Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who Are You Talking To?

We’ve all seen him: the guy at the gym who goes there more for a social gathering than a workout. And we’ve all seen his physique, the one that looks the same year after year – the same size, the same conditioning. While he does a lot of talking, he doesn’t do much working, so he doesn’t grow. No surprise there.

But if you go to the gym, research shows that you should be talking ­– to yourself.

A study has examined the effects of “self-talk” on exercise performance and found that although talking to yourself during exercise doesn’t produce overly dramatic effects, the results are pretty impressive. By talking to yourself, the scientists say, you give yourself time to take stock of your workout and how you feel, and to better concentrate and direct your efforts for that next gut-busting set. In short, talking to yourself and getting yourself “in the zone” really does improve your exercise performance.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Avoid Mr. or Mrs. Loose Lips and talk to yourself instead. Although talking to others can be fun, you’re most interested in building muscle, and by talking to yourself, you can build more of it.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Gibson ASC, et al. The role of self-talk in the awareness of physiological state and physical performance. Sports Med. 2007;37(12):1029-1044.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Stretch and Grow?

Experts have long preached about the virtues of stretching. It keeps you strong, limber, flexible and injury-free, and can even cause you to grow more muscle.

While there’s no doubt that stretching is essential for bodybuilders, some experts have taken this one step further, claiming that by stretching, you can selectively recruit and activate specific kinds of muscle fibers – especially the white, fast-twitch muscle fibers that get you huge and strong in a hurry. But is this true? Can stretching really activate these specific fibers more than others?

Not really – and now we have proof.

A study examined the effects of stretching on the activation and stimulation of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers. The researchers found that rather than triggering fast-twitch muscle fibers specifically, stretching was more general in nature, equally affecting the activation of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers.

So, here’s your FUSION FACTOID: While there’s no doubt that stretching is extremely beneficial and can keep you limber, flexible, functional and injury-free, the science proves stretching can’t activate one specific muscle fiber type to trigger growth.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Chalmers, Gordon. Can fast-twitch muscle fibres be selectively recruited during lengthening contractions? Review and applications to sport movements. Sports Biomechanics. January 2008;7(1):137–157.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still Working Out at a Crappy Gym?

Bodybuilders love to keep it “hardcore” ­– hard, heavy and growing. Let’s face it: Muscle is all that matters, right? Yes. And, working out in a “hardcore” gym like the pros of old, with well-used equipment, will get you huge fast, right? Not quite.

A new study by researchers in California showed that while barbells and dumbbells are balanced when new and therefore can move in space correctly, stimulating correct muscle growth, old, well-used equipment undergoes continuous microchanges. This can result in unequal total weight distribution, meaning that one end of the barbell or dumbbell can be heavier than the other. This can lead to incorrect and unbalanced movement, ultimately leading to incorrect and unbalanced muscle growth, and possibly injury over time.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Muscle growth is job number one, so get into the best-equipped and best-maintained gym your money can buy. The equipment might not be as old as bodybuilding itself, but it will be balanced, more effective and far better at getting you huge in a hurry!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Chiu, et al. The influence of deformation on barbell mechanics during the clean pull. Sports Biomechanics. May 2008; 7(2): 260–273.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This Is Your Body On Cow Protein

Supplement makers are always looking for an edge - always looking for new ways to get your attention and your supplement dollars. To this end they are constantly innovating and developing their products, and are always searching for new ingredients to fuel your growth.

In the past several years, some companies have stumbled upon Bovine lactoferrin - a specialized cow protein found in cows milk that is supposed to have antibacterial power. Naturally, bodybuilders have been skeptical - and this ingredient hasn't really caught on. All of that may change, because new science shows that this stuff actually works - and works well!

A study appearing in Nutrition Research has found that taking Bovine lactoferrin by mouth can actually keep your immune system strong by not only killing opportunistic bacteria - like those that hang around in-wait when you're over-trained - but it can also protect your muscles by powerfully killing off harmful oxidants and free radicals that keep you inflamed and stunt your muscle growth.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: It turns out that cow protein is good for you after all - and we're not just talking about meat or milk. Specialized cow proteins - Bovine lactoferrin - can keep you healthy, keep you training and, ultimately, keep you on the road to Muscletown!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Ann M. Mulder, et al. Bovine lactoferrin supplementation supports immune and antioxidant status in healthy human males. Nutrition Research 28 (2008) 583 – 589.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Protect Your Liver: Avoid Processed Dietary Oils...

