Controlling Leptin Levels through Diet

You may not have heard of leptin, but you probably have felt the power of Leptin trying to keep you from losing fat during dieting. Leptin is a type of chemical hormone called a cytokine, that controls your hunger and metabolism. Leptin plays it's biggest role during long term dieting. During a long diet, your leptin levels increase in order to slow your metabolism down and increase your cravings. This is a survival mechanism by the body, to try and keep you to hang onto as much fat as possible during times of starvation. Although, dieters are not usually "starving" when they diet, it's the bodies way of trying to stay in balance. Leptin is mainly released through the fat cells, so people who start a diet fatter will have a harder time controlling their appetite and will hit a fat losing plateau easier.

How to diet properly to lower leptin levels:

To help ward off a potential fat loss plateau, you can manipulate lower leptin levels while dieting. To do this is simple, Leptin is dependant on your glucose levels. If you have a large meal, high in carbs, your Leptin levels will drop. Not only that, but you get an extra benefit, your Testosterone, IGF-1, Growth hormone, and thyroid levels will skyrocket. All of these hormones help in fat loss and maintain your muscle.

You may be wondering how you can get away with these kinds of meals, if your goal is to lose fat. The answer is through cycling or some kind of "cheat meal". Every few days have one or 2 cheat meals. This will help temporarily ward off the long term trend to lower leptin levels.
Realize, this does not mean that you can diet indefinitely. While the high carb meals will give a temporary drop in Leptin levels, eventually you will plateau permanently. You can only push your body so much before it eventually stops losing fat. This is how all biological systems work as they are built to resist too much extreme change. These cheat meals are just a way to get more fat loss, before you reach the dreaded fat loss plateau.

How often should bodybuilders eat protein meals?

As bodybuilders we always told dogmatically to eat 5-7 protein rich meals spread throughout the day. This leads to some bodybuilders freaking out if they miss a protein meal thinking they are losing muscle mass. Most bodybuilders eat 6 protein meals a day, which I’ll coin here, the “6 meal theory”.

Why do bodybuilders need 6 protein meals a day?

We have been told that the reason we need many protein meals throughout the day is to keep a steady supply in our bloodstream. They believe that if you aren’t having a steady supply, you are shortchanging your muscle building once the levels drop. We are also told that we can only digest about 30 to 50 grams of protein in one meal and therefore we have to spread it out over many meals if you want to get your total daily intake. If you take 100 grams over 3 meals, in theory that would mean a lot of protein doesn't get absorbed.

There is no substantial evidence that directly supports the 6 protein meal theory, comparing for example, 3 higher protein meals to 6 smaller protein meals spread out. Perhaps in the future, there will be but I couldn't find any at the moment. Instead of using direct research evidence for the "6 meal theory", bodybuilders have used research supporting the fact that protein can't be digested all at once and the belief that bodybuilders require more than a gram of protein per lb of bodyweight for maximum muscle gains. Notice I say "belief", more on that next.

Some research that is cited commonly for the 6 meal theory argument, points to protein being digested into the 30-50 gram per meal range. Although those studies are a bit weak and have nothing to do with studying bodybuilder's diets. And what I'm about to say might sound blasphemous to the bodybuilding community, but there is actually little to no research supporting the idea that protein intake over .8 grams / per pound leads to better muscle gains. That is not to say that increasing protein intake isn't a good idea, it's just there is no substantial research on it that it helps in building more muscle. I believe if a bodybuilder increased his calories, without increasing the ratio of protein along with it during bulking, he would just get fat from the excess carbs. So at the very least, increasing protein beyond .8 to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is important for lean muscle gains. And other than for immediately after a workout for 24-36 hours where protein synthesis is hightened, I don't see any evidence that letting amino acid levels in your blood drop a few times throughout the day, would automatically lead to shortchanging your muscle gains.

To make things confusing, there is another bodybuilding diet theory called Protein Pulse Feeding. This theory believes that sporadic larger protein meals throughout the day, called "pulses", actually are better than a steady supply of smaller protein meals. I've found about 4 studies, one done on rats the others done on women and elderly dealing with this protein feed diet. In 3 of the 4 it showed increases in protein synthesis significantly after the protein pulse feed diets. Perhaps this is because like how your body tends to retain water when it doesn't get a steady supply throughout the day, you increase protein synthesis to try and compensate for these sproradic protein pulse feeds. With that said, the research was a bit on the short term(the longest was 21 days) and I think could have possibly shown different results, if it continued on. I think as the body adjusted to the new protein diet it may have shown different results. The studies also weren't done on athletic or bodybuilders, so not exactly the ideal study groups for our purpose. After a grueling weight training workout where protein synthesis is already raised for 24-36 hours, I don't see how protein pulse feeding could be effective and might even be a detriment to muscle gains.

