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Archive for June, 2013

Groei360 We all expect to see some level of hair loss as we grow older, but for some people age doesn’t come into the equation. This is because some may start to lose their hair at a far earlier period of their lives, such as in their 20s or 30s. The effects of hair loss on someone of that age can be far more severe than on someone that is far older and is therefore expecting a certain degree of hair loss.


Of course, there are some younger people who may experience hair loss but are genuinely not concerned and happy to continue enjoying life with or without hair. However, there are many others who will be deeply affected by hair loss at an earlier than average age, and this can severely impact their quality of life.


For some younger people, appearance is hugely important so hair loss can have a really serious negative impact. The 20s and 30s are also often the time of life when you go out partying, enjoy spending time with friends, and may even be looking to meet that special person in your life. When you take all this into consideration, it is not surprising that hair loss can have such a deep seated effect on younger sufferers.


Dealing with hair loss at an early age


One thing that you should never do if you do experience hair loss at an early age is let it take over your life. During your 20s and 30s you should be enjoying life, building a career, perhaps even starting a family. One thing you shouldn’t be doing is sinking into a deep depression because of loss of hair.


By taking action to deal with your hair loss you can help to eliminate an issue that could be having a seriously damaging effect on your life. You don’t even have to go to any huge expense in order to deal with hair loss, as there are various high quality, natural solutions that are both affordable and can be applied in the comfort of your own home. Although these are not designed to provide an overnight miracle cure, they can reverse the hair loss cycle and promote steady, healthy re-growth.


Whether you are male or female, you can benefit from the positive effects of a quality hair restorer, as some are designed for use by both men and women.

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Dietary tips to improve male hormone secretion & production


What is testosterone?

Testosterone is the basic male or sex hormone in men produced by the testes that performs and maintains various body functions e.g. muscle mass and strength. It encourages the development of male sexual characteristics (penis growth, muscle development and Masculine features), fat distribution; bone mass, sperm production, sex drive, and potency. For these characteristic functions, testosterone is also known as “Male Hormone”. Testosterone is also the most potent of the naturally occurring androgens. The androgens in general also cause the development of male sex characteristics, such as a deep voice and a beard; they also strengthen muscle tone and bone mass.


Production and release of testosterone

Testosterone is produced by the testes from the onset of puberty throughout adulthood under the influence of Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH). Sex hormones are manufactured from cholesterol which is converted to Pregnenolone by the ACTH. High levels of ACTH therefore stimulate greater manufacture of testosterone from cholesterol. Testosterone is indeed produced in large quantities in the testes, and androgens (the parent hormones that give rise to testosterone) are actually produced by two small glands next to the kidneys, the adrenals, in both men and women.

Testosterone is produced in both men and women however adult males produce significantly more than females. On an average, men have 10 times greater level of testosterone than women as the adult male body manufactures 2.5 – 11 mg per day while females only produce 0.25 mg through ovaries. This discrepancy causes many of the biological differences between the sexes including the penis growth and enlargement.


Significance of testosterone

Testosterone is so important because it plays many crucial roles in our bodies throughout our lives and even before we’re born. For example, testosterone helps to determine the gender of the fetus in the womb. Testosterone leads to the development of the male genitals (the penis and testicles) in the womb and at puberty helps all of the male characteristics to develop – like deeper voice, increased muscle mass, body and facial hair etc. Testosterone also continues to be important during all stages of a man’s life. In fact testosterone could be thought of as being central to a man’s mind, body and sexual function.


Can you enhance your testosterone levels naturally?

As mentioned earlier, testosterone levels can have a direct impact on your health, especially your sexual health (including that of the penis) and the quality of your life. Testosterone increases will enhance your sex drive and muscle size. Here are some nutritional and dietary recommendations to raise your testosterone levels:

Lose fat: If you are too fat, then your testosterone level will be naturally low. Therefore, shed those extra pounds.

Have more sex: Sex triggers your body to produce more testosterone. When you get aroused you are signaling your sex organs to perform so they start taking action to follow that order. This is great news. Inform your partner/s to step up the action. The hotter that better.

Gain more muscle: Bodybuilders use compound exercises, exercises that use more than one muscle group, to accelerate muscle building. Free weights and squats increase this process.

Proper rest: Increasing your workout will fatigue you so you need to counter that with adequate sleep and power naps.

Monounsaturated fat: Research has found that men who ate diets rich in monounsaturated fat, the kind found in peanuts, avocados, fish and healthy oils like flax seed, olive and canola are a great way to naturally boost testosterone levels. Try not to eat too much fat but remember that the fat in any kind of nuts will push up your testosterone level.

