Monday, March 23, 2009

Combating Depression With Austin Personal Training

Newly-identified exercise gene could help with depression

Boosting an exercise-related gene in the brain works as a powerful anti-depressant in mice—a finding that could lead to a new anti-depressant drug target, according to a Yale School of Medicine report in Nature Medicine.

“The VGF exercise-related gene and target for drug development could be even better than chemical antidepressants because it is already present in the brain,” said Ronald Duman, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study.
Depression affects 16 percent of the population in the United States, at a related cost of $83 billion each year. Currently available anti-depressants help 65 percent of patients and require weeks to months before the patients experience relief.
Duman said it is known that exercise improves brain function and mental health, and provides protective benefits in the event of a brain injury or disease, but how this all happens in the brain is not well understood. He said the fact that existing medications take so long to work indicates that some neuronal adaptation or plasticity is needed.
He and his colleagues designed a custom microarray that was optimized to show small changes in gene expression, particularly in the brain’s hippocampus, a limbic structure highly sensitive to stress hormones, depression, and anti-depressants.
They then compared the brain activity of sedentary mice to those who were given running wheels. The researchers observed that the mice with wheels within one week were running more than six miles each night. Four independent array analyses of the mice turned up 33 hippocampal exercise-regulated genes—27 of which had never been identified before.
The action of one gene in particular—VGF—was greatly enhanced by exercise. Moreover, administering VGF functioned like a powerful anti-depressant, while blocking VGF inhibited the effects of exercise and induced depressive-like behavior in the mice.
“Identification of VGF provides a mechanism by which exercise produces antidepressant effects,” Duman said. “This information further supports the benefits of exercise and provides a novel target for the development of new antidepressants with a completely different mechanism of action than existing medications.”

Source : Yale University

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How personal trainers in Austin calculate metabolism

Tim Richardson

What are basal and resting metabolic rates (RMR)?

These two terms are used interchangeably, although they are not technically the same. Resting metabolic rate is really what most lay people in Austin mean when they say basal metabolic rate, and I talk here only about resting metabolic rate (RMR). Basal metabolic rate is a precise calculation with a precise definition; RMR is close enough for practical purposes. Resting metabolic rate is the energy required by an animal to stay alive with no activity. Therefore, your real metabolic rate is always significantly higher than your RMR. Calculating RMR is a very useful first step in calculating your real metabolic rate.

Your metabolic rate = your resting metabolic rate (easy to calculate reasonably accurately) + energy consumed by your daily activities (must guestimate).

What determines Resting Metabolic Rate?

A very small number of people have physical conditions that give them strange resting metabolic rates. However, for the vast majority of people in Austin, resting metabolic rate can be calculated knowing a few key variables. They are age, sex, weight, height and fat-free body mass. Fat-free mass is a very important variable. Weight and height are used in one formula to determine body surface area.

When does the body change Resting Metabolic Rate? Does cutting your food intake reduce resting metabolic rate?

The body CAN NOT change resting metabolic rate per unit of fat-free body mass. Studies have shown this. For an article that is on-line in full text by a well-known researchers in the field, see Genetic Influences on the Response of Body Fat and Fat Distribution to Positive and Negative Energy Balances in Human Identical Twins, Claude Bouchard and Angelo Tremblay
Your resting metabolic rate will decrease if you lose muscle, and increase if you gain muscle. Losing fat alone will not lower your RMR (and note that you will need to follow a very sensible program probably including weight training to lose fat without losing muscle). You have probably heard that people who go on crash diets end up lowering their metabolic rate, which means when they go off the diet, they put on fat more easily than before they started. Because they have lost muscle, they have lowered their metabolic rate. However, the amount of energy burnt per unit of fat-free weight does not change; poor dieters end up with fewer units of fat-free weight, and that's where their vicious cycle comes from.

Are some people's digestive systems more efficient than others?

No (except perhaps some people with disorders). And your system does not become more or less efficient in response to changing food intake. See the above study. Even obese people rarely have more efficient bodies. Researchers inspect the energy value of faeces to determine this.

Given the same values for the variables, how much does resting metabolic rate vary between people?

In other words, what is the error in the formulas used to calculate RMR? The latest research indicates there is a low variance in RESTING metabolic rate between individuals who have the same values for the key variables. That is, given someone's age, their fat free mass, their height and their sex, the formulas are accurate.
"Recent evidence thus supports the conclusion that within-subject variations in BMR [more or less the same as RMR] are small and insignificant, even when energy intake and physical activity are uncontrolled, (Shetty & Soares, 1988). This effectively refutes the Sukhatme-Margen hypothesis." (See link at the end of this page).

Formulas for calculating metabolic rate

Apart from the formulas here, you can also use what is the best calculator on the web (that I've seen): Follow the link to the Healthy Body Calculator.You don't need to fill in all the information to get your metabolic rate. This is your total estimated daily metabolic rate, not your resting metabolic rate.

Formulas from "Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription", (4th ed) , Dr V. H. Heyward. pub Human Kinetics and available at Amazon (I own the third edition).
Their formulas only calculate Resting Metabolic Rate! There is a second step after this: calculating your energy use due to your daily activities.

Output is in kcal (1000 calories; nutritional information is nearly always given in kcal even when it says calories. It is often also shown in joules or kilojoules, which is different).

Harris-Benedict equations
BW = body weight in kilograms, HT = height in cm, Age in years
Men: RMR = 66.473 + 13.751*BW + 5.0033*HT - 6.755*Age
Women: RMR = 655.0955 + 9.463*BW + 1.8496*HT - 4.6756*Age

Fat Free Mass formula
This is the same for men and women.
RMR = 1.3 * FFM * 24
FFM is your body weight - your body fat in kg. You need to know your body fat percentage to work this out. If you weight 100kg and your body fat percentage is 10%, then your fat free mass is 100 - 100*10% = 90%. 10% is for a man pretty normal. If you are fat, then you should work with a number between 15% and 25% (better yet, measure it, don't guess).