Which way is right then?

Unfortunately, the more you look into research on different aspects of protein dieting, the more confusing it gets. It doesn't help that there is few research studies out there and most isn't done on athletic or bodybuilder types. Fortunately, we don't really need to sit there and try to figure this all out from research. Bodybuilders have been eating large amounts of protein, broken up into 6 or more meals for decades now. While there may be another way that doesn't require as much protein or as many meals to get the same muscle building effect, we don't know. But we do know what works for the pro bodybuilders. Until more research comes out proving otherwise, we should continue to follow the pro bodybuilders in how we structure our diets.

DoggCrap Workout Routine

DoggCrap also known by his real name Dante Trudell, is the creator behind the DoggCrap workout routine. DoggCrap has been around since the 90’s and has gained a lot of popularity among bodybuilders with his unique training styles. DoggCrap now personally trains some top serious bodybuilders in the world.

Basic Principles of the DoggCrap Workout Routine

DoggCrap emphasisizes a high intensity low volume workout, but unlike other high intensity workout routines, he believes the muscle should be worked out more than once a week. DoggCrap believes that more frequent workouts leads to more chances for muscle building. Depending on your recovery abilities and the excercise you are doing, you may also incorporate static holds, rest-pause sets, and extreme stretching into your workout. Static holds are holding the way in midair for 20 seconds. In rest pause sets, it is like one workout set broken up into 3 workout sets. You rack the weight after the set, rest for a few deep breaths then do another set with the same weight, rack it again and do some more deep breaths and pump out a couple more reps in a 3rd set. DoggCrapp believes in these extra high techniques to add intensity, which really forces the building of muscle. The purpose of the extreme stretching, is to allow the fascia tissue under the muscle to stretch. This in theory is supposed to allow muscle gains easier in the future.

While each workout will have to be tailored to your recovery and training ability, everyone doing Doggcrap workout routines will follow some common principles. You will do just one workout set for each muscle per workout day. If you do rest pause sets, that is also considered one workout set. DoggCrap does not count warm up sets. He always does one or more lighter warmup sets leading up before the workout set for each excercise. All regular workout sets are done with slow controlled negatives and a fast explosive positive rep speed done to muscular failure. After 6 to 12 weeks, DoggCrap recommends you lighten your workout load for the next 2 weeks where you do less volume and intensity.

Sample DoggCrap Workout Routine:

DoggCrapp advocates you workout each muscle 2 times per 7,8, or 9 days, depending on the recovering abilities and the scheduling of a persons workout week. For all newbies and those with average recovering abilities, 2 times every 8 days is the standard recommendation by DoggCrap. Before DoggCrapp recommends rest pause or statics sets he starts people on a standard base program where every muscle is worked 2 times every 8 days with regular workout sets. Below is a way he would start it for a newbie to the program.

Day one (monday):
Chest
Shoulders
Triceps
Back width
Back thickness

Day two (wednesday):
Biceps
Forearms
Calves
Hamstrings
Quads

Day three (friday):
Chest
Shoulders
Triceps
Back width
Back thickness

**Weekend off***

Day four (Monday again)
Biceps
Forearms
Calves
Hamstrings
Quads

You will continue alternating back and forth between chest and leg day. You will see that over 16 days you hit the chest/back and legs 4 times each. Keep in mind these are regular slow workout sets. Only if your recovery abilities allow it, then DoggCrapp recommends adding static holds to the straight sets. If your recovery is even better than that, instead of doing static sets, he recommends rest pause sets and static holds immediately after the rest pause set. Those with above average recoveries may also be recommended to try a slightly higher workout frequency where you excercise each muscle 2 times every 7 days.

Sean Nalewanyj Program

Sean Nalewanyj is author of the muscle building program at musclegaintruth.com. Sean Nalewanyj’s program is very popular, so I decided to buy it in order to review it. I purchased the Sean Nalewanyj program package for $77 dollars in January.

About Sean Nalewanyj

Before I talk about the program, I would first like to explain who is Sean Nalewanyj and how he created his program. Sean Nalewanyj was your typical skinny kid, who grew up being picked on and embarassed. He only weighed 125 lbs throughout his teens. Eventually, Sean Nalewanyj took matters into his own hands and radically changed his body from a scrawny loser to a brawny guy, that would make most people jealous.

Before and after pictures of Sean Nalewanyj

Here is picture of Sean Nalewanyj when he was in
his young teens and as you can see, he is your typical natural skinny hardgainer.

sean Nalewanyj before

This is Sean Nalewanyj now

sean Nalewanyj

Sean Nalewanyj was so happy with his results that he took what he learned and developed his own program. In 2006 and 2007, he has claimed to be the top selling muscle transformation program and been featured even in New York Times.

