Muscle Turns To Fat – Bodybuilding Myths Dispelled

I have heard it many times before, “I don’t want to gain too much muscle, because if I stop training, it will all turn in to fat”. Could that really be? All that hard work in the gym and should you take a little break, your muscle will turn in to fat? Scary!!

THE FIT FACTORY is here to shed light on a few bodybuilding myths and provide you with the truth. We’ll delve in to a few topics that have been misunderstood for years… While these may not be revelations, knowing the difference between myth and truth can actually improve your approach to training and nutrition, equaling a better YOU.

First off, muscle tissue and fat tissue are completely separate materials and their cells cannot be interchanged or transformed from one to the other; muscle tissue cannot turn in to fat tissue and fat tissue cannot turn into muscle tissue. While a person is able to add fat cells with a seemingly limitless supply, we cannot duplicate or add additional muscle cells to the body. When you were young, in your early physical development, your muscle cells would increase in number as you grew. This is a process called hyperplasia. This process only occurs in childhood, not in adulthood; your number of muscle cells have been established. They are not increasing in number as you train with weights and conversely they are not decreasing in number and changing in to fat cells when you stop training.

While muscle cells will not grow in number, they can increase in size. Muscle cells can grow to enormous proportions; this is a process called hypertrophy. While there does not seem to be limits to how much fat a person can gain (this may be due to the fact that fat accumulates with an increased number of cells), there are limiting or controlling factors to how much a muscle cell can gain. The cell nuclei is responsible for controlling many cell functions, one, for instance, is protein synthesis. A single muscle cell cannot grow beyond what the nuclei can regulate. As part of the muscle building process, additional nuclei are added to the muscle cell. You can compare this to a supervisor of a group who is capable of managing up to 10 people on his team and no more than that. When the group needs more people, simply add another supervisor and now the two supervisors together can support a team of up to 20 people. The more nuclei in the cell, means a larger cell and thus, a larger muscle.

Without resistance training, another process occurs, muscle atrophy. The muscle cells, however, do not change into something else. This is not like some sci-fi channel metamorphosis where you develop in to something else. The muscle cells simply decrease in size. However, any nuclei added to a muscle cell during the muscle repair and rebuilding process (hypertrophy), remains in the cell. Those new nuclei are permanent. The muscle will NOT inevitably turn to fat once training has ceased, because the new nuclei that was gained in the muscle cell through resistance training will allow you to retain muscle during a break. Thus, having more muscle without training, rather than someone who has never trained. If your break from training is short, like a couple weeks, or even a month, you will likely see NO muscle loss at all, unless of course you cease to take in calories. If you do take an extended break, once you come back to bodybuilding, you still have your extra little nuclei ready to support a larger muscle cell. Your muscle growth will be much quicker compared to someone who has never trained. You will find yourself back to where you left off in no time…

I have experienced this myself- with a top weight of 223 lbs in 2003, I took some years off from weight training, eating less, and playing extreme amounts of basketball- I dropped to 185 lbs. When I decided to jump back in to bodybuilding, I dropped the basketball, put my nutrition on par, and hit the weights. In three months time, I was back up to 220 lbs and yes, with abs all this time. This is what many refer to as muscle memory. The cell nuclei is positioned to support those gains.

This is actually quite simple, with more muscle size, you increase your caloric needs. With more intense work in the gym, you also increase your appetite. As you train, these calories are used as energy and also used for your recovery needs. This myth of muscle turning in to fat stems from those who stop training, and then don’t adjust their caloric intake. It stands to reason that if you increase your physical activity, thus increasing calories burned, while your caloric intake remains the same- you lose fat. If you DECREASE your physical activity, thus burning less calories while caloric intake remains the same, YOU WILL INCREASE FAT- common sense, right?… A bodybuilder with tons of lean muscle who stops all weight training, but eats as if they are still training, will see muscle atrophy, while gaining fat. To the common onlooker, this may look like the muscle has converted to fat. As we now know, this is not the case, and entirely impossible.

Now you know the science behind muscle growth and what happens when you stop lifting weights, SO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY… Do not be afraid to take time off from weight training when you feel you need it, like giving your joints a chance to recuperate or taking a vacation with your family. Most importantly, recognize that you don’t need to spend 5+ days a week lifting weights to see muscle gains or to keep from losing muscle. Remember, too much weight training WILL, without a doubt cause muscle loss through over training. At THE FIT FACTORY, we have developed a program based upon the tried and true methods of high intensity training. Training this way allows us to train 3 days per week at 1 hour per session, allowing the body proper rest and recovery that is needed for hypertrophy, the process where your muscle cells grow in size. DO NOT TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN!! Such a program requires a specific intensity applied in a very direct manor to inspire change. We will show you the way!! I urge you to give us a call today– come in and try a session on me.