Quick estimate formula
Men: BW (in kg) * 24.2
Women: BW (in kg) * 22.0

Note that only one formula uses fat free mass, even though this is a key determinant (so the other formulas are tuned. Calculate your RMR with all three methods, and take an average, unless you are obese. Then you should pay more attention to the Fat Free Mass equation. Work out a plus and minus amount using the three formulas. If the first method tells you 1720 kcal, the second 1750 kcal and the third 1760 kcal, then you would say that your RMR is about 1743 +- 20

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"But, Jake, I Don't Want to Bulk Up" Why women in Austin Won't Get Huge By Training With Heavy Resistance

Top 10 Reasons Heavy Weights Don’t Bulk Up the Female Athlete

By Tim Kontos, David Adamson, and Sarah Walls

David Adamson and I were driving to the IPA Nationals this past weekend talking training (yeah we’re pretty passionate about what we do) when the subject of training women with heavy weights came up. I’m in my ninth year at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) as the head strength and conditioning coach, and David has been in strength and conditioning for three years. This is a subject we deal with every year regardless of how much training information is available to the public.

The best way to get information is to go to the source. So we asked Sarah Walls, another strength and conditioning coach at VCU. Sarah is also a writer for Muscle and Fitness Hers, a former figure competitor, and a women’s tri-fitness competitor—not to mention a strong female athlete who isn’t bulked up. Therefore, she has a great perspective on the subject.

We, being a good team, put our heads together to find a way to combat this never-ending dilemma. Our way of doing that is through education. And, only one answer to a question is never enough. If you know your job well, then you know that there is more than one way to skin a cat. So we came up with the following list:

  1. Women do not have nearly as much testosterone as men. In fact, according to Bill Kreamer in Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, women have about 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men. Testosterone is the reason men are men and women are women. After men hit puberty, they grow facial hair, their voice deepens, and they develop muscle mass. Because men have more testosterone, they are much more equipped to gain muscle. Because women do not have very much testosterone in their bodies, they will never be able to get as big as men.
  1. The perception that women will bulk up when they begin a strength training program comes from the chemically-altered women on the covers of bodybuilding magazines. These “grocery stand models” are most likely pumped full of some extra juice. This is why they look like men. If you take the missing link that separates men from women and add it back in, what do you have? A man!
  1. For women, toning is what happens when the muscle is developed through training. This is essentially bodybuilding without testosterone. Since the testosterone is not present in sufficient amounts, the muscle will develop, but it won’t gain a large amount of mass. The “toned” appearance comes from removing the fat that is covering a well-developed muscle.
  1. Muscle bulk comes from a high volume of work. The repetition range that most women would prefer to do (8–20 reps) promotes hypertrophy (muscle growth). For example, a bodybuilding program will have three exercises per body part. For the chest, they will do flat bench for three sets of 12, incline for three sets of 12, and decline bench for three sets of 12. This adds up to 108 total repetitions. A program geared towards strength will have one exercise for the chest—flat bench for six sets of three with progressively heavier weight. This equals 18 total repetitions. High volume (108 reps) causes considerable muscle damage, which in turn, results in hypertrophy. The considerably lower volume (18 reps) will build more strength and cause minimal bulking.
  1. Heavy weights will promote strength not size. This has been proven time and time again. When lifting weights over 85 percent, the primary stress imposed upon the body is placed on the nervous system, not on the muscles. Therefore, strength will improve by a neurological effect while not increasing the size of the muscles.

And, according to Zatsiorsky and Kreamer in Science and Practice of Strength Training, women need to train with heavy weights not only to strengthen the muscles but also to cause positive adaptations in the bones and connective tissues.

6. Bulking up is not an overnight process. Many women think they will start lifting weights, wake up one morning, and say “Holy sh__! I’m huge!” This doesn’t happen. The men that you see who have more muscle than the average person have worked hard for a long time (years) to get that way. If you bulk up overnight, contact us because we want to do what you’re doing.

7. What the personal trainer is prescribing is not working. Many female athletes come into a new program and say they want to do body weight step-ups, body weight lunges, and leg extensions because it’s what their personal trainer back home had them do. However, many of these girls need to look in a mirror and have a reality check because their trainer’s so-called magical toning exercises are not working. Trainers will hand out easy workouts and tell people they work because they know that if they make the program too hard the client will complain. And, if the client is complaining, there’s a good chance the trainer might lose that client (a client to a trainer equals money).

8. Bulking up is calorie dependant. This means if you eat more than you are burning, you will gain weight. If you eat less than you are burning, you will lose weight. Unfortunately, most female athletes perceive any weight gain as “bulking up” and do not give attention to the fact that they are simply getting fatter. As Todd Hamer, a strength and conditioning coach at George Mason University said, “Squats don’t bulk you up. It’s the ten beers a night that bulk you up.” This cannot be emphasized enough.

If you’re a female athlete and training with heavy weights (or not), you need to watch what you eat. Let’s be real—the main concern that female athletes have when coming to their coach about gaining weight is not their performance but aesthetics. If you choose to ignore this fact as a coach, you will lose your athletes!

9. The freshman 15 is not caused by strength training. It is physiologically impossible to gain 15 lbs of muscle in only a few weeks unless you are on performance enhancing drugs. Yes the freshman 15 can come on in only a few weeks. This becomes more complex when an athlete comes to a new school, starts a new training program, and also has a considerable change in her diet (i.e. only eating one or two times per day in addition to adding 6–8 beers per evening for 2–4 evenings per week). They gain fat weight, get slower, and then blame the strength program. Of course, strength training being the underlying cause is the only reasonable answer for weight gain. The fact that two meals per day has slowed the athlete’s metabolism down to almost zero and then the multiple beers added on top of that couldn’t have anything to do with weight must be the lifting.