Alcohol addiction: Research indicates that excessiveness of the alcohol use lowers testosterone levels.

5-6 smaller meals per day: The best way to fuel your body throughout the day is not the normal “3 Squares” but smaller meals with a good balance of low fat protein and complex carbs.


Specific foods to naturally increase testosterone levels

Cruciferous vegetables: Increase your dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, cabbage and brussel sprouts have all been shown to dramatically reduce estrogen levels, thereby raising testosterone.

Oysters: Because of their high zinc levels, foods known to raise testosterone levels often are called aphrodisiacs. Oysters are one such food. The high zinc levels in foods like oysters help increase both testosterone and sperm production.

Avocados: Avocados are high in both vitamin B6 and folic acid. Vitamin B6 will increase male hormone production while folic acid is key in sustaining a high metabolic rate.
Eggs: Eggs are high in both vitamin B5 and B6. The presence of these vitamins helps balance both stress and hormone levels in the body. The helps ensure testosterone stays at a constant level.

Red meats and poultry: Red meats and poultry are rich in zinc, a strong testosterone promoter. Red meats like beef, mutton, and lamb along with chicken, goose and turkey provide the needed zinc and saturated fats that have been found to raise testosterone levels.
What if testosterone levels are high?

High levels of testosterone appear to promote good health (especially sexual health) in men. In addition, when the testosterone levels are high, a person is able to live his life to the fullest since he has a lot of energy. Men with high levels of testosterone are able to enjoy sex even more. If you are a bodybuilder with high levels of testosterone, your body will be able to achieve fast mass gain by just eating the right food and a proper training. These hormones are able to put you on a better state of mind.
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Recommended diets for heart attack victims may soon exclude oily fish.

A Mediterranean diet rather than fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines is being suggested to prevent them from having another heart attack.

Victims are currently advised to eat two or three portions of oily fish each week.

But latest draft guidance from NICE suggests that the effect an oily fish diet plan may have on preventing further heart attacks or strokes “could be minimal”.

Sufferers will no longer be told to eat oily fish or to take omega-3 fatty acid capsules or fatty acid food supplements to stop more cardiac arrests if the guidance comes into force.

The guidance, which is now open to consultation, instead advises people to eat a Mediterranean diet.

This includes more bread, fruit, vegetables and fish, less meat and the replacement of butter and cheese with plant oil-based products.

A NICE spokesman said fresh evidence shows that the risk of further heart attacks or strokes is very different nowadays due to new treatments that are now available.

This means, he said, that any effect an oily fish diet may have on preventing further incidents could be minimal.

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RnB singer Craig David admits that he carries a picture of himself looking in peak physical condition to help him fight off junk food cravings.


The 32-year-old has shared the personal snap showing off maximum muscle and extremely low body fat via Instagram (pictured).

He wants to help his fans achieve their weight loss goals and confesses that even he struggles to keep off excess weight from time to time.

Craig, who regularly travels back and forth between Miami and Europe, reveals that he does occasionally binge on junk food.

However, the photograph helps to remind him of his fitness goals and to help him keep his bad eating habits in check.

“One of the best ways to help yourself stay focused throughout those days when you feel a little weak or lost is to put little reminders around you to help bring you back to the present moment and focus you before you do something you’ll look back on and regret,” he said.

“I just go to this photo on my phone…under the folder ‘Stay Focused’ which reminds me instantly to get back on track and in this case reminds me how good it feels when I achieve my goal and don’t listen to my ‘old inner weakness’ voice trying to remind me of how I used to be.”

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It’s a well known fact that people who are working out to build extra muscle, need extra protein. But it’s not as widely known that protein is also essential for anyone attempting to lose weight.

New scientific studies are consistently proving that protein can offer serious help when you’re trying to shed your unwanted pounds. In fact weight loss is actually hindered without sufficient protein in the diet. Let’s take a closer look at the role of protein in the body and why you should be ensuring adequate quality protein intake, irrespective of your goals.

Protein 101

The protein you consume in your diet is made up of 3 different types of amino acids.

  • Essential amino acids: Your body cannot make these, so they must be supplied in your diet.They include Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine, Lysine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Methionine, Phenylalanine And Histidine.
  • Non-essential amino acids: Your body can make these from the essential amino acids you consume.These include Asparagine, Alanine, Arginine, Aspartic acid, Cysteine, Glutamic acid, Glutamine, Praline, Glycine, Tyrosine, and Serine.
  • Conditional amino acids: Not usually essential, other than in times of illness or stress.These include include Arginine, Cysteine, Glutamine, Glycine, Proline, Serine, And Tyrosine.