Article written by: Shem Swerkes of THE FIT FACTORY family

MYTHS DISPELLED!! We will be back with more myths to disprove in the near future…

Meal Timing

What should I eat? This has got to be one of the top 3 or 4 questions I get asked by clients, customers and friends (well, you’re all my friends, but….). 9 times out of 10, these people know what they should or shouldn’t be eating. It’s more a question of timing, or more specifically what to eat at what times of the day. I remember growing up hearing calories in, calories out. I wish it were that simple but the fact of the matter is, it isn’t.

Of course we vary our caloric intake according to our goals. In a perfect world, if you expend more calories than you take in, then you should lose weight. That being assumed true, if you intake more calories than you burn you gain weight. Right? Well, not so fast. As the old adage says, timing is in fact everything.

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Well not for us weight trainers. Breakfast is important, in that you do break your fast from sleeping. This is an ideal time to consume protein, most ideally in a liquid form as it’s pre digested and easily assimilated into the blood stream. This consumption, despite our goal, should occur within a half hour of waking up. There are some circumstances when that’s not necessarily true, but then we’re getting into a whole new ball of wax with contest prep. There is a special concoction I have clients intake before morning cardio in a pre contest mode, but again I don’t want to digress. If you don’t perform morning cardio, then you need to then consider what to eat. For those concerned with losing weight, I would eat a food protein source (egg whites, lean meat) and healthy fats (almonds for example). I would not intake carbohydrates for my first meal unless the goal was gaining weight (muscle). In that circumstance, breakfast should represent about ¼ of your daily carbohydrate intake (well at least that’s the way I have our people break down their macronutrients). Healthy carbohydrate sources for breakfast would include oatmeal, cream of wheat/rice, Ezekiel break, sweet potato, and a host of other gain sources. Assess your tolerance to carbs and pick a source that suits you best.

The real most important meal(s) of the day are what you intake after weight training. Again, liquid is best as it’s most quickly assimilated but carbs are equally critical in the window of time following your workout. I personally like to use a whey isolate, Nutrex Volugro (a high molecule carb with creatine added) and L-glutamine. There are also some stand alone products that cover this, Aftershock by Myogenix is a popular one. Many use fruit, but post workout I believe you need something a little faster and heartier than fructose. Back in the day when I didn’t slang nutritional supplements for a living, I used to use Gatorade and creatine monohydrate and that seemed to work just fine. Within 90 minutes following your post workout shake, eat a sensible meal. This meal should represent as much as half of your daily carbohydrate intake. Again, what this meal is comprised of is entirely goal dependant, but for anyone that trains with weights, you need liquid protein on your way out of the gym and a meal with 90 minutes following that shake.

Finally, what to eat (or drink) before going to bed. Casein shakes are very popular these days, but have a few drawbacks from where I sit. For one, is all that casein really going to breakdown while you’re sleeping? I’ve seen a few studies that would argue no it doesn’t. Caseins main selling point, extremely slow breakdown, is also it’s biggest drawback as it’s exactly that, too slow. So at the very least, lets use a blended protein that contains both slow and fast acting proteins as opposed to a stand alone casein. For those whey protein users on a budget who don’t want to buy a secondary protein, you can always add milk (but remember even non fat milk contains sugar, not the best thing for you before bed). Another option is to add Omega 3 fish oils. This will slow the absorption of the protein, and anyone who knows me knows what a big fan I am of Omega 3 fish oil. Another essential addition to your pre-bed shake is L-glutamine. L-glutamine is the recovery amino acid. It is also the most abundant amino acid in human muscle tissue. Oh and for that last food meal preceding your shake, keep the carbs to a minimum. There’s no way your burning carbs in your sleep. A lean meat source and a green leafy are always going to be the best option(s) for this meal.

I hope this helps you in achieving your health goals. If anyone has any questions, you can contact me/us via email using the contact page on the website. Let the Fit Factory help you become the best, most healthy you!