10. Most of the so-called experts are only experts on how to sound like they know what they are talking about. The people who “educate” female athletes on training and nutrition have no idea what they’re talking about. Let’s face it—how many people do you know who claim to “know a thing or two about lifting and nutrition?” Now, how many people do you know who actually know what they’re talking about, have lived the life, dieted down to make a weight class requirement, or got on stage at single digit body fat? Invariably, these so-called experts are also the people who blame their gut on poor genetics.

These so-called experts are the reason you see so many women doing sets of 10 with a weight they could do 20 or 30 times. They are being told by the experts that this is what it takes to “tone” the muscles. Instead, they are only wasting their time doing an exercise with a weight that is making no contribution to the fitness levels or the development of the muscle.

In case you haven’t figured it out by this point in the article, what is currently being done in fitness clubs to help female athletes tone their bodies is not working. It’s not helping these women get toned, and it is definitely not helping improve athletic performance. Maybe it’s time for a change. Contrary to the ineffective light weights currently being used, heavy weights offer many benefits for women including improved body composition, stronger muscles, decreased injury rate, and stronger bones (which helps prevent osteoporosis). Let’s try lifting some heavy weights and controlling our diet and watch this logical, science-based solution make the difference we’ve been looking for.

Tim Kontos is in his ninth year as the strength and conditioning coach for Virginia Commonwealth University athletes. A certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Kontos designs, implements, and supervises all strength, speed, and agility programs for all the VCU athletic programs.

David Adamson is in his second year as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for VCU. He is directly responsible for program design and implementation for men’s and women’s track and field, women’s cross country, and field hockey. Prior to coming to VCU, David worked at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Arizona State University, and Winona State University. In 2003, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and in 2006, he received his masters in sport leadership from VCU.

Sarah Walls is in her first year with the Rams’ strength and conditioning staff as a graduate assistant working with men’s and women’s soccer, golf, and men’s cross-country. Graduating magna cum laude, she earned a bachelor’s of science degree from Virginia Tech in 2003. Since graduation, she has spent time working at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in the strength department. While there, Sarah worked with women’s tennis, men’s tennis, men’s volleyball, and men’s soccer. At the same time, she also worked for LifeTime Fitness and helped manage and develop innovative training programs. In addition, she is a contributing writer for the magazine, Muscle and Fitness HERS.

Elite Fitness Systems strives to be a recognized leader in the strength training industry by providing the highest quality strength training products and services while providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. For the best training equipment, information, and accessories, visit us at

Copyright© 2006 Elite Fitness Systems. All rights reserved.
You may reproduce this article by including this copyright
and, if reproducing it electronically, including a link to

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Austin Hypertrophy Training for Austin Personal Trainers

The Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy ProgramBreak the "Rules" and Gain Real Muscle!

by Chad Waterbury

Anti-Establishment Hypertrophy

I can't read most hypertrophy training articles because of health reasons — they make me sick. Never has there been a topic with more misinformation than muscle-building methods.
At least some strength-training articles seem to have a shred of scientific basis, but with bodybuilding articles, all common sense and science seems to go to the wayside. That's probably because more is understood about the nervous system than muscle soreness, or maybe it's because most of the writers who are only concerned about hypertrophy training are imbeciles who can't even build muscle on themselves. You be the judge. After a recent seminar, a famous strength trainer told me I should market myself as the guy who could revolutionize bodybuilding. There's only one small problem with that — I don't like bodybuilding. Yep, you heard me right, never have liked it, probably never will. I see most competitive bodybuilders as overly tanned, overly shaved, waddling pieces of uneducated flesh and I have no interest in that market.

Yes, that's harsh, but recently something has slightly changed my views on bodybuilding: I started contributing to Testosterone and I realized there are some pretty damn cool and intelligent people out there who like bodybuilding in Austin. I'm not talking about "shaved gorillas posing in thongs" bodybuilding, but the good old hypertrophy-inducing strength-training from the days of the past. So, for all of you out there in Austin who love bodybuilding for what it used to be, I've written this article.

Old-time Austin strongmen were the only people who truly revolutionized bodybuilding. Unfortunately, their methods have been largely forgotten. In exchange for infrequent, machine-laden, ineffective bodybuilding methods, many great principles have been lost.
Let me tell you a little secret — hypertrophy training and strength training in Austin don't have to be two separate entities. I've never designed a program that was based solely on "hypertrophy" training, but my clients have gained a ton of muscle over the years (if that was the goal). Let me repeat a statement from one of my previous articles: muscle growth is mainly controlled through caloric intake. Assuming all is normal with a trainee's physiology, even the best hypertrophy program won't build appreciable amounts of muscle if there are insufficient calories. Got it?

So allow me to uncover some real hypertrophy methods so you can apply them to your current program in exchange for more functional muscle. Bodybuilders beware: I'm about to barbecue a few of your sacred cows!

Five Hypertrophy Training Principles You Must Understand

1) Train More Often
First and foremost, you must drop the notion that a muscle group can only be trained once a week. Strongmen from the past didn't train that way and you shouldn't either. The more frequent the growth-stimulating sessions you can have, the better.

2) Forget about Time Under Tension
One of the things that really makes me nauseous is the assumption that hypertrophy-inducing sets must last from 40 to 70 seconds (or is it 20 to 90 seconds, or 43.5 to 68.7 seconds?) So that must mean the classic 5 x 5 method doesn't build any muscle since those sets don't last at least 40 seconds. Or maybe I'm just a dumb hillbilly and everyone who uses the 5 x 5 method is actually using a tempo where each rep takes eight seconds? (I don't think so!)

