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Know Your Bodybuilding Supplement - L-Arginine
By: Rick Mitchell

Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that the body cannot make naturally. It is found in nuts, seeds, chocolate and raisins.

Arginine is used by the body in the execution of many important physiological processes including hormone secretion, output of growth hormone, removal of toxins from the body and enhancement of the immune system. It is also a precursor of nitric oxide which vasodiolates vessels in the body. For this reason arginine is often used to treat conditions such as angina, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, sexual dysfunction and infertility. Recent research has also highlighted arginine's ability to scavenge free radicals, remove bad cholesterol, enhance fat metabolism and regulate salt levels.

There are several reasons why arginine appeals to bodybuilders:

1. It prevents the retention of water under the skin thus minimizing bloating and helping to create a ripped appearance.

2. It helps the body to retain nitrogen that is essential to the muscle building process.

3. Its vasodilating abilities support muscle growth.

4. It enhances protein synthesis.

5. It helps to boost the immune system allowing harder training and minimizing the minor illnesses that come from overtraining.

With any amino acid supplement overdosing can lead to weakness and nausea so care should be taken in applying small doses and increasing them gradually until an optimum level is reached. Bear in mind that many protein powders and other supplements are fortified with amino acids so check the labels carefully. The manufacturer's instructions should be followed in all instances.

About the Author

Rick Mitchell is the creator of the website that provides guidance and information to athletes at all levels of bodybuilding experience. Go to Bodybuilding Advice to learn more about the issues covered in this article.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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