We hear all the time that we should avoid processed foods, instead opting for healthy “clean” options that are straight from nature – fresh fruits and vegetables, complex grains and carbohydrates, and lean meats such as chicken and beef.

Rarely, however, do we hear about cooking oils – but a new study has changed that.

A new study by Austrian researchers found that consuming processed cooking oils such as linoleic acid not only promotes inflammation throughout your body but also prevents the death of cancer cells in your liver, contributing to your risk of getting liver cancer. Cooking with processed oils at high heat also increases their potential side effects.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: If you’re going to use oil when you cook, skip the processed junk. Instead, use small amounts of olive or coconut oil on low heat. By doing this, you’ll not only eliminate excess calories that make you fat but also eliminate side effects and possibly save your liver from inflammation and cancer.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Rohr-Udilova, N. V., et al. (2008). Lipid hydroperoxides from processed dietary oils enhance growth of hepatocarcinoma cells. Mol Nutr Food Res, 52, 352–359.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fat Burning Fats - Here We Go Again...

There's always been a lot of talk about “using fat to burn fat” - and we always see supplement companies pushing Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) or Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) supplements every few years, claiming that they will burn fat, stabilize blood sugar and generally get you into the best shape of your life. Right.

Unfortunately, it seems that very few bodybuilders have actually seen much benefit from using these so called “fat burning fats” - certainly none of us have gotten into the best shape of our lives using them. But, a new study in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition shows that just because you can't see the results outwardly, doesn't mean there aren't any.

A new study had 12 adults follow a low-calorie diet for three weeks while supplementing with a fatty acid supplement. The study examined the effects of these fatty acids on Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL - “bad” cholesterol) formation. Scientists found that using a fatty acid supplement dramatically reduced the conversion of LDL precursors into LDL, and therefore dramatically reduced the LDL cholesterol that can cause heart disease and heart attacks.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: While unsaturated fats won't get you into the best shape of your life, and while they may not burn fat like cardio burns fat, they don't hurt, and can in fact help your cholesterol profile, preventing LDL cholesterol from getting out of control - and this could prevent you from having a heart attack. So get enough unsaturated fats in your diet – you'll keep away the grim reaper and help your testosterone manufacture in the process. And testosterone equals more muscle and a bigger you!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Chunyu Zheng, Christina Khoo, Jeremy Furtado, Katsunori Ikewaki, and Frank M Sacks. Dietary monounsaturated fat activates metabolic pathways for triglyceride-rich lipoproteins that involve apolipoproteins E andC-III. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;88:272– 81.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Reason to Keep It Lean...

We all know that there are plenty of reasons to get – and stay – as lean as possible: Fat is ugly, it’s easier to build muscle when you’re lean and harder to build muscle when you’re fat, a lean and muscular physique looks great, etc. The list goes on and on.

Now, there’s another reason: Being fat slows your recovery from injury.

A new study looked at how being overweight (having high body fat percentages, or being obese) affected recovery time from knee injuries – something bodybuilders get frequently – and found that fatter people recovered much more slowly than their leaner counterparts.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: You might not have needed more reasons to stay lean, but you can add yet another one to the list. Being overweight – or “bulking up” – can slow your recovery time from injury, ultimately keeping you out of the gym longer than needed. So keep it as lean as possible while still packing on the muscle. It’ll make it easier for you to build even more muscle while also letting you show it off and speeding your recovery from hard workouts!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Unver, B. et al. (2008). Effects of obesity on inpatient rehabilitation outcomes following total knee arthroplasty. Physiotherapy, 94, 198–203.

Get Some Garlic in Ya...

Just when we thought that we knew all there was to know about garlic, we find out something new. While we’ve known for years that garlic is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, and while we’ve all been told that we should eat garlic because it’s “good for us,” we’ve never been told this: Eat garlic because it will help you work harder and longer in the gym.

A new study from Japanese researchers shows that garlic just might help you bust it out in the gym for extra gains. When feeding physically tired people garlic, Japanese researchers noticed a marked increase in their energy levels and recovery speed.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Do as the Japanese do – get some garlic in ya. Not only will you benefit from the antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects and possibly speed your training recovery, but you’ll also have more energy during and after your workouts, and possibly more muscle too!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Morihara, N. et al. (2007). Garlic as an anti-fatigue agent. Mol Nutr Food Res, 51, 1329–1334.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What's Old Is New Again...