3) There's a Daily Limit to Muscle Stimulation
I can't believe I'm actually going to do this, but I must quote a bodybuilding catch-phrase from the 1980's: stimulate, don't annihilate! There's an absolute limit to the amount of hypertrophy-inducing stimuli you can apply on any given day. That's why those "one day cures" are a huge, stinkin' pile of B.S. I feel sorry for those who actually wasted an entire day attempting such a program.

4) Don't Train to Failure
You must keep the nervous system from becoming overly fatigued if you want to train frequently. Therefore, leave the grunting and screaming to the frat boys in Austin who have 13" guns and spend their entire day doing concentration curls and wasting Daddy's money.

5) Train Through Soreness
Initially, you'll probably have constant soreness on this program. That's okay! The soreness will subside once recovery increases and proper adaptation has taken place. Soreness is your body's way of saying, "I need more carbs and protein." So feed your muscles constantly!

The Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy Program
After reading through these principles, you probably understand why I refer to this as an anti-establishment program. I think I broke every so-called "hypertrophy" rule in the book! But you know what? This program rapidly builds muscle and it's very similar to the principles the old-time strongmen used to follow.

Now, let's get to the program that's going to build some serious muscle and increase strength levels! (Keep in mind you can pick your own exercises. Those listed are just examples.)

Day 1
Sets per Muscle Group: Chest 10, Back 10
Movement Plane: Horizontal
Examples: Flat Barbell Bench, Barbell Rows, Seated Cable Row (both back movements using a pronated grip with the width the exact same as bench press)
Reps: 3
Load: 80% of 1RM
Rest: 60 seconds between supersets (i.e. train chest, rest 60 secs, train back, rest 60 secs, train chest, rest 60 seconds, etc)

Day 2: OFF

Day 3
Sets per Muscle Group: Thighs 5, Abs 5, Calves 5.
Examples: Barbell Front Squat, Hanging Pike, Standing Calf Raise
Reps: 10
Load: 60% of 1RM
Rest: 60 seconds between giant sets (i.e. train thighs, rest 60 secs, train abs, rest 60 secs, train calves, rest 60 secs, train thighs, rest 60 secs, etc.)
Day 4: OFF

Day 5
Sets per Muscle Group: Chest 5, Back 5
Movement Plane: Vertical
Examples: Dips, Chin-ups
Reps: 10
Load: 60% of 1RM
Rest: 60 seconds between supersets

Day 6: OFF

Day 7
Sets per Muscle Group: Thighs 10, Abs 10, Calves 10
Examples: Deadlift, Decline Sit-ups, Seated Calf Raise (Note that this uses different exercises from Day 3.)
Reps: 3
Load: 80% of 1RM
Rest: 60 seconds between giant sets

Day 8: OFF

Days 9 & 17*
Same as Day 1 except with 4 & 5 reps per set, respectively (in other words, you'll just do 4repsfor each body part on Day 9 and 5 reps for each body part on Day 17).

Days 11 & 19
Same as Day 3 except with 65% & 70% of 1RM, respectively

Days 13 & 21
Same as Day 5 except with 65% & 70%, respectively

Days 15 & 23
Same as Day 7 except with 4 & 5 reps per set, respectively

*The days that aren't listed are, of course, off days.

A Reluctant Addendum
I know what you're thinking:
"Chad, youforgot to include direct arm work in that program!"
No, I didn't. The best increases in upper arm hypertrophy are achieved through compound exercises such as dips, chin-ups, bench presses and rows. Therefore, no direct arm work is prescribed in this program.

It's a strange phenomenon. Every Austin trainee who's been around the iron game for more than a year knows that big arms are built from compound exercises, but people are still convinced they need direct arm work! So I'll give you the choice. I don't recommend the direct upper-arm work option, but I know some people will add direct arm work anyway, so I might as well make sure they do it right.

If you feel cheated and betrayed by my original recommendations, follow the same parameters given in the plan, but cut the total sets in half. For example, on the 10 x 3 day at 80% of 1RM (i.e, Day 1), execute the following:
Preacher Curl, Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension Superset
Sets: 5
Reps: 3
Load: 80% of 1RM
Rest: 60 seconds
On the other upper body day with 60% of 1RM, execute the following:
Incline Hammer Curl, Tricep Pressdown Superset
Sets: 2-3
Reps: 10
Load: 60% of 1RM
Rest: 60 seconds
Closing Remarks

Don't forget, you must feed your recovery. Think of it this way, if maximum hypertrophy is your goal, you can't eat enough during the two hours post-workout and before going to bed. Eat throughout the day too!

Follow the details of this program precisely and you'll be rewarded with head-turning muscle mass and a better understanding of "real" muscle-building methods.

About the Author
Chad Waterbury is a strength and conditioning coach with Bachelor of Science degrees in Human Biology and Physical Science. Currently, he's studying Graduate work in Physiology at the University of Arizona. He operates his company, Chad Waterbury Strength & Conditioning, in Tucson, AZ, where his clientele consists of members of military special forces units, athletes, professionals and non-athletes seeking exceptional physical performance and development. You can contact him through his website,

Sunday, March 15, 2009



In this video, Dr. Jeffery Dach talks about the relationship between the FDA and pharmaceutical companies, and talks about the medical information "WAR"


Interested in Bio-identical hormone therapy, but don't know where to go?
Contact the Austin Wellness Clinic at

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Why Choose Kettlebells Instead of Dumbbells?