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

As I was thumbing through my latest issue of Oxygen Magazine, I came across this great article on Branched-Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to explain to customers the importance of these particular amino acids. I too at one time was unaware of their powerful affect on the body and the integral role they play in muscle tissue (formation and breakdown). I feel it’s imperative that men and women alike understand what these little guys do. Supplementation and knowledge of these alone can mean the difference between an average body and an extraordinary physique. Please- read on, open your mind, and learn…
You’ve been putting your body and your free weights through the mill, chugging whey protein shakes and eating clean for some time now- and results are starting to show. So you may be asking: “Is there anything else I can do to speed up my training results?” The short answer is: Yes. The longer answer follows. In a nutshell, BCAAs- branched-chain amino acids- can get you even closer to the body you want. According to assorted research, BCAAs can provide you with extra zip during your workout, fight mental sluggishness while you exercise and spare your muscles from being used for fuel. Additionally, BCAAs can promote faster recovery from your workouts, which translates into faster improvements to your body.
But before we put the cart before the horse, it may help to get a little background about branched-chain amino acids and what they can do for a hard-charging reader like you.
So what the heck are they? Branched-chain amino acids refer collectively to leucine, isoleucine and valine- three of the eight essential amino acids (there are 20 to 22 amino acids in all, the number varies slightly depending on the authority) involved in numerous processes of the body. During exercise, levels of these three amino acids fall, which may make you want to bail from your workouts too soon. Because what you want most at this point is more energy to continue training, your body will basically seek out the most readily available source of energy: your muscle, the very thing you’re trying to develop, grow and shape. And that’s not a good thing. So what’s a person to do? Think BCAAs!! If you take BCAAs right before (and after) your workout, you’ll go a long way toward providing your body with the fuel it needs so that your body doesn’t go dipping into your precious muscle for it. The magic wrought by BCAAs has to do with the fact that these three amino acids are directly metabolized in your muscle, unlike most other aminos you ingest, which have to pass through the liver. By getting shunted directly to your muscle tissue, BCAAs act like standby fuel- either for your workouts or for muscle growth and recovery when you’re resting.
What BCAAs can do for your body…?
1. Improve Muscle Gains BCAAs can promote your muscle growth in a number of ways, but chief among them is that they directly kickstart protein synthesis, that is, the way that muscle tissue is created. Additionally, they impact several hormones that are critical to muscle growth. One study has found that BCAA supplementation can even increase levels of a muscle growth hormone. What this means is that your training efforts may be optimized.
2. Boost Endurance Because BCAAs offer a fuel source to muscles, they automatically increase the amount of energy your body has available during workouts (assuming, of course, that you’ve supplemented with sufficient amounts to replace what your body burns while training). However, one of the branched-chain aminos, valine, actually increases energy in a particularly interesting manner: In short, it alters the way tryptophan, one of the eight essential aminos, behaves. Thanks to valine, tryptophan does not as readily signal the brain that the body is tired, which means that the person can have longer, harder workouts.
3. Improve Your Strength BCAAs also have an impact on your strength. In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, people who supplemented with both leucine and whey protein (which also contains all three BCAAs) gained significantly more strength after an eight week leg training program than the subjects in the group that wasn’t taking BCAAs.
4. Protect Against Muscle Breakdown Because your own stores of BCAAs deplete so easily during training, your body will turn to alternative sources for energy. Most often, your body will start cannibalizing your own muscle tissue, since it’s the easiest to convert to energy. In short, your body will rip up muscle tissue in order to supply itself with ample BCAAs. Supplementing is the easiest way to avoid this scenario. One study found that supplementation reduced cortisol levels- the hormone that breaks down muscle tissue. Another factor to consider is your carbohydrate intake. As an active person, at least half of your daily food intake should come from energy-sustaining carbs. They prevent your body from burning too much of its BCAA supply, so if you’re not eating enough in your diet, supplementing with BCAAs may provide muscle-damage protection for you.
5. Burn More Fat In addition to giving you the muscle tone, shape and strength you’re after, BCAAs can also help you burn through your fat stores. Studies conducted in both humans and rats have shown that supplementing with BCAAs, particularly leucine, while dieting resulted in greater reductions in overall body-fat levels. This could be another result of the increase in protein synthesis- the body needs more energy to build that muscle, so it draws on fat stores to fuel your efforts.
6. Reduce Cravings Leucine has been shown to act on the brain to blunt your appetite. A study in the journal Science found that when leucine was injected into rats’ brains, they ate less and gained less weight than the rats in the placebo group. The researchers hypothesize that when the brain thinks that there’s enough leucine available, it’s satisfied that the body will have enough fuel and therefore it won’t trip your hunger alarm.
How safe are branched-chain aminos?

In a phrase, quite safe. But there are a few simple caveats. Since little is known about the effects of BCAAs during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, it likely best to avoid their use (through extra supplementation). If you drink alcohol chronically, avoid using BCAAs. If you’re facing a surgery, stop using BCAAs at least a couple of weeks earlier, since they will impact the control of blood sugar, which is more difficult at that time. Additionally, if you’re taking medication for diabetes, check with your physician first, because BCAAs have been shown to alter blood sugar levels when taken along with certain diabetes-control meds. Also, if you’re taking any corticosteroids for treatment of inflammation, don’t take BCAAs; the same applies if you’re taking any thyroid medications.
How much BCAA is enough?

