New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding – Review

This book is written by Arnold Schwarzennegar in 1992, as a updated version of his original 1985 Encyclopedia book.  The book is very comprehensive as it covers 800 pages in great detail on bodybuilding history, diet and nutrition, weight training routines, competitions, injuries and their prevention, supplements, all with Arnold's commentaries. In the training section, he gives various routines based on your goals, whether beginner or advanced. There is a lot of photos of bodybuilders performing many different weight training excercises. The hall of fame section shows pictures of the various bodybuilders of the past. Arnold also talks about many of the bodybuilding champions he faced.

There is some quality content in the book, but I don't think this book should be used as a tool to develop a training routine and especially supplementation advice. We have learned a lot in bodybuilding in the last 15 years, making this book a bit outdated. Overall I recommend The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, mainly because of Arnold being the author. If someone else was the author, It wouldn't have been as interesting of a book. If you want a book that is more autobiographical of Arnold Schwarzeneggar, then you read my review of Arnold's other book Education of a bodybuilder

You can purchase The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding at Amazon.

Bodybuilding Supplement & “Legal Steroid” Scams

If you are a new to the bodybuilding world, you may not realize how many vultures are waiting on the sidelines ready to steal your money. We all at one time (and some of us still are) hoping for that magic muscle building supplement that no one knows about yet. It's in our nature to want something that causes big muscle gains, but without any side effects. I come across many small websites on the net all the time, advertising supplements that promise steroid like gains and claim to be side effect free. The sites usually use studies and testimonials to back up their product. The problem is the studies they use for these products are usually very weak and often not done on humans.

Another common trick many of these supplement sites use, is they repackage a worthless supplement under another name. In this way, they can continue to try to push a supplement with the same old argument and research at a much higher price, even though it is the same junk supplement that bodybuilders discounted years ago.

Then of course, there is the "legal steroid" websites, which try to market steroids to the gullible. They use fancy names closely resembling actual illegal steroids. The active ingredients in these rip-offs are really nothing more then common pro-hormones found on the market, but at 2 or 3 times the price. Even well known bodybuilding supplement brands, make outrageous claims that become the butt of jokes by veteran bodybuilders.

You are probably wondering why everyone is able to get away with all of this? Well, it is hard for a supplement to be proven beyond a doubt to not work. Secondly, they use very weak science or far reaching studies and they use that as justification for their claims. If you can't prove beyond a doubt it doesn't work and the company basis their claims on actual science or research, there is little that can be done.

At the moment, the only way to get a true consensus on what bodybuilding supplements may actually work, is to find out what other bodybuilders say in the forums. You can't listen to supplement companies or those bought off by them because they have a biased agenda driven by money. When listening to other bodybuilder's anecdotal experiences on supplements, you have to also remember the placebo factor too. If the overwhelming majority see results, then it probably works. Placebo strongly influences strength gains, so when deciding if a supplement works, I would pay more attention to those claiming muscle mass gains or losing fat.

Congress continues to waste time on their HGH and Steroid "Witch Hunt"

I happen to catch a bit of the congressional hearings last week on HGH. The congress is thinking of trying to make HGH a schedule 3 so they can criminalize people for it’s possession. Congress also had another hearing on steroids in baseball, with pitcher Roger Clemens and his former trainer.

The whole HGH hearing was a complete joke. Do they want to criminilize people because they want to look younger now? They assumed that HGH actually does build muscle, yet contrary to common belief, there is no real scientific studies that prove HGH actually definitively even builds muscles. In fact, most bodybuilders will tell you they believe it does more for burning fat, than building actual muscle. When some of the "experts" were asked from the congress about studies on HGH and muscle building, they all agreed that there were no real studies showing it as a muscle builder, but they assumed only because it was a flawed study and not because it just may very well be not a effective muscle builder. Of course, the congress would have had to be UN-biased to see that argument! You gotta love how some of the congressman even started asking about B12, a perfectly legitimate vitamin. What a invasion of privacy and ridiculous spectacle both of these hearings were and I couldn't believe these people were treating it like as if steroids and HGH were crack.

The 2nd hearing was a absolute disgrace, when they put the greatest baseball pitcher of all time, Clemens, into this circus. Now, I could care less who did what, I just happened to watch it because I was curious to know what the idiots in our congress were saying. I don't know why Clemens even bothered to go to this meeting. You know the congress is biased and are going to try and make you look bad. And then they will try to pin you into a suspected lie, so they can try to go after you with the feds like they are doing with Miguel Tejada, Barry Bonds, and others.

The congress should have better things to do. Look at the problems facing our country and they are concerned about whether Clemens and other baseball players are taking steroids and HGH. I'm glad that some of the republicans said to that fact during the hearings. It appears the liberal pinhead Waxman from California who is in charge of this charade, has a real personal vendetta in railroading people, for no real reason other than for sensationalism and ignorance.

Cardio Necessary for Effective Fat Loss?