By Anthony DiLuglio

Don't choose! They are simply different strength tools and should be considered complimentary, not exclusive. The primary benefits of Austin kettlebell training lie in the philosophy of the movements that have grown up around it. Kettlebell drills in Austin have historically focused on working many muscle groups in unison. Dumbbells in Austin have been more commonly used for isolation drills (preacher curl, front raise, etc.) in traditional western weight training. Austin kettlebells are also more convenient for explosive movement patterns which are frowned upon in most traditional mainstream gyms.

You can certainly perform many of the kettlebell drills in Austin with a dumbbell. Swings, for instance, just feel more pleasant and natural with an Austin kettlebell. The round, compact shape and offset handle are made for this movement pattern. The wide, angular dumbbell shape makes the movement awkward and less intuitive.

Some Austin kettlebell drills have Austin dumbbell alternatives that offer lower difficulty levels. For instance, I love the added instability challenge that comes from perching atop two kettlebells in Austin in the Renegade Row... but, I often start my clients on this drill with dumbbells for a more stable base.

As I always say, "Use the right tool for the job." Here is a sample workout combining both kettlebells in Austin and Austin dumbbells:

  • A-1: Kettlebell swings- x20
  • A-2: Dumbbell or kettlebell one arm suitcase deadlift - x6 (L,R)
  • A-3: One leg, single arm deadlift using a dumbbell or kettlebell - x6 (L,R)
  • Repeat 2-5x

  • B-1: Kettlebell Turkish get up - x1 (L,R)
  • B-2: Dumbbell or kettlebell one arm suitcase row - x6
  • B-3: Kettlebell lunge cocktail (back lunge, straight up with a twist)
  • Repeat 2-5x

  • C-1: Alternating seated kettlebell or dumbbell press (from the floor) - x6
  • C-2: Dumbbell renegade row - x6
  • C-3: Kettlebell Figure 8 to hold
  • Repeat 2-5x

  • D-1: Kettlebell crush curl - x6
  • D-2: Dumbbell tricep extension - x6
  • D-3: Kettlebell snatch - x6-20 (L,R)
  • Repeat 2-5x

Friday, March 13, 2009


Fox News On Reseveratrol - Anti-Aging - Muscadine Grape - Red Wine

Resveratrol is a compound in red wine that belongs to a class of nutrients called polyphenols, many of which function as antioxidants. Past research has shown that resveratrol increases lifespan and exercise capacity in mice by enhancing mitochondrial function. Now a new study out of Japan has shown that it decelerates the aging-related decline in exercise performance in mice. Two groups of senscence-accelerated muscle were studied for 12 weeks. Both groups exercised regularly but one group also received resveratrol supplementation. Exercise performance declined steady in the exercise-only group, but held steady in the exercise-plus-reseveratrol group. The researchers found increased expression of enzymes related to mitochondrial function in the resveratrol-supplemented mice. They concluded, "These results suggest that the intake of resveratrol, together with habitual exercise, is beneficial for suppressing the aging-related decline in physical performance and that these effects are attributable, at least in part, to improved mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle." The study was published in Biogerontology.

As a biologist of aging, one question I get asked frequently is: “What should I be doing in the meantime?” That is, in the absence of any de facto anti-aging medicine, what’s the best way to extend healthspan, and thereby improve one’s chances of being around when bona fide life extension technology becomes available? Usually, the question takes the form, “What pills should I be popping?”
My answer (after issuing the routine qualifications that I’m not an MD, a dietitian or an exercise physiologist) is as follows: Vitamins are good but megadoses are of questionable value. Ditto for “supplements”: the nutraceutical industry is poorly regulated, so you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting. Beyond that, we don’t necessarily know the efficacy or understand the mechanism of action of many of these products, which means that we can’t begin to rationally predict the adverse reactions that could result from their combination.
Kind of bleak, right? Turns out that I do have some constructive advice, however — and it’s the same advice you’ve been getting all your life: Avoid tobacco, eat a reasonable diet, and get plenty of exercise. After all, I usually jest, they’re never going to turn exercise into a pill.
That is, until they do.
Enter the era of PPARβ/δ and AMPK agonists. From Narkar et al.:

AMPK and PPARδ Agonists Are Exercise Mimetics
The benefits of endurance exercise on general health make it desirable to identify orally active agents that would mimic or potentiate the effects of exercise to treat metabolic diseases. Although certain natural compounds, such as reseveratrol, have endurance-enhancing activities, their exact metabolic targets remain elusive. We therefore tested the effect of pathway-specific drugs on endurance capacities of mice in a treadmill running test. We found that PPARβ/δ agonist and exercise training synergistically increase oxidative myofibers and running endurance in adult mice. Because training activates AMPK and PGC1α, we then tested whether the orally active AMPK agonist AICAR might be sufficient to overcome the exercise requirement. Unexpectedly, even in sedentary mice, 4 weeks of AICAR treatment alone induced metabolic genes and enhanced running endurance by 44%. These results demonstrate that AMPK-PPARδ pathway can be targeted by orally active drugs to enhance training adaptation or even to increase endurance without exercise.

Get that? Mice that performed no workout more taxing than taking their medicine were almost 50% better than controls at running — and the effects were even more dramatic when combined with actual exercise.

Assuming — standard caveat — that AMPK agonists like AICAR are efficacious in humans, the potential applications are tremendous, with potential benefits for everyone from bedridden hospital patients to astronauts at the ISS.
An interesting open question: We know that actual exercise extends lifespan, possibly via hormesis (the improvement of chronic stress tolerance in response to regular acute stress). Do the exercise-like effects of PPARβ/δ and AMPK agonists also increase longevity — and if so, does the mechanism involve hormesis? In other words, are these drugs increasing endurance by simulating the acute stress of exercise, or are they activating a response further downstream in the pathway?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Body fat measurements and the measuring tape are recognized as superior methods for measuring "weight loss". When one declares that they want to "lose weight", what they often mean is that they want to lose fat. So, now that you've had your body fat percentage measured, what does the number really mean? Understanding what your body fat percentage means can help you set goals for achieving a healthy weight.