Sean Nalewanyj Book Overview

The beginning of the book explains in detail how Sean Nalewanyj struggled with his confidence being the skinny kid. It also tells you exactly why he decided to get into bodybuilding and how it changed his life. Sean Nalewanyj made this a highly inspirational section and a must read for others who went through these same experiences, like I did also when I was younger.

The other 9 chapters:

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - The Muscle-Building Philosophy
Chapter 3 - Structuring The Perfect Workout
Chapter 4 - Proper Muscle-Building Nutrition
Chapter 5 - Harnessing Your Inner Power
Chapter 6 - Supplementing For Massive Gains
Chapter 7 - Critical Feeding Times
Chapter 8 - Muscle-Building Myths Uncovered
Chapter 9 - Proper Rest & Recovery
Chapter 10 - Closing Words

Sean Nalewanyj will tell you exactly the rep range that is best for muscle building. He tells you in the supplement section exactly what supplements to avoid because they don't work. In the nutrition section, Sean Nalewanyj will tell you exactly what ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you need for optimum muscle building. The workout section tells you exactly what kind of excercises are the best muscle mass builders and how you gear your workout around them. He also covers many other things including common sense tips, how to protect your joints and tendons from injuries, and bodybuilding myths. Sean Nalewanyj's book won't get you confused in a bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo. This book is for the novice who wants someone to give them everything they need to know to build muscle.

Sean Nalewnyj Program Package components

The program package also includes a workout plan guide on how to have 3 8 week cycles. He gives you also a logbook which means you can fill it out and take it with you while you workout. This makes it easy to track your progress for each week and develop good habits. He then gives you access to his private video database, where he performs 100 different weight lifting excercises. Sean Nalewanyj also includes 9 different meal plan examples based on calories, that he has used himself. This is great for making it easy to figure out nutritious meals that meet the daily protein and carbohydrate ratios based on calories.

The most unique part of the package is his personal training software. Basically it is a large database of common questions people have asked him. Just type in a question and it will match something in the database. This makes you feel like Sean Nalewanyj is in your own home helping you.

Final thoughts on Sean Nalewanyj Program

Would I recommend the Sean Nalewanyj Program to others? If you are skinny and don't know much about building muscle and are confused by everyones contradicting advice, then yes. It would save you a lot of time and hassle if you just bought his book and followed it to a T. Realize that Sean Nalewanyj's Program is geared for mostly those who don't know much about building muscle. His program is not magic and it will still take hard work and dedication on your part, to see the best muscle building results. Sean Nalewanyj does not have superior genetics, so he has proven himself the ability to overcome that and build dramatic muscle.

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Anthony Ellis FastMuscleGain.com Program Review

Anthony Ellis is the author behind the muscle building program at Fastmusclegain.com. His program package is specifically geared for skinny hardgainers who have trouble gaining weight and muscle. Anthony Ellis claims over 100,000 users have purchased his muscle building program.

Anthony Ellis has a proven ability to be able to completely transform his body. It started in 1997 when he was only 135 lbs. He decided he would join the Body for life Challenge by Bill Phillips. In the span of 12 weeks he was able to gain over 30 lbs of lean muscle mass.

Anthony Ellis

He then for the following 4 weeks went on a cutting phase where he lowered his bodyfat to a very low 5.7%, while maintaining all of his muscle!

Anthony Ellis

Many people over the years question his accomplishment, but for his personal challenge he took before and after pictures with a newspaper. Anthony Ellis was one of the 7 finalist for Bill Phillips competition and actually was featured in the 97 body for life video. The finalist all took a lie detector test asking about their previous steroid use. Some didn't pass with flying colors and they were questioned, including Anthony Ellis. Bill Phillips decided to make all the finalist a winner. Anthony Ellis has always claimed that he never has used steroids. Regardless of the controversy, Anthony Ellis has proven to be an inspiration for thousands of skinny guys like me, looking for someone who knows how to build muscle for their body type.

I purchased the program a few years ago. As a hardgainer myself, Anthony Ellis was the first person I learned most of my basics. The first part of the book is an introduction to hormones and understanding how hormones interact to build muscle and help fat loss. In the next section, Anthony Ellis shows you in pictures and text, how to do all the major workout excercises with proper form. The next section talks about nutrition. He covers everything, from what kinds of proteins are best, to the effects of fats in the diet on muscle building.