Years ago, phytosterols were all the rage. Like all things bodybuilding, phytosterols made their monumental splash on the supplement scene, enjoyed momentary popularity fuelled by marketing hype and then quietly faded from the spotlight as some new ingredient became the flavour of the month. But now, phytosterols – plant sterols – are back, and this time there’s real evidence that they work.

A new study shows that by consuming plenty of plant sterols in your diet, you can protect yourself from cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and cancers such as breast, colon and prostate cancer. In fact, the plant sterols found in plants are so powerful that they can reduce your cancer risk by almost 25 percent!

As bodybuilders, we need all of the protection from cancers that we can get. The fact is, training creates harmful oxidants that promote inflammation and can damage our DNA, possibly leading to cancer.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Eat plenty of vegetables and plants – at every meal. Not only are plants and vegetables high in calcium, antioxidants and other important vitamins and minerals, but they also contain plant sterols that can ward off cancer.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Bradford, P. G. et al. (2007). Phytosterols as anticancer compounds. Mol Nutr Food Res, 51, 16 –170.

Monday, August 25, 2008

LIFTING HEAVY: It blows cardio away!

It's been known for years that lifting heavy is the best way to build big, strong muscles that make you look great with clothes on and even better with them off. And, research consistently shows that lifting heavy can help you drop fat by burning a ton of calories.

Now, scientists are saying that lifting a ton of weight cuts you up like nothing else because a hard workout not only improves your insulin function – making you more sensitive to insulin – but it also increases the efficiency of your muscles at using fatty acids for fuel. In other words: a hard workout of sufficient volume makes you a fat burning machine.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: The next time you're aiming to lean up, think twice before automatically jumping on the cardio machine for endless miles of running / cycling or walking. Instead, hit the pit and pound out set after set of heavy compound movements. You may not only build more muscle, but you'll melt away fat too!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: HOROWITZ, J.F. Exercise-induced alterations in muscle lipid metabolism improve insulin sensitivity. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 192Y196, 2007.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Leave Your Sisters "Puffer" Alone...

It's funny but true: for years, many young bodybuilders – and even some older ones – have tried to get the competitive edge in the gym by using asthma inhalers under the idea that the “steroid” and the beta-2 agonist ingredients in the inhalers will improve performance and build muscle.

So do they? Not at all!

A study by German researchers found that the use of asthma inhalers did not improve endurance performance, anaerobic muscle power or strength performance.

So, here's your FUSION FACTOID: If you're a bodybuilder who is thinking about using an asthma inhaler, forget it – it will do nothing for your performance and may, in fact, hurt you. And, if you're currently using an asthma puffer under the illusion that it helps you get the “edge”, stop it – it not only doesn't give you the edge, it makes you look silly! Instead, improve your cardio capacity by doing the work, and get stronger by lifting heavier, longer and more often.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Wilfried Kindermann.Do Inhaled β2-Agonists have an Ergogenic Potential in Non-Asthmatic Competitive Athletes? Sports Med 2007; 37 (2): 95-102.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Phosphatidylserine: Does It Work?

For most supplements out there, there's a ton of hype flying around the magazines and the internet – especially the internet. As a result, it's easy for all but the most seasoned of bodybuilders to get confused about what works and what doesn't.

While hype has been and continues to be part of “the game”, hype not only causes confusion about blockbuster ingredients like creatine and the nitric oxide supplements, but creates confusion about old-school supplements making a comeback – supplements like phosphatidylserine (PtdSer).

Phosphatidylserine, a phospholipid, is found in soy protein and was used heavily by the old-school pro's who swore that it gave them great results. In recent times, this supplement ingredient has been cast aside – so does it really work? Yes – without a doubt!

The evidence shows clearly that PtdSer increases your endurance and performance in the gym, stops your cortisol levels from skyrocketing following your workouts, reduces muscle soreness from hard-training and speeds your recovery – and this means a bigger and stronger you.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: Despite the hype that pervades the magazines and internet, one thing is certain – phosphatidylserine works big time to get you big and back in the iron battle faster than ever!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Michael Kingsley. Effects of Phosphatidylserine Supplementation on Exercising Humans. Sports Med 2006; 36 (8): 657-669.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Change It Up - Often!

We all have favorite exercises that we like to do, and while they can get us good and strong for a while, we really should change things up - and not just to keep boredom from setting and killing our passion, or because we’ve hit a plateau.