The typical food sources of protein include animal products such as meats, fish, milk and eggs, while  plant sources include whole nuts, seeds, grains, pulses, legumes and soy.

Remember that protein is needed for all growth and repair in the body.

It’s an essential component of all muscles, tissues and organs, along with being vital for many processes in the body like the production of antibodies, digestion, metabolism and transporting both oxygen and nutrients in the blood.

Protein also helps to make sure your hair is healthy and shiny, your skin looks great and your nails and bones are strong.

Before we go any further, let’s quickly dispel a few misconceptions regarding protein.

Only Serious Bodybuilders Need Extra Protein.

Any regular exercise routine, not just hardcore bodybuilding, will increase the number of calories you burn and the amount of muscle your body breaks down.

Because of this it makes sense to supplement your protein intake, for extra fuel (calories) and amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle.

This is the same no matter what form of exercise you are engaged in. In fact endurance exercise and cardio routines create an even greater need for extra protein, than pure weight training.

As you’ll discover a little later, protein is not just essential for repairing worn muscle and building new lean muscle, it’s also proven to be a potent fat burner in its own right.

“Protein Will Make Me Bulky.”

There’s a common misconception that women shouldn’t use protein powder because it will ‘bulk them up’. This is not actually true.

Women don’t get bulky when they use protein powder, or from working out with weights, due to their lower levels of testosterone. But when combined with a workout routine, protein will help to develop some extra muscle and the muscle they already have will be firmer and more toned.

“Protein Will Make Me Fat.”

With regard to making you fat, as you are about to learn, protein is actually proven to reduce fat storage in the body, not add to it.

Remember that because you are combining extra protein along with a workout routine, whether you are aiming for weight loss or muscle gain, your body will NEED extra protein and nutrients for energy, recuperation and growth. Without it, your body could start burning  muscle for the energy it needs.

Don’t forget of course, you’ll also be burning far more calories due to your higher activity levels, so this also supports the need for extra nutrient dense replacement calories in the form of protein.

On the other hand, if you have a sedentary lifestyle, ‘couch potato’ style, then ANY extra calories are more likely to be stored as fat.

If you are also concerned about the fat in the high protein foods you consume, stop worrying. Keep in mind that your body actually needs fat for many metabolic processes to take place and for your body to function correctly.

Fats also maintain cell membranes and blood vessels, provide energy, transmit nerve impulses and produce some essential hormones. Many disease preventing phyto-chemicals found in food, along with vitamin A, D, E, and K, need some fat to be absorbed by your body.

On top of that, remember that the extra protein you consume while exercising, along with your higher activity levels will help fat burning.

Now we’ll have a closer look at why protein is essential for weight loss.

Protein For Weight Loss

No matter what you eat, you’ll only lose weight if you use more energy through your daily  activities than your body can produce from the food you consume.

However, your body has to work harder to digest and use foods containing protein, so your body burns more calories as it processes them. Not only that, but as they also take longer to leave your stomach, you feel full faster and for longer.

How Does Protein Burn Fat?

There are actually two reasons why protein helps fat burning:

  • It helps to curb your hunger. Proteins help because they take your body longer to digest, making you feel fuller for longer.
  • It increases your rate of thermogenesis. Longer digestion also uses more calories and raises your core body temperature and metabolic rate, known as “thermogenesis”.

Protein’s steady release of energy means it’s sustained and doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike like carbs, so you get fewer craving too.

“In a study published in Nutrition Metabolism, dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their diet ate nearly 450 fewer calories a day and lost around 11 pounds during the 12-week study without employing any other dietary measures.”

The Importance of Leucine

Scientists are finding that Leucine is one of the most important amino acids for regulating  metabolism and helping weight loss.

Donald Layman, PhD6, from the University of Illinois, has published many papers on the subject and is one of the key Leucine researchers. He found that a high protein, leucine-rich diet, along with lower carbohydrates intake (150 grams or 600 calories per day) supports not only weight loss, but also blood sugar metabolism and various other factors that support cardiovascular health.

His research shows that when we lose weight our bodies can also lose muscle and bone mass. But Leucine acts as a signal, directly communicating with insulin and making it work efficiently in the muscle. This leads to preserved muscle mass and glucose being used by the muscles as fuel, thereby supporting healthy insulin function.