Although Anthony Ellis markets his book mainly to skinny hardgainers, the next section is seperated between fat loss and muscle gain programs. In both the mass gaining and fat loss programs, Anthony Ellis tells you exactly how to setup your diet based on calories, grams of each macronutrient, how many meals to eat, exact times to eat them, etc. You are supposed to choose between the mass gain or fat loss program based upon your bodyfat percent. The fat loss program is for those who gained too much fat during their muscle gaining phase or who happen to be hardgainers and got out of shape, becoming "skinnyfat". Anthony Ellis supplement section of the book outlines the supplements he recommends and the science behind them. The end of the book has other things such as answers to common questions, tips, and more.

The workout routines are followed in his workout books that come with the package. There is a workout book for beginners, fat loss, and muscle gaining. All you have to do is follow each workout to a T and each workout automatically changes every few weeks. The workouts he gives are very well designed and give you a good understand of how to setup a effective weight training workout. The workouts are planned out as a schedule for weeks, but you can continue to do his workouts after you get to the end, by starting back to week 1. Anthony Ellis incorporates changing workouts every few weeks because changing workouts is important to continued muscle growth.

Is Anthony Ellis's program package worth purchasing?

Yes, if you don't know much about working out and the basics of building muscle. This program is great for not only hardgainers, but anyone who wants to lose fat effectively too. Although Anthony Ellis does a good job of trying to convince you he has some secret to building muscle that others don't, this book is strictly for newbies. The book won't tell you anything new if you already are well versed in the basics. Anthony Ellis offers a full money back guarantee, so that is a benefit for those who are wary of his program.

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MSG (Glutamates) in Protein Powders Dangerous?

Many protein powders taken by bodybuilders contain MSG (also known as Glutamates). Before we discuss the controversy, we have to understand what exactly is Glutamates and MSG. MSG stands for Monosodium Glutamate and is a common taste enhancer added to foods. MSG is just a free form salt form of the amino acid glutamic acid. Glutamates are free form, whereas Glutamic acid is the regular natural bound protein form. Don't confuse Glutamates with another amino acid Glutamine, which is commonly supplemented by many bodybuilders. The only connection between these amino acids, is that inside the body Glutamine can convert to Glutamic acid and both are utilized by the intestine cells.

Protein found naturally in food, has most of the amino acids bound up in many long amino acid chains. It requires the stomach to break the amino acid chains down into smaller chains, in order to properly digest it. When natural protein is processed commercially to make protein powders, especially with hydrolyzed protein ("digested"), they result in a large amount of free form glutamates. This creation of free form of glutamates, is the source of controversy.

I've come across many websites and experts, claiming that MSG (and the other free glutamate forms) found in protein powders and other processed foods is highly dangerous. They claim it leads to cancers, neuro-degernative diseases, and other illnesses. Dr. Russell Blaylock the author of the book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills in 1995, first mentioned the dangers of MSG along with aspartame and calls them excitotoxins. He believes that these unatural processed free forms of Glutamates like MSG, overstimulate the neurotransmiters of the brain and cause disease. Although natural forms of protein already contain bound up glutamines, he theorizes that during commercial processing of protein powders and other foods, it releases the glutamates into free forms of Glutamates. He then believes this allows the liver to easily absorb many more times glutamate than normal, leading to a overstimulation of the glutamate receptors in the body. This overstimulation then causes a toxic effect all over the organs in the body which have glutamate receptors.

The problem with his argument that free forms of glutamates are dangerous, is that the intestines absorb almost all free glutamates and use them directly for energy. (Journal of Neuroscience 27 (1): 111-123) , (J. Nutr. 137:2384-2390) , and (Pediatric Research. 62(4):468-473). The intestine metabolizes these glutamates for cellular functions, before it can even get into the blood stream to affect the rest of the body. Glutamates also have trouble getting through the blood-brain barrier, so most of it can't go anywhere else, except through the digestive tract. Therefore, after a meal full of glutamates, your intestines will absorb most of it and use it metabolically. The intestines have a unique affinity in wanting to use Glutamates for their own metabolic processes, since they have glutamate receptors.

A study by National Taiwan University showed almost no difference between the blood levels of glutamates, between those who had MSG containing food and a high protein meal. Human and animal milk even contains free form glutamates naturally. There is little point as you can see, to understand the dangers of excessive glutamate stimulation inside the blood stream on different organs glutamate receptors, since it never even gets to those places in large amounts he claims in the first place!

One reason why the negative theory on glutamates continues to be perpetuated by many is because of what is called "Chinese restaraunt syndrome". Chinese restaraunts were notorious for adding lots of MSG. These people suffering from this, seem to have a adverse reaction to MSG containing meals causing a variety of symptoms. Whether this condition exists or is caused by something else I don't know. If high amounts of MSG in meals do cause some adverse reactions in some, then, apparently those people are extra sensitive to glutamate levels in the body. They would have to be so sensitive to the stimulation, that a large amount of MSG might change the blood levels just enough to cause a reaction, whereas for most people it would not.