In time you may forget what BCAA stands for or how branched-chain amino acids are metabolized. But if a lean, muscular, strong and energy-packed body is what you’re really after, remember this single, very important point: take three doses a day. Have three to five grams at breakfast, 30 minutes before a workout and within 30 minutes after a workout. And don’t forget your whey protein shake as well. (As a point of interest, don’t worry that your shake contains branched-chain amino acids. One scoop of whey, for example contains fewer that two grams of leucine). The bottom line is: If you’re training regularly with weights and cardio, it’s not possible to “overdose” on BCAAs, because they’ll be used by your body to deliver all of the benefits mentioned earlier.
Back in the day- actually not that far back- you only had one option with BCAAs: Choke down the monstrous tablets with plenty of fluid. Happily, the days of horse pills washed down with loads of water are long gone. You actually have lots of options at hand and today matters are a bit different- you can still get tablets, but you also have soft gels capsules and very popular powdered forms of BCAAs to make your life, and swallowing, much easier. See a list of BCAA products we carry at The Fit Factory below…
Of the 20 to 22 amino acids responsible for millions of the processes taking place within your body as you read this, eight are called essential because they cannot be synthesized by your body.
These eight must come from what are called “complete” protein sources: most notably chicken, eggs, fish, dairy products, beef and pork. For vegetarians, protein sources would include dried beans, soy products (men should avoid excess), nuts, seeds and peas. Unlike meat-based sources, however, these foods are often not as complete in their amino-acid profile structure as animal-based foods. But that’s easily remedied. Here’s a list of the essential eight and for the fitness-minded vegetarian: a go-to chart for how to complete the amino acid profile by combining certain foods.


Isoleucine* Muscle recovery, hemoglobin formation, helps blood-sugar level regulation and blood clot formation
Leucine* Muscle recover, regulation of blood sugar levels and hormones
Lysine Helps manage triglycerides, promotes antiviral properties, necessary for hormone production and bone growth, conserves calcium, plays a role in collagen formation, essential to skin
Methionine Aids in the breakdown of fats, has antioxidant properties, aids in the production of creating, which is essential for muscle building
Phenylalanine Works with B-6 to aid in depression management, acts to suppress appetite by signaling satiety- a feeling of fullness
Valine* Muscle repair; also maintains proper nitrogen balance
Tryptophan Aids production of serotonin, the brain’s feel-good chemical
Threonine Helps stabilize blood sugar (to be optimally utilized, requires adequate B-6, magnesium and niacin); helps collagen production
*Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine are referred to as branched-chain amino acids, and their role in post workout muscle recovery cannot be underestimated.
Vegetarian Protein Requirements
Food Limiting Amino Acid Combine with…
Grains: rice, oats, barley, corn, wheat, rye Lysine, threonine, isoleucine (BCAA) Legumes such as beans (kidney, black) and lentils
Legumes: beans, peanuts, alfalfa, lentils and peas Methionine, tryptophan Grains, seeds and nuts
Nuts and seeds: cashews, filberts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds Lysine, isoleucine (BCAA) Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils
Article by Oxygen Magazine Feb 2010
At The Fit Factory, we carry several Branched-Chain Amino Acid products to assist you in your supplementation needs.
Dymatize BCAA (tablets) 200 Count= $16.95, 400 Count= $29.95
Dymatize BCAA Complex 5050 Powder 10.7oz= $23.95
Dymatize Liquid Super Amino 32oz= $19.95 (one serving, 4 tbsp, also supplies you with 23g of protein!)
Assured Health Products Muscle Amino Complex 365 Caps= $19.95
There are several pre and post workout products we carry that contain BCAAs.
Also, all protein powders sold at our locations contain an amino acid profile, including BCAAs.
As always, thank you for reading!! If you have any further questions, please visit one of our two locations, or email me at:

Training Frequency

I often get questions about training frequency. Human nature would have us to believe that in order to maximize results in the gym the old adage ‘more is better’ applies. Gym rats have taken this to heart for years despite the activity. It seems that cardio, weight training, and any other form of exercise that takes place in the gym would fall under this axiom as common knowledge. Well call me a non conformist! When taking a step back and examining training more analytically, we draw very different conclusions.

In this blurb I’ll only address weight training. We train 3 days per week (Mon-Wed-Fri), for everyone that I train, because frankly, it’s intensity followed by rest intervals that change the human body most rapidly. The guy I learned to train from used to work for Mike and Ray Mentzer in the early 80’s, proponents of HIT (high intensity training), and all these years later it seems that more and more people are using HIT, (though most apply the principles incorrectly). When putting together a training program for my clients, I had to accept the fact that although people come from varying backgrounds and aptitudes when it comes to athleticism, the human body reacts the same way to stress (training) for the entirety of the population. HIT gives the central nervous system ample time to supercompensate, a necessity for change to occur. Change is what ALL of my clients are after. Some may want to be bigger, some smaller, but all seek change. So if we use the same, and in this case, MOST effective route to change from a lifting standpoint (HIT), the only variables are calories and cardio. This also takes a lot of the guess work out of contest prep, as we don’t worry about a clients recovery ability during periods of lower caloric intake, we just concern ourselves with intensity variations.

