Friday, October 24, 2014

Fitness Friday: Fitness News You Can Use

This week on Fitness Friday, we have articles on carbohydrate tolerance (Performance Nutrition), the anti-estrogenic properties of kelp (Journal of Nutrition), intermittent hypoxic resistance training (Frontiers in Striated Muscle Physiology), and two articles from T-Nation (perfecting the push-press and the 5/3/1 Beach Body Challenge).

First up, from Performance Nutrition, everything you need to know about carb intolerance.

Carbohydrate tolerance: Is your ability to eat carbs determined by your genes?

By Helen Kollias

Ever wonder why some people can eat bushels of bananas without gaining a pound, but you seem to gain weight by just looking at a potato? Maybe it’s your genes. But just because you’re “carb intolerant” doesn’t mean you’re doomed. These simple guidelines can help.

[Note: we’ve also prepared an audio recording of this article for you to listen to. So, if you'd rather listen to the piece, click here.]


You and a friend sit down for dinner.

Your friend orders a rice and potato sandwich with a side of spaghetti.

“I’m carb tolerant,” he explains, taking a sip of his beer and glancing eagerly at the dessert buffet.

You, on the other hand, order the green salad with salmon — hold the chickpeas.

You are not carb tolerant.

But you are annoyed with your friend.

In fact, for a bite of his sandwich, you would gladly stab him with a fork.

What is “carb tolerance” anyway?

Actually, come to think of it, does “carb tolerance” even exist?

Sure, the phrase peppers a lot of contemporary dinner conversations.

But does anybody really know what it means?

Maybe “carb intolerant” people just eat too many carbs. Or the wrong kind. You know — cookie carbs, donut carbs.

Or maybe the problem isn’t carbs at all. Maybe their “baked potato” has more sour cream and butter than potato.

Then again…maybe some of those people simply can’t process carbs the way the rest of us do.

In other words, maybe their genes are to blame.
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It appears sea kelp has anti-estrogenic effects (in mice). This is from 2005, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Kelp has anti-estrogenic effect

Kelp, or bladderwrack seaweed – scientific name Fucus vesiculosus – has an anti-estrogenic effect. Substances found in kelp delay the manufacture of estradiol in the body and sabotage the working of the estradiol receptor.

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley stumbled upon the anti-estrogenic effect of kelp when they tested an alternative theory on why very few Japanese women have breast, womb or ovarian cancer. These types of cancer are caused by estradiol. The conventional theory is that high consumption of soya, a food with an anti-estrogenic effect, protects Japanese women against estradiol-related cancers.
Source: J Nutr. 2005 Feb;135(2):296-300. 
You can read the original research article, as well.

Brown Kelp Modulates Endocrine Hormones in Female Sprague-Dawley Rats and in Human Luteinized Granulosa Cells

Christine F. Skibola, John D. Curry, Catherine VandeVoort, Alan Conley, and Martyn T. Smith
Epidemiological studies suggest that populations consuming typical Asian diets have a lower incidence of hormone-dependent cancers than populations consuming Western diets. These dietary differences have been mainly attributed to higher soy intakes among Asians. However, studies from our laboratory suggest that the anti-estrogenic effects of dietary kelp also may contribute to these reduced cancer rates. As a follow-up to previous findings of endocrine modulation related to kelp ingestion in a pilot study of premenopausal women, we investigated the endocrine modulating effects of kelp (Fucus vesiculosus) in female rats and human luteinized granulosa cells (hLGC). Kelp administration lengthened the rat estrous cycle from 4.3 ± 0.96 to 5.4 ± 1.7 d at 175 mg · kg−1 body wt · d−1 (P = 0.05) and to 5.9 ± 1.9 d at 350 mg · kg−1 · d−1 (P = 0.002) and also led to a 100% increase in the length of diestrus (P = 0.02). Following 175 mg · kg−1 · d−1 treatment for 2 wk, serum 17β-estradiol levels were reduced from 48.9 ± 4.5 to 40.2 ± 3.2 ng/L (P = 0.13). After 4 wk, 17β-estradiol levels were reduced to 36.7 ± 2.2 ng/L (P = 0.02). In hLGC, 25, 50, and 75 μmol/L treatment reduced 17β-estradiol levels from 4732 ± 591 to 3632 ± 758, 3313 ± 373, and 3060 ± 538 ng/L, respectively. Kelp treatment also led to modest elevations in hLGC culture progesterone levels. Kelp extract inhibited the binding of estradiol to estrogen receptor α and β and that of progesterone to the progesterone receptor, with IC50 values of 42.4, 31.8, and 40.7 μmol/L, respectively. These data show endocrine modulating effects of kelp at relevant doses and suggest that dietary kelp may contribute to the lower incidence of hormone-dependent cancers among the Japanese.
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Intermittent hypoxic resistance training: does it provide added benefit?