A new study shows that mixing it up every so often with a new routine does more than just build muscle, it prevents your Muscle-Tendon complex from degrading.

Your Muscle-Tendon complex is the point at which your muscles that generate force connect to your tendons and transmit that force. Having healthy tendons is essential because your tendons must be fairly elastic and flexible to correctly transfer and bear the forces that your muscles place upon them during a brutal workout. Zero flexibility equals zero functionality.

Researchers found that aging and disuse caused the Muscle-Tendon complex to degrade, and that the only way to keep our muscles and tendons in tip top shape is to chronically switch things up, subjecting our muscles to different workout routines. By doing this, the Muscle-Tendon complex is always challenged to grow stronger, instead of simply bearing the same workout routines over and over and never adapting.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Switch it up at regular intervals. By switching it up at regular intervals, you’ll get the most muscle possible out of a program and keep your Muscle-Tendon complex healthy and in good shape.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: NARICI, M.V, et al. Plasticity of the Muscle-Tendon Complex With Disuse and Aging. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev., Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 126Y134, 2007.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Working Out: Get It Right!

Let’s face it: busting your butt in the gym and breaking down muscle fibers under a ton of iron isn’t easy, but it’s the only way you’re going to get the big and beyond ripped physique that makes you the envy of everyone you know.

But there’s a fine line between doing too little, and doing too much. And, unless you can do just enough work to grow – unless you can get it right – all of your hard work will be for nothing, and you’ll end up getting sick. And how, exactly, does doing too much exercise make you sick?

A study looked at the underlying mechanisms of exercise and found that too much exercise makes you sick by altering your physiology and that doing too much exercise changes the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (TMP) of leukocytes – key immune system cells – and increased cell death rates, while simultaneously increasing inflammation and triggering muscle breakdown.

So, here’s your FUSION FACTOID: To build muscle, you’ve got to get it right – and this means working with all-out muscle building intensity until you’re finished – and not working a minute later. By working with precision, you’ll get all of the upside with none of the downside – like massive cell death and skyrocketing inflammation.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: T-C Tuan, et al. Deleterious effects of short-term, high-intensity exercise on immune function: evidence from leucocyte mitochondrial alterations and apoptosis. Br. J. Sports Med. 2008;42;11-15; originally published online 15 May 2007.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Skinny on CLA - Does It Really Help You Get Ripped?

There sure are a lot of claims about CLA, but for all of the claims it appears that there aren’t very many real, concrete and verifiable answers. Some people claim that CLA helps you lose weight, while others dismiss it as a useless supplement ingredient that has become the victim of its own hype.

So what’s the REAL story? Does CLA really help you get ripped?

A new study shows that while CLA doesn’t do much for losing fat directly, it may help with improving insulin function. Insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas, is critical for losing body fat and improving insulin function. So, by keeping insulin levels low CLA may help with fat loss indirectly, or at least help prevent fat gain.

But there’s a catch: CLA is a lipid with twice the number of calories of protein or carbohydrates. So, while bodybuilders who are leaning up for a contest can use CLA to help reign in insulin 12 weeks out from contest day, CLA shouldn’t be used up until the day of the contest as its calories may make fat loss more difficult the leaner you get.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Use CLA in the beginning weeks of your contest prep, but cut it off as you get lean. In this way you’ll take advantage of its effects on insulin, you’ll support your hormone function when dieting down, all without gaining fat in the final weeks before contest time.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Jing-Jing Li, et al. Anti-obesity effects of conjugated linoleic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2008, 52, 631 – 645.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tendon Injury? Go Ballistic!

Let’s face it: injuries suck, but they’re going to happen when you train all-out for unparalleled muscle growth that makes you the envy of everyone in your gym. In fact, for many bodybuilders – especially the top level professionals – injuries are chronic and are an accepted side-effect of being the best. Simply: being injured comes with the territory when you give your all.

Many different kinds of injuries exist, but the most common are muscle, nerve, joint and tendon injuries, with tendon injuries being among the most annoying, painful, debilitating for bodybuilders. Thankfully, new research shows that far from sitting still and quitting training, going ballistic is the answer for fast recovery.

Specifically, researchers now believe that ballistic stretching helps joints become more compliant, resulting in accelerated increases in range-of-motion and functionality following injury.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Rather than sitting home and nursing an injury while neglecting your training, the science shows that you should instead utilize ballistic stretching to get back into top form.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: E Witvrouw, et al. The role of stretching in tendon injuries. Br J Sports Med 2007;41:224–226.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Does Ice Water REALLY Help?