A high-carbohydrate weight-loss diet on the other hand, causes more muscle to be lost.

*Leucine Unlocks Metabolic Door  J Nutr.   Layman DK, Walker DA.

One of the best sources of leucine is high quality whey protein. Animal and dairy products are the food sources with the highest Leucine content, especially red meat and cottage cheese, followed by cheese, milk, eggs, pork, chicken fish, legumes, peanuts, nuts and seeds.

It harder to get plenty of leucine if you’re not eating red meat and dairy products, so a whey protein supplement would be especially beneficial in this case.

Whey Protein: Great For Weight Loss Not Just Muscle Gain

In another study involving 95 men and 32 women, subjects used a 15 gram whey protein meal replacement for two meals a day for six months, then went to one meal replacement for six more months.

While this amount of whey protein is actually on the low side for weight loss, the subjects still experienced great results.

  • During the first six months participants lost on average 20 pounds.
  • Over the following six months while consuming just 15 grams of whey protein per day, they kept their weight off and lost a further 2 pounds.

Along with the weight loss, many key signs of cardiovascular health were improved during the study, including lowering of total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, while increasing HDL Cholesterol.

*Modest Whey Protein Intake Supports Weight Loss  Am J Clin Nutr.   Keogh JB, Clifton P.

When you are trying to lose weight make sure you eat 5 or 6 small protein rich meals a day, to ensure your body has a constant supply of protein, along with keeping your blood sugar levels steady.

If your weight loss efforts aren’t giving you the results you want, even when you include quality protein in every meal, try replacing 2 or 3 of your meals with a high quality Whey protein based shake.

Around 1 gram of protein for each pound of body weight, per day should be your target. So for instance if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to consume 150 grams of a day.

Eat a high-protein breakfast and wake up your liver

Because your liver is basically your body’s metabolic engine, eating a high-protein breakfast, rather than a carb based one, can raise your metabolic rate by 30% for as long as twelve hours. That’s equal to a three to five mile jog.

This is because carbohydrates and fats are much easier for your liver to process and only increase liver metabolism by around 4%. Protein however, has to be broken down and re-built to be used by the body, so your body will burn it at a slower rate.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity shows that “eating two eggs for breakfast, as part of a reduced-calorie diet, helps overweight adults lose 65% more weight and feel more energetic, than those who eat a bagel breakfast of equal calories”.

Plus, studies have shown protein-rich breakfasts can help to regulate your appetite for the rest of the day.

*Higher Protein Boosts Muscle Metabolism and Weight Loss  J Am Coll Nutr.   Layman DK.

*Vanderwal JS et al , et al. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J of Obesity, published online on August 5, 2008.

Protein For Building Lean Muscle

Quiet simply, protein is essential for building new lean muscle. The building blocks of muscle are Amino Acids and that’s exactly what protein is made up of.

Although you consume protein with most meals, real muscle growth needs musch more protein than you’ll get in an average diet. For muscle gain you need to ensure your body has a good sized reserve of quality protein to use for muscle growth.

How much protein for muscle growth?

As with weight loss, a good ‘ball park’ figure is 1 gram of protein for each pound of body weight, per day. So let’s say you weigh 200 pounds, you should aim to consume 200 grams of quality protein a day. This ensures you have a constant pool of ready to use protein in your body.

You may find it hard to eat enough protein rich foods during the day to reach that figure, so whey protein shakes can help enormously, as they make it easy to significantly add to your daily intake in a convenient way.

Try and eat 5-6 small but nutritious, high in protein meals per day (including protein based shakes). This will ensure your muscles are well fed, your metabolism is steady,  you have the energy to complete your workouts and your insulin levels are kept stable.

Don’t worry if you think 5 – 6 meals a day sounds a lot. It’s easy to have a ‘protein shake’ meal that you can drink, as a replacement for 2 or 3 of the full meals.

You can also up your protein levels by basing your meals around the high protein foods listed below.