Brendan R. Scott, Katie M. Slattery, and Ben J. Dascombe

Methods to enhance the adaptive responses to resistance training are of great interest to clinical and athletic populations alike. Altering the muscular environment by restricting oxygen availability during resistance exercise has been shown to induce favorable physiological adaptations. An acute hypoxic stimulus during exercise essentially increases reliance on anaerobic pathways, augmenting metabolic stress responses, and subsequent hypertrophic processes (Scott et al., 2014). Hypoxic strategies during resistance exercise were originally investigated using blood flow restriction (BFR) methods (Takarada et al., 2000), whereby a cuff is applied proximally to a limb to partially limit arterial inflow while occluding venous outflow from the working muscles. Another method that has been investigated more recently is performing resistance exercise in systemic hypoxia, by means of participants breathing a hypoxic air mixture.

The addition of systemic hypoxia to resistance training has previously resulted in significantly enhanced hypertrophic and strength responses to both low-load (20% 1-repetition maximum; 1RM) (Manimmanakorn et al., 2013a,b) and moderate-load (70% 1RM) (Nishimura et al., 2010) resistance training.
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Finally, here are a couple of articles from T-Nation.

How to Do the Perfect Push Press 

by Eric Auciello | 10/16/14 
Here's what you need to know...
  • The push press develops a strong and stable trunk while highlighting gross deficiencies in mobility.
  • The push press is a great way to train heavy loads overhead in a strength-endurance format.
  • Unlike the press, the push press requires the upper arms to be parallel to the floor, similar to the arm position used in a front squat.
  • Maintaining a stacked spinal column while exhibiting force throughout the lift is best achieved by taking a wide stance.
  • The dip-drive phase isn't a one-fourth squat. It's a shallow and violent redirection of energy from your body to the barbell.

The Perfect Push Press

When it comes to lifting a barbell overhead, there are several options to choose from, from the simple shoulder press for hypertrophy to the technically complex jerk. But somewhere in the middle of that complexity spectrum lies a lift everyone should be doing: the push press.
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5/3/1 Beach Body Challenge 

by Jim Wendler | 10/20/14 

Here's what you need to know...

  • The goal of this challenge is performance, not aesthetics. But you'll look awesome anyway.
  • Goal setting is a three-step process: Set the goal, make the plan, and get to work.
  • The challenges are very typical of the 5/3/1 set-up in that each day has a squat, a push, and a pull.
  • Many of the lifts will use the 5's Progression: 5 reps for every set, regardless of percentage.
  • Once you've completed the first three weeks, you'll have established rep records for the squat, press, and hang clean.
  • The next three weeks of the program will be devoted to you beating or attempting to beat each record.
"Beach Muscles"

A couple of months ago I was talking with a friend of mine about what the 5/3/1 "beach muscles" would be. The list was easy to come up with:

  • Legs
  • Traps
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Forearms
These obviously aren't the usual muscles associated with the beach, but I live next to a corn field, so cut me some slack. Anyway, it gave birth to the 5/3/1 "Beach Body" Challenge.

The key to the challenge is that performance is the main goal, not aesthetics. I always focus on performance. I believe that when one has a concrete training goal – for example, "press 300 pounds, box jump 45", and run a 6:30 mile" – training becomes more focused and goals become real.

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