If you’ve never trained under the principles of HIT, I invite you to come down to our facility at 1314 9th St. and give it a try. Simply call or email and we’ll gladly introduce you to what I feel is the only way to weight train. The way we train is definitely not easy, but nothing worth having ever is. If you think you train hard, you may be surprised at how humbling HIT can be. I know it was for me when I was first introduced to it, and have heard nothing to the contrary from anyone who embraces this type of workout. We are currently running a special monthly rate of $249.95 for 3 weekly workouts with a trainer and unlimited use of our cardio equipment for those who are truly ready to challenge themselves and change their physiques. I’ll leave you with the words of Mike Mentzer describing HIT,,,,,”you can tap a stick of dynamite with a pencil all day long and nothing will happen to it or you can smash it once with a hammer and watch it explode”. We’ll take the later, Mike!

Protein and Nitrogen Balance

Essential for Muscle Building Process

Any bodybuilder with a rudimentary understanding of the sport would know the key to gaining muscle is protein consumption. Granted, training, rest and other nutrients all enhance anabolism, and growth, but protein (being the key size-building nutrient) is absolutely essential when it comes to packing it on – 60-70% of bodily protein is found in muscle.
In fact, protein is the key “building” nutrient for a variety of bodily tissues, many of which support muscle growth (enzymes, skin, hair, nails, bones, and connective tissue are all constructed from protein). Protein makes up 15-20% of ones bodyweight and is thus, next to water, the body’s second most abundant substance.
The inescapable fact remains: protein, and only protein, is the raw material from which muscle and many other bodily tissues are built. Proteins themselves are formed from amino-acids, of which there are 20, comprised of both essential and non-essential.
Non-essential aminos can be produced by the liver. However, essential aminos must be made available through the diet before any muscle can be synthesized. Therefore, the correct ratios of essential and non-essential amino acids should be made available in sufficient quantities before any muscle can be produced.
Essential Amino Acids
• Histidine
• Isoleucine
• Leucine
• Valine
• Lysine
• Methionine
• Phenylalanine
• Threonine
• Tryptophan
Non Essential Amino Acids
• Alanine
• Arginine
• Asparagine
• Aspartic Acid
• Cysteine
• Glutamic acid
• Glutamine
• Glycine
• Proline
• Serine
• Tyrosine
Obtaining the correct ratio of essential and non-essential amino acids involves eating complete protein sources such as eggs, meat and milk. As stated, protein is crucially important for muscle growth, it is however (at a more basic level), the building-block amino-acids that need to be in place, in the correct proportions, to ensure an optimal anabolic environment.
Eating sufficient complete proteins is the best way to achieve this, but how does one know if their diet is contributing to muscle growth, given compounding factors such as individual variability (processing rate of protein) and rest (protein synthesis occurs at this time), often serve to negate a supposed optimal protein intake.

