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Current Dietary Recommendations in Strength Training
By: Jim Duffy

Efforts to expand the limits of human strength and endurance have kept the scientist and the athlete occupied for centuries. The quest for another pound of muscle, or to lift next couple of kilos has been relentlessly pursued in the gym and the laboratory alike. As the questions and conquests became more challenging, the answers have become more elusive and complicated. Few concepts and conclusions have withstood the test of time in exercise physiology. Even as we tackle the metabolic and genetic basis of skeletal muscle response to strength training, there are only some things that we know for sure.

Strength is the cumulative expression of the innumerable myofibrils orderly arranged to form the muscle. Strength training attempts to boost these protein motors and the biological machinery that supports them. Resistance exercises create a biochemical environment in the body wherein the turnover of proteins is optimized and the protein synthetic machinery is primed for growth. All that is needed to trigger a spurt of growth is a protein rich meal. This response occurs in all age groups, although it is less efficient in the elderly. According to Philips SM, Tipton KD and others, in young individuals, the muscle is receptive to protein and amino acids for 48 hours after a workout. The only limiting factor for the hypertrophy of skeletal muscles during this period is the availability of high quality proteins.

A few tricks can amplify the growth response to strength training. The synthetic machinery has a ceiling. It can only handle a certain amount of amino acids at a time (specifically, six grams of protein). However, as the response lasts for two days, Bohe` J., in a dose-response study published in Journal of Physiology, 2003, recommended that repeated supplementation with three to six grams of high quality protein during the 48 hours after a workout can optimize the protein synthetic response without topping out the protein synthetic enzyme systems. Combining protein supplements with adequate carbohydrate (35g of sucrose with every 6g of protein) is also helpful. The carbohydrate acts as fuel for the muscle fibers sparing the protein for growth.

Research into the response of untrained strength athletes has come up with surprising results. The demand for proteins increases in both the trained and the untrained states. However, the relative protein requirement of an untrained athlete per kg per day often exceeds the trained counterpart. The initial phase of resistance training is exemplified by rapid growth and hypertrophy of skeletal muscles, before it hits the plateau. Another factor is the relative inefficiency of the protein synthetic machinery in the untrained state. Well-formulated protein supplements are thus necessary to sustain even the early phases of resistance training.

This is not to say that the protein requirements of the trained strength athlete are comparable to the sedentary population. By the time the maintenance phase of resistance training is reached, the lean body mass would have expanded exponentially. The total quantity of proteins that are broken down and reformed during protein turnover in a trained strength athlete is still many times higher than normal levels. Philips SM, in his review on Protein Requirements in Strength Athletes, states that this requirement may be as high as 1.5 times baseline levels.

The hunt then is for a high quality protein diet that would supply all the essential amino acids required. Considering the various biochemical principles discussed, this protein supplementation should be rapidly absorbable so that amino acids delivery can be accurately timed to the post-workout period. Rapid absorption would also enable multiple doses of the protein supplement to be taken during this period. The protein supplement also needs to be in small quantities (3 to 6g) to prevent saturating protein synthesis pathways and to minimize protein waste through excretion.

Protein supplements that meet all of these requirements, such as Profect protein beverage by Protica Research, are used widely across weightlifting communities. The unique constitution of Profect enables it to provide not only all the essential amino acids, but also the specific amino acids used in muscle fiber synthesis. Profect promotes the synthesis of Glutathione, an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. These free radicals, produced during anaerobic workouts like resistance training, injure the cell membranes. Short term insults like muscle sprains to long term effects like aging and cancer have been attributed to free radicals. Supplementing the diet with Profect can boost the normal levels of the free radical scavenger, Glutathione and help avert free radical damage.

Undeniably, protein reigns as the supreme building block for strength training. The difference between you and your next pound of muscle can oftentimes be a measurement of the type of protein formula you use in your diet.

About Protica

Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm with offices in Lafayette Hill and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Protica manufactures capsulized foods, including Profect, a compact, hypoallergenic, ready-to-drink protein beverage containing zero carbohydrates and zero fat. Information on Protica is available at www.protica.com. You can also learn about Profect at www.profect.com.

Copyright 2004 - Protica Research - http://www.protica.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


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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
shocks.

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
speaking.

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

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

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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