Connect with us



By Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD

The cause of obesity is clear. We are eating more calories than we are burning, according to both the CDC and the World Health Organization. Yet decades worth of public health messages and weight-loss programs based on cutting calories and increasing physical activity haven’t made a dent in the obesity epidemic. And this simple, yet obvious fact has many experts questioning the accuracy of this age-old energy balance equation. Is excessive calorie intake the real culprit? Or, does the obesity problem lie in what we are eating as opposed to how many calories we are consuming?

Chronic Carb Consumption

Some scientists and health professionals are targeting what we are eating, specifically carbohydrates, as the cause of the obesity epidemic, throwing them to the birds like day-old stale bread. Eat carbohydrates, especially syrupy sodas and sweet treats, and your blood sugar will rise, signaling your pancreas to release insulin, which will quickly lower blood sugar by increasing uptake of sugar (glucose) by muscle and fat. Insulin also decreases the breakdown of fat in fat tissue while increasing the transport of the sugar from your caramel latte into fat cells— initiating the production of fat for storage. According to the anti-carbohydrate crowd, chronic consumption of carbohydrates keeps insulin levels up and your body busy churning out fat tissue. And for people with insulin resistance, a condition that leads to even greater production of insulin because the body doesn’t use insulin effectively, consuming too many carbohydrates can make it very difficult to lose weight, thanks to an abundance of insulin in the bloodstream. So the solution seems very simple: cut out carbohydrates in favor of protein and fat and you’ll quickly drop weight. And if metabolism and endocrinology were that simple and we all loved a diet of steak, eggs and butter, life would be a whole lot slimmer. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Insulin and Fat Storage

Cutting carbohydrates makes a lot of sense when you consider the actions of insulin. However, the immediate action of insulin after a meal does not take into account what happens over the course of time. Let’s say you devour a cinnamon raisin bagel slathered with jam. Your blood sugar will shoot up and your pancreas will release insulin. If you aren’t in the midst of hardcore physical activity and therefore you don’t need the immediate 400-plus calories of energy you just ate, your body will store a large portion of these calories as fat. But, if later in the day you are in a calorie deficit, having burned more calories than you consumed, your body will burn stored fuel, from body fat, for energy. So, you’ll tap into your fat stores for fuel when your body hasn’t had enough calories to keep up with your daily needs. And therefore, just because insulin may shuttle sugar out of your bloodstream and into fat tissue in the short term, this hormone isn’t the sole determinant of how much fat you have on your body. To gain weight, you still have to overconsume calories or your body will use the carbohydrate you are eating (or the stored body fat) for energy.

Low-Calorie Weight Loss

Research backs up the importance of calories for weight loss while questioning the demonization of carbohydrates. In fact, several research studies using many different types of participants (from obese postmenopausal women to men) show that calorie-controlled diets including plenty of carbohydrates lead to weight loss if the participants follow them. Studies have also found participants can lose weight on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate ad libitum (eating when hungry without counting calories) diet. And, one study comparing the two approaches— a reduced calorie low-fat, higher carbohydrate diet and a reduced-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet— found both resulted in weight loss in overweight and obese adults over an eight-week period, with no significant differences in weight loss between the diet groups. So the clear winner seems to be total calories.

Yet this research combined with a closer look at calorie balance over time versus the immediate actions of insulin only still doesn’t explain the success of low-carbohydrate diets. Could there be more to them than meets the eye, especially if they control for total calorie intake while cutting down on carbohydrates?

Appetite-suppressing Protein

What do the Atkins, South Beach and the Paleo diets all have in common, aside from excluding certain types of carbohydrates and therefore decreasing total carbohydrate intake? First off, eliminating certain types of carbohydrates takes a lot of guesswork out of dieting. You won’t have to cut a perfect 200-calorie slice of cake or estimate how many cookies fit into your calorie budget because both are off limits on carbohydrate-controlled diets. Plus, if you don’t eat these foods in the first place, you won’t be tempted by second servings. But, more importantly, the majority of low-carbohydrate diets are also high in protein. And, protein has three primary benefits in the war against fat.

Protein is the most satiating of the three macronutrients— protein, carbohydrate and fat. During digestion, protein quickly triggers a cascade of events leading to appetite-suppressing signals sent to the brain so you feel full. In fact, protein seems to increase satiety in a dose-dependent manner, though scientists haven’t figured out the “magical dose” of protein necessary to maximally stimulate satiety. However, when you cut carbs, you’ll likely increase your protein intake (unless you are on a ketogenic diet). In addition to keeping you full, protein has a greater thermic effect of feeding— you will burn more calories digesting protein than carbohydrate or fat.