We’ve all been told that icing a sore muscle really helps to reduce the swelling and soreness that comes with exercise, and is the best way to speed recovery so you can get back into the gym and back to hard-training and rapid growth.
But new research seems to turn this idea on its head.
Scientists recently tested whether immersing your quads in ice water after exercise had any effects on keeping Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) at bay. The results?

“The protocol of ice-water immersion used in this study was ineffectual in minimising markers of DOMS...”

Researchers concluded their findings with the startling conclusion that “This study challenges the wide use of this intervention as a recovery strategy by athletes.”

Here’s your FUSION FACTOID: For the time being, it looks like you no longer have to immerse your body parts in frigid ice-water to speed recovery. In fact, you’d probably be better off just drinking said ice-water according to this study. We think that plenty of stretching, a diet rich in proteins and garlic, and the use of anti-inflammatory enzymes and BCAA’s is the way to GROW faster than ever.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Kylie Louise Sellwood, et al. Ice-water immersion and delayed-onset muscle soreness: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Sports Med 2007;41:392–397.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

HMB - Does Age Matter?

There seems to be a line of reasoning among bodybuilders that goes like this: the older you get, the less muscle you can build, the more fat you gain, and the less effective supplements become at giving you mind-blowing results.

While it's clear that building muscle is harder as you age because of declining hormones, and that gaining fat is easier because of metabolic slowdown, it's not so clear that supplements work less as you age – and when it comes to HMB, a new study challenges the conventional wisdom.

Researchers gave HMB to young, middle-aged and older bodybuilders and found that, regardless of age, HMB “may inhibit the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic pathway responsible for the specific degradation of intracellular proteins. HMB may also directly stimulate protein synthesis, through an mTOR dependent mechanism.”

Here is your FUSION FACTOID: Despite some of the conflicting evidence on HMB, and the notion that supplements work less as you age, this study on HMB, at least, shows that there are always exceptions to the rule. HMB works for everyone – so take it! You can lose fat, gain muscle and get awesome results.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Gabriel J Wilson, Jacob M Wilson and Anssi H Manninen. Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: A review. Nutrition & Metabolism 2008, 5:1.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lower Test = Less Life...

Bodybuilders need high testosterone levels to lift heavy, workout hard and grow massive. Testosterone is, simply, the lifeblood of muscle building. But there's only one problem: stress, pollution and ageing all cause testosterone levels to sink, and if you're 30 or over, the situation gets worse because your testosterone levels naturally decline after this age.

A new study examining the effects of lower testosterone levels – total and free testosterone – has found that lower testosterone levels may shorten your life – increasing your chances of dying early by 33% compared to people with high or normal testosterone levels.

But low testosterone doesn't just increase your risk of an early demise, it also makes it very difficult to be motivated and to train with the blinding intensity you need to force muscle growth.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: Get your testosterone levels high by avoiding stress, eating right and training hard – giving it your all every time you enter the gym. While not mandatory, it can also be good to supplement with a natural test booster, just to make sure that you're maxing out your test levels and getting the best and fastest gains possible. So get your test levels high – and get HUGE! It may even make you live longer.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Study presented at the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, June 5, 2007.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ditch the NSAIDS...

We've already reported on the effects of ibuprofen – that it cripples protein synthesis and muscle growth. But what of the other over-the-counter Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Inhibitor drugs? What about drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol), Celebrex, Naproxen (Aleev) and opiates that are frequently used to reduce inflammation and pain after a hard workout?

The story is pretty much the same – and it's not good.

New research shows clearly that while acetaminophen (Tylenol) did not slow growth, protein synthesis and the healing of tendons from a hard workout, drugs like Celebrex, Naproxen and various opiates did delay the healing of tendons and, taken one step further, actually decreased the overall collagen count of these tissues – making joints less functional.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: If you're going to use a painkiller after a killer workout that's full of gut-busting pain, choose the least of all evils: acetaminophen. And, if at all possible, use enzymes that help control inflammation from spiraling out of control.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: American Journal Sports Medicine, published online April 23, 2007.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BCAA's Are No Fad...

The bodybuilding World is strange: fads and gimmicks come and go and things go in and out of style. While some things should never become popular in the first place, other things should never go out of popularity. BCAA’s are a case in point.