Best Complete Protein Sources
Egg whites
Turkey breast
Shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab, clams, etc)
Chicken breast
Lean red meats (top round, lean sirloin, and flank)
Non-fat or low fat dairy products
Protein powders (Whey protein, for example)
Understanding “Nitrogen Balance”
The good news, for those who are unsure as to whether they are getting sufficient protein, is protein status can be ascertained through nitrogen testing. What is nitrogen? Nitrogen is a compound unique to protein that can provide a direct measure of ones amino acid (protein) status. All macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Among these, only protein contains the additional nitrogen molecule. Therefore, nitrogen excretion (meaning the amount of protein being eliminated from the body) can be measured to determine the amount of protein present in the body, and given up to 70% of protein is found in muscle tissue, this gives an excellent indication of the body’s muscle building potential.
If the body is excreting more nitrogen than is being consumed, this sends out the warning signal that one should immediately increase their complete protein intake, to offset this nitrogen deficit.
In fact, nitrogen testing is the most widely accepted laboratory test used to determine the anabolic status of the body – it shows the body’s nitrogen balance, or the extent to which the body is maintaining sufficient protein balance.
The Three States of Nitrogen Balance
1. Positive: This is the optimal state for muscle growth – where the nitrogen intake is greater than nitrogen output. Essentially, it shows the body has sufficiently recovered from its last workout. The greater the nitrogen balance, the faster is workout recovery. This is the body’s anabolic state.
2. Negative: This is the worst state a bodybuilder can find themselves in – where nitrogen loss is greater than nitrogen intake. Not only is nitrogen drawn away from muscle, where it is needed for growth, it is also taken from the vital organs where serious damage can occur. Of course, negative nitrogen balance also destroys muscle and is consequently considered a catabolic state.
3. Equilibrium: This state should be what a bodybuilder might achieve at the very minimum – where nitrogen intake and loss are equal. The trainer in this state is not regressing, nor are they really gaining any appreciable muscle.
How Negative Nitrogen Balance Can Occur…..what to watch for.
• As mentioned earlier, protein consumption is crucial are far as enhancing nitrogen balance is concerned. A negative nitrogen balance may result from consuming an insufficient amount of high biological value proteins, poor quality proteins (lunch meats, fatty meats, and vegetables for example), or protein sources lacking an optimal balance of the essential amino-acids.
On a more serious level, a continued negative nitrogen balance will result in the body consuming its own blood products to support the internal organs.
A severe lack of protein equates to fewer of the antibodies which are needed to fight infection – bacterial infections may result from this. The bloated stomach (seen in many third-world populations) ultimately results from the negative nitrogen imbalance induced bacterial infections, and death occurs soon after.
Proteins importance, in this instance, is underscored by the fact that regardless how many nutrients are consumed at this point, death will occur if protein is not supplied.
• Insufficient carbohydrate and fat consumption. To support protein synthesis, good quality fats and carbohydrates should be available for energy purposes. If one consumes primarily protein, without considering the importance of the other macronutrients, the body may metabolize protein for energy purposes, thus lowering the nitrogen balance – valuable amino acids will be shuttled to vital organs thus depriving the muscles of exactly what they need for growth.
• Overtraining: Training involves breaking down muscle tissue. Protein and rest help to regenerate these tissues. Too much training, coupled with insufficient protein consumption will hasten a negative nitrogen balance.
Following a training session, muscles soak up nutrients (including protein) like a sponge. If training is undertaken to frequently, these nutrients might eventually fall short of supporting continued growth.
How to Achieve a Positive Nitrogen Balance
The fundamental rule when aiming to increase nitrogen balance is to eat sufficient complete proteins.
Indeed, a caloric surplus of protein should be maintained at all times, to keep nitrogen balance positive. It is advisable to eat about six meals (each spaced two-three hours apart), each containing around 30-40-grams of protein, per-day.
The protein sources listed in this article are the most complete sources and should be eaten at each of these meals. Indeed, the idea is to continually increase the uptake of amino acids into the muscles. With this is mind, some key pointers can be followed:
• To spare muscle protein breakdown during training, increase insulin (an anabolic hormone, which increases the uptake of amino acids and glucose into the muscle) by consuming a liquid meal containing protein and carbohydrates one-hour before training.
• Immediately following training, consume the same protein/carbohydrate drink to saturate the muscles with amino-acids, and enhance protein synthesis.
• Directly before bed, consume a drink containing both whey and a slow release protein like micellar casein, to tide the muscles over during this catabolic (fasting) period.
Achieve sufficient rest.
Resting the muscles following intense training is essential, if protein synthesis is to take place. If training sessions are too frequent, a protein surplus might be used to fuel training efforts, rather than maintaining a positive nitrogen balance.
Remember, if one finds themselves in a negative nitrogen balance, all training should be ceased and protein intake should be increased significantly. If training continues, muscle might continue to deteriorate.

Train in an anabolic fashion.
The idea when training to maximize positive nitrogen balance is to stimulate the greatest amount of fibers with the least amount of muscle break-down.
Upon finishing a training session, the muscles should be in an anabolic state, as this will accelerate a positive nitrogen balance. Long sessions usually leave the muscles exhausted in a negative way, and the body is left in a catabolic state as a result. Training in an anabolic fashion involves:
• Training when the body is sufficiently rested from the last session – in other words, in a positive nitrogen balance.
• Workouts should be kept short and intense – training duration between 30-45 minutes long, two-three exercises per body-part.
• Train the body again, only when it has been rested.
Dorian Yates blood and guts and Mike Mentzers heavy duty training styles tended to replicate this anabolic method, and if these guy’s results are anything to go by, they certainly achieved a positive nitrogen balance.
Protein Requirements for Bodybuilders
The general rule, in terms of protein intake for size gains has, for some time, been one-gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Certainly, the recommended daily allowance (RDA), for the general population, of 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight is way off the mark for bodybuilders and other strength athletes.
A nitrogen balance study of bodybuilders demonstrated an increased protein need relative to controls and estimated the RDA for bodybuilders to be 1.7 g/kg total.
In another study, impressive strength gains of 5% and size of 6% were seen over several months of strength training in world-class weight lifters when they increased their dietary protein from 1.8 to 3.5 g/kg of body weight per day.
Both these studies underscore the greater need among strength athletes, for a higher protein consumption. For the average, non-pro, bodybuilder, it is best to err on the side of caution and consume more than the one-gram-per-pound guideline, to ensure maximal nitrogen retention.
A fundamental prerequisite of any bodybuilding program is a sufficient intake of complete proteins. A positive nitrogen balance is an accurate indication that one is consuming adequate protein.
Indeed, keeping the muscles saturated in nitrogen, given this is a direct measure of protein status, is arguably the single most important variable a bodybuilder can assess. Follow the guidelines in this article to offset the dreaded negative nitrogen balance, and grow.