And finally, protein preserves metabolically active lean muscle mass during weight loss. When on a reduced-calorie weight-loss diet, you need more protein in your diet to preserve lean tissue. Low-carbohydrate diets automatically provide more protein, whereas traditional low-fat diets do not. And, muscle is important for weight control because it burns more calories than fat tissue, even when you are sitting at your desk typing away at your computer. Skeletal muscle also helps regulate blood sugar levels.

What Makes Us Fat

Carbs Versus Calories Experiments

Low-carbohydrate diets work, especially for those who are insulin resistant. And, these diets may also facilitate greater weight loss in obese individuals. However, the focus on carbohydrates may be less important than ramping up protein intake. So which method should you choose? The debate about carbohydrates and calories has led to divergent scientific opinions and therefore, very different approaches recommended for weight loss. And because several questions still need to be answered, researchers from the Nutrition Science Initiative will delve into the fine details about calories and carbohydrates through a carefully designed a set of well-controlled experiments. First the scientists will feed overweight and obese adults a typical American diet, controlling for every calorie consumed, while determining their exact calorie needs to maintain weight. After this part of the study, they will dramatically decrease the carbohydrate content of their diet to as close to zero as possible by including only the carbohydrates naturally occurring in meat, poultry, chicken, eggs, cheese, fats and green vegetables. The aim: suppress insulin levels as much as possible while feeding the participants the total calories they need to maintain weight.

During both parts of the study, protein intake will be kept constant to account for the thermic effect of feeding. If their weight stays the same, then calories are the primary factor determining weight loss. If they lose weight, then carbohydrate-mediated increases in insulin play a crucial role in weight loss in overweight and obese adults.

Like any rigorous scientific study, this will take some time— years, in fact, to set up the studies, recruit participants, perform the studies, evaluate the results and publish the findings. And, as any scientist starts digging for answers, sometimes more questions emerge. But at some point, we’ll have a clearer winner in the calories versus carbohydrate debate. And once this debate is settled, we’ll have to test approaches to executing the diet in real life— a daunting task, especially if the high-fat, moderate protein, low-carbohydrate diet comes out on top.

Choosing a Diet

Until these studies are carried out, it’s important to rely on what we know right now. And, the weight loss research to date has shown there are multiple dietary approaches that work. Diets should be individualized, taking into account lifestyle habits, medical history (including diabetes, insulin resistance, other diseases and medical concerns), diet history and food preferences. As the debate about macronutrient content is going on, keep in mind that the most important factor that will determine weight loss and improved health outcomes on any diet is adherence. So, choose the diet plan that you can stick with until the weight comes off.

Fleming RM. The effect of high-, moderate-, and low-fat diets on weight loss and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Prev Cardiol 2002;5(3):110-8.
Mueller-Cunningham WM, Quintana R, Kasim-Karakas SE. An ad libitum, very low-fat diet results in weight loss and changes in nutrient intakes in postmenopausal women. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103(12):1600-6.
McManus K, Antinoro L, Sacks F. A randomized controlled trial of a moderate-fat, low-energy diet compared with a low fat, low-energy diet for weight loss in overweight adults. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001;25(10):1503-11.
Bradley U, Spence M, Courtney CH et al. Low-fat versus low-carbohydrate weight reduction diets. Diabetes 2009;58:2741-2748.
Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87(5):1558S-1561S.
Duraffourd C, De Vadder F, Goncalves D et al. Mu-Opioid receptors and dietary protein stimulate a gut-brain neural circuitry limiting food intake. Cell 2012;150:377-388.
Belza A, Ritz C, Sørensen MQ et al. Contribution of gastroenteropancreatic appetite hormones to protein-induced satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 2013;97:980-989.
Swaminathan R, King RF, Holmfield J et al. Thermic effect of feeding carbohydrate, fat, protein and mixed meal in lean and obese subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 1985;42:177-181.
Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD et al. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:1558S-1561S.
Wolfe RR. The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2006 84:475-482.
Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y, Shahar DR, Witkow S, Greenberg I, Golan R, Fraser D, Bolotin A, Vardi H, Tangi-Rozental O, Zuk-Ramot R, Sarusi B, Brickner D, Schwartz Z, Sheiner E, Marko R, Katorza E, Thiery J, Fiedler GM, Blüher M, Stumvoll M, Stampfer MJ; Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT) Group. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med 2008;359(3):229-41.
Pagoto SL, Appelhans BM. A call for an end to the diet debates. JAMA 2013;310:687-688.

The post What Makes Us Fat appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

Read More


By: Team FitRx
Title: What Makes Us Fat
Sourced From:
Published Date: Fri, 07 May 2021 14:05:32 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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.

The post Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

Read More


By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…

Continue Reading





Continue Reading


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
compromises, you need a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush
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
ingredients that could be worthy of the Animal name. First on the agenda was giving you a better
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†.

• Electrolyte Complex to support muscle hydration and help get you through those intense
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.

The post PRIMAL Preworkout appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

Read More


By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
Sourced From:
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…

Continue Reading