loss diet for women, and then get started with our sample meal plan.

Olive Oil and Nuts For a Lean, Tight Midsection

Olive oil and certain nuts are rich sources of the conditionally essential fatty acid called oleic acid, and other bioactive compounds. In addition to its nutritional value, oleic acid is also a precursor for a number of hormone-like biochemicals that reduce inflammation and promote cardiovascular health.

Research has established the pivotal role of an oleic acid-based hormone in controlling food intake by initiating and prolonging satiety. Oleylethanolamine (OEA) is a “gut hormone” produced in the cells lining the small intestines. When a fat-containing meal is consumed, the process of creating OEA from oleic acid is initiated. Interestingly, OEA has been shown in rat studies to dramatically decrease appetite, primarily by causing a person to be satisfied with smaller meals for a longer period. As opposed to recent weight-loss drugs being developed, OEA actually improves signs of depression, as opposed to causing depression or suicidal thoughts— a problem that has halted development of the promising cannabinoid receptor antagonists drugs, such as rimonabant. OEA’s effects take place both in the brain at the hunger/satiety centers and in the gut, as it has been shown to delay gastric emptying (the passage of food from the stomach to intestines).

Though nuts are another rich source of essential fatty acids, they are also an energy dense food, due to their high fat content. Though this sounds like a negative that would make one prone to weight gain if she ate a considerable number of nuts, it is actually the opposite effect that is seen in nutrition studies. When nuts are provided to individuals, they do not gain weight and occasionally lose weight despite the increased fat consumption.

In a review looking at nut consumption, published in The Journal of Nutrition, it was revealed that nuts do not give up their calories easily. Most food products are processed so that the calories and nutrients are easily released when consumed. Blended protein shakes, power bars and refined carbohydrates cause a quick surge in sugar and amino acids to the body. Nuts are much more resistant to digestion, allowing a person to chew and swallow the nuts without the burden of all the calories. The slow digestion and bulk of nuts also provide a greater satiety in meals, allowing one to avoid hunger binges or between-meal snacking. Additionally, the inclusion of nuts tends to decrease the glycemic load of a diet.

Another property of long-term nut consumption supporting weight (and hopefully fat) loss is an increase in resting energy expenditure (REE). This means that people who eat a lot of nuts tend to have a more revved-up metabolism. An increased REE causes the body to burn more calories throughout the day, even when lounging on the couch.

It’s important to remember that focusing solely upon developing a ripped set of abs requires two things: training the abs to tone and develop the ab muscles, as well as eating appropriately to reduce body fat to single-digit body fat percentages.

Don’t Pig Out

Even with the Mediterranean diet, avoiding large meals is essential, as overeating is the foundation to fat gain. To develop toned abs, one needs to get in the habit of eating smaller meals. Obviously, this will result in more frequent meals to meet the daily calorie needs, but this will aid in avoiding overeating. Consuming moderate amounts of fat, including a significant portion rich in oleic acid and fish oils, will improve health and possibly reduce appetite. The bulk provided by whole grains and produce will aid in meal satiety, without increasing the glycemic load of the meals.

Points to Consider

One downside of the Mediterranean diet is the relatively low protein content. This would lead many active women to feel disappointment, as muscle tone decreases and strength/performance is lessened without adequate protein. Further, the addition of higher protein reduces the glycemic load and increases the satiety factor of a meal.
Another possible consideration for women is that the Mediterranean diet is relatively low in saturated fat and the omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is a precursor to many hormone-like molecules that are involved in cell signaling, inflammation, catabolic and anabolic processes.

Sample Diet

Targeting for a daily calorie intake of 10 calories X bodyweight in pounds (adjust portion sizes appropriately); 1 gram protein per pound bodyweight.

Meal 1: Omelet with egg yolks, black olives and diced tomato; low-fat milk; orange
Meal 2: Steel-cut oats mixed with yogurt, berries, whey protein; fish oil capsules (4 grams)
Meal 3: High protein shake with creatine (pre-workout)
Meal 4: High protein shake blended with banana (post-workout)
Meal 5: Non-sweetened yogurt with crushed pineapple; almond/walnut/cranberry mix
Meal 6: Salmon; whole-grain bread with olive oil and herb platter; steamed broccoli