Fat Defined

More than not, fat is labeled to be BAD… But did you know there are ‘good’ fats? Do you know what a ‘good’ fat is? Do you know what a ‘good’ fat can do for your body? Hopefully the following information will allow you to read ingredients labels more proficiently and help you understand just how important consuming ‘good’ fat is…
Let’s start off by categorizing bad and good fats and where they are typically found…
SATURATED FAT: This fat will generally increase your total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Eating food that contains this fat raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Many foods high in saturated fats are often high in cholesterol… This fat is often contained in animal products- such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, lard and dairy products (cream, butter, yogurt, etc…). Coconut, palm, palm kernal and other tropical oils.

TRANS FATTY ACIDS: This is an unsaturated fatty acid produced by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils. An excess of these fats in the diet is thought to raise the cholesterol level in the bloodstream, similar to saturated fat. This is present in hardened vegetable oils, most margarines, shortening, commercial baked foods (crackers, cookies and cakes) and many fried foods (doughnuts and French fries).
Hydrogenation is a process where the molecular structure of a fat is altered so that the fat becomes “hardened”. Why? For the simple reason that hydrogenated fat does not turn rancid- for many, many, many years… This process of hydrogenation converts fat in to a type of cellulose, similar to plastic (ewwwww). This also goes for partially hydrogenated fat.
MONOUNSATURATED FAT: This healthy fat can lower total cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). This fat has also been found to help in weight loss, particularly in body fat. You can find this fat in nuts, including peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios, avocado’s, canola and olive oils.
POLYUNSATURATED FAT: This healthy fat also lowers total cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol. This fat can be found in fish, like salmon, trout and herring, as well as corn, soybean, sunflower and safflower oils. Omega 3 fatty acids belong in this fat category- found in fish oil and flaxseeds.
There are many benefits on why to trade in your bad fats for good, healthy fats. Researchers are finding that you need to eat fat to lose fat. Fat is just as important in a diet to any other nutrient, but of course we’re talking about healthy fats- like the ones I’ve listed above. Healthy fats do so much for our body. Good-for-you fats support your immune system; detoxify your body and aid in cell reproduction, brain function, energy production and blood sugar regulation to keep your insulin levels from spiking and dropping. Fat is crucial because it surrounds and protects your organs, boosts your metabolism and promotes healthy, beautiful skin and hair. They can also decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancers; help build muscle, lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Good fats can also help with the absorption of certain vitamins and carotenoids.
Eating these healthy fats can actually help your body burn fat, since it burns these fats as fuel instead of storing it. When you consume good fats, your body will crave less of the bad stuff. Fat stabilizes blood sugar, as mentioned above. If you don’t get enough fat (healthy for the most part), you’ll crave carbs because the body turns carbs into fat. Fat can help you feel satisfied and satiated so you tend to eat less, and fats can also boost your metabolism. Since fat helps to regulate blood sugar, this assists in weight management by keeping insulin levels stable and warding off any sudden cravings for sugar and carbs.
The American Dietetic Association suggests adults aim to get between 20-35 percent of their total daily calories from fat (that’s usually between 50-60 grams of fat for a daily calorie consumption of 1,600-2,000). General recommendations call for the mostly poly and mono unsaturated fats, some saturated fats and a very small amount of cholesterol and trans fatty acids.

At THE FIT FACTORY we carry several products to assist in your healthy fat consumption… Here are a few:
Myogenix Myo Lean Evolution- a meal replacement protein shake with tons of healthy stuff, including fats…
Myogenix Aftershock Post-Workout Shake
Nature’s Answer Liquid Omega-3
VPX Thinfat
Twin Labs Fish/Flax Combo Oil in caps
As always, any questions, concerns- please feel free to email me at Thanks for reading!!

Battle Tested

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I first heard about this HCG diet shortly after the B-12/Phentermine fad was shot down by the FDA. For the record, phentermine works, it destroys the integrity of the heart, but hey, it really did melt fat away fairly well, lol. I remember the kinds of “medical” facilities that promoted the B-12/Phentermine fad; chiropractic and holistic health centers with hippy doctors making you think this B-12 thing must be safe and natural, after all, B-12 is a well known vitamin, right? Well yes, but let me assure you from personal experience that B-12 (while it may well kick up your appetite and maybe your energy), certainly won’t help you lose weight. It was the far less natural and potentially deadly phentermine that was causing the dramatic weight loss.