While research over the years has proven the need for BCAA’s by showing that they increase protein synthesis, muscle growth and speed exercise recovery, they have mysteriously fallen into and out of favour with bodybuilders. Now, there’s yet another study showing that BCAA’s need to stay in the arsenal of every serious bodybuilder.

A recent study examined the effects of BCAA shortage on overall growth patterns and brain function, and found that BCAA shortage leads to stunted growth levels and poor brain function – sometimes even brain diseases.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: BCAA’s are critical for your results. Use them, and be generous. Shortages will turn your physique from treasure into trash, and can lead to the onset of a whole host of disease states.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Malcolm Watford. 2007 International Life Sciences Institute. April 2007: 167–172.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Old School Energy...

Many bodybuilders need an extra blast of energy prior to hitting the gym for a hard training session. While energy drinks are now popular with athletes from all sport, the old stand-by – coffee – hasn’t gone away and a lot of bodybuilders drink a cup – or three – before a workout to get the energy and motivation they need to pound out rep after rep of heavy iron.

Now, scientists are stating that because coffee induces a thermogenic effect, it may also protect against type II diabetes – the kind of diabetes that’s so prevalent, especially amongst overweight and obese people.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: While energy drinks may be popular, a lot of them contain sugar, and there’s no evidence that they offer any thermogenic benefit. But coffee is a thermogenic and it’s sugar free – meaning all of the energy, plus diabetes protection, with none of the calories and fat gain from extra sugar. So next time you need some energy to pound out set after heavy set, consider drinking a cup – or three – of coffee. It’s old school, but it’ll do the trick like nothing else.

Source: Hannia Campos, PhD, and Ana Baylin, MD, DrPH. Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. 2007 International Life Sciences Institute. April 2007: 173–179.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The TRUTH about probiotics...

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the benefits of probiotics – special bacteria present in your intestinal track that aide in food digestion and overall health. Not surprisingly, new foods have appeared that are “enhanced” and “fortified” with probiotics, and even new supplements have debuted, with marketers claiming that bodybuilders need more probiotics because of the amount and frequency of our meals. These marketers claim that bodybuilders need more probiotics than the average person and that extra probiotics will speed digestion, increase nutrient absorption and lead to overall better health.

But there’s only one problem with these claims: They’re not true!

The truth is that most orally ingested probiotics are destroyed in stomach acid before they produce any benefit and, even if they do survive your stomach, they may not produce any benefit once in your body – unless your intestinal bacteria balance is already out of balance.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Probiotics may be great for people with digestive problems, but they don’t do anything for bodybuilders. So save your money and skip the “enhanced” and “fortified” yogurts and other food items that show up on store shelves. Instead, stick to the basics and build muscle by getting high quality proteins. It’s the only way to go.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: L. Miles. Are probiotics beneficial for health? British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin,32, 2–5.2007.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Don't Be Afraid Of Soy...

Let's face it: Soy protein has a pretty bad reputation when it comes to muscle building. For years, so-called “experts” have slammed soy protein as inferior to whey and egg proteins, and have warned us about soy protein being a “womans protein” because of its estrogenic potential. These experts warn that the potential estrogen activity of soy could crush muscle growth by negatively impacting testosterone production.

Now, however, research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows beyond any doubt that soy protein is effective for men, as it is rich in isoflacones that increase HDL “good” cholestrol and lower LDL “bad” cholestrol, helping to keep your cardiovascular system and heart in good shape and dramatically reducing your chances of getting heart disease.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: Don’t fear soy protein. Provided that you eat a diet rich in protein from whey, egg, milk and animal sources, soy protein will give you cardiovascular protection without any hormone releated side-effects.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Brianne L McVeigh, Barbara L Dillingham, Johanna W Lampe, and Alison M Duncan. Effect of soy protein varying in isoflavone content on serum lipids in healthy young men. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:244 -51.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Don't Reach For The Ibuprofen...

Training is hard work and you're going to feel the pain that comes with it if you train with the blinding intensity that's needed to build serious muscle.