High Protein Foods:

  • Steak (6 oz = 42 grams protein) Most cuts of beef average 7 grams of protein per ounce
  • Chicken breast (3.5 oz = 30 grams protein)
  • 3 ½ oz fish fillets/steaks average around 22 grams protein cooked. (6 grams per ounce)
  • Tuna (6 oz can = 35 grams protein)
  • Pork chop (average = 22 grams protein)
  • Pork loin or tenderloin (4 oz = 29 grams protein)
  • Ham (3 oz serving = 19 grams protein)
  • Ground pork (3 oz cooked = 22 grams protein)
  • Bacon (1 slice = 3 grams protein)
  • Egg (large = 6 grams protein)
  • Milk (1 cup = 8 grams protein)
  • Cottage cheese (½ cup = 15 grams protein)
  • Yogurt (1 cup = around 8-12 grams protein)
  • Soft cheeses (6 grams protein per oz)
  • Medium cheeses (7 or 8 grams protein per oz)
  • Hard cheeses (10 grams protein per oz)
  • Tofu (½ cup = 20 grams protein)
  • Soy milk (1 cup = 6 -10 grams protein)
  • Most beans (half cup of cooked beans = 7-10 grams protein)
  • Soy beans (½ cup cooked = 14 grams protein)
  • Peanut butter (2 Tablespoons = 8 grams protein)
  • Almonds (¼ cup = 8 grams protein)
  • Peanuts (¼ cup = 9 grams protein)
  • Sunflower seeds (¼ cup = 6 grams protein)
  • Pumpkin seeds (¼ cup = 8 grams protein)
  • Flax seeds (¼ cup = 8 grams protein)

Breakfast. Most important meal of the day.

Whatever your goal . . . do not skip breakfast.

According to Donald Layman, Ph.D. (mentioned in the experiment above), you should aim  to consume at least 30 grams (approximately the amount of protein in two eggs and a cup of cottage cheese) of your protein intake for the day, at breakfast.

Your body is usually running on empty by morning and without proper nutrition it could start burning muscle tissue for fuel. That’s the last thing you want when your goal is to build new muscle.

If your trying to lose weight, you still need to eat a nutritious breakfast. This will help to keep your snacking urges to a minimum and give you the slow burning energy to cope with your activities.

To recap

No matter what your fitness goals are, protein is essential. It’s proven to help fat reduction, lean muscle gain and is also essential for good health in general.

To ensure your body gets adequate amounts for recovery and growth, 5 or 6 protein rich meals spread out throughout the day, equalling around 1 gram of protein for every gram of body weight, along with supplementation with a highly bio-available quality protein such as whey, is recommended.

This will ensure you have enough protein in your body at all times, for your body to call upon for recovery, fat reduction and growth.

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weight training

Weight training is fantastic for developing your muscle strength as well as offering your body increased definition and weight loss. Based on 3 simple principles –  overload principle, progressive resistance and the principle of specify – weight training involves more than basic bodybuilding, but is designed to develop your body by increasing the amount of weight you lift.

What is the ‘Overload Principle’?

This principle is structured around the idea that muscle size, strength and endurance will only improve if your actual exercise activity is greater than normal.

What is the ‘Progressive Principle’?

Taking on board the overload principle, this principle is based on the idea that as your muscle, strength and endurance increases, the resistance i.e. the amount of weights you lift, should also be increased to help you achieve further gains.

What is the ‘Principle of Specificity’?

This is based around the theory that the development of your muscle fitness is specific to the muscles you train.

What are the benefits of weight training?

As mentioned before, weight training can offer you more than the promise of bigger muscles. It can also help to strength your bones, control your weight loss and boost your energy and endurance levels. Now if you are new to weight training, the last thing you want to do is start lifting weights that you are beyond your range. Instead, you first need to establish what your body is able to cope with and continue from there. Below we have outlined 3 popular 40 minute weight training routines to help get you started. These should be done over 3 non consecutive days i.e. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a break in-between to let your muscles recover. Similarly for the first week, you should only use a bar until you are confident of what each exercise entails. Once you know what to do, you can begin introducing weights, which you can increase by 5% per session..

Routine One:


  • Barbell squat – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Leg curl – 3 sets of 10 reps(progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Bent over row – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Barbell bench press – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Barbell shoulder press – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Barbell curl – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Triceps press down – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)


Routine Two:


  • Leg press – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Chins – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Incline bench press – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Lateral raise – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Incline dumbbell curls – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Dips – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)


Routine Three:


  • Leg extension  – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Straight leg deadlift – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Pull downs – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Incline flys – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Bent over lateral raise – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Reverse curls – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)
  • Triceps press  – 3 sets of 10 reps (progress to 5 sets with practice)

NOTE: remember to take a 30 second break between each set so you have got the strength to continue. Now we are pretty confident that after 3 months, you will be ready to move on to a more intense workout. And if that is the case, then you may be interested in trying an intermediate workout…


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