Fast forward to 2011. I mean, it’s almost become a bone of contention with me, the re-invention of the wheel, be it training, diets, whatever, as the bible says: there is nothing new under the sun. I’m going to offer a counter point to all the training protocols that have made similarly erroneous claims in a future article, but for now, let me explain HCG as a misconceived weight loss solution:

What is HCG? HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is a hormone extracted from urine of pregnant women. It is approved by FDA for treatment of certain problems of the male reproductive system and in stimulating ovulation in women who have had difficulty becoming pregnant. The sales pitch is that the HCG diet (using daily hcg injections) will help you lose 1-3 pounds per day. The HCG diet combines the daily injections with a very low-calorie diet (500 calories per day). The reality is that a 500 calorie per day diet is severely restrictive! In fact, it is not enough calories to support normal brain function. Your body will compensate by using stores of glycogen, protein (muscle) and some fat, which lowers your resting metabolic rate. For most, before any appreciable weight loss can occur, you will be so irritable, lightheaded, and cranky that you’ll reach for whatever food you can get your hands on and have a field day. There is no scientific evidence supporting HCG injections as a weight loss strategy. In addition, these injections have not been approved by the FDA for use in weight loss. In fact, since 1975 the FDA has required all marketing and advertising of HCG to state the following: “HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction , that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets”.

How did the HCG diet come about? The use of HCG to treat obesity was first suggested by ATW Simeons in a 1954 Lancet paper. He reported that injection of HCG resulted in rapid mobilization of body fat stores and induced feelings of well-being. He also claimed that HCG reduced weakness and hunger during very low calorie diets (500kcal/day) and that HCG treatment could be used to prevent the protein and vitamin deficiencies which are a frequent side-effect of such low caloric intake. Finally, he suggested that HCG could be used to successfully treat a range of ailments ranging from diabetes and gout to ulcers and skin diseases. However, it is important to note that no actual study was performed; these were just subjective observations. Naturally, Simeons’ observations spurred actual research into HCG.

Unfortunately for Simeons’, the vast preponderance of studies examining the effectiveness of HCG in the treatment of obesity found absolutely no effect. For example, a 1976 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association performed a rigorously controlled, double-blind crossover study examining the effects of HCG on weight loss in obese individuals undergoing very low calorie diets. In a double-blind study, neither the patient, nor the physician, knows whether the patient is receiving HCG or a placebo. What were their results? Both groups lost a significant amount of weight (not surprising given subjects were only consuming 500 kcal/day), however there was no difference in weight loss between the HCG and placebo treatments.

Of the 12 studies with the strongest methodologies and proper clinical controls of HCG as a form of weight loss treatment, 11 showed HCG to be utterly useless in inducing weight or fat loss. Additionally, they point out that the use of HCG is also unethical, given that HCG is obtained from the urine of pregnant women who donate their urine idealistically in the belief that it will be used to treat infertility.

That’s not all. An editorial by John Ballin and Philp White in the Journal of the American Medical Association titled “Fallacy and Hazard” claims that “no rational basis exists for [HCG] use in weight reduction, except as placebo”. Further, “weight loss under the Simeons regimen can be attributed solely to the semi-starvation diet that is required”, a diet which is so restricted as to raise safety concerns. Finally, they claim that Simeons weight clinics “pose serious questions for physicians who participate in them”.

Diet fads, crazes and schemes are nothing new. In the 1920s, overweight consumers were marketed “reducing soap,” the ads for which promised to eliminate fat on any part of the body that was washed with this miracle soap. From the 1920s through the 1950s, some people would partake of the tapeworm diet, which didn’t require much change in diet, other than consuming a tapeworm. The belief was that the tapeworm would helpfully join you in eating your meals, albeit from the comfort of its home in your intestines. As many current diets are developed by doctors, so it goes with diet trends and devices of yesteryear. In the mid-1950s, a Swedish doctor developed a fat-busting vibrating belt that required nothing more of a person than to stand there and let the belt helps shake loose all those excess pounds. In the 1920s, Babe Ruth himself often used similar vibrating-belt devices to lose weight, and the results or lack thereof, remained evident throughout his career.

In closing, if we’re keeping score here, good old fashioned hard work, 1, bullshit, fad, here today, gone tomorrow diets, 0. There is NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN folks!

2013 NPC Governor’s Cup Bodybuilding Championships


From GOVERNOR’S CUP 3/23/13, posted by The Fit Factory on 4/09/2013 (5 items)

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2013 San Diego Bodybuilding Championships


From SAN DIEGO BODYBUILDING CHAMPIONSHIPS 3/16/13, posted by The Fit Factory on 4/09/2013 (6 items)

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