Bodybuilders have used Ibuprofen for years to deal with training-related pain and training induced inflammation, but now research shows that using Ibuprofen not only harms your liver and kills pain, but that it also kills your muscle growth. Simply: Ibuprofen kills muscle growth by inhibiting protein synthesis – the conversion of ingested proteins into new muscle tissue.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: While training hurts, and while you can use Ibuprofen to kill the pain, just remember that you're also crushing your muscle growth. A better approach is to forgoe Ibuprofen and instead use anti-inflammatory enzymes. While the effects won't be as immediate at killing your pain, the long-term results are worth it: reduced pain and increased muscle growth.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Mcanulty, S.R., J.T. Owens, L.S. Mcanulty, D.C. Nieman, J.D. Morrow, C.L. Dumke, and G.L. Milne. Ibuprofen Use during Extreme Exercise: Effects on Oxidative Stress and PGE2. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 39, No. 7, pp.1075-1079, 2007.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Need Energy? Use it!

Everyone gets tired – especially after a long and tough workout where you’ve given it your all to stimulate every last muscle fiber. After a tough workout, the best thing to do is rest, eat and recover so that you can grow stronger and bigger as fast as possible.

But what happens when you’re just feeling beat and you can’t muster the energy to train? Some bodybuilding “experts” advise taking an extra “rest day” when you just don’t have the juice to hammer at the iron, in the hopes of being able to hack it the next day. Makes sense, right? Wrong. Science proves it.

A study by scientists at the University of Georgia shows that when already-tired people do low-intensity exercise, their fatigue is not only reduced by an amazing 65%, but their overall positive energy levels increase by 20%. These findings totally destroy the idea that exercise will make you more tired if you’re already fatigued, or that you should wait to exercise until you’re 100% amped. And just remember: we’ve already proven that missing workouts will make you fat.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: When you’re “tired”, do something. Most people feel tired because they’re really just bored – so get into the gym, and while you don’t have to train all-out at every session, even doing low-intensity exercise will get you focused and energized when it counts.

SOURCE: University of Georgia (2008, March 2). Low-intensity Exercise Reduces Fatigue Symptoms By 65 Percent.

- FUSION Research Team

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Don't Want To Get Fat?...

You're a bodybuilder, an Iron Warrior, A Disciple of past champions – so chances are good that you wan't a big, strong beyond ripped body that's the best there is,with no ugly fat hiding all of your hard work. If this is you, then add one more thing to your “must do” bodybuilding list: eat fresh berries.

It's true: on the surface, berries don't seem essential for bodybuilders – they're low in protein and light on calories – and they certainly won't build muscle like a nice thick steak. But there's new evidence that fresh berries can stop you from getting fat – and not getting fat is always better than having to lose fat.

Many berries such as blueberries contain special blue/purple/red pigments called anthocyanins, and science shows that they can help prevent obesity, even when consuming a relatively high-fat diet. The research pointed out that grape skins, blueberries, blackberries and purple corn are rich in these fat fighters, but other foods contain them as well.

So here's your FUSION FACTOID: Eat dark colored fresh berries whenever possible. Insodoing you'll not only benefit from their antioxidant effects, but you'll be keeping the fat away.

SOURCE:American Chemical Society (2008, February 14). Natural Purple Pigments In Fruits, Vegetables And Berries, Such As Blueberries, May Help Prevent Obesity.

- FUSION Research Team

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Once You Start Working Out - KEEP IT UP!

You hear it all the time: “you have to be consistent with your workouts if you hope to build muscle and burn fat” and “being consistent is the only real way to make any gains.”

While we all know that this advice is true for muscle building and fat burning, new science is shedding light on the age-old practice of taking breaks between training phases.

It's a common practice for bodybuilders to take a one-week break or rest period at the end of bulking and cutting cycles. This is done primarily to rest the body and allow it to “normalize” in anticipation of the start of a cutting or bulking phase and the corresponding changes in training practices.

But new science shows that taking a total break can make you fat. In fact, the science shows that missing workouts and taking extended breaks from exercise – not exercising consistently – increases your chances of getting fat - more so than eating fatty foods!

So here's the straight-talk from FUSION: If you're reaching the end of one training-phase and about to start another, don't take a total break from activity. Instead, continue doing light cardiovascular exercise, or play a sport. Do something – just don't become a couch potato. This will not only stop you from getting fat, but it will keep your conditioning up so you have less “catch-up” work to do once you get back in the game.

Source: DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2008, February 9). Irregular Exercise Pattern May Add Pounds.

- FUSION Research Team

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wanna Be BIG? Can The Beer...

It's a fact: bodybuilders exist to build rock-hard, eye-popping muscle – to get huge!