First, your body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains. If you are 150 pounds and 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass (bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else).

A certain amount of fat is essential to bodily functions. Fat regulates body temperature, cushions and insulates organs and tissues and is the main form of the body's energy storage. The following table describes body fat ranges and their associated categories:
*General Body Fat Percentage Categories
Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32% plus 25% plus
*American Council on Exercise

Knowing your body fat percentage can also help you determine if your weight loss goals are realistic. Remember, weight loss doesn't always mean fat loss. For example:

Let's say you're a 130# woman with 23% body fat, and you goal is to "lose 20 pounds":

Initial body fat: 130# x 0.23 fat = 30 # body fat

Lean body mass: 130# total - 30# fat = 100# lean body mass (bones, organs and all else)

Goal: 130# - 20# = 110 pounds

As you can see, the goal of losing 20 pounds is not realistic or healthy. At 110 pounds, this woman still requires 100# of lean body mass (bones, organs, etc.), but would only be carrying 10#, or only 9% body fat. From the chart above, you can see that this is a dangerously low percentage.

A better goal might be for the woman to reduce her body fat from 23% to 18%. In this case:

130# x 0.18 = 23 # body fat

100# lean body mass + 23 # = 123# goal weight

So, for this individual to achieve a lean, but healthy 18% fat, she would need to lose only 7 pounds of fat, reducing her weight from her current 130 pounds to 123 pounds. Losing more than 7 pounds means losing lean body mass (usually metabolically-active muscle tissue), which is clearly not desirable.

So before you decide that you need to "lose weight", remember to consider that "weight" consists of both lean body mass and body fat. Try to keep your weight loss goals realistic, and remember, keep the calorie-burning muscle, and lose only the fat.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

10 ways to boost testosterone in Austin

1 Lift weights

Testosterone levels are at their highest 48 hours after lifting weights, according to a study at Baylor University (near Austin, TX) in the US. And the harder you train, the more you increase your natural levels of testosterone, so base your training around compound exercises such as squats, bench presses and seated rows using heavy weights.

2 Watch football

Austin residents who watch their favourite sports team compete experience a similar testosterone surge to the players, say researchers at the University of Utah. They found that a fan’s testosterone levels increased by 20 per cent when his team won but fell 20 per cent when they lost. So avoid watching England games and you should be all right.

3 Eat good fats

By ‘good’ fats we mean the monounsaturated and omega 3 type – found in avocados, peanuts and oily fish – that help your body preserve protein. A study in the Journal Of Applied Physiology found that men who ate recommended amounts of these foods had the highest testosterone levels.

4 Gobble some eggs

Eggs improve levels of healthy HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol, an important building block needed for your body to manufacture testosterone. They are also loaded with protein and have plenty of testosterone-boosting zinc. Plus Paul Newman looked pretty manly when he ate 50 of ’em in Cool Hand Luke.

5 Don’t overtrain

Excessive exercising increases cortisol, a stress hormone that competes with testosterone and breaks down muscle. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that overtraining can lower your testosterone levels by as much as 40 per cent. Resting isn’t slacking off – make sure you take time out.

6 Get enough sleep

Poor sleep quality and having less than seven hours a night can slash your testosterone levels by more than 30 per cent and dampen growth hormones, restricting your muscle-building potential.

7 Scoff cabbage

Cabbage is rammed with indole-3-carbinol (IC3), a phytochemical that increases your testosterone according to a study at the Rockefeller University Hospital in New York. The study also found that when men were given IC3, their levels of the female hormone oestrogen reduced by 50 per cent – reversing the effect caused by watching the Sex And The City movie.

8 Don’t booze

Happy hour can wreak havoc on your manly hormones, and Austin is the number one drinking town in the United States, according to a recent study. Numerous studies have found that alcohol consumption reduces testosterone levels for up to 24 hours. It also increases cortisol and lowers growth hormone levels.

9 Eat more seeds

You may feel like you’re munching bird food, but seeds are full of vitamin E and zinc, which send your testosterone levels soaring. They’re also bursting with protein and monounsaturated fat.

10 Get some sun

Exposing the skin to Texas sunlight for just 15-20 minutes can raise your testosterone levels by 120 per cent, says a report from Boston State Hospital in the US. The research also found that the hormone increased by a whopping 200 per cent when genital skin was exposed to the sun. Stick to the privacy of your own garden though – we don’t want any arrests.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Nutritional clinics at the South Congress Athletic Club

As some of you may know, we like to promote self-care and education at SCAC. So with that in mind, here are a few tools to keep in your fitness toolbox that will help your path to success!Leading the chat is Lynn Heisel. She is a Board Certified Holistic Health Counselor, accredited with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City, with a practice based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her focus is on helping women and men overcomes their food addictions through gradual changes in diet and lifestyle, with an emphasis on home cooking. She is commetted to showing others that healthy eating can be delicious and fun!

Sugar Blues
Tuesday, March 10 :: 6 - 7pm
Members - Free
Nonmembers - $5
Do you crave sweets often and not understand why? If you'd like to bring your sweet cravings under control without willpower or deprivation, join us. You'll learn more about the nature of cravings, the lowdown on artificial sweeteners and discover delicious natural alternatives to sugar.
E-mail to register

Eating for Athletic Performance
Wednesday, March 11 :: 5 - 6pm
Members -Free
Nonmembers - $5
Do you play sports or exercise regularly? Do you know what to eat, when and how much to improve your athletic performance? Please join me and learn what foods will maximize your effort and minimize your recovery time; find out the most effective ways to trim fat and build muscle; and discover the natural superfoods that add the biggest punch to your fitness efforts.
Email to register

Up to 20% off membership to SCAC
By signing up or renewing your SCAC membership automatically, you save 10% on gym dues every month! Sign up with a buddy and you both save 20% every month! If you know that you'll be here at SCAC for at least three months, there is a plan for you. Questions? Call us at 512-445-0773, email, or ask us at the front desk for details.