There is a common belief in the mainstream, that for maximum (or even effective fat loss) you need to do some form of regular cardio to lose fat. This is simply wrong of course because many people have just dieted to lose fat, without any form of excercise. Of course this is a bodybuilding site, therefore dieting only is not ideal, since it doesn’t preserve muscle that well.

The next decision when going on a cutting phase, is whether or not cardio is even necessary? Weight training is actually more effective than low intensity cardio. Then there is HIIT cardio, which is much tougher to do, but is about as effective as weight training for fat loss. You would still have to do weight training for either form of cardio, to help preserve lean muscle preservation and strength.

So who should do cardio and when?

Most bodybuilders would agree that cardio is a pain. It is a nuisance and most would just rather stick to weight training only for their excercise. It is perfectly O.K no matter if you're a newbie, or a veteran to start your cutting phase without any cardio. When you first start dieting, the act of restricting calories will be enough to start causing fat loss, even without cardio.

Eventually everyone will hit a fat loss plateau, which is when cardio will be a necessity. You can only restrict your calories so much, before you cause your metabolism to crawl to a halt. The cardio will allow a phenomenon called energy flux. Basically what that means is, you will lose fat more effectively if you eat more, but also burn more calories simulatenously. In other words, it is better for fat loss if you eat more calories and burn more, than to eat less calories and burn less simulatenously.

If you don't want to do cardio while cutting, your fat loss will be slower. But bodybuilders often don't want to hassle with the time and effort cardio takes and wouldn't mind, even if the cutting phase took a little longer. You shouldn't increase weight training to overcompensate for lack of cardio, that would cause more harm than good. You would wind up overtaxing the body putting you into overtraining state.

For further reading, You can read a previous article of mine:
Fat loss effect of weight training vs. cardio

Increase Testosterone Levels

Testosterone levels is by far the most important muscle building factor in the body. Bodybuilders for decades have been trying to increase testosterone levels, be it artificially or naturally. Artificially it is done with the use of Steroids, but in this article we will discuss how to help maintain or increase testosterone levels through your own bodies natural production system. This article is mainly for men, although following the advices here can help women maintain healthy levels of testosterone and estrogen and other hormones, making them feel healthier and vibrant.

Ways to increase testosterone levels:

- High fat diet. Countless research has shown that fats help maintain and even increase testosterone levels. Omega-3's, monounsaturated and even saturated fats in diet, have all shown to increase testosterone levels.

- Quality consistent sleep. Your body can't recuperate it's hormone levels if you dont get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. People who work swing shifts or change the times of day they sleep constantly, also throw their hormones out of balance.

- Long term dieting. When you are in a calorie deficit, you releas cortisol and lower your testosterone levels. It also lowers other hormones such as Thyroid. During dieting, people generally aren't as healthy or energetic.

- Don't overtrain. Excessive weight training and other excercise like cardio, eventually leads to a gradual build up cortisol and lowering of testosterone.

- Prescription / Over the counter drugs. Find out if a prescription drug or over the counter drug interferes with testosterone or DHT. Some drugs for hair loss (Nizoral, proscar, etc), block or interfere with the conversion of testosterone to DHT and may cause side effects, since DHT is more responsible for masculinizing sex effects than testosterone in males.

- Zinc. A few years ago, Zinc was shown to boost testosterone levels in football athletes, when taken together with Vitamin B6. This led to the ZMA craze among bodybuilders, which was a proprietary blend of Zinc and vitamin B6. Zinc prevents the conversion of testosterone to dht, helping to maintain healthy testosterone levels. It is also good for the prostate and if taken before bed, very helpful for getting a good deep sleep. Most people are deficient to some degree in zinc. You can supplement with extra zinc even beyond your multi-vitamin. Taking ZMA specifically is not necessary for the benefits of Zinc, as vitamin B6 only helps aid in Zinc's absorption.

- 6-OXO. A anti-estrogen supplement developed by the well known bodybuilding supplement chemist Patrick Arnold. Anti-estrogen supplements available on the market today help boost natural testosterone production, by lowering the estrogen in your body. They should be safe for those over 21, as long as it is for brief occasional cycles. Unlike steroids, they do not shut down testosterone production or create supraphysiological levels many times that of natural levels. Instead they increase testosterone levels to a level moderately higher than you normally would have. When you get off of anti-estrogens, your testosterone levels will decrease again as your body goes back to equilibrium.

-Warmer weather. I've come across studies that showed that in the cooler months, men's testosterone levels dropped. I'm sure there is a genetic basis for this, so living in warmer weather most of the year is an advantage for maintaining testosterone levels.

- Lower bodyfat %. The higher your bodyfat % is, most likely the lower your testosterone levels will go. Your fat cells aromatize testosterone to estrogen instead of DHT. Estrogen in the body tends to decrease natural testosterone levels.

- Excercise regurly. Excercise helps keep your testosterone and other hormones at healthy levels, just don't overtrain.

I hope you learned from this article, how to effectively increase your Testosterone levels. This is the list I've compiled after reading research studies and bodybuilding articles for years.