To get huge, you have to eat and lift heavy. Some bodybuilders – especially younger bodybuilders – have taken to drinking beer because of the common misconception that the added calories from beer can aide in muscle building. Not so.

Science shows that alcohol doesn't just prevent muscle growth, but it also makes you fat – and keeps you that way.

Alcohol is calorie dense – with each gram of alcohol packing a whopping 7.5 calories. per gram) These empty calories increase your overall energy intake, and also negatively impact your hormone profile by supressing beta-adrenergic receptor activity – the activity that triggers fat incineration.

Bottom Line: Beer makes your fat and keeps you that way.

So next time you're thinking about having a brew, can the beer instead and focus on increasing your testosterone and muscle growth the right way: by working out hard and eating right.

Source: Endocrinology, in press; published online June 22, 2006.

- FUSION Research Team

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


At FUSION we are fortunate enough to have a stream of great testimonials about how our products have helped bodybuilders around the world achieve their goals. But, there is one testimonial that really stood out. It is from a bodybuilding dad who had great success with PURPLE•K and was so confident in it, that he recommended his 20 year old son use it. Well, we were totally stoked when Andrew Collins sent in this picture of his son - introducing Khris Collins. WOW - what a great combination of dedication, hard work and smart supplementation. Keep training bad ass Khris - you never know where it will take you.

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Khris Collins - bodybuilder to the core

- FUSION Media

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


It's a fact: if you want a powerful physique, you need big quads. Your quads are the largest muscle group in your body and comprise half of your physique – so skipping that leg workout can lead to disproportional development and a lack of functional strength and muscular symmetry. Ultimately, this can lead to injury.

While squats are undeniably effective not only for leg development but for overall development and strength, science shows that dumbbell step-ups are, in fact, superior to all other leg exercises for quadriceps strength development and muscular growth.

How so? It's simple: squats place the weight load across your back in a balanced fashion, but dumbbell step-ups not only work your quadriceps but also force you to develop and use maximum control over your body balance in order to properly execute the exercise and maintain correct body position from beginning to end.

So while squats are an indispensable, foundation exercise, and while many other exercises are useful growth-triggering tools in your arsenal, do step-ups if you want to build big quads.

Source: Strengthening Conditioning Journal, 28:60-61, 2006.

- FUSION Research Team

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Every bodybuilder knows that there's a downside to hard-training: getting sick. Bodybuilders have known for years that while training hard is needed to get strong and build serious muscle, overtraining is sometimes just a rep away. In a new study, researchers tried to figure out part of the reason why training can make you sick, and they think they've found part of the answer: it's in your spit.

Researchers tested a team of World-class rowers, and wanted to see how intense exercise affected levels of lactoferrin and lysozyme – two immune system saliva proteins that kill microbes. High levels of these proteins is a good thing, and low levels not good – if levels get too low, you get sick.

After examining saliva samples from these athletes taken before and after an intense workout, scientists discovered an intense workout lowers the total count of these protective proteins, so your body kills of less microbes – making it easier for you to get sick.

It's not clear why training has this effect, but to combat your risk of getting sick, researchers recommend drinking plenty of water during exercise to flush out potentially harmful bacteria. We also recommend supplementing with vitamin C for oxidant protection and eating plenty of protein so you heal faster.

Source: West, Nick. Griffith University. Elite Athletes More Susceptible To Common Illnesses, Research Suggests.

- FUSION Research Team

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WBFF Kicks Off - 2008 Season

After the huge success of the WBFF World Championships last September, things are ramping up again for a great season. The WBFF's first of a string of hot-bod contests will be on March 15. Check out the poster below. You can find more information at
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- FUSION - Media

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Post-Exercise Calorie Burn

For years it’s been thought and taught that the way to burn more calories following your workout is to increase the total volume of your training, either by increasing the number of total sets that you perform over the course of your workout, by increasing the total number of repetitions per set that you perform, or by increasing both set and repetition count. Millions of bodybuilders have followed this advice hoping to increase post-exercise calorie burn. Unfortunately, while popular, this approach is wrong and doesn’t work.

The fact is, while lifting weights does burn calories and keeps your metabolism higher than normal once your workout is finished, nothing beats cardio in the calorie burning department. And, while doing more reps and sets during your workout will slightly increase the total calories you burn while in the gym, only cardio keeps your metabolism high and burning calories long after you’ve left the gym.

Source: International Journal Sports Medicine, 27:143-148, 2006.

- FUSION Research Team