South Congress Athletic Club 1109-B South Congress Avenue AUSTIN TX 78704

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why people training in Austin personally prefer compound movements

Compound lifts are lifts that involve movement in more than one joint of the human body. Isolation lifts are exercises that involve the flexion and extension of only one joint. Examples of compound exercises include deadlifts, squats, power cleans, bench press variations, overhead presses, etc. while biceps curls and skull crushers are examples of isolation exercises.
Compound movements are superior to isolation ones because they stimulate larger muscle groups, build functional strength, and do wonders for the metabolism.

Let us compare the squat, a very important compound weight training exercise, with one of the most popular isolation exercises: biceps curls. Your fitness goals may just be to have impressive arms when you go to the beach, but you may be surprised to learn that squatting is actually more effective than curling for getting bigger arms. No qualified Austin personal trainer would say that curls are entirely useless. Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did curls, but that is missing the main point. For Arnold, or any other competitive bodybuilder, curls are icing on the cake, but the cake itself was built using exercises such as squats and deadlifts. Here’s why:

Compound movements speed up your metabolism: More muscle means more calories burned. Compound lifts build up many large muscle groups at once, and this allows you to burn more calories, even when you are resting. Furthermore, compound lifts immediately raise one’s metabolism beyond one’s basal metabolic rate (the normal rate at which one burns calories), and this metabolic high lasts for hours! Keep the fat off with compound lifts.

Compound lifts boost testosterone. Several studies have shown that doing heavy compound lifts boost natural testosterone production. Why is this important? Testosterone, in its free form, is a hormone that encourages your body to add muscle and burn fat! In other words doing deep, heavy squats will do wonders for your upper body in addition to your quads and posterior chain because the extra testosterone will encourage muscle growth throughout your body as a whole, and the testosterone may be just the boost you needed to lose a few extra pounds of body-fat.

Compound exercises build functional strength. Think of the last time that you used a curling motion in sports or even picking up groceries. Probably not too often. Compound lifts build strength that you can easily apply in sports and other aspects of life. Picking a heavy suitcase up off the ground mimics the motion of a deadlift, while squatting will do wonders for your vertical leap.

Compound lifts burn more calories and bring greater benefit to your cardiovascular energy systems than isolation exercises. This has to do with the longer path the weight has to travel in compound exercises. Anyone who has done a set of twenty rep squats or snatches can vouch for this statement. High rep sets of the Olympic and power lifts constitute some kick ass cardio.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Triple Extension: The Key to Athletic Power

Greg Frounfelter, DPT, SCS, LAT, CSCS
Dr. Frounfelter is a staff physical therapist at Baldwin Area Medical Center, Baldwin, WI.
He has been a sport medicine professional for over 13 years in various settings and patient demographics. In addition to his clinical duties, he has been active with the NSCA at the state level in Wisconsin since 2001.


Whenever one is training in preparation for sport, we are always looking for a secret; an “Edge” if you will. This is something that will give you an advantage over your opponent. After looking at the literature for many years, I have found what it is. It’s power. This is the ability to move
an object as quickly as possible over a given distance. In athletics this can range from moving your body mass quickly to moving an external load. In general, all other factors being equal, the athlete who can produce greater power, more often than not, wins.

So what does triple extension have to do with power? If you think of athletic power, consider the vertical jump. It is the most often used method to assess lower body power. In its liftoff phase, the body needs to explosively extend at the ankle, knee, and hip. This is how the body can propel itself upward. I know of no other way you can do it and jump any great distance, or in other words demonstrate power. This explosive extension of the knee, hip, and ankle is triple extension, and this is the key to athletic power or explosiveness if you wish to call it that. In my example of the vertical jump, the motion is up and down and with both legs. Triple extension is also performed in all planes and often with one leg as evidenced by agility needs that are seen throughout all athletics.

There are many ways to train triple extension. If you pick any type of athletic training regime, you will see that it is in there in one form or another. Triple extension training is basically explosive motion of the three major lower extremity joints of at least one leg in any direction. One of the basic ways to train triple extension is through the use of weightlifting. Weightlifting is different than weight training. Weightlifting is a sport where two lifts are contested. They are the snatch and the clean and jerk. These lifts involve raising a barbell from the floor to an overhead
position. Beside the competitive lifts, there are many associated training movements that can be utilized. Luckily, they all involve the use of triple extension in their proper performance. But why chose weightlifting movements? Well to be honest, if you want to develop maximal explosiveness, these lifts are unparalleled in their ability to develop
and train power (1).

Let’s take a look at the basics of each of the most two common weightlifting movements used to train for sport; they are the power clean and power snatch.

The Power Clean
Begin by standing with your shins close to the bar on the ground. Your feet should be feet even and about hipwidth apart. Squat down to grab the bar with a grip that is a little wider than shoulder-width. Ideally you should use a hook grip where your thumb is laid against
the bar and encircled by your first two fingers (It takes some getting used to). Make sure you maintain an arch in your low back. The angle of your torso should be about 45 degrees in relationship to the floor. Keep your chest up and look straight ahead. Your elbows should be held
firmly straight.