Sofi F, Cesari F, et al. Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: meta-analysis. BMJ, 2008 Sep 11;337:a1344-51.
Manios Y, Detopoulou V, et al. Mediterranean diet as a nutrition education and dietary guide: misconceptions and the neglected role of locally consumed foods and wild green plants. Forum Nutr, 2006;59:154-70.
Ortega RM. Importance of functional foods in the Mediterranean diet. Public Health Nutr, 2006 Dec;9(8A):1136-40.
Zelman K. The Flat Belly Diet. WebMD. Available at, accessed October 20, 2008.
Noakes M. The role of protein in weight management. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2008;17 Suppl 1:169-71.
Forsythe CE, Phinney SD, et al. Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating fatty acid composition and markers of inflammation. Lipids, 2008 Jan;43(1):65-77.
Llewellyn W. Arachidonic acid. Anabolics 2005. Body of Science Publications, Jupiter, FL;2005:221-2.
Perez-Jimenez F, Ruano J, et al. The influence of olive oil on human health: not a question of fat alone. Mol Nutr Food Res, 2007 Oct;51(10):1199-208.
Perez-Jimenez F, Alvarez de Cienfuegos G, et al. International conference on the healthy effect of virgin olive oil. Eur J Clin Invest, 2005 Jul;35(7):421-4.
Rodriguez de Fonseca F, Navarro M, et al. An anorexic lipid mediator regulated by feeding. Nature, 2001 Nov 8;414(6860):209-12.
Y, Chen M, et al. Mechanism of oleoylethanolamide on fatty acid uptake in small intestine after food intake and body weight reduction. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 2007 Jan;292(1):R235-41.
Schwartz GJ, Fu J, et al. The lipid messenger OEA links dietary fat intake to satiety. Cell Metab, 2008 Oct;8(4):281-8.
Fu J, Astarita G, et al. Food intake regulates oleoylethanolamide formation and degradation in the proximal small intestine. J Biol Chem, 2007 Jan 12;282(2):1518-28.
Matias I, Gonthier MP, et al. Role and regulation of acylethanolamides in energy balance: focus on adipocytes and beta-cells. Br J Pharmacol, 2007 Nov;152(5):676-90.
Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, et al. Administration of a dietary supplement (N-oleyl-phosphatidylethanolamine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate formula) enhances compliance with diet in healthy overweight subjects: a randomized controlled trial. Br J Nutr, 2008 Jul 1:1-8.
Aviello G, Matias I, et al. Inhibitory effect of the anorexic compound oleoylethanolamide on gastric emptying in control and overweight mice. J Mol Med, 2008 Apr;86(4):413-22.
Mattes RD. The energetics of nut consumption. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2008;17 Suppl 1:337-9.
King JC, Blumberg J, et al. Tree nuts and peanuts as components of a healthy diet. J Nutr, 2008;138;1736S-40S.
Sabate J. Nut consumption and body weight. Am J Clin Nutr, 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):647S-650S.
Mattes RD, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. J Nutr, 2008;138:1741S-5S.
Jenkins DA, Hu FB, et al. Possible benefit of nuts in type 2 diabetes. J Nutr, 2008;138:1752S-6S.
Buckland G, Bach A, et al. Obesity and the Mediterranean diet: A systematic review of observational and intervention studies. Obes Rev, 2008 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print] Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, et al. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med, 2008 Jul 17;359(3):229-41.
Speechly DP, Buffenstien R. Greater appetite control associated with an increased frequency of eating in lean males. Appetite, 1999 Dec;33(3):285-97.

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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs



Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.

Active Muscles in Leg Extensions

The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1

Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.

The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.

The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.

Leg Extensions

The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.

1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.

2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.

3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).

4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.

5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.

6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.

7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.

8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.

The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6

Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.

This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.

GettyImages 674163248 600


1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.

2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.

3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.

4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.

5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.

6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.

7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.

8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.

9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
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PRIMAL Preworkout



Training hard and intensely is the only way to train – you can’t step into the gym in low gear or
asleep at the switch and expect results. To get the most out of every training session with no
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it every time you train. Bottom line, you need to maximize your workouts by pushing yourself to
your limits and that’s what Animal’s PRIMAL Preworkout delivers.

A Better Pump

PRIMAL is Animal’s most comprehensive pre-workout supplement ever, and is scientifically
designed for the advanced, hard trainer. Animal worked tirelessly to find the right combination of
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pump, which is why PRIMAL Preworkout is empowered with the breakthrough, patented
3DPump-Breakthrough ® . Not only does it increase nitric oxide for the valued “pump,” but it also
helps increase exercise capacity and endurance and helps optimize vascular endothelial function,
aka vascularity.†

Other key benefits of PRIMAL come from four scientifically formulated blends that work in tandem
to deliver the ultimate pre-workout:

• Endurance & Performance Complex so you can train longer and harder. Beta-alanine,
betaine and taurine are combined as a powerful endurance trio†. Beta-alanine is a vital ingredient
used to combat the urge to quit.

• Focus & Intensity Complex helps you keep your head in the iron game so you train hard and
maintain focus. Includes the amino acid tyrosine, which is involved in neurotransmitter production;
Huperzine A for brain health; and choline bitartrate, which supports energy metabolism and helps
the brain send messages for improved mental endurance and focus†.

This blend is completed with the patented Teacrine ® . Among its many benefits includes increases
in energy without the jittery feeling, increases in motivation to accomplish tasks, mental energy
and decreases in feeling of fatigue†.

• Quick and Sustained Energy Complex is the energy core of PRIMAL Preworkout . It is
powered by a combination of tried-and-true caffeine, along with an herbal complex of green tea,
coffee bean extract and guarana†.

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training sessions – because proper hydration is key for maximal performance. PRIMAL
Preworkout tops it off with a combination of AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake and Senactiv,
which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is responsible for
producing more ATP†.

How to Use PRIMAL
30 minutes prior to training, consume 2 rounded scoops (20.3g) with 8-12 oz of water or your
favorite beverage. Users that are sensitive to stimulants should start off with 1 rounded scoop
(10.1g) to assess tolerance.

PRIMAL Preworkout

• Enhances energy and endurance†
• Supports muscle hydration†
• Supports intense focus†
• Contains AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake†
• Contains Senactiv ® which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is
responsible for producing more ATP†
• Absorption and nutrient enhancers
• Great tasting, easy to mix

PRIMAL is a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush it every time you train.

For additional information, visit
†These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
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