Use your legs to push your feet through the floor. This will cause you to lift up the bar. Keep your arms and chest tight. Your torso should remain at 45 degrees in relationship
to the floor. The bar should be close to your body as you are lifting it. From the side view, your chest should be over the bar and the bar almost dragging up your legs. Once you get the bar to about mid thigh, explode by driving/extending your hips, ankles, and knees (the triple extension
motion) as well as shrugging your shoulders to your ears. This snaps the bar into acceleration

All that is left to do is catch the bar. To do this, snap your elbows under and in front of the bar. This lets you catch the bar on your deltoids. It is important to have a loose grip at this point so your wrists can bend and allow you to more easily catch the bar. Your knees also need to
bend a little to help you absorb the energy from catching the bar. Carefully lower the bar and perform the lift again. Often rubber plates are used so dropping the weight produces less noise and damage to the training surface.

The Power Snatch

The power snatch is essentially the same concept as the power clean, but the bar is brought
overhead in one motion from the floor. Your grip on the bar is wider than with the power clean.
There are several ways to measure how wide this grip should be. One is to measure from the tip
of one shoulder to the fingertips of the opposite hand with it held outstretched and parallel with
the ground. You really need to make sure to keep the bar close to the body. The triple extension and shoulder shrug are done when the bar is about level with the pubic bone of the pelvis.
Snap under the bar and catch it in an overhead position. Complete the lift by extending
the hips and knees to a full standing position. The weightlifting movements are great ways to improve your triple extension power; however, you do need to realize that these lifts can be dangerous if not executed properly and in a safe environment. Someone who is skilled in teaching these lifts should help guide you in how to perform them. With proper coaching, weightlifting movements are no more dangerous than other sporting activities (1).


The ability to move powerfully and explosively is a critical aspect in developing athletic success.
Training triple extension ability is a critical factor to this success. Use of weightlifting movements
is an important bridge to this. By using weightlifting movements such as the power clean and
power snatch, you can begin to unlock explosive power that can help propel you to increased athletic success.

1. Hendrick A, Wada H. (2008). Weightlifting
movements: do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Strength and Conditioning. 30(2):26 – 34

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Several personal trainers running in Rogue Rush, outside Austin on April 11, 2009

Join Rogue Equipment and Rogue Training Systems for their first, fastest and bad ass-est 5K ever! Located in Williamson County, just a hop away from downtown Austin, this race is sure to remind you of why you started running.

The 3.1 mile course begins in the Parkside neighborhood at Mayfield Ranch, providing plenty of parking and space for a Greek-style after-party. So, lace up your shoes, and prepare to rush through the streets of Parkside on April 11, 2009 at 7:30 AM. Run in our shoes, or stand in our shadows. Go Rogue.

Rogues receive a discount on the event. Email for the code. All ages welcome.
Kids K to follow the 5K event

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Arsenic in your drinking water may be linked to diabetes

Is Your Drinking Water Giving You Diabetes?

Arsenic, a common trace contaminant in well water, has been linked to type 2 diabetes

By Adam Voiland

The heavy metal arsenic, which occurs naturally as an element of the Earth's crust, has a long history as an instrument of murder. The notorious Borgia family of Italy, including Pope Alexander VI, is said to have used the tasteless, colorless, and odorless substance to regularly dispatch enemies, and even a despot of Napoleon Bonaparte's stature may have fallen victim to an orchestrated overdose. More recently, scientists have proved that chronic exposure to drinking water contaminated with arsenic can cause cancers of the bladder, lung, kidney, and skin, as well as a collection of other diseases. Now there's a new twist. Research published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association has linked the ancient poison to type 2 diabetes, a disease that has reached pandemic proportions and now accounts for 1 in every 10 American dollars spent on healthcare. And trace amounts of naturally occurring arsenic seem to be contributing to the problem—and endangering some Americans without their knowledge, experts say.

Johns Hopkins researchers found that the risk of diabetes for Americans with the highest inorganic arsenic loads in their urine is more than three times the risk for those with the lowest arsenic loads. The new finding buttresses previous research in animals that shows exposure to arsenic increases blood glucose and insulin levels. It's also consistent with studies from Taiwan, Bangladesh, and Mexico that link high levels of arsenic to diabetes. The new study examined inorganic arsenic exposure in a representative sample of Americans nationwide. (Organic arsenic, which is found in seafood, is not thought to pose a health risk.)

There's a take-home message for many Americans. While utility companies are required by law to keep arsenic levels in drinking water below 10 parts per billion, fewer safeguards exist for the approximately 15 percent of Americans who quench their thirst with water from private wells. So, many people may have high levels of arsenic in their water and not realize it, says Ana Navas-Acien, a physician and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University who is the study's lead author.

"People who get their drinking water from private wells and live in areas where groundwater is naturally contaminated with arsenic are at an especially high risk of being exposed to water with levels above the 10 parts per billion acceptable limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency," Navas-Acien says.

The good news: A cheap lab test—typically only $20 to $35—can determine whether a household's well is contaminated. If it is, water filters or other water quality improvement strategies can remedy the problem.

Arid states in the West have some of the most arsenic-contaminated groundwater in the country, but midwestern and eastern states are also known to have certain areas with heavily arsenic-laced water. The United States Geological Survey maintains nationwide maps of arsenic levels that are a helpful resource for people wondering about their local area. Typically, arsenic is a problem in deep wells, not surface waters. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, filtering done by reverse osmosis, distillation, or special iron and aluminum units can remove arsenic; water softeners and pitcher filters cannot. NSF International maintains a useful database of filters.

For households with arsenic-contaminated wells, bottled water can be a good short-term solution (though it is important to ensure that the bottled water is actually clear of the metal—something that's not necessarily a guarantee, as this report and a 2007 recall of Jermuk mineral water suggest). Longer-term remedies involve putting in a new well using appropriate precautions or connecting to a public water supply. Sites from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Human Services offer more advice for consumers confronting high arsenic levels in their wells.

Want to learn how to combat heavy metal toxicity?

Contact the Austin Wellness Clinic at (512) 473-8